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Development. 1994 May;120(5):1243-50.

A processed form of the Spätzle protein defines dorsal-ventral polarity in the Drosophila embryo.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


Stein et al. (1991) identified a soluble, extracellular factor that induces ventral structures at the site where it is injected in the extracellular space of the early Drosophila embryo. This factor, called polarizing activity, has the properties predicted for a ligand for the transmembrane receptor encoded by the Toll gene. Using a bioassay to follow activity, we purified a 24 x 10(3) M(r) protein that has polarizing activity. The purified protein is recognized by antibodies to the C-terminal half of the Spätzle protein, indicating that this polarizing activity is a product of the spätzle gene. The purified protein is smaller than the primary translation product of spätzle, suggesting that proteolytic processing of Spätzle on the ventral side of the embryo is required to generate the localized, active form of the protein.

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