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Cell. 1998 Nov 13;95(4):495-506.

Interpretation of a BMP activity gradient in Drosophila embryos depends on synergistic signaling by two type I receptors, SAX and TKV.

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Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, University of California, Irvine 92697, USA.


Graded activity of the DPP signaling pathway is critical for specification of dorsal embryonic cell fates in Drosophila. We present evidence that a second BMP ligand, SCW, potentiates DPP activity. Using dominant-negative forms of the type I receptors SAX and TKV, we demonstrate that SAX mediates the SCW signal, while TKV is required for both DPP and SCW activity. We find that while DPP/TKV signaling is obligatorily required, SCW/SAX activity is necessary but not sufficient for dorsal patterning. SAX and TKV act synergistically, suggesting a mechanism for integration of the SCW and DPP signals. Further, we show that the extracellular protein SOG can antagonize SCW, thus limiting its ability to augment DPP signaling in a graded manner.

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