Dpp/BMP transport mechanism is required for wing venation in the sawfly Athalia rosae

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2013 May;43(5):466-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2013.02.008. Epub 2013 Mar 7.


The pattern of wing venation varies considerably among different groups of insects and has been used as a means of species-specific identification. However, little is known about how wing venation is established and diversified among insects. The decapentaplegic (Dpp)/bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway plays a critical role in wing vein formation during the pupal stages in Drosophila melanogaster. A key mechanism is BMP transport from the longitudinal veins (LVs) to the posterior crossvein (PCV) by the BMP-binding proteins, short gastrulation (Sog) and twisted gastrulation2/crossveinless (Tsg2/Cv). To investigate whether the BMP transport mechanism is utilized to specify insect wing vein patterns in other than Drosophila, we used the sawfly Athalia rosae as a model, which has distinct venation patterns in the fore- and hindwings. Here, we show that Ar-dpp is ubiquitously expressed in both the fore- and hindwings, but is required for localized BMP signaling that reflects distinct wing vein patterns between the fore- and hindwings. By isolating Ar-tsg/cv in the sawfly, we found that Ar-Tsg/Cv is also required for BMP signaling in wing vein formation and retains the ability to transport Dpp. These data suggest that the BMP transport system is widely used to redistribute Dpp to specify wing venation and may be a basal mechanism underlying diversified wing vein patterns among insects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Blotting, Western
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / chemistry
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / genetics
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Hymenoptera / chemistry
  • Hymenoptera / genetics
  • Hymenoptera / growth & development
  • Hymenoptera / physiology*
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development
  • Wings, Animal / metabolism


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • RNA, Double-Stranded