Relocalization of the dorsal protein from the cytoplasm to the nucleus correlates with its function

Cell. 1989 Dec 22;59(6):1179-88. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(89)90773-3.


dorsal is one of the maternally active dorsal-ventral polarity genes of Drosophila and is homologous to the vertebrate proto-oncogene c-rel. In wild-type embryos, the dorsal protein is found in the cytoplasm during cleavage. After the nuclei migrate to the periphery of the embryo, a ventral-to-dorsal gradient of nuclear dorsal protein is established. The formation of the nuclear gradient is disrupted in mutant embryos from other maternally active dorsal-ventral polarity genes: in dorsalized embryos only cytoplasmic protein is observed, while in ventralized embryos the nuclear gradient is shifted dorsally. My findings suggest that nuclear localization is critical for dorsal to function as a morphogen and that the distribution of the dorsal protein determines cell fate along the dorsal-ventral axis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Morphogenesis
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Transcription Factors*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • dl protein, Drosophila

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M23702