Decapentaplegic and Growth Control in the Developing Drosophila Wing

Nature. 2015 Nov 19;527(7578):375-8. doi: 10.1038/nature15730. Epub 2015 Nov 9.


As a central model for morphogen action during animal development, the bone morphogenetic protein 2/4 (BMP2/4)-like ligand Decapentaplegic (Dpp) is proposed to form a long-range signalling gradient that directs both growth and pattern formation during Drosophila wing disc development. While the patterning role of Dpp secreted from a stripe of cells along the anterior-posterior compartmental boundary is well established, the mechanism by which a Dpp gradient directs uniform cell proliferation remains controversial and poorly understood. Here, to determine the precise spatiotemporal requirements for Dpp during wing disc development, we use CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing to generate a flippase recognition target (FRT)-dependent conditional null allele. By genetically removing Dpp from its endogenous stripe domain, we confirm the requirement of Dpp for the activation of a downstream phospho-Mothers against dpp (p-Mad) gradient and the regulation of the patterning targets spalt (sal), optomotor blind (omb; also known as bifid) and brinker (brk). Surprisingly, however, third-instar wing blade primordia devoid of compartmental dpp expression maintain relatively normal rates of cell proliferation and exhibit only mild defects in growth. These results indicate that during the latter half of larval development, the Dpp morphogen gradient emanating from the anterior-posterior compartment boundary is not directly required for wing disc growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Morphogenesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • T-Box Domain Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development*
  • Wings, Animal / metabolism*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • MAD protein, Drosophila
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • T-Box Domain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • brk protein, Drosophila
  • dpp protein, Drosophila
  • salm protein, Drosophila
  • bi protein, Drosophila