The effects of Hh morphogen source movement on signaling dynamics

Development. 2022 Dec 1;149(23):dev199842. doi: 10.1242/dev.199842. Epub 2022 Dec 7.


Morphogens of the Hh family trigger gene expression changes in receiving cells in a concentration-dependent manner to regulate their identity, proliferation, death or metabolism, depending on the tissue or organ. This variety of responses relies on a conserved signaling pathway. Its logic includes a negative-feedback loop involving the Hh receptor Ptc. Here, using experiments and computational models we study and compare the different spatial signaling profiles downstream of Hh in several developing Drosophila organs. We show that the spatial distributions of Ptc and the activator transcription factor CiA in wing, antenna and ocellus show similar features, but are markedly different from that in the compound eye. We propose that these two profile types represent two time points along the signaling dynamics, and that the interplay between the spatial displacement of the Hh source in the compound eye and the negative-feedback loop maintains the receiving cells effectively in an earlier stage of signaling. These results show how the interaction between spatial and temporal dynamics of signaling and differentiation processes may contribute to the informational versatility of the conserved Hh signaling pathway.

Keywords: Drosophila; Computational modeling; Dynamical systems; Hh signaling; Morphogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Compound Eye, Arthropod / embryology
  • Drosophila* / embryology
  • Hedgehog Proteins* / physiology
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Wings, Animal / embryology


  • Hedgehog Proteins