Direct and long-range action of a DPP morphogen gradient

Cell. 1996 May 3;85(3):357-68. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81114-9.


During development of the Drosophila wing, the decapentaplegic (dpp) gene is expressed in a stripe of cells along the anteroposterior compartment boundary and gives rise to a secreted protein that exerts a long-range organizing influence on both compartments. Using clones of cells that express DPP, or in which DPP receptor activity has been constitutively activated or abolished, we show that DPP acts directly and at long range on responding cells, rather than by proxy through the short-range induction of other signaling molecules. Further, we show that two genes, optomotor-blind and spalt are transcriptionally activated at different distances from DPP-secreting cells and provide evidence that these genes respond to different threshold concentrations of DPP protein. We propose that DPP acts as a gradient morphogen during wing development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clone Cells / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Embryonic Induction / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Homeodomain Proteins*
  • Insect Hormones / genetics*
  • Insect Hormones / metabolism
  • Ligands
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Morphogenesis / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • T-Box Domain Proteins*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Wings, Animal / embryology
  • Zinc Fingers / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Ligands
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • T-Box Domain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • dpp protein, Drosophila
  • salm protein, Drosophila
  • bi protein, Drosophila
  • tkv protein, Drosophila
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases