Nuclear import of the homeodomain protein extradenticle in response to Wg and Dpp signalling

Nature. 1996 Oct 17;383(6601):630-3. doi: 10.1038/383630a0.


In Drosophila, Decapentaplegic (Dpp) and Wingless (Wg) are two secreted signalling proteins of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta and Wnt families, respectively. Although both are often required during development, only a few downstream components of these signalling pathways have been described. Here we present evidence that in the embryonic midgut both signalling pathways control the subcellular localization of the homeodomain protein encoded by the extradenticle (exd) gene. Exd protein is predominantly nuclear in endoderm cells close to Dpp-and Wg-secreting cells of the visceral mesoderm, but is in the cytoplasm in more distant endoderm cells. Both dpp and wg are required for the nuclear localization of Exd in the endoderm, whereas ectopic expression of dpp and wg expands the domain of nuclear Exd. Furthermore, the nuclear import of Exd correlates with the transcription of an exd-dependent reporter gene in the endoderm. Thus one mechanism by which extracellular signals might control pattern is by directing the graded nuclear localization of homeodomain proteins such as Exd that directly control the expression of target genes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Escherichia coli
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Insect Hormones / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Wnt1 Protein


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • dpp protein, Drosophila
  • exd protein, Drosophila
  • wg protein, Drosophila