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      A Feed-Forward Circuit Linking Wingless, Fat-Dachsous Signaling, and the Warts-Hippo Pathway to Drosophila Wing Growth

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          Abstract

          The secreted morphogen Wingless promotes Drosophila wing growth by fueling a wave front of Fat-Dachsous signaling that recruits new cells into the wing primordium.

          Abstract

          During development, the Drosophila wing primordium undergoes a dramatic increase in cell number and mass under the control of the long-range morphogens Wingless (Wg, a Wnt) and Decapentaplegic (Dpp, a BMP). This process depends in part on the capacity of wing cells to recruit neighboring, non-wing cells into the wing primordium. Wing cells are defined by activity of the selector gene vestigial ( vg) and recruitment entails the production of a vg-dependent “feed-forward signal” that acts together with morphogen to induce vg expression in neighboring non-wing cells. Here, we identify the protocadherins Fat (Ft) and Dachsous (Ds), the Warts-Hippo tumor suppressor pathway, and the transcriptional co-activator Yorkie (Yki, a YES associated protein, or YAP) as components of the feed-forward signaling mechanism, and we show how this mechanism promotes wing growth in response to Wg. We find that vg generates the feed-forward signal by creating a steep differential in Ft-Ds signaling between wing and non-wing cells. This differential down-regulates Warts-Hippo pathway activity in non-wing cells, leading to a burst of Yki activity and the induction of vg in response to Wg. We posit that Wg propels wing growth at least in part by fueling a wave front of Ft-Ds signaling that propagates vg expression from one cell to the next.

          Author Summary

          Under normal conditions, animals and their various body parts grow until they achieve a genetically predetermined size and shape—a process governed by secreted organizer proteins called morphogens. How morphogens control growth remains unknown. In Drosophila, wings develop at the larval stage from wing primordia. Recently, we discovered that the morphogen Wingless promotes growth of the Drosophila wing by inducing the recruitment of neighboring cells into the wing primordium. Wing cells are defined by the expression of the “selector” gene vestigial. Recruitment depends on the capacity of wing cells to send a short-range, feed-forward signal that allows Wingless to activate vestigial in adjacent non-wing cells. Here, we identify the molecular components and circuitry of the recruitment process. We define the protocadherins Fat and Dachsous as a bidirectional ligand-receptor system that is controlled by vestigial to generate the feed-forward signal. Further, we show that the signal is transduced by the conserved Warts-Hippo tumor suppressor pathway via activation of its transcriptional effector Yorkie. Finally, we propose that Wingless propels wing growth by fueling a wave front of Fat-Dachsous signaling and Yorkie activity that propagates vestigial expression from one cell to the next.

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          Most cited references 54

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          The Salvador-Warts-Hippo pathway - an emerging tumour-suppressor network.

          Intense research over the past four years has led to the discovery and characterization of a novel signalling network, known as the Salvador-Warts-Hippo (SWH) pathway, involved in tissue growth control in Drosophila melanogaster. At present, eleven proteins have been implicated as members of this pathway, and several downstream effector genes have been characterized. The importance of this pathway is emphasized by its evolutionary conservation, and by increasing evidence that its deregulation occurs in human tumours. Here, we review the main findings from Drosophila and the implications that these have for tumorigenesis in mammals.
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            Direct and long-range action of a wingless morphogen gradient.

             G Struhl,  M Zecca,  K Basler (1996)
            Wingless (Wg), a founding member of the Wingless/Int-1 (Wnt) family of secreted proteins, acts as a short-range inducer and as a long-range organizer during Drosophila development. Here, we determine the consequences of ectopically expressing (i) a wild-type form of Wg, (ii) a membrane-tethered form of Wg, and (iii) a constitutively active form of the cytosolic protein Armadillo (Arm), which normally acts to transduce Wg, and we compare them with the effects of removing endogenous Wg or Arm activity. Our results indicate that wild-type Wg acts at long range, up-regulating the transcription of particular target genes as a function of concentration and distance from secreting cells. In contrast, tethered Wg and Arm have only short-range or autonomous effects, respectively, on the transcription of these genes. We interpret these findings as evidence that Wg can act directly and at long range as a gradient morphogen during normal development.
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              Organizing activity of wingless protein in Drosophila.

               K Basler,  G Struhl (1993)
              The adult appendages of Drosophila are formed from imaginal discs, sheets of epithelial cells that proliferate during larval development and differentiate during metamorphosis. wingless (wg, DWnt-1) protein, a putative signaling molecule, is expressed only in prospective ventral cells in each of the leg discs. To test the role of wg, we have generated randomly positioned clones of cells that express wg protein constitutively. Clones that arise in the prospective ventral portions of the leg discs develop normally. In contrast, dorsally situated clones give rise to ventrolateral patterns and exert a ventralizing influence on neighboring wild-type tissue. We propose that wg protein organizes leg pattern along the dorsoventral axis by conferring ventral positional information within the disc.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                PLoS Biol
                plos
                plosbiol
                PLoS Biology
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1544-9173
                1545-7885
                June 2010
                June 2010
                1 June 2010
                : 8
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, United States of America
                [2 ]Department of Genetics and Development, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, United States of America
                Biozentrum der Universitaet Basel, Switzerland
                Author notes

                The author(s) have made the following declarations about their contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments: MZ GS. Performed the experiments: MZ. Analyzed the data: MZ GS. Wrote the paper: MZ GS.

                Article
                09-PLBI-RA-2379R2
                10.1371/journal.pbio.1000386
                2879410
                20532238
                Zecca, Struhl. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 16
                Categories
                Research Article
                Developmental Biology

                Life sciences

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