Drosophila WntD is a target and an inhibitor of the Dorsal/Twist/Snail network in the gastrulating embryo

Atish Ganguly, Jin Jiang, Y. Tony Ip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

The maternal Toll signaling pathway sets up a nuclear gradient of the transcription factor Dorsal in the early Drosophila embryo. Dorsal activates twist and snail, and the Dorsal/Twist/Snail network activates and represses other zygotic genes to form the correct expression patterns along the dorsoventral axis. An essential function of this patterning is to promote ventral cell invagination during mesoderm formation, but how the downstream genes regulate ventral invagination is not known. We show here that wntD is a novel member of the Wnt family. The expression of wntD is activated by Dorsal and Twist, but the expression is much reduced in the ventral cells through repression by Snail. Overexpression of WntD in the early embryo inhibits ventral invagination, suggesting that the de-repressed WntD in snail mutant embryos may contribute to inhibiting ventral invagination. The overexpressed WntD inhibits invagination by antagonizing Dorsal nuclear localization, as well as twist and snail expression. Consistent with the early expression of WntD at the poles in wild-type embryos, loss of WntD leads to posterior expansion of nuclear Dorsal and snail expression, demonstrating that physiological levels of WntD can also attenuate Dorsal nuclear localization. We also show that the de-repressed WntD in snail mutant embryos contributes to the premature loss of snail expression, probably by inhibiting Dorsal. Thus, these results together demonstrate that WntD is regulated by the Dorsal/Twist/Snail network, and is an inhibitor of Dorsal nuclear localization and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3419-3429
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopment
Volume132
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2005

Keywords

  • Dorsal
  • Drosophila
  • Gastrulation
  • Snail
  • Toll
  • WntD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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