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Science 315 (5811): 521-525

Copyright © 2007 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Kinetics of Morphogen Gradient Formation

Anna Kicheva,1,2* Periklis Pantazis,1*{dagger} Tobias Bollenbach,3*{ddagger} Yannis Kalaidzidis,1,4 Thomas Bittig,3 Frank Jülicher,3§ Marcos González-Gaitán1,2§

Abstract: In the developing fly wing, secreted morphogens such as Decapentaplegic (Dpp) and Wingless (Wg) form gradients of concentration providing positional information. Dpp forms a longer-range gradient than Wg. To understand how the range is controlled, we measured the four key kinetic parameters governing morphogen spreading: the production rate, the effective diffusion coefficient, the degradation rate, and the immobile fraction. The four parameters had different values for Dpp versus Wg. In addition, Dynamin-dependent endocytosis was required for spreading of Dpp, but not Wg. Thus, the cellular mechanisms of Dpp and Wingless spreading are different: Dpp spreading requires endocytic, intracellular trafficking.

1 Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Pfotenhauer Strasse 108, 01307 Dresden, Germany.
2 Department of Biochemistry and Department of Molecular Biology, Geneva University, Sciences II, Quai Ernest-Ansermet 30, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland.
3 Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Nöthnitzer Strasse 38, 01187 Dresden, Germany.
4 A. N. Belozersky Institute for Physico-Chemical Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow 119899, Russia.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} Present address: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.

{ddagger} Present address: Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

§ To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: julicher{at} (F.J.); marcos.gonzalez{at} (M.G.-G.)

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