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Science 331 (6021): 1154-1159

Copyright © 2011 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Dynamics of Dpp Signaling and Proliferation Control

O. Wartlick,1,* P. Mumcu,2,* A. Kicheva,1,*,{dagger} T. Bittig,2,* C. Seum,1 F. Jülicher,2,{ddagger} M. González-Gaitán1,{ddagger}

Abstract: Morphogens, such as Decapentaplegic (Dpp) in the fly imaginal discs, form graded concentration profiles that control patterning and growth of developing organs. In the imaginal discs, proliferative growth is homogeneous in space, posing the conundrum of how morphogen concentration gradients could control position-independent growth. To understand the mechanism of proliferation control by the Dpp gradient, we quantified Dpp concentration and signaling levels during wing disc growth. Both Dpp concentration and signaling gradients scale with tissue size during development. On average, cells divide when Dpp signaling levels have increased by 50%. Our observations are consistent with a growth control mechanism based on temporal changes of cellular morphogen signaling levels. For a scaling gradient, this mechanism generates position-independent growth rates.

1 Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Geneva University, 30 Quai Ernest-Ansermet, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland.
2 Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Nöthnitzer Strasse 38, 01187 Dresden, Germany.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} Present address: Developmental Neurobiology, National Institute for Medical Research, Medical Research Council, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW71AA, UK.

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

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