Research ArticleDevelopmental Biology

Phosphorylation of Mad Controls Competition Between Wingless and BMP Signaling

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Science Signaling  11 Oct 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 194, pp. ra68
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002034

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Mad for Both Wingless and BMP

The Wingless (also known as Wnt) and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathways are critical during development. In the Drosophila BMP signaling pathway, ligand-bound BMP receptors phosphorylate sites in the C terminus of the transcription factor Mad, thereby activating it. The BMP signal is terminated by degradation of Mad, a process that requires phosphorylation of Mad at sites distinct from those that activate it. Eivers et al. now show a role for unphosphorylated Mad in Wingless signaling. Drosophila with a mutant form of Mad with reduced degradation showed developmental defects typical of excess Wingless signaling, and phosphorylation-resistant Mad interacted with two transcriptional effectors of the Wingless pathway. Thus, the phosphorylation state of Mad determines whether it participates in BMP or Wingless signaling.

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