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The synthesis–diffusion–degradation model explains Bicoid gradient formation in unfertilized eggs

Author(s): Drocco, JA; Wieschaus, EF; Tank, DW

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Abstract: Precise formation of morphogen gradients is essential to the establishment of reproducible pattern in development. Mechanisms proposed for obtaining the requisite precision range from simple models with few parameters to more complex models involving many regulated quantities. The synthesis-diffusion-degradation (SDD) model is a relatively simple model explaining the formation of the Bicoid gradient in Drosophila melanogaster, in which the steady-state characteristic length of the gradient is determined solely by the rates of diffusion and degradation of the morphogen. In this work, we test the SDD model in unfertilized D. melanogaster eggs, which contain a single female pronucleus and lack the nuclear division cycles and other zygotic regulatory processes seen in fertilized eggs. Using two-photon live imaging as well as a novel method for quantitative imaging based on decorrelation of photoswitching waveforms, we find that the Bicoid gradient is longer and shallower in unfertilized eggs as compared to the gradient at the same time points in fertilized eggs. Using a means of measuring the Bicoid lifetime by conjugation to a photoconvertible fluorophore, we find that the lifetime is correspondingly longer in unfertilized eggs, providing qualitative and quantitative agreement with the predictions of the SDD model.
Publication Date: 1-Oct-2012
Electronic Publication Date: 25-Sep-2012
Citation: Drocco, JA, Wieschaus, EF, Tank, DW. (2012). The synthesis–diffusion–degradation model explains Bicoid gradient formation in unfertilized eggs. Physical Biology, 9 (5), 055004 - 055004. doi:10.1088/1478-3975/9/5/055004
DOI: doi:10.1088/1478-3975/9/5/055004
ISSN: 1478-3967
EISSN: 1478-3975
Pages: 055004 - 055004
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Physical Biology
Version: Author's manuscript

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