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Signaling Dynamics Control Cell Fate in the Early Drosophila Embryo.

Author(s): Johnson, Heath E; Toettcher, Jared E

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Abstract: The Erk mitogen-activated protein kinase plays diverse roles in animal development. Its widespread reuse raises a conundrum: when a single kinase like Erk is activated, how does a developing cell know which fate to adopt? We combine optogenetic control with genetic perturbations to dissect Erk-dependent fates in the early Drosophila embryo. We find that Erk activity is sufficient to "posteriorize" 88% of the embryo, inducing gut endoderm-like gene expression and morphogenetic movements in all cells within this region. Gut endoderm fate adoption requires at least 1 h of signaling, whereas a 30-min Erk pulse specifies a distinct ectodermal cell type, intermediate neuroblasts. We find that the endoderm-ectoderm cell fate switch is controlled by the cumulative load of Erk activity, not the duration of a single pulse. The fly embryo thus harbors a classic example of dynamic control, where the temporal profile of Erk signaling selects between distinct physiological outcomes.
Publication Date: 11-Feb-2019
Citation: Johnson, Heath E, Toettcher, Jared E. (2019). Signaling Dynamics Control Cell Fate in the Early Drosophila Embryo. Developmental Cell, 48 (3), 361 - 370.e3. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2019.01.009
DOI: doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2019.01.009
ISSN: 1534-5807
EISSN: 1878-1551
Pages: 361 - 370
Language: eng
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Developmental Cell
Version: Author's manuscript

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