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Maternal Origins of Developmental Reproducibility

Author(s): Petkova, Mariela D; Little, Shawn C; Liu, Feng; Gregor, Thomas

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Abstract: Cell fate decisions during multicellular development are precisely coordinated, leading to highly reproducible macroscopic structural outcomes [1-3]. The origins of this reproducibility are found at the molecular level during the earliest stages of development when patterns of morphogen molecules emerge reproducibly [4, 5]. However, although the initial conditions for these early stages are determined by the female during oogenesis, it is unknown whether reproducibility is perpetuated from oogenesis or reacquired by the zygote. To address this issue in the early Drosophila embryo, we sought to count individual maternally deposited bicoid mRNA molecules and compare variability between embryos with previously observed fluctuations in the Bicoid protein gradient [6, 7]. Here, we develop independent methods to quantify total amounts of mRNA in individual embryos and show that mRNA counts are highly reproducible between embryos to within similar to 9%, matching the reproducibility of the protein gradient. Reproducibility emerges from perfectly linear feedforward processes: changing the genetic dosage in the female leads to proportional changes in both mRNA and protein numbers in the embryo. Our results indicate that the reproducibility of the morphological structures of embryos originates during oogenesis, which is when the expression of maternally provided patterning factors is precisely controlled.
Publication Date: 2-Jun-2014
Electronic Publication Date: 2-Jun-2014
Citation: Petkova, Mariela D, Little, Shawn C, Liu, Feng, Gregor, Thomas. (2014). Maternal Origins of Developmental Reproducibility. CURRENT BIOLOGY, 24 (1283 - 1288. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.04.028
DOI: doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.04.028
ISSN: 0960-9822
EISSN: 1879-0445
Pages: 1283 - 1288
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: CURRENT BIOLOGY
Version: Author's manuscript

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