Mechanism of Morphogen Gradient Scaling

Maria Romanova-Michaelides (U Genève)

Nov 16. 2022, 11:00 — 11:45


Morphogen gradients are fundamental to establish morphological patterns in developing tissues1. During development, gradients scale to remain proportional to the size of growing organs. Scaling is a universal gear adjusting patterns to size in living organisms, yet its mechanisms remain unclear. Here, focusing on the Dpp gradient in the Drosophila wing disc, we unravel a cell biological basis behind scaling. From small to large discs, scaling of the Dpp gradient is achieved by increasing the contribution of the internalized Dpp molecules to Dpp transport: to expand the gradient, endocytosed molecules are re-exocytosed to spread extracellularly. To regulate the contribution of endocytosed Dpp to the spreading extracellular pool during tissue growth, it is the Dpp binding rates that are progressively modulated by the extracellular factor Pentagone, driving scaling. Thus, for some morphogens, evolution may act on endocytic trafficking to regulate the range of the gradient and its scaling, which could allow adaptation of shape and pattern to different sizes of organs in different species.

Further Information
ESI Boltzmann Lecture Hall
Associated Event:
Mathematical Methods for the Study of Self-organization in the Biological Sciences (Thematic Programme)
Pierre Degond (IMT)
Marie Doumic (Sorbonne U, Paris)
Anna Kicheva (ISTA, Klosterneuburg)
Sara Merino-Aceituno (U of Vienna)
Christian Schmeiser (U of Vienna)