Signaling Dynamics Control Cell Fate in the Early Drosophila Embryo.

TitleSignaling Dynamics Control Cell Fate in the Early Drosophila Embryo.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsJohnson, HE, Toettcher, JE
JournalDev Cell
Date Published2019 Feb 11
KeywordsAnimals, Cell Differentiation, Drosophila, Ectoderm, Embryo, Mammalian, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Endoderm, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Morphogenesis

<p>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.</p>

Alternate JournalDev Cell
PubMed ID30753836
PubMed Central IDPMC6394837
Grant ListDP2 EB024247 / EB / NIBIB NIH HHS / United States
F32 GM119297 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States