Drosophila Smad2 opposes Mad signaling during wing vein development.
ABSTRACT: In the vertebrates, the BMP/Smad1 and TGF-beta/Smad2 signaling pathways execute antagonistic functions in different contexts of development. The differentiation of specific structures results from the balance between these two pathways. For example, the gastrula organizer/node of the vertebrates requires a region of low Smad1 and high Smad2 signaling. In Drosophila, Mad regulates tissue determination and growth in the wing, but the function of dSmad2 in wing patterning is largely unknown. In this study, we used an RNAi loss-of-function approach to investigate dSmad2 signaling during wing development. RNAi-mediated knockdown of dSmad2 caused formation of extra vein tissue, with phenotypes similar to those seen in Dpp/Mad gain-of-function. Clonal analyses revealed that the normal function of dSmad2 is to inhibit the response of wing intervein cells to the extracellular Dpp morphogen gradient that specifies vein formation, as measured by expression of the activated phospho-Mad protein. The effect of dSmad2 depletion in promoting vein differentiation was dependent on Medea, the co-factor shared by Mad and dSmad2. Furthermore, double RNAi experiments showed that Mad is epistatic to dSmad2. In other words, depletion of Smad2 had no effect in Mad-deficient wings. Our results demonstrate a novel role for dSmad2 in opposing Mad-mediated vein formation in the wing. We propose that the main function of dActivin/dSmad2 in Drosophila wing development is to antagonize Dpp/Mad signaling. Possible molecular mechanisms for the opposition between dSmad2 and Mad signaling are discussed.
Project description:Animals use TGF-? superfamily signal transduction pathways during development and tissue maintenance. The superfamily has traditionally been divided into TGF-?/Activin and BMP branches based on relationships between ligands, receptors, and R-Smads. Several previous reports have shown that, in cell culture systems, "BMP-specific" Smads can be phosphorylated in response to TGF-?/Activin pathway activation. Using Drosophila cell culture as well as in vivo assays, we find that Baboon, the Drosophila TGF-?/Activin-specific Type I receptor, can phosphorylate Mad, the BMP-specific R-Smad, in addition to its normal substrate, dSmad2. The Baboon-Mad activation appears direct because it occurs in the absence of canonical BMP Type I receptors. Wing phenotypes generated by Baboon gain-of-function require Mad, and are partially suppressed by over-expression of dSmad2. In the larval wing disc, activated Baboon cell-autonomously causes C-terminal Mad phosphorylation, but only when endogenous dSmad2 protein is depleted. The Baboon-Mad relationship is thus controlled by dSmad2 levels. Elevated P-Mad is seen in several tissues of dSmad2 protein-null mutant larvae, and these levels are normalized in dSmad2; baboon double mutants, indicating that the cross-talk reaction and Smad competition occur with endogenous levels of signaling components in vivo. In addition, we find that high levels of Activin signaling cause substantial turnover in dSmad2 protein, providing a potential cross-pathway signal-switching mechanism. We propose that the dual activity of TGF-?/Activin receptors is an ancient feature, and we discuss several ways this activity can modulate TGF-? signaling output.
Project description:The level of TGF-?/bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling through Smad is tightly regulated to ensure proper embryonic patterning and homeostasis. Here we show that Smad activation by TGF-?/BMP is blocked by a highly conserved phosphorylation event in the ?-helix 1 region of Smad [T312 in Drosophila Smad1 (MAD)]. ?-helix 1 phosphorylation reduces Smad interaction with TGF-?/BMP receptor kinase and affects all receptor-activated Smads except Smad3. Tissue culture and transgenic studies in Drosophila further demonstrate that the biological activity of MAD is repressed by T312 phosphorylation in vivo. Through RNAi screening of the kinome, we have identified Misshapen (Msn) and the mammalian orthologs TNIK, MINK1, and MAP4K4 as the kinases responsible for ?-helix 1 phosphorylation. Targeted expression of an active form of Msn in the wing imaginal disk disrupted activation of endogenous MAD by Dpp and expression of the Dpp/MAD target gene. Msn kinases belong to the Ste20 kinase family that has been shown to act as MAP kinase kinase kinase kinase (MAP4K). Our findings thus reveal a function of Msn independent of its impact on MAP kinase cascades. This Smad inhibition mechanism by Msn likely has important implications for development and disease.
Project description:A screen for modifiers of Dpp adult phenotypes led to the identification of the Drosophila homolog of the Sno oncogene (dSno). The dSno locus is large, transcriptionally complex and contains a recent retrotransposon insertion that may be essential for dSno function, an intriguing possibility from the perspective of developmental evolution. dSno is highly transcribed in the embryonic central nervous system and transcripts are most abundant in third instar larvae. dSno mutant larvae have proliferation defects in the optic lobe of the brain very similar to those seen in baboon (Activin type I receptor) and dSmad2 mutants. This suggests that dSno is a mediator of Baboon signaling. dSno binds to Medea and Medea/dSno complexes have enhanced affinity for dSmad2. Alternatively, Medea/dSno complexes have reduced affinity for Mad such that, in the presence of dSno, Dpp signaling is antagonized. We propose that dSno functions as a switch in optic lobe development, shunting Medea from the Dpp pathway to the Activin pathway to ensure proper proliferation. Pathway switching in target cells is a previously unreported mechanism for regulating TGFbeta signaling and a novel function for Sno/Ski family proteins.
Project description:Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is an evolutionarily conserved peptidyl dipeptidase. Mammalian ACE converts angiotensin I to the active vasoconstrictor angiotensin II, thus playing a critical role for homeostasis of the renin-angiotensin system. In Drosophila, the ACE homolog Ance is expressed in specific regions of developing organs, but its regulatory mechanism has not been identified. Here we provide evidence that Ance expression is regulated by a combination of Mad and Pannier (Pnr) in imaginal discs. We demonstrate that Ance expression in eye and wing discs depends on Dpp signaling. The Mad binding site of Ance regulatory region is essential for Ance expression. Ance expression in imaginal discs is also regulated by the GATA family transcription factor Pnr. Pnr directly regulates Ance expression by binding to a GATA site of Ance enhancer. In addition, Pnr and Mad physically and genetically interact. Ance null mutants are morphologically normal but show genetic interaction with dpp mutants. Furthermore, we show that human SMAD2 and GATA4 physically interact and ACE expression in HEK293 cells is regulated by SMAD2 and GATA4. Taken together, this study reveals a cooperative mechanism of Ance regulation by Mad and Pnr. Our data also suggest a conserved transcriptional regulation of human ACE.
Project description:Dysregulation of CDK8 (Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 8) and its regulatory partner CycC (Cyclin C), two subunits of the conserved Mediator (MED) complex, have been linked to diverse human diseases such as cancer. Thus, it is essential to understand the regulatory network modulating the CDK8-CycC complex in both normal development and tumorigenesis. To identify upstream regulators or downstream effectors of CDK8, we performed a dominant modifier genetic screen in Drosophila based on the defects in vein patterning caused by specific depletion or overexpression of CDK8 or CycC in developing wing imaginal discs. We identified 26 genomic loci whose haploinsufficiency can modify these CDK8- or CycC-specific phenotypes. Further analysis of two overlapping deficiency lines and mutant alleles led us to identify genetic interactions between the CDK8-CycC pair and the components of the Decapentaplegic (Dpp, the Drosophila homolog of TGF?, or Transforming Growth Factor-?) signaling pathway. We observed that CDK8-CycC positively regulates transcription activated by Mad (Mothers against dpp), the primary transcription factor downstream of the Dpp/TGF? signaling pathway. CDK8 can directly interact with Mad in vitro through the linker region between the DNA-binding MH1 (Mad homology 1) domain and the carboxy terminal MH2 (Mad homology 2) transactivation domain. Besides CDK8 and CycC, further analyses of other subunits of the MED complex have revealed six additional subunits that are required for Mad-dependent transcription in the wing discs: Med12, Med13, Med15, Med23, Med24, and Med31. Furthermore, our analyses confirmed the positive roles of CDK9 and Yorkie in regulating Mad-dependent gene expression in vivo. These results suggest that CDK8 and CycC, together with a few other subunits of the MED complex, may coordinate with other transcription cofactors in regulating Mad-dependent transcription during wing development in Drosophila.
Project description:Imaginal disc development in Drosophila requires coordinated cellular proliferation and tissue patterning. In our studies of TGFβ superfamily signaling components, we found that a protein null mutation of Smad2, the only Activin subfamily R-Smad in the fruit fly, produces overgrown wing discs that resemble gain of function for BMP subfamily signaling. The wing discs are expanded specifically along the anterior-posterior axis, with increased proliferation in lateral regions. The morphological defect is not observed in mutants for the TGFβ receptor baboon, and epistasis tests showed that baboon is epistatic to Smad2 for disc overgrowth. Rescue experiments indicate that Baboon binding, but not canonical transcription factor activity, of Smad2 is required for normal disc growth. Smad2 mutant discs generate a P-Mad stripe that is narrower and sharper than the normal gradient, and activation targets are correspondingly expressed in narrowed domains. Repression targets of P-Mad are profoundly mis-regulated, with brinker and pentagone reporter expression eliminated in Smad2 mutants. Loss of expression requires a silencer element previously shown to be controlled by BMP signaling. Epistasis experiments show that Baboon, Mad and Schnurri are required to mediate the ectopic silencer output in the absence of Smad2. Taken together, our results show that loss of Smad2 permits promiscuous Baboon activity, which represses genes subject to control by Mad-dependent silencer elements. The absence of Brinker and Pentagone in Smad2 mutants explains the compound wing disc phenotype. Our results highlight the physiological relevance of substrate inhibition of a kinase, and reveal a novel interplay between the Activin and BMP pathways.
Project description:Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), a subgroup of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-? family, transduce their signal through multiple components downstream of their receptors. Even though the components involved in the BMP signaling pathway have been intensely studied, many molecules mediating BMP signaling remain to be addressed. To identify novel components that participate in BMP signaling, RNA interference (RNAi)-based screening was established by detecting phosphorylated Mad (pMad) in Drosophila S2 cells. Ter94, a member of the family of AAA ATPases, was identified as a novel mediator of BMP signaling, which is required for the phosphorylation of Mad in Drosophila S2 cells. Moreover, the mammalian orthlog of Ter94 valosin-containing protein (VCP) plays a critical role in the BMP-Smad1/5/8 signaling pathway in mammalian cells. Genetic evidence suggests that Ter94 is involved in the dorsal-ventral patterning of the Drosophila early embryo through regulating decapentaplegic (Dpp)/BMP signals. Taken together, our data suggest that Ter94/VCP appears to be an evolutionarily conserved component that regulates BMP-Smad1/5/8 signaling.
Project description:The wing of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, with its simple, two-dimensional structure, is a model organ well suited for a systems biology approach. The wing arises from an epithelial sac referred to as the wing imaginal disc, which undergoes a phase of massive growth and concomitant patterning during larval stages. The Decapentaplegic (Dpp) morphogen plays a central role in wing formation with its ability to co-coordinately regulate patterning and growth. Here, we asked whether the Dpp signaling activity scales, i.e. expands proportionally, with the growing wing imaginal disc. Using new methods for spatial and temporal quantification of Dpp activity and its scaling properties, we found that the Dpp response scales with the size of the growing tissue. Notably, scaling is not perfect at all positions in the field and the scaling of target gene domains is ensured specifically where they define vein positions. We also found that the target gene domains are not defined at constant concentration thresholds of the downstream Dpp activity gradients P-Mad and Brinker. Most interestingly, Pentagone, an important secreted feedback regulator of the pathway, plays a central role in scaling and acts as an expander of the Dpp gradient during disc growth.
Project description:In Drosophila, decapentaplegic (Dpp), a member of the TGF-beta superfamily, plays a pivotal role in control of proliferation, global patterning and induction of specific cell fates. Together with Medea, mother against Dpp (Mad), the founding member of the Smad family, specifically transduces the Dpp signal from the plasma membrane to the nucleus. Here, the crystal structure of the MH2 domain of Mad, which closely matches those of other Smad MH2 domains, is reported at 3.2 A resolution. The conservation of Smad protein structures is consistent with their evolutionary conserved and significant function. Furthermore, sequence alignment revealed that most of the variant amino acids in Smad proteins specific to the BMP pathway (Smad1, Smad5 and Mad) were clustered at the surface. In particular, Ser296 and Asp297 of Mad introduced a negative patch into the positive surface observed in the surface electrostatic potential of Smad1 MH2.
Project description:Egfr/Ras signaling promotes vein cell fate specification in the developing Drosophila wing. While the importance of Ras signaling in vein determination has been extensively documented, the mechanisms linking Ras activity to vein differentiation remain unclear. We found that Ras signaling regulates both the levels and subcellular localization of the cell adhesion molecule DE-cadherin/Shotgun (Shg) in the differentiating wing epithelium. High Ras activity in presumptive vein cells directs the apical localization of Shg containing adherens junctions, whereas low Ras activity in intervein cells allows Shg to relocalize basally. These alterations in Shg-mediated adhesion control cell shape changes that are essential for vein morphogenesis. While Decapentaplegic (Dpp) acts downstream of Ras to maintain vein cell identity in the pupal wing, our results indicate that Ras controls Shg localization via a Dpp-independent mechanism. Ras, therefore, regulates both the transcriptional responses necessary for vein cell identity, and the cell adhesive changes that determine vein and intervein cell morphology.