Leg Patterning Driven by Proximal-Distal Interactions and EGFR Signaling

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Science  12 Jul 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5579, pp. 256-259
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072311

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wingless and decapentaplegicsignaling establishes the proximal-distal axis of Drosophilalegs by activating the expression of genes such asDistalless and dachshund in broad proximal-distal domains during early leg development. However, here we show thatwingless and decapentaplegic are not required throughout all of proximal-distal development. The tarsus, which has been proposed to be an ancestral structure, is instead defined by the activity of Distalless, dachshund, and a distal gradient of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)–Ras signaling. Our results uncover a mechanism for appendage patterning directed by genes expressed in proximal-distal domains and possibly conserved in other arthropods and vertebrates.

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