Patterning of Drosophila leg sensory organs through combinatorial signaling by hedgehog, decapentaplegic and wingless
During development, global patterning events initiate signal transduction cascades which gradually establish an array of individual cell fates. Many of the genes which pattern Drosophila are expressed throughout development and specify diverse cell types by creating unique local environments which establish the expression of locally acting genes. This process is exemplified by the patterning of leg microchaete rows. hairy (h) is expressed in a spatially restricted manner in the leg imaginal
... he leg imaginal disc and functions to position adult leg bristle rows by negatively regulating the proneural gene achaete, which specifies sensory cell fates. While much is known about the events that partition the leg imaginal disc and about sensory cell differentiation, the mechanisms that refine early patterning events to the level of individual cell fate specification are not well understood. We have investigated the regulation of h expression along the dorsal/ventral (D/V) axis of the leg adjacent to the anterior/posterior (A/P) compartment boundary and have found that it requires input from both D/V and A/P patterning mechanisms. Expression of the D/V axis h stripe (D/V-h) is controlled by dorsal- and ventral-specific enhancer elements which are targets of Decapentaplegic (Dpp) and Wingless (Wg) signaling, respectively, but which are also dependent on Hedgehog (Hh) signaling for activation. D/V-h expression is lost in smoothened mutant clones and is specifically activated by exogenously supplied Cubitus interruptus (Ci). D/V-h expression is also lost in clones deficient for Dpp and Wg signaling, but ectopic activation of D/V-h by Dpp and Wg is limited to the A/P compartment boundary where endogenous levels of full-length Ci are high. We propose that D/V-h expression is regulated in a non-linear pathway in which Ci plays a dual role. In addition to serving as an upstream activator of Dpp and Wg, Ci acts combinatorially with them to activate D/V-h expression.