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Scale models
Date:8/22/2011

ical model back into the lab, carrying out experiments on fruit fly larvae, in which wing patterning already begins in small structures called wing discs.

The scientists collected fruit fly larvae of varying sizes and, using a quantitative method they developed, checked the distribution of concentrations of a morphogen called Dpp. Then, they eliminated another molecule called Pentagone which they suspected of playing the role of expander from the developing wing disc and checked again. Their findings showed that the wings in the unaltered fruit flies revealed the morphogen scaling activity predicted by the model, its signals being proportionate to wing size. In contrast, in the flies without Pentagone the Dpp morphogen was distributed in the same way in all the wings, regardless of their relative sizes. Thus, they were able to show that Pentagone is, indeed, an expansion molecule and that the expansion-repression paradigm they had formulated can be applied to such differing organisms as frogs and fruit flies.

Shilo: 'The beauty of this research lies in the way it seamlessly weaves a theoretical model into experimental biology. With this fresh, new approach to investigating scaling, rather than searching for complex molecular mechanisms, we can begin by looking for this relatively simple and universal paradigm.'


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Contact: Batya Greenman
news@weizmann.ac.il
972-893-43856
Weizmann Institute of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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