Coordinate post-transcriptional repression of Dpp-dependent transcription factors attenuates signal range during development

Fay G. Newton, Robin E. Harris, Catherine Sutcliffe, Hilary L. Ashe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Precise control of the range of signalling molecule action is crucial for correct cell fate patterning during development. For example, Drosophila ovarian germline stem cells (GSCs) are maintained by exquisitely short-rangeBMP signalling fromthe niche. In the absence of BMP signalling, one GSC daughter differentiates into a cystoblast (CB) and this fate is stabilised by Brain tumour (Brat) and Pumilio (Pum)- mediated post-transcriptional repression of mRNAs, including that encoding the Dpp transducer, Mad. However, the identity of other repressed mRNAs and the mechanism of post-transcriptional repression are currently unknown. Here, we identify the Medea and schnurri mRNAs, which encode transcriptional regulators required for activation and/or repression of Dpp target genes, as additional Pum- Brat targets, suggesting that tripartite repression of the transducers is deployed to desensitise the CB to Dpp. In addition, we show that repression by Pum-Brat requires recruitment of the CCR4 and Pop2 deadenylases, with knockdown of deadenylases in vivo giving rise to ectopic GSCs. Consistent with this, Pum-Brat repression leads to poly(A) tail shortening and mRNA degradation in tissue culture cells, and we detect a reduced number of Mad and shn transcripts in the CB relative to the GSC based on single molecule mRNA quantitation. Finally, we show generality of the mechanism by demonstrating that Brat alsoattenuates pMad andDpp signalling range in the earlyembryo. Together our data serve as a platform for understanding how posttranscriptional repression restricts interpretation of BMPs and other cell signals in order to allow robust cell fate patterning during development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3362-3373
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • BMP
  • Brat
  • Differentiation
  • Mad
  • Medea
  • Post-transcriptional repression
  • Pum
  • Schnurri

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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