Identification of two Drosophila TGF-β family members in the grasshopper Schistocerca americana

Stuart J. Newfeld, William M. Gelbart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Intercellular signaling molecules of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily are required for pattern formation in many multicellular organisms. The decapentaplegic (dpp) gene of Drosophila melanogaster has several developmental roles. To improve our understanding of the evolutionary diversification of this large family we identified dpp in the grasshopper Schistocerca americana. S. americana diverged from D. melanogaster approximately 350 million years ago, utilizes a distinct developmental program, and has a 60-fold-larger genome than D. melanogaster. Our analyses indicate a single dpp locus in D. melanogaster and S. americana, suggesting that dpp copy number does not correlate with increasing genome size. Another TGF-β superfamily member, the D. melanogaster gene 60A, is also present in only one copy in each species. Comparison of homologous sequences from D. melanogaster, S. americana, and H. sapiens, representing roughly 900 million years of evolutionary distance, reveals significant constraint on sequence divergence for both dpp and 60A. In the signaling portion of the dpp protein, the amino acid identity between these species exceeds 74%. Our results for the TGF-β superfamily are consistent with current hypotheses describing gene duplication and diversification as a frequent response to high levels of selective pressure on individual family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Gene comparison
  • Schistocerca americana
  • TGF-β superfamily
  • decapentaplegic gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of two Drosophila TGF-β family members in the grasshopper Schistocerca americana'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this