Activation of a protease cascade involved in patterning the Drosophila embryo

E. K. LeMosy, Y. Q. Tan, C. Hashimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Dorsoventral patterning of the Drosophila embryo is initiated by a ventralizing signal. Production of this signal requires the serine proteases Gastrulation Defective (GD), Snake, and Easter, which genetic studies suggest act sequentially in a cascade that is activated locally in response to a ventral cue provided by the pipe gene. Here, we demonstrate biochemically that GD activates Snake, which in turn activates Easter. We also provide evidence that GD zymogen cleavage is important for triggering this cascade but is not spatially localized by pipe. Our results suggest that a broadly, rather than locally, activated protease cascade produces the ventralizing signal, so a distinct downstream step in this cascade must be spatially regulated to restrict signaling to the ventral side of the embryo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5055-5060
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Apr 24 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Dorsoventral axis
  • Serine protease
  • Transfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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