The relationship between ovarian and embryonic dorsoventral patterning in Drosophila

Siegfried Roth, Trudi Schüpbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


In Drosophila, the dorsoventral asymmetry of the egg chamber depends on a dorsalizing signal that emanates from the oocyte. This signal is supplied by the TGFα-like gurken protein whose RNA is localized to the dorsal-anterior corner of the oocyte. gurken protein is the potential ligand of the Drosophila EGF receptor homolog (torpedo), which is expressed in the follicular epithelium surrounding the oocyte. Here, we describe how changes in the dorsalizing germ-line signal affect the embryonic dorsoventral pattern. A reduction in strength of the germ-line signal as produced by mutations in gurken or torpedo does not change the slope of the embryonic dorsoventral morphogen gradient, but causes a splitting of the gradient ventrally. This leads to embryos with two partial dorsoventral axes. A change in distribution of the germ-line signal as caused by fs(1)K10, squid and orb mutations leads to a shift in the orientation of the embryonic dorsoventral axis relative to the anterior-posterior axis. In extreme cases, this results in embryos with a dorsoventral axis almost parallel to the anterior-posterior axis. These results imply that gurken, unlike other localized cytoplasmic determinants, is not directly responsible for the establishment of cell fates along a body axis, but that it restricts and orients an active axis-forming process which occurs later in the follicular epithelium or in the early embryo.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2245-2257
Number of pages13
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Drosophila pattern formation
  • Oogenesis
  • Orthogonal axis orientation
  • Pattern duplication
  • Self-regulation

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