Global shape of Toll activation is determined by wntD enhancer properties

Neta Rahimi, Shari Carmon, Inna Averbukh, Farzaneh Khajouei, Saurabh Sinha, Eyal D. Schejter, Naama Barkai, Ben Zion Shilo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Buffering variability in morphogen distribution is essential for reproducible patterning. A theoretically proposed class of mechanisms, termed "distal pinning," achieves robustness by combining local sensing of morphogen levels with global modulation of gradient spread. Here, we demonstrate a critical role for morphogen sensing by a gene enhancer, which ultimately determines the final global distribution of the morphogen and enables reproducible patterning. Specifically, we show that, while the pattern of Toll activation in the early Drosophila embryo is robust to gene dosage of its locally produced regulator, WntD, it is sensitive to a singlenucleotide change in the wntD enhancer. Thus, enhancer properties of locally produced WntD directly impinge on the global morphogen profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1552-1558
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 21 2020


  • Drosophila
  • Embryogenesis
  • Integral feedback
  • Morphogen gradients
  • Toll signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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