Dorsoventral polarity of the nasonia embryo primarily relies on a BMP gradient formed without input from toll
journal contributionposted on 26.04.2016, 00:00 by Orhan Özüak, Thomas Buchta, Siegfried Roth, Jeremy A. Lynch
In Drosophila, Toll signaling leads to a gradient of nuclear uptake of Dorsal with a peak at the ventral egg pole, and is the source for dorsal-ventral (DV) patterning and polarity of the embryo [1-3]. In contrast, Toll signaling plays no role in embryonic patterning in most animals [4, 5], while BMP signaling plays the major role . In order to understand the origin of the novelty of the Drosophila system, we have examined DV patterning in Nasonia vitripennis (Nv) , a representative of the Hymenoptera, and thus the most ancient branch points within the Holometabola . We have previously shown that while the expression of several conserved DV patterning genes is almost identical in Nasonia and Drosophila embryos at the onset of gastrulation, the way these patterns evolve in early embryogenesis are very different from what is seen in Drosophila  or the beetle Tribolium . In contrast to Drosophila or Tribolium, we find that wasp Toll has a very limited ventral role, BMP is required for almost all DV polarity of the embryo, and that these two signaling systems act independently of each other to generate DV polarity. This result gives insights into how the Toll pathway could have usurped a BMP based DV patterning system in insects. In addition, our work strongly suggests that a novel system for BMP activity gradient formation must be employed in the wasp, since orthologs of crucial components of the fly system are either missing entirely or lack function in the embryo.