Adaptive protein divergence of BMP ligands takes place under developmental and evolutionary constraints

Petra Tauscher, Jinghua Gui, Osamu Shimmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling network, comprising evolutionary conserved BMP2/4/Decapentaplegic (Dpp) and Chordin/Short gastrulation (Sog), is widely utilized for dorsal-ventral (DV) patterning during animal development. A similar network is required for posterior crossvein (PCV) formation in the Drosophila pupal wing. Although both transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of co-factors in the network gives rise to tissue-specific and species-specific properties, their mechanisms are incompletely understood. In Drosophila, BMP5/6/7/8-type ligands, Screw (Scw) and Glass bottom boat (Gbb), form heterodimers with Dpp for DV patterning and PCV development, respectively. Sequence analysis indicates that the Scw ligand contains two N-glycosylation motifs: one being highly conserved between BMP2/4- and BMP5/6/7/8-type ligands, and the other being Scw ligand specific. Our data reveal that N-glycosylation of the Scw ligand boosts BMP signaling both in cell culture and in the embryo. In contrast, N-glycosylation modifications of Gbb or Scw ligands reduce the consistency of PCV development. These results suggest that tolerance for structural changes of BMP5/6/7/8-type ligands is dependent on developmental constraints. Furthermore, gain and loss of N-glycosylation motifs in conserved signaling molecules under evolutionary constraints appear to constitute flexible modules to adapt to developmental processes.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number20
Pages (from-to)3742-3750
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
  • Glycosylation

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