Research report 2004 - Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

Lipoprotein particles act as vehicles for the Morphogenes Wingless and Hedgehog

Panáková, Daniela; Sprong, Hein; Marois, Eric; Thiele, Christoph; Eaton, Suzanne

Thiele: Lipid-Protein-Interaktionen (Dr. Christoph Thiele)
MPI für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik, Dresden

Eaton: Zellpolarität bei der Fruchtfliege Drosophila (Dr. Suzanne Eaton)
MPI für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik, Dresden

When substances are produced in one cell, yet required in another, they have to travel long distances in a tissue. So far, common science has not been able to adequately explain this process. Now, MPI-CBG researchers of the groups of Suzanne Eaton and Christoph Thiele have discovered so-called argosomes: Like trucks, they are able to pick up proteins and transport them from one cell to the other within a tissue. Wnt and Hedgehog family proteins are secreted signalling molecules (morphogens) that act at both long and short range to control growth and patterning during development. Both proteins are covalently modified by lipid, and the mechanism by which such hydrophobic molecules might spread over long distances is unknown. The Dresden labs could show that Wingless, Hedgehog and gpi-linked proteins copurify with lipoprotein particles, and co-localize with them in the developing wing epithelium of Drosophila. In larvae with reduced lipoprotein levels, Hedgehog accumulates near its site of production, and fails to signal over its normal range. Similarly, the range of Wingless signalling is narrowed. Thus, a novel function for lipoprotein particles has been characterised: they act as vehicles for the movement of lipid-linked morphogens and gpi-linked proteins.

For the full text, see the German version.

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