Frizzled and Dfrizzled-2 function as redundant receptors for Wingless during Drosophila embryonic development.

TitleFrizzled and Dfrizzled-2 function as redundant receptors for Wingless during Drosophila embryonic development.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsBhanot P, Fish M, Jemison JA, Nusse R, Nathans J, Cadigan KM
Date PublishedSep
ISSN0950-1991 (Print); 0950-1991 (Linking)
AbstractIn cell culture assays, Frizzled and Dfrizzled2, two members of the Frizzled family of integral membrane proteins, are able to bind Wingless and transduce the Wingless signal. To address the role of these proteins in the intact organism and to explore the question of specificity of ligand-receptor interactions in vivo, we have conducted a genetic analysis of frizzled and Dfrizzled2 in the embryo. These experiments utilize a small gamma-ray-induced deficiency that uncovers Dfrizzled2. Mutants lacking maternal frizzled and zygotic frizzled and Dfrizzled2 exhibit defects in the embryonic epidermis, CNS, heart and midgut that are indistinguishable from those observed in wingless mutants. Epidermal patterning defects in the frizzled, Dfrizzled2 double-mutant embryos can be rescued by ectopic expression of either gene. In frizzled, Dfrizzled2 mutant embryos, ectopic production of Wingless does not detectably alter the epidermal patterning defect, but ectopic production of an activated form of Armadillo produces a naked cuticle phenotype indistinguishable from that produced by ectopic production of activated Armadillo in wild-type embryos. These experiments indicate that frizzled and Dfrizzled2 function downstream of wingless and upstream of armadillo, consistent with their proposed roles as Wingless receptors. The lack of an effect on epidermal patterning of ectopic Wingless in a frizzled, Dfrizzled2 double mutant argues against the existence of additional Wingless receptors in the embryo or a model in which Frizzled and Dfrizzled2 act simply to present the ligand to its bona fide receptor. These data lead to the conclusion that Frizzled and Dfrizzled2 function as redundant Wingless receptors in multiple embryonic tissues and that this role is accurately reflected in tissue culture experiments. The redundancy of Frizzled and Dfrizzled2 explains why Wingless receptors were not identified in earlier genetic screens for mutants defective in embryonic patterning.