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Dally-like protein sequesters multiple Wnt ligands in the Drosophila germarium


Waghmare I , Wang X , Page-McCaw A , . Developmental biology. 2020 5 28; 464(1). 88-102


Cells in multicellular organisms rely on secreted ligands for development and morphogenesis. Several mechanisms modulate the availability and distribution of secreted ligands, determining their ability to signal locally and at long range from their source. One of these mechanisms is Dally-like protein (Dlp), a cell-surface glypican that exhibits biphasic functions in Drosophila wing discs, promoting Wg signaling at long-range from Wg source cells and inhibiting Wg signaling near source cells. In the germarium at the tip of the ovary, Dlp promotes long-range distribution of Wg from cap cells to follicle stem cells. However, the germarium also expresses other Wnts – Wnt2, Wnt4, and Wnt6 – that function locally in escort cells to promote oogenesis. Whether and how local functions of these Wnts are regulated remains unknown. Here we show that the dlp overexpression phenotype is multifaceted and phenocopies multiple Wnt loss-of-function phenotypes. Each aspect of dlp overexpression phenotype is suppressed by co-expression of individual Wnts, and the suppression pattern exhibited by each Wnt suggests that Wnts have functional specificity in the germarium. Further, dlp knockdown phenocopies Wnt gain-of-function phenotypes. Together these data show that Dlp inhibits the functions of each Wnt. All four Wnts co-immunoprecipitate with Dlp in S2R+ ​cells, suggesting that in the germarium, Dlp sequesters Wnts to inhibit local paracrine Wnt signaling. Our results indicate that Dlp modulates the availability of multiple extracellular Wnts for local paracrine Wnt signaling in the germarium.