The Drosophila Perlecan gene trol regulates multiple signaling pathways in different developmental contexts. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Heparan sulfate proteoglycans modulate signaling by a variety of growth factors. The mammalian proteoglycan Perlecan binds and regulates signaling by Sonic Hedgehog, Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs), Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and Platelet Derived Growth Factor (PDGF), among others, in contexts ranging from angiogenesis and cardiovascular development to cancer progression. The Drosophila Perlecan homolog trol has been shown to regulate the activity of Hedgehog and Branchless (an FGF homolog) to control the onset of stem cell proliferation in the developing brain during first instar. Here we extend analysis of trol mutant phenotypes to show that trol is required for a variety of developmental events and modulates signaling by multiple growth factors in different situations. RESULTS: Different mutations in trol allow developmental progression to varying extents, suggesting that trol is involved in multiple cell-fate and patterning decisions. Analysis of the initiation of neuroblast proliferation at second instar demonstrated that trol regulates this event by modulating signaling by Hedgehog and Branchless, as it does during first instar. Trol protein is distributed over the surface of the larval brain, near the regulated neuroblasts that reside on the cortical surface. Mutations in trol also decrease the number of circulating plasmatocytes. This is likely to be due to decreased expression of pointed, the response gene for VEGF/PDGF signaling that is required for plasmatocyte proliferation. Trol is found on plasmatocytes, where it could regulate VEGF/PDGF signaling. Finally, we show that in second instar brains but not third instar brain lobes and eye discs, mutations in trol affect signaling by Decapentaplegic (a Transforming Growth Factor family member), Wingless (a Wnt growth factor) and Hedgehog. CONCLUSION: These studies extend the known functions of the Drosophila Perlecan homolog trol in both developmental and signaling contexts. These studies also highlight the fact that Trol function is not dedicated to a single molecular mechanism, but is capable of regulating different growth factor pathways depending on the cell-type and event underway.

published proceedings

  • BMC Dev Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Lindner, J. R., Hillman, P. R., Barrett, A. L., Jackson, M. C., Perry, T. L., Park, Y., & Datta, S

citation count

  • 42

complete list of authors

  • Lindner, Jonathan R||Hillman, Paul R||Barrett, Andrea L||Jackson, Megan C||Perry, Trinity L||Park, Youngji||Datta, Sumana

publication date

  • November 2007