A stable pool of morphogen-producing cells is critical for the development of any organ or tissue. Here we present evidence that JAK/STAT signalling in the Drosophila wing promotes the cycling and survival of Hedgehog-producing cells, thereby allowing the stable localization of the nearby BMP/Dpp-organizing centre in the developing wing appendage. We identify the inhibitor of apoptosis dIAP1 and Cyclin A as two critical genes regulated by JAK/STAT and contributing to the growth of the Hedgehog-expressing cell population. We also unravel an early role of JAK/STAT in guaranteeing Wingless-mediated appendage specification, and a later one in restricting the Dpp-organizing activity to the appendage itself. These results unveil a fundamental role of the conserved JAK/STAT pathway in limb specification and growth by regulating morphogen production and signalling, and a function of pro-survival cues and mitogenic signals in the regulation of the pool of morphogen-producing cells in a developing organ.
Recasens-Alvarez, C., Ferreira, A., & Milán, M. (2017). JAK/STAT controls organ size and fate specification by regulating morphogen production and signalling. Nature Communications, 8. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms13815