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Gene Review

Actbeta  -  Activin-beta

Drosophila melanogaster

Synonyms: Act, Activin, Activin beta chain, CG11062, Dmel\CG11062, ...
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High impact information on activin-beta

  • We conclude that the Drosophila Activin signaling pathway mediates neuronal remodeling in part by regulating EcR-B1 expression [1].
  • These experiments, as well as the effects of the mRNAs on embryo phenotypes, suggest that the Xsox17 genes mediate an activin-induced endoderm differentiation pathway in animal caps and are involved in normal endoderm differentiation in embryos [2].
  • Xmad1 produces ventral mesoderm, apparently transducing a signal for BMP2 and BMP4, whereas Xmad2 induces dorsal mesoderm like Vg1, activin, and nodal [3].
  • In this report, we demonstrate that the Drosophila punt gene encodes atr-II, a previously described type II receptor that on its own is able to bind activin but not BMP2, a vertebrate ortholog of dpp [4].
  • The TGF-beta/activin/BMP cytokine family signals through serine/threonine kinase receptors, but how the receptors transduce the signal is unknown [5].

Biological context of activin-beta


Anatomical context of activin-beta

  • Our results indicate that Daw functions in a permissive manner to modulate or enable the growth cone response to other restricted guidance cues, and support a novel role for activin signaling in axon guidance [8].
  • We propose that dSno functions as a switch in optic lobe development, shunting Medea from the Dpp pathway to the Activin pathway to ensure proper proliferation [9].
  • These genes were subsequently tested for expression in the organizer region of blastula/gastrula-stage embryos as well as inducibility by activin [10].
  • Our effort resulted in the isolation of a gene, XFKH1, that is primarily expressed in the dorsal blastopore lip of early gastrulae and is inducible by activin [10].
  • Ectopic Dpp or Activin signalling resulted in overproliferation of both stem cell-like and spermatogonial-like cells in the apical region of the testis [11].

Associations of activin-beta with chemical compounds

  • With the exception of the spacing of 10 cysteine residues, the extracellular domain of Atr-II is very dissimilar from those of vertebrate activin receptors, yet it binds activin with high affinity and specificity [12].
  • I review these new perspectives, and analyze in detail two models, one pertaining to the propagation of activin in Xenopus embryos, the other to the interpretation of retinoic acid levels into transcription patterns by nuclear receptors [13].

Enzymatic interactions of activin-beta

  • We show that dSmad2 induces activin responsive genes in Xenopus animal cap assays. dSMAD2 is phosphorylated by ATR-I and PUNT, but not by activated THICK VEINS, and translocates to the nucleus upon activation [14].

Regulatory relationships of activin-beta

  • However, Atr-I binds activin efficiently when coexpressed with the distantly related Drosophila activin receptor Atr-II, with which it forms a heteromeric complex [15].

Other interactions of activin-beta

  • We find that Daw initiates an activin signaling pathway via the receptors Punt and Baboon (Babo) and the signal-transducer Smad2 [8].
  • RESULTS: Here we report the identification of dSmad2, a new Drosophila Smad which is most related to the activin/TGFbeta-pathway Smads, Smad2 and Smad3 [14].
  • Interestingly, expression of the ecdysone receptor B1 isoform (EcR-B1) is reduced in activin pathway mutants, and restoring EcR-B1 expression significantly rescues remodeling defects [1].
  • Our observations also suggest new roles for the dSmads, Med and Dad, in dActivin signaling and potential interactions between these family members [16].
  • Our protocols were used to isolate cDNAs for the Drosophila activin and follistatin genes [17].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of activin-beta


  1. TGF-beta signaling activates steroid hormone receptor expression during neuronal remodeling in the Drosophila brain. Zheng, X., Wang, J., Haerry, T.E., Wu, A.Y., Martin, J., O'Connor, M.B., Lee, C.H., Lee, T. Cell (2003) [Pubmed]
  2. Xsox17alpha and -beta mediate endoderm formation in Xenopus. Hudson, C., Clements, D., Friday, R.V., Stott, D., Woodland, H.R. Cell (1997) [Pubmed]
  3. Xenopus Mad proteins transduce distinct subsets of signals for the TGF beta superfamily. Graff, J.M., Bansal, A., Melton, D.A. Cell (1996) [Pubmed]
  4. Drosophila Dpp signaling is mediated by the punt gene product: a dual ligand-binding type II receptor of the TGF beta receptor family. Letsou, A., Arora, K., Wrana, J.L., Simin, K., Twombly, V., Jamal, J., Staehling-Hampton, K., Hoffmann, F.M., Gelbart, W.M., Massagué, J. Cell (1995) [Pubmed]
  5. A human Mad protein acting as a BMP-regulated transcriptional activator. Liu, F., Hata, A., Baker, J.C., Doody, J., Cárcamo, J., Harland, R.M., Massagué, J. Nature (1996) [Pubmed]
  6. Sequence and expression of myoglianin, a novel Drosophila gene of the TGF-beta superfamily. Lo, P.C., Frasch, M. Mech. Dev. (1999) [Pubmed]
  7. A positive role for patched-smoothened signaling in promoting cell proliferation during normal head development in Drosophila. Shyamala, B.V., Bhat, K.M. Development (2002) [Pubmed]
  8. The divergent TGF-{beta} ligand Dawdle utilizes an activin pathway to influence axon guidance in Drosophila. Parker, L., Ellis, J.E., Nguyen, M.Q., Arora, K. Development (2006) [Pubmed]
  9. dSno Facilitates Baboon Signaling in the Drosophila Brain by Switching the Affinity of Medea Away From Mad and Toward dSmad2. Takaesu, N.T., Hyman-Walsh, C., Ye, Y., Wisotzkey, R.G., Stinchfield, M.J., O'connor, M.B., Wotton, D., Newfeld, S.J. Genetics (2006) [Pubmed]
  10. A novel, activin-inducible, blastopore lip-specific gene of Xenopus laevis contains a fork head DNA-binding domain. Dirksen, M.L., Jamrich, M. Genes Dev. (1992) [Pubmed]
  11. Ectopic activation of Dpp signalling in the male Drosophila germline inhibits germ cell differentiation. Bunt, S.M., Hime, G.R. Genesis (2004) [Pubmed]
  12. Identification of a Drosophila activin receptor. Childs, S.R., Wrana, J.L., Arora, K., Attisano, L., O'Connor, M.B., Massagué, J. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1993) [Pubmed]
  13. Morphogen propagation and action: towards molecular models. Kerszberg, M. Semin. Cell Dev. Biol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  14. Drosophila dSmad2 and Atr-I transmit activin/TGFbeta signals. Das, P., Inoue, H., Baker, J.C., Beppu, H., Kawabata, M., Harland, R.M., Miyazono, K., Padgett, R.W. Genes Cells (1999) [Pubmed]
  15. Two distinct transmembrane serine/threonine kinases from Drosophila melanogaster form an activin receptor complex. Wrana, J.L., Tran, H., Attisano, L., Arora, K., Childs, S.R., Massagué, J., O'Connor, M.B. Mol. Cell. Biol. (1994) [Pubmed]
  16. Transgenic analysis of the Smad family of TGF-beta signal transducers in Drosophila melanogaster suggests new roles and new interactions between family members. Marquez, R.M., Singer, M.A., Takaesu, N.T., Waldrip, W.R., Kraytsberg, Y., Newfeld, S.J. Genetics (2001) [Pubmed]
  17. Isolation of Drosophila activin and follistatin cDNAs using novel MACH amplification protocols. Haerry, T.E., O'Connor, M.B. Gene (2002) [Pubmed]
  18. Identification of a new member of transforming growth factor-beta superfamily in Drosophila: the first invertebrate activin gene. Kutty, G., Kutty, R.K., Samuel, W., Duncan, T., Jaworski, C., Wiggert, B. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (1998) [Pubmed]
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