A widely appreciated aspect of developmental robustness is pattern formation in proportion to size. But how such scaling features emerge dynamically remains poorly understood. Here we generate a data set of the expression profiles of six gap genes in Drosophila melanogasterembryos that differ significantly in size. Expression patterns exhibit size-dependent dynamics both spatially and temporally. We uncover a dynamic emergence of under-scaling in the posterior, accompanied by reduced expression levels of gap genes near the middle of large embryos. Simulation results show that a size-dependent Bicoid gradient input can lead to reduced Krüppel expression that can have long-range and dynamic effects on gap gene expression in the posterior. Thus, for emergence of scaled patterns, the entire embryo may be viewed as a single unified dynamic system where maternally derived size-dependent information interpreted locally can be propagated in space and time as governed by the dynamics of a gene regulatory network.
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Wu, Honggang; Jiao, Renjie; Manu; and Ma, Jun, "Temporal and spatial dynamics of scaling-specific features of a gene regulatory network in Drosophila" (2015). Biology Faculty Publications. 2.