• wing;
  • epithelium;
  • imaginal disc;
  • decapentaplegic;
  • thickveins;
  • metamorphosis

Background: The Decapentaplegic (Dpp) signaling pathway is used in many developmental and homeostatic contexts, each time resulting in cellular responses particular to that biological niche. The flexibility of Dpp signaling is clearly evident in epithelial cells of the Drosophila wing imaginal disc. During larval stages of development, Dpp functions as a morphogen, patterning the wing developmental field and stimulating tissue growth. A short time later, however, as wing-epithelial cells exit the cell cycle and begin to differentiate, Dpp is a critical determinant of vein-cell fate. It is likely that the Dpp signaling pathway regulates different sets of target genes at these two developmental time points. Results: To identify mechanisms that temporally control the transcriptional output of Dpp signaling in this system, we have taken a gene expression profiling approach. We identified genes affected by Dpp signaling at late larval or early pupal developmental time points, thereby identifying patterning- and differentiation-specific downstream targets, respectively. Conclusions: Analysis of target genes and transcription factor binding sites associated with these groups of genes revealed potential mechanisms by which target-gene specificity of the Dpp signaling pathway is temporally regulated. In addition, this approach revealed novel mechanisms by which Dpp affects the cellular differentiation of wing-veins. Developmental Dynamics 243:818–832, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.