The differentiation of the veins in the Drosophila wing involves the coordinate activities of several signal transduction pathways, including those mediated by the transmembrane receptors Torpedo and Notch. In this report, the role of the signalling molecule Decapentaplegic during vein differentiation has been analysed. It is shown that decapentaplegic is expressed in the pupal veins under the control of genes that establish vein territories in the imaginal disc. Decapentaplegic, acting through its receptor Thick veins, activates vein differentiation and restricts expression of both veinlet and the Notch-ligand Delta to the developing veins. Genetic combinations between mutations that increase or reduce Notch, veinlet and decapentaplegic activities suggest that the maintenance of the vein differentiation state during pupal development involves cross-regulatory interactions between these pathways.

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