Conserved requirement for EGF-CFC genes in vertebrate left-right axis formation.
Specification of the left-right (L-R) axis in the vertebrate embryo requires transfer of positional information from the node to the periphery, resulting in asymmetric gene expression in the lateral plate mesoderm. We show that this activation of L-R lateral asymmetry requires the evolutionarily conserved activity of members of the EGF-CFC family of extracellular factors. Targeted disruption of murine Cryptic results in L-R laterality defects including randomization of abdominal situs, hyposplenia, and pulmonary right isomerism, as well as randomized embryo turning and cardiac looping. Similarly, zebrafish one-eyed pinhead (oep) mutants that have been rescued partially by mRNA injection display heterotaxia, including randomization of heart looping and pancreas location. In both Cryptic and oep mutant embryos, L-R asymmetric expression of Nodal/cyclops, Lefty2/antivin, and Pitx2 does not occur in the lateral plate mesoderm, while in Cryptic mutants Lefty1 expression is absent from the prospective floor plate. Notably, L-R asymmetric expression of Nodal at the lateral edges of the node is still observed in Cryptic mutants, indicating that L-R specification has occurred in the node but not the lateral plate. Combined with the previous finding that oep is required for nodal signaling in zebrafish, we propose that a signaling pathway mediated by Nodal and EGF-CFC activities is essential for transfer of L-R positional information from the node. (+info)
Pattern formation and regulation of gene expressions in chick recombinant limbs.
Recombinant limbs were performed by ensembling dissociated-reaggregated wing bud mesoderm inside an ectodermal hull. The zone of polarizing activity was excluded from the mesoderm used to perform the recombinant limbs (non-polarized recombinants), and grafted when desired (polarized recombinants). Reorganization of patterning progressively occurred in the newly formed progress zone under the influence of the apical ectodermal ridge (AER), explaining the proximo-distal gradient of morphogenesis observed in developed recombinant limbs. The AER, without the influence of the polarizing region (ZPA), was sufficient to direct outgrowth and appropriate proximo-distal patterning, as observed in the expression of the Hoxa-11 and Hoxa-13 genes. The development of the recombinant limbs coursed with symmetric AER and downregulation of Bmp expression in the mesoderm supporting a negative effect of Bmp signaling upon the apical ridge. The recombinant ectoderm maintained previously established compartments of gene expressions and organized a correct dorso-ventral patterning in the recombinant progress zone. Finally, the ZPA effect was only detected on Bmp expression and pattern formation along the antero-posterior axis. (+info)
Left-right development: the roles of nodal cilia.
Cilia on the ventral side of the mouse node have been implicated in initiating the left-right axis during embryonic development, but how cilia relate to other factors in the left-right pathway and the mechanism by which cilia convey patterning information remain uncertain. (+info)
Surface ectoderm is necessary for the morphogenesis of somites.
The paraxial mesoderm of the neck and trunk of mouse embryos undergoes extensive morphogenesis in forming somites. Paraxial mesoderm is divided into segments, it elongates along its anterior posterior axis, and its cells organize into epithelia. Experiments were performed to determine if these processes are autonomous to the mesoderm that gives rise to the somites. Presomitic mesoderm at the tailbud stage was cultured in the presence and absence of its adjacent tissues. Somite segmentation occurred in the absence of neural tube, notochord, gut and surface ectoderm, and occurred in posterior fragments in the absence of anterior presomitic mesoderm. Mesodermal expression of Dll1 and Notch1, genes with roles in segmentation, was largely independent of other tissues, consistent with autonomous segmentation. However, surface ectoderm was found to be necessary for elongation of the mesoderm along the anterior-posterior axis and for somite epithelialization. To determine if there is specificity in the interaction between ectoderm and mesoderm, ectoderm from different sources was recombined with presomitic mesoderm. Surface ectoderm from only certain parts of the embryo supported somite epithelialization and elongation. Somite epithelialization induced by ectoderm was correlated with expression of the basic-helix-loop-helix gene Paraxis in the mesoderm. This is consistent with the genetically defined requirement for Paraxis in somite epithelialization. However, trunk ectoderm was able to induce somite epithelialization in the absence of strong Paraxis expression. We conclude that somitogenesis consists of autonomous segmentation patterned by Notch signaling and nonautonomous induction of elongation and epithelialization by surface ectoderm. (+info)
Regulatory gene expression patterns reveal transverse and longitudinal subdivisions of the embryonic zebrafish forebrain.
To shed light on the organization of the rostral embryonic brain of a lower vertebrate, we have directly compared the expression patterns of dlx, fgf, hh, hlx, otx, pax, POU, winged helix and wnt gene family members in the fore- and midbrain of the zebrafish. We show that the analyzed genes are expressed in distinct transverse and longitudinal domains and share expression boundaries at stereotypic positions within the fore- and midbrain. Some of these shared expression boundaries coincide with morphological landmarks like the pathways of primary axon tracts. We identified a series of eight transverse diencephalic domains suggestive of neuromeric subdivisions within the rostral brain. In addition, we identified four molecularly distinct longitudinal subdivisions and provide evidence for a strong bending of the longitudinal rostral brain axis at the cephalic flexure. Our data suggest a strong conservation of early forebrain organization between lower and higher vertebrates. (+info)
BMP-4 affects the differentiation of metanephric mesenchyme and reveals an early anterior-posterior axis of the embryonic kidney.
Bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP4), a member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) family, regulates several developmental processes during animal development. We have now studied the effects of BMP-4 in the metanephric kidney differentiation by using organ culture technique. Human recombinant BMP-4 diminishes the number of ureteric branches and changes the branching pattern. Our data suggest that BMP-4 affects the ureteric branching indirectly via interfering with the differentiation of the nephrogenic mesenchyme. The clear positional preference of the defects to posterior mesenchyme might reflect an early anterior-posterior patterning of the metanephric mesenchyme. The smooth muscle alpha-actin expressing cell population around the ureteric stalk, highly expressing Bmp-4 mRNA, is also expanded in kidneys treated with BMP-4. Thus, BMP-4 may be a physiological regulator of the development of the periureteric smooth muscle layer and ureteric elongation. (+info)
Anteroposterior patterning is required within segments for somite boundary formation in developing zebrafish.
Somite formation involves the establishment of a segmental prepattern in the presomitic mesoderm, anteroposterior patterning of each segmental primordium and formation of boundaries between adjacent segments. How these events are co-ordinated remains uncertain. In this study, analysis of expression of zebrafish mesp-a reveals that each segment acquires anteroposterior regionalisation when located in the anterior presomitic mesoderm. Thus anteroposterior patterning is occurring after the establishment of a segmental prepattern in the paraxial mesoderm and prior to somite boundary formation. Zebrafish fss(-), bea(-), des(-) and aei(-) embryos all fail to form somites, yet we demonstrate that a segmental prepattern is established in the presomitic mesoderm of all these mutants and hox gene expression shows that overall anteroposterior patterning of the mesoderm is also normal. However, analysis of various molecular markers reveals that anteroposterior regionalisation within each segment is disturbed in the mutants. In fss(-), there is a loss of anterior segment markers, such that all segments appear posteriorized, whereas in bea(-), des(-) and aei(-), anterior and posterior markers are expressed throughout each segment. Since somite formation is disrupted in these mutants, correct anteroposterior patterning within segments may be a prerequisite for somite boundary formation. In support of this hypothesis, we show that it is possible to rescue boundary formation in fss(-) through the ectopic expression of EphA4, an anterior segment marker, in the paraxial mesoderm. These observations indicate that a key consequence of the anteroposterior regionalisation of segments may be the induction of Eph and ephrin expression at segment interfaces and that Eph/ephrin signalling subsequently contributes to the formation of somite boundaries. (+info)
Dorsoventral axis determination in the somite: a re-examination.
We have repeated classic dorsoventral somite rotation experiments (Aoyama and Asamoto, 1988, Development 104, 15-28) and included dorsal and ventral gene expression markers for the somitogenic tissue types, myotome and sclerotome, respectively. While the histological results are consistent with those previously published, gene expression analysis indicates that cells previously thought to be 'sclerotome' no longer express Pax1 mRNA, a sclerotome marker. These results, together with recent quail-chick transplantation experiments indicating that even very late sclerotome tissue fragments are multipotential (Dockter and Ordahl, 1998, Development 125, 2113-2124), lead to the conclusion that sclerotome tissue remains phenotypically and morphogenetically plastic during early embryonic somitogenesis. Myotome precursor cells, by contrast, appear to be determined within hours after somite epithelization; a finding consistent with recent reports (Williams and Ordahl, 1997, Development 124, 4983-4997). Therefore, while these findings support a central conclusion of Aoyama and Asamoto, that axis determination begins to occur within hours after somite epithelialization, the identity of the responding tissues, myotome versus sclerotome, differs. A simple model proposed to reconcile these observations supports the general hypothesis that determinative aspects of early paraxial mesoderm growth and morphogenesis occur in early and late phases that are governed principally by the myotome and sclerotome, respectively. (+info)