The surface ectoderm is essential for nephric duct formation in intermediate mesoderm. (1/1354)

The nephric duct is the first epithelial tubule to differentiate from intermediate mesoderm that is essential for all further urogenital development. In this study we identify the domain of intermediate mesoderm that gives rise to the nephric duct and demonstrate that the surface ectoderm is required for its differentiation. Removal of the surface ectoderm resulted in decreased levels of Sim-1 and Pax-2 mRNA expression in mesenchymal nephric duct progenitors, and caused inhibition of nephric duct formation and subsequent kidney development. The surface ectoderm expresses BMP-4 and we show that it is required for the maintenance of high-level BMP-4 expression in lateral plate mesoderm. Addition of a BMP-4-coated bead to embryos lacking the surface ectoderm restored normal levels of Sim-1 and Pax-2 mRNA expression in nephric duct progenitors, nephric duct formation and the initiation of nephrogenesis. Thus, BMP-4 signaling can substitute for the surface ectoderm in supporting nephric duct morphogenesis. Collectively, these data suggest that inductive interactions between the surface ectoderm, lateral mesoderm and intermediate mesoderm are essential for nephric duct formation and the initiation of urogenital development.  (+info)

Bmp4 is required for the generation of primordial germ cells in the mouse embryo. (2/1354)

In many organisms the allocation of primordial germ cells (PGCs) is determined by the inheritance of maternal factors deposited in the egg. However, in mammals, inductive cell interactions are required around gastrulation to establish the germ line. Here, we show that Bmp4 homozygous null embryos contain no PGCs. They also lack an allantois, an extraembryonic mesodermal tissue derived, like the PGCs, from precursors in the proximal epiblast. Heterozygotes have fewer PGCs than normal, due to a reduction in the size of the founding population and not to an effect on its subsequent expansion. Analysis of beta-galactosidase activity in Bmp4(lacZneo) embryos reveals that prior to gastrulation, Bmp4 is expressed in the extraembryonic ectoderm. Later, Bmp4 is expressed in the extraembryonic mesoderm, but not in PGCs. Chimera analysis indicates that it is the Bmp4 expression in the extraembryonic ectoderm that regulates the formation of allantois and primordial germ cell precursors, and the size of the founding population of PGCs. The initiation of the germ line in the mouse therefore depends on a secreted signal from the previously segregated, extraembryonic, trophectoderm lineage.  (+info)

A binding site for homeodomain and Pax proteins is necessary for L1 cell adhesion molecule gene expression by Pax-6 and bone morphogenetic proteins. (3/1354)

The cell adhesion molecule L1 regulates axonal guidance and fasciculation during development. We previously identified the regulatory region of the L1 gene and showed that it was sufficient for establishing the neural pattern of L1 expression in transgenic mice. In the present study, we characterize a DNA element within this region called the HPD that contains binding motifs for both homeodomain and Pax proteins and responds to signals from bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). An ATTA sequence within the core of the HPD was required for binding to the homeodomain protein Barx2 while a separate paired domain recognition motif was necessary for binding to Pax-6. In cellular transfection experiments, L1-luciferase reporter constructs containing the HPD were activated an average of 4-fold by Pax-6 in N2A cells and 5-fold by BMP-2 and BMP-4 in Ng108 cells. Both of these responses were eliminated on deletion of the HPD from L1 constructs. In transgenic mice, deletion of the HPD from an L1-lacZ reporter resulted in a loss of beta-galactosidase expression in the telencephalon and mesencephalon. Collectively, our experiments indicate that the HPD regulates L1 expression in neural tissues via homeodomain and Pax proteins and is likely to be a target of BMP signaling during development.  (+info)

Ectopic bone morphogenetic proteins 5 and 4 in the chicken forebrain lead to cyclopia and holoprosencephaly. (4/1354)

Proper dorsal-ventral patterning in the developing central nervous system requires signals from both the dorsal and ventral portions of the neural tube. Data from multiple studies have demonstrated that bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and Sonic hedgehog protein are secreted factors that regulate dorsal and ventral specification, respectively, within the caudal neural tube. In the developing rostral central nervous system Sonic hedgehog protein also participates in ventral regionalization; however, the roles of BMPs in the developing brain are less clear. We hypothesized that BMPs also play a role in dorsal specification of the vertebrate forebrain. To test our hypothesis we implanted beads soaked in recombinant BMP5 or BMP4 into the neural tube of the chicken forebrain. Experimental embryos showed a loss of the basal telencephalon that resulted in holoprosencephaly (a single cerebral hemisphere), cyclopia (a single midline eye), and loss of ventral midline structures. In situ hybridization using a panel of probes to genes expressed in the dorsal and ventral forebrain revealed the loss of ventral markers with the maintenance of dorsal markers. Furthermore, we found that the loss of the basal telencephalon was the result of excessive cell death and not a change in cell fates. These data provide evidence that BMP signaling participates in dorsal-ventral patterning of the developing brain in vivo, and disturbances in dorsal-ventral signaling result in specific malformations of the forebrain.  (+info)

A BMP-inducible gene, dlx5, regulates osteoblast differentiation and mesoderm induction. (5/1354)

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), members of the transforming growth factor beta superfamily, have been identified by their ability to induce cartilage and bone from nonskeletal cells and have been shown to act as a ventral morphogen in Xenopus mesoderm. We isolated a murine homeobox-containing gene, distal-less 5 (mDlx5), as a BMP-inducible gene in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells. Stable transfectants of MC3T3-E1 that overexpress mDlx5 mRNA showed increase in various osteogenic markers, a fourfold increase in alkaline phosphatase activity, a sixfold increase in osteocalcin production, and appearance in mineralization of extracellular matrix. Furthermore, mDlx5 was induced orthotopically in mouse embryos treated with BMP-4 and in fractured bone of adult mice. Consistent with these observations, we also found that injection of mDlx5 mRNA into dorsal blastomeres enhanced the ventralization of Xenopus embryos. These findings suggest that mDlx5 is a target gene of the BMP signaling pathway and acts as an important regulator of both osteogenesis and dorsoventral patterning of embryonic axis.  (+info)

Bone morphogenetic proteins regulate the developmental program of human hematopoietic stem cells. (6/1354)

The identification of molecules that regulate human hematopoietic stem cells has focused mainly on cytokines, of which very few are known to act directly on stem cells. Recent studies in lower organisms and the mouse have suggested that bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) may play a critical role in the specification of hematopoietic tissue from the mesodermal germ layer. Here we report that BMPs regulate the proliferation and differentiation of highly purified primitive human hematopoietic cells from adult and neonatal sources. Populations of rare CD34(+)CD38(-)Lin- stem cells were isolated from human hematopoietic tissue and were found to express the BMP type I receptors activin-like kinase (ALK)-3 and ALK-6, and their downstream transducers SMAD-1, -4, and -5. Treatment of isolated stem cell populations with soluble BMP-2, -4, and -7 induced dose-dependent changes in proliferation, clonogenicity, cell surface phenotype, and multilineage repopulation capacity after transplantation in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice. Similar to transforming growth factor beta, treatment of purified cells with BMP-2 or -7 at high concentrations inhibited proliferation yet maintained the primitive CD34(+)CD38(-) phenotype and repopulation capacity. In contrast, low concentrations of BMP-4 induced proliferation and differentiation of CD34(+) CD38(-)Lin- cells, whereas at higher concentrations BMP-4 extended the length of time that repopulation capacity could be maintained in ex vivo culture, indicating a direct effect on stem cell survival. The discovery that BMPs are capable of regulating repopulating cells provides a new pathway for controlling human stem cell development and a powerful model system for studying the biological mechanism of BMP action using primary human cells.  (+info)

Opposite effects of FGF and BMP-4 on embryonic blood formation: roles of PV.1 and GATA-2. (7/1354)

In adult vertebrates, fibroblast growth factor (FGF) synergizes with many hematopoietic cytokines to stimulate the proliferation of hematopoietic progenitors. In vertebrate development, the FGF signaling pathway is important in the formation of some derivatives of ventroposterior mesoderm. However, the function of FGF in the specification of the embryonic erythropoietic lineage has remained unclear. Here we address the role of FGF in the specification of the erythropoietic lineage in the Xenopus embryo. We report that ventral injection of embryonic FGF (eFGF) mRNA at as little as 10 pg at the four-cell stage suppresses ventral blood island (VBI) formation, whereas expression of the dominant negative form of the FGF receptor in the lateral mesoderm, where physiologically no blood tissue is formed, results in a dramatic expansion of the VBI. Similar results were observed in isolated ventral marginal zones and animal caps. Bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP-4) is known to induce erythropoiesis in the Xenopus embryo. Therefore, we examined how the BMP-4 and FGF signaling pathways might interact in the decision of ventral mesoderm to form blood. We observed that eFGF inhibits BMP-4-induced erythropoiesis by differentially regulating expression of the BMP-4 downstream effectors GATA-2 and PV.1. GATA-2, which stimulates erythropoiesis, is suppressed by FGF. PV.1, which we demonstrate to inhibit blood development, is enhanced by FGF. Additionally, PV.1 and GATA-2 negatively regulate transcription of each other. Thus, BMP-4 induces two transcription factors which have opposing effects on blood development. The FGF and BMP-4 signaling pathways interact to regulate the specification of the erythropoietic lineage.  (+info)

The smad5 mutation somitabun blocks Bmp2b signaling during early dorsoventral patterning of the zebrafish embryo. (8/1354)

Signaling by members of the TGFbeta superfamily is thought to be transduced by Smad proteins. Here, we describe a zebrafish mutant in smad5, designated somitabun (sbn). The dominant maternal and zygotic effect of the sbntc24 mutation is caused by a change in a single amino acid in the L3 loop of Smad5 protein which transforms Smad5 into an antimorphic version, inhibiting wild-type Smad5 and related Smad proteins. sbn mutant embryos are strongly dorsalized, similarly to mutants in Bmp2b, its putative upstream signal. Double mutant analyses and RNA injection experiments show that sbn and bmp2b interact and that sbn acts downstream of Bmp2b signaling to mediate Bmp2b autoregulation during early dorsoventral (D-V) pattern formation. Comparison of early marker gene expression patterns, chimera analyses and rescue experiments involving temporally controlled misexpression of bmp or smad in mutant embryos reveal three phases of D-V patterning: an early sbn- and bmp2b-independent phase when a coarse initial D-V pattern is set up, an intermediate sbn- and bmp2b-dependent phase during which the putative morphogenetic Bmp2/4 gradient is established, and a later sbn-independent phase during gastrulation when the Bmp2/4 gradient is interpreted and cell fates are specified.  (+info)