Selective expression of purinoceptor cP2Y1 suggests a role for nucleotide signalling in development of the chick embryo.
Responses to extracellular nucleotides (e.g., ATP, ADP, etc.) have been demonstrated in a number of embryonic cell types suggesting they may be important signalling molecules during embryonic development. Here the authors describe for the first time the expression of a G-protein-coupled receptor for extracellular ATP, chick P2Y1 (cP2Y1), during embryonic development of the chick. During the first 10 days of embryonic development, cP2Y1 is expressed in a developmentally regulated manner in the limb buds, mesonephros, brain, somites, and facial primordia, suggesting that this receptor may have a role in the development of each of these systems. (+info
Role of the Bicoid-related homeodomain factor Pitx1 in specifying hindlimb morphogenesis and pituitary development.
Pitx1 is a Bicoid-related homeodomain factor that exhibits preferential expression in the hindlimb, as well as expression in the developing anterior pituitary gland and first branchial arch. Here, we report that Pitx1 gene-deleted mice exhibit striking abnormalities in morphogenesis and growth of the hindlimb, resulting in a limb that exhibits structural changes in tibia and fibula as well as patterning alterations in patella and proximal tarsus, to more closely resemble the corresponding forelimb structures. Deletion of the Pitx1 locus results in decreased distal expression of the hindlimb-specific marker, the T-box factor, Tbx4. On the basis of similar expression patterns in chick, targeted misexpression of chick Pitx1 in the developing wing bud causes the resulting limb to assume altered digit number and morphogenesis, with Tbx4 induction. We hypothesize that Pitx1 serves to critically modulate morphogenesis, growth, and potential patterning of a specific hindlimb region, serving as a component of the morphological and growth distinctions in forelimb and hindlimb identity. Pitx1 gene-deleted mice also exhibit reciprocal abnormalities of two ventral and one dorsal anterior pituitary cell types, presumably on the basis of its synergistic functions with other transcription factors, and defects in the derivatives of the first branchial arch, including cleft palate, suggesting a proliferative defect in these organs analogous to that observed in the hindlimb. (+info
Regulation of Hoxa2 in cranial neural crest cells involves members of the AP-2 family.
Hoxa2 is expressed in cranial neural crest cells that migrate into the second branchial arch and is essential for proper patterning of neural-crest-derived structures in this region. We have used transgenic analysis to begin to address the regulatory mechanisms which underlie neural-crest-specific expression of Hoxa2. By performing a deletion analysis on an enhancer from the Hoxa2 gene that is capable of mediating expression in neural crest cells in a manner similar to the endogenous gene, we demonstrated that multiple cis-acting elements are required for neural-crest-specific activity. One of these elements consists of a sequence that binds to the three transcription factor AP-2 family members. Mutation or deletion of this site in the Hoxa2 enhancer abrogates reporter expression in cranial neural crest cells but not in the hindbrain. In both cell culture co-transfection assays and transgenic embryos AP-2 family members are able to trans-activate reporter expression, showing that this enhancer functions as an AP-2-responsive element in vivo. Reporter expression is not abolished in an AP-2(alpha) null mutant embryos, suggesting redundancy with other AP-2 family members for activation of the Hoxa2 enhancer. Other cis-elements identified in this study critical for neural-crest-specific expression include an element that influences levels of expression and a conserved sequence, which when multimerized directs expression in a broad subset of neural crest cells. These elements work together to co-ordinate and restrict neural crest expression to the second branchial arch and more posterior regions. Our findings have identified the cis-components that allow Hoxa2 to be regulated independently in rhombomeres and cranial neural crest cells. (+info
Chick Barx2b, a marker for myogenic cells also expressed in branchial arches and neural structures.
We have isolated a new chicken gene, cBarx2b, which is related to mBarx2 in sequence, although the expression patterns of the two genes are quite different from one another. The cBarx2b gene is expressed in craniofacial structures, regions of the neural tube, and muscle groups in the limb, neck and cloaca. Perturbation of anterior muscle pattern by application of Sonic Hedgehog protein results in a posteriorization of cBarx2b expression. (+info
The role of SF/HGF and c-Met in the development of skeletal muscle.
Hypaxial skeletal muscles develop from migratory and non-migratory precursor cells that are generated by the lateral lip of the dermomyotome. Previous work shows that the formation of migratory precursors requires the c-Met and SF/HGF genes. We show here that in mice lacking c-Met or SF/HGF, the initial development of the dermomyotome proceeds appropriately and growth and survival of cells in the dermomyotome are not affected. Migratory precursors are also correctly specified, as monitored by the expression of Lbx1. However, these cells remain aggregated and fail to take up long range migration. We conclude that parallel but independent cues converge on the migratory hypaxial precursors in the dermomyotomal lip after they are laid down: a signal given by SF/HGF that controls the emigration of the precursors, and an as yet unidentified signal that controls Lbx1. SF/HGF and c-Met act in a paracrine manner to control emigration, and migratory cells only dissociate from somites located close to SF/HGF-expressing cells. During long range migration, prolonged receptor-ligand-interaction appears to be required, as SF/HGF is expressed both along the routes and at the target sites of migratory myogenic progenitors. Mice that lack c-Met die during the second part of gestation due to a placental defect. Rescue of the placental defect by aggregation of tetraploid (wild type) and diploid (c-Met-/-) morulae allows development of c-Met mutant animals to term. They lack muscle groups that derive from migratory precursor cells, but display otherwise normal skeletal musculature. (+info
Connexin 43 expression reflects neural crest patterns during cardiovascular development.
We used transgenic mice in which the promoter sequence for connexin 43 linked to a lacZ reporter was expressed in neural crest but not myocardial cells to document the pattern of cardiac neural crest cells in the caudal pharyngeal arches and cardiac outflow tract. Expression of lacZ was strikingly similar to that of cardiac neural crest cells in quail-chick chimeras. By using this transgenic mouse line to compare cardiac neural crest involvement in cardiac outflow septation and aortic arch artery development in mouse and chick, we were able to note differences and similarities in their cardiovascular development. Similar to neural crest cells in the chick, lacZ-positive cells formed a sheath around the persisting aortic arch arteries, comprised the aorticopulmonary septation complex, were located at the site of final fusion of the conal cushions, and populated the cardiac ganglia. In quail-chick chimeras generated for this study, neural crest cells entered the outflow tract by two pathways, submyocardially and subendocardially. In the mouse only the subendocardial population of lacZ-positive cells could be seen as the cells entered the outflow tract. In addition lacZ-positive cells completely surrounded the aortic sac prior to septation, while in the chick, neural crest cells were scattered around the aortic sac with the bulk of cells distributed in the bridging portion of the aorticopulmonary septation complex. In the chick, submyocardial populations of neural crest cells assembled on opposite sides of the aortic sac and entered the conotruncal ridges. Even though the aortic sac in the mouse was initially surrounded by lacZ-positive cells, the two outflow vessels that resulted from its septation showed differential lacZ expression. The ascending aorta was invested by lacZ-positive cells while the pulmonary trunk was devoid of lacZ staining. In the chick, both of these vessels were invested by neural crest cells, but the cells arrived secondarily by displacement from the aortic arch arteries during vessel elongation. This may indicate a difference in derivation of the pulmonary trunk in the mouse or a difference in distribution of cardiac neural crest cells. An independent mouse neural crest marker is needed to confirm whether the differences are indeed due to species differences in cardiovascular and/or neural crest development. Nevertheless, with the differences noted, we believe that this mouse model faithfully represents the location of cardiac neural crest cells. The similarities in location of lacZ-expressing cells in the mouse to that of cardiac neural crest cells in the chick suggest that this mouse is a good model for studying mammalian cardiac neural crest and that the mammalian cardiac neural crest performs functions similar to those shown for chick. (+info
Mutations in the zebrafish unmask shared regulatory pathways controlling the development of catecholaminergic neurons.
The mechanism by which pluripotent progenitors give rise to distinct classes of mature neurons in vertebrates is not well understood. To address this issue we undertook a genetic screen for mutations which affect the commitment and differentiation of catecholaminergic (CA) [dopaminergic (DA), noradrenergic (NA), and adrenergic] neurons in the zebrafish, Danio rerio. The identified mutations constitute five complementation groups. motionless and foggy affect the number and differentiation state of hypothalamic DA, telencephalic DA, retinal DA, locus coeruleus (LC) NA, and sympathetic NA neurons. The too few mutation leads to a specific reduction in the number of hypothalamic DA neurons. no soul lacks arch-associated NA cells and has defects in pharyngeal arches, and soulless lacks both arch-associated and LC cell groups. Our analyses suggest that the genes defined by these mutations regulate different steps in the differentiation of multipotent CA progenitors. They further reveal an underlying universal mechanism for the control of CA cell fates, which involve combinatorial usage of regulatory genes. (+info
13-cis-Retinoic acid alters neural crest cells expressing Krox-20 and Pax-2 in macaque embryos.
This study investigates hindbrain and associated neural crest (NCC), otocyst, and pharyngeal arch development in monkey embryos following teratogenic exposure to 13-cis-retinoic acid (cRA). cRA was orally administered (5 mg/kg) to pregnant long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) between gestational days (GD) 12 and 27. Embryos were surgically collected at desired stages during treatment, analyzed for external morphological changes, and processed for immunohistochemistry. Two transiently expressed nuclear proteins, Krox-20 and Pax-2, were used as markers for the target cellular and anatomical structures. Rhombomere (r) expression patterns of Pax-2 (r4/r6) and Krox-20 (r3/r5) were maintained after cRA treatment, but r4 and r5 were substantially reduced in size. In untreated embryos, Krox-20 immunoreactive NCC derived from r5 migrated caudally around the developing otocyst to contribute to the third pharyngeal arch mesenchyme. In cRA-treated embryos, a subpopulation of NCC rostral to the otocyst also showed Krox-20 immunoreactivity, but there was a substantial reduction in Krox-20 post-otic NCC. Pax-2 immunoreactive NCC migrating from r4 to the second pharyngeal arch were substantially reduced in numbers in treated embryos. Alteration in the otic anlage included delayed invagination, abnormal relationship with the adjacent hindbrain epithelium, and altered expression boundaries for Pax-2. cRA-associated changes in the pharyngeal arch region due to cRA included truncation of the distal portion of the first arch and reduction in the size of the second arch. These alterations in hindbrain, neural crest, otic anlage, and pharyngeal arch morphogenesis could contribute to some of the craniofacial malformations in the macaque fetus associated with exposure to cRA. (+info