(1/14041) Studies on the response of ewes to live chlamydiae adapted to chicken embryos or tissue culture.

Ewes infected before gestation with chicken embryo or tissue culture adapted chlamydial strain B-577 were challenge inoculated with the homologous strain at four to 18 weeks of gestation. The ewes responsed with group specific complement fixing antibody titers of 1:8 to 1:256 by the second week after initial infection. A secondary antibody response in the surviving challenge inoculated ewes occurred at the time of lambing and reached titers of 1:32 to 1:256 by the second week after parturition. Group specific complement fixing antibodies did not appear to play a significant role in resistance to chlamydial infection. Ewes infected with the chicken embryo adapted strain B-577 excreted chlamydiae in their feces 60 days after inoculation. However, chlamydiae were not recovered from feces of ewes infected with the tissue culture adapted strain B-577. Placentas of ewes challenge inoculated by the intravenous route were consistently infected. Chlamydiae were recovered from placentas, some fetuses and lambs. In two instances when challenge inoculation was given by the intramuscular route, infection was detected only by the direct fluorescent antibody method.  (+info)

(2/14041) The surface ectoderm is essential for nephric duct formation in intermediate mesoderm.

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)

(3/14041) FGF8 induces formation of an ectopic isthmic organizer and isthmocerebellar development via a repressive effect on Otx2 expression.

Beads containing recombinant FGF8 (FGF8-beads) were implanted in the prospective caudal diencephalon or midbrain of chick embryos at stages 9-12. This induced the neuroepithelium rostral and caudal to the FGF8-bead to form two ectopic, mirror-image midbrains. Furthermore, cells in direct contact with the bead formed an outgrowth that protruded laterally from the neural tube. Tissue within such lateral outgrowths developed proximally into isthmic nuclei and distally into a cerebellum-like structure. These morphogenetic effects were apparently due to FGF8-mediated changes in gene expression in the vicinity of the bead, including a repressive effect on Otx2 and an inductive effect on En1, Fgf8 and Wnt1 expression. The ectopic Fgf8 and Wnt1 expression domains formed nearly complete concentric rings around the FGF8-bead, with the Wnt1 ring outermost. These observations suggest that FGF8 induces the formation of a ring-like ectopic signaling center (organizer) in the lateral wall of the brain, similar to the one that normally encircles the neural tube at the isthmic constriction, which is located at the boundary between the prospective midbrain and hindbrain. This ectopic isthmic organizer apparently sends long-range patterning signals both rostrally and caudally, resulting in the development of the two ectopic midbrains. Interestingly, our data suggest that these inductive signals spread readily in a caudal direction, but are inhibited from spreading rostrally across diencephalic neuromere boundaries. These results provide insights into the mechanism by which FGF8 induces an ectopic organizer and suggest that a negative feedback loop between Fgf8 and Otx2 plays a key role in patterning the midbrain and anterior hindbrain.  (+info)

(4/14041) Requirement of a novel gene, Xin, in cardiac morphogenesis.

A novel gene, Xin, from chick (cXin) and mouse (mXin) embryonic hearts, may be required for cardiac morphogenesis and looping. Both cloned cDNAs have a single open reading frame, encoding proteins with 2,562 and 1,677 amino acids for cXin and mXin, respectively. The derived amino acid sequences share 46% similarity. The overall domain structures of the predicted cXin and mXin proteins, including proline-rich regions, 16 amino acid repeats, DNA-binding domains, SH3-binding motifs and nuclear localization signals, are highly conserved. Northern blot analyses detect a single message of 8.9 and 5.8 kilo base (kb) from both cardiac and skeletal muscle of chick and mouse, respectively. In situ hybridization reveals that the cXin gene is specifically expressed in cardiac progenitor cells of chick embryos as early as stage 8, prior to heart tube formation. cXin continues to be expressed in the myocardium of developing hearts. By stage 15, cXin expression is also detected in the myotomes of developing somites. Immunofluorescence microscopy reveals that the mXin protein is colocalized with N-cadherin and connexin-43 in the intercalated discs of adult mouse hearts. Incubation of stage 6 chick embryos with cXin antisense oligonucleotides results in abnormal cardiac morphogenesis and an alteration of cardiac looping. The myocardium of the affected hearts becomes thickened and tends to form multiple invaginations into the heart cavity. This abnormal cellular process may account in part for the abnormal looping. cXin expression can be induced by bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) in explants of anterior medial mesoendoderm from stage 6 chick embryos, a tissue that is normally non-cardiogenic. This induction occurs following the BMP-mediated induction of two cardiac-restricted transcription factors, Nkx2.5 and MEF2C. Furthermore, either MEF2C or Nkx2.5 can transactivate a luciferase reporter driven by the mXin promoter in mouse fibroblasts. These results suggest that Xin may participate in a BMP-Nkx2.5-MEF2C pathway to control cardiac morphogenesis and looping.  (+info)

(5/14041) Mechanisms of GDF-5 action during skeletal development.

Mutations in GDF-5, a member of the TGF-beta superfamily, result in the autosomal recessive syndromes brachypod (bp) in mice and Hunter-Thompson and Grebe-type chondrodysplasias in humans. These syndromes are all characterised by the shortening of the appendicular skeleton and loss or abnormal development of some joints. To investigate how GDF-5 controls skeletogenesis, we overexpressed GDF-5 during chick limb development using the retrovirus, RCASBP. This resulted in up to a 37.5% increase in length of the skeletal elements, which was predominantly due to an increase in the number of chondrocytes. By injecting virus at different stages of development, we show that GDF-5 can increase both the size of the early cartilage condensation and the later developing skeletal element. Using in vitro micromass cultures as a model system to study the early steps of chondrogenesis, we show that GDF-5 increases chondrogenesis in a dose-dependent manner. We did not detect changes in proliferation. However, cell suspension cultures showed that GDF-5 might act at these stages by increasing cell adhesion, a critical determinant of early chondrogenesis. In contrast, pulse labelling experiments of GDF-5-infected limbs showed that at later stages of skeletal development GDF-5 can increase proliferation of chondrocytes. Thus, here we show two mechanisms of how GDF-5 may control different stages of skeletogenesis. Finally, our data show that levels of GDF-5 expression/activity are important in controlling the size of skeletal elements and provides a possible explanation for the variation in the severity of skeletal defects resulting from mutations in GDF-5.  (+info)

(6/14041) The cytoskeletal network controls c-Jun expression and glucocorticoid receptor transcriptional activity in an antagonistic and cell-type-specific manner.

The physical and functional link between adhesion molecules and the cytoskeletal network suggests that the cytoskeleton might mediate the transduction of cell-to-cell contact signals, which often regulate growth and differentiation in an antagonistic manner. Depolymerization of the cytoskeleton in confluent cell cultures is reportedly sufficient to initiate DNA synthesis. Here we show that depolymerization of the cytoskeleton is also sufficient to repress differentiation-specific gene expression. Glutamine synthetase is a glia-specific differentiation marker gene whose expression in the retinal tissue is regulated by glucocorticoids and is ultimately dependent on glia-neuron cell contacts. Depolymerization of the actin or microtubule network in cells of the intact retina mimics the effects of cell separation, repressing glutamine synthetase induction by a mechanism that involves induction of c-Jun and inhibition of glucocorticoid receptor transcriptional activity. Depolymerization of the cytoskeleton activates JNK and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and induces c-Jun expression by a signaling pathway that depends on tyrosine kinase activity. Induction of c-Jun expression is restricted to Muller glial cells, the only cells in the tissue that express glutamine synthetase and maintain the ability to proliferate upon cell separation. Our results suggest that the cytoskeletal network might play a part in the transduction of cell contact signals to the nucleus.  (+info)

(7/14041) Regulation of chamber-specific gene expression in the developing heart by Irx4.

The vertebrate heart consists of two types of chambers, the atria and the ventricles, which differ in their contractile and electrophysiological properties. Little is known of the molecular mechanisms by which these chambers are specified during embryogenesis. Here a chicken iroquois-related homeobox gene, Irx4, was identified that has a ventricle-restricted expression pattern at all stages of heart development. Irx4 protein was shown to regulate the chamber-specific expression of myosin isoforms by activating the expression of the ventricle myosin heavy chain-1 (VMHC1) and suppressing the expression of the atrial myosin heavy chain-1 (AMHC1) in the ventricles. Thus, Irx4 may play a critical role in establishing chamber-specific gene expression in the developing heart.  (+info)

(8/14041) Studies on a nonpolysomal ribonucleoprotein coding for myosin heavy chains from chick embryonic muscles.

A messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) particle containing the mRNA coding for the myosin heavy chain (MHC mRNA) has been isolated from the postpolysomal fraction of homogenates of 14-day-old chick embryonic muscles. The mRNP sediments in sucrose gradient as 120 S and has a characteristic buoyant density of 1.415 g/cm3, which corresponds to an RNA:protein ratio of 1:3.8. The RNA isolated from the 120 S particle behaved like authentic MHC mRNA purified from chick embryonic muscles with respect to electrophoretic mobility and ability to program the synthesis of myosin heavy chain in a rabbit reticulocyte lysate system as judged by multi-step co-purification of the in vitro products with chick embryonic leg muscle myosin added as carrier. The RNA obtained from the 120 S particle was as effective as purified MHC mRNA in stimulating the synthesis of the complete myosin heavy chains in rabbit reticulocyte lysate under conditions where non-muscle mRNAs had no such effect. Analysis of the protein moieties of the 120 S particle by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis shows the presence of seven distinct polypeptides with apparent molecular weights of 44,000, 49,000, 53,000, 81,000, 83,000, and 98,000, whereas typical ribosomal proteins are absent. These results indicate that the 120 S particles are distinct cellular entities unrelated to ribosomes or initiation complexes. The presence of muscle-specific mRNAs as cytoplasmic mRNPs suggests that these particles may be involved in translational control during myogenesis in embryonic muscles.  (+info)