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)
Regulation of neurotrophin-3 expression by epithelial-mesenchymal interactions: the role of Wnt factors.
Neurotrophins regulate survival, axonal growth, and target innervation of sensory and other neurons. Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) is expressed specifically in cells adjacent to extending axons of dorsal root ganglia neurons, and its absence results in loss of most of these neurons before their axons reach their targets. However, axons are not required for NT-3 expression in limbs; instead, local signals from ectoderm induce NT-3 expression in adjacent mesenchyme. Wnt factors expressed in limb ectoderm induce NT-3 in the underlying mesenchyme. Thus, epithelial-mesenchymal interactions mediated by Wnt factors control NT-3 expression and may regulate axonal growth and guidance. (+info)
Fish swimbladder: an excellent mesodermal inductor in primary embryonic induction.
Swimbladder of the crucian carp, Carassius auratus, was found to be better as a vegatalizing tissue than other tissues, such as guinea-pig bone marrow, when presumptive ectoderm of Triturus gastrulae was used as reacting tissue. Swimbladder usually induced assemblies of highly organized mesodermal tissues, such as notochord, somites and pronephric tubules, some of which were covered by mesodermal epithelium without any epidermal covering. A special character of the effect of swimbladder was the rather frequent induction of solid balls of undifferentiated cells, which were identified as mesodermal or mesodermal and probably endodermal. These findings show that swimbladder has a strong and fast spreading vegetalizing effect on the responding presumptive ectoderm. (+info)
Embryological study of a T/t locus mutation (tw73) affecting trophectoderm development.
Mouse embryos homozygous for the recessive lethal mutation tw73 show specific defects in trophectoderm shortly after implantation. The trophectoderm and ectoplacental cone fail to form the usual close association with the uterine decidua, and proliferation is markedly reduced. The embryo proper ceases to develop beyond the two-layered stage and degenerates and dies within 5 days of implantation. (+info)
Bmp4 is required for the generation of primordial germ cells in the mouse embryo.
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)
BMP7 acts in murine lens placode development.
Targeted inactivation of the Bmp7 gene in mouse leads to eye defects with late onset and variable penetrance (A. T. Dudley et al., 1995, Genes Dev. 9, 2795-2807; G. Luo et al., 1995, Genes Dev. 9, 2808-2820). Here we report that the expressivity of the Bmp7 mutant phenotype markedly increases in a C3H/He genetic background and that the phenotype implicates Bmp7 in the early stages of lens development. Immunolocalization experiments show that BMP7 protein is present in the head ectoderm at the time of lens placode induction. Using an in vitro culture system, we demonstrate that addition of BMP7 antagonists during the period of lens placode induction inhibits lens formation, indicating a role for BMP7 in lens placode development. Next, to integrate Bmp7 into a developmental pathway controlling formation of the lens placode, we examined the expression of several early lens placode-specific markers in Bmp7 mutant embryos. In these embryos, Pax6 head ectoderm expression is lost just prior to the time when the lens placode should appear, while in Pax6-deficient (Sey/Sey) embryos, Bmp7 expression is maintained. These results could suggest a simple linear pathway in placode induction in which Bmp7 functions upstream of Pax6 and regulates lens placode induction. At odds with this interpretation, however, is the finding that expression of secreted Frizzled Related Protein-2 (sFRP-2), a component of the Wnt signaling pathway which is expressed in prospective lens placode, is absent in Sey/Sey embryos but initially present in Bmp7 mutants. This suggests a different model in which Bmp7 function is required to maintain Pax6 expression after induction, during a preplacodal stage of lens development. We conclude that Bmp7 is a critical component of the genetic mechanism(s) controlling lens placode formation. (+info)
Gap junction signalling mediated through connexin-43 is required for chick limb development.
During chick limb development the gap junction protein Connexin-43 (Cx43) is expressed in discrete spatially restricted domains in the apical ectodermal ridge (AER) and mesenchyme of the zone of polarising activity. Antisense oligonucleotides (ODNs) were used to investigate the role of Connexin-43 (Cx43) in the development of the chick limb bud. We have used unmodified ODNs in Pluronic F-127 gel, which is liquid at low temperature but sets at room temperature and so remains situated at the point of application. As a mild surfactant, the gel increases antisense ODN penetration and supplies ODNs to the embryo continually for 12-18 h. We have shown a strong decrease in Cx43 protein expression after application of specific antisense oligonucleotides but the abundance of a closely related protein, Connexin-32 (Cx32), was not affected. Application of antisense Cx43 ODNs at stages 8-15 HH before limb outgrowth resulted in dramatic limb phenotypes. About 40% of treated embryos exhibited defects such as truncation of the limb bud, fragmentation into two or more domains, or complete splitting of the limb bud into two or three branches. Molecular analysis of antisense treated embryos failed to detect Shh or Bmp-2 in anterior structures and suggested that extra lobes seen in nicked and split limbs were not a result of establishment of new signalling centres as found after the application of FGF to the flank. However, examination of markers for the AER showed a number of abnormalities. In severely truncated specimens we were unable to detect the expression of either Fgf-4 or Fgf-8. In both nicked and split limbs the expression of these genes was discontinuous. Down-regulation of Cx43 after the antisense application could be comparable to AER removal and results in distal truncation of the limb bud. Taken together these data suggest the existence of a feedback loop between the FGFs and signalling mediated by Cx43. (+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)