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)
derriere: a TGF-beta family member required for posterior development in Xenopus.
TGF-beta signaling plays a key role in induction of the Xenopus mesoderm and endoderm. Using a yeast-based selection scheme, we isolated derriere, a novel TGF-beta family member that is closely related to Vg1 and that is required for normal mesodermal patterning, particularly in posterior regions of the embryo. Unlike Vg1, derriere is expressed zygotically, with RNA localized to the future endoderm and mesoderm by late blastula, and to the posterior mesoderm by mid-gastrula. The derriere expression pattern appears to be identical to the zygotic expression domain of VegT (Xombi, Brat, Antipodean), and can be activated by VegT as well as fibroblast growth factor (FGF). In turn, derriere activates expression of itself, VegT and eFGF, suggesting that a regulatory loop exists between these genes. derriere is a potent mesoderm and endoderm inducer, acting in a dose-dependent fashion. When misexpressed ventrally, derriere induces a secondary axis lacking a head, an effect that is due to dorsalization of the ventral marginal zone. When misexpressed dorsally, derriere suppresses head formation. derriere can also posteriorize neurectoderm, but appears to do so indirectly. Together, these data suggest that derriere expression is compatible only with posterior fates. In order to assess the in vivo function of derriere, we constructed a dominant interfering Derriere protein (Cm-Derriere), which preferentially blocks Derriere activity relative to that of other TGFbeta family members. Cm-derriere expression in embryos leads to posterior truncation, including defects in blastopore lip formation, gastrulation and neural tube closure. Normal expression of anterior and hindbrain markers is observed; however, paraxial mesodermal gene expression is ablated. This phenotype can be rescued by wild-type derriere and by VegT. Our findings indicate that derriere plays a crucial role in mesodermal patterning and development of posterior regions in Xenopus. (+info)
Goosecoid and mix.1 repress Brachyury expression and are required for head formation in Xenopus.
The Xenopus homologue of Brachyury, Xbra, is expressed in the presumptive mesoderm of the early gastrula. Induction of Xbra in animal pole tissue by activin occurs only in a narrow window of activin concentrations; if the level of inducer is too high, or too low, the gene is not expressed. Previously, we have suggested that the suppression of Xbra by high concentrations of activin is due to the action of genes such as goosecoid and Mix.1. Here, we examine the roles played by goosecoid and Mix.1 during normal development, first in the control of Xbra expression and then in the formation of the mesendoderm. Consistent with the model outlined above, inhibition of the function of either gene product leads to transient ectopic expression of Xbra. Such embryos later develop dorsoanterior defects and, in the case of interference with Mix.1, additional defects in heart and gut formation. Goosecoid, a transcriptional repressor, appears to act directly on transcription of Xbra. In contrast, Mix.1, which functions as a transcriptional activator, may act on Xbra indirectly, in part through activation of goosecoid. (+info)
Uncoupling integrin adhesion and signaling: the betaPS cytoplasmic domain is sufficient to regulate gene expression in the Drosophila embryo.
Integrin cell surface receptors are ideally suited to coordinate cellular differentiation and tissue assembly during embryogenesis, as they can mediate both signaling and adhesion. We show that integrins regulate gene expression in the intact developing embryo by identifying two genes that require integrin function for their normal expression in Drosophila midgut endodermal cells. We determined the relative roles of integrin adhesion versus signaling in the regulation of these integrin target genes. We find that integrin-mediated adhesion is not required between the endodermal cells and the surrounding visceral mesoderm for integrin target gene expression. In addition, a chimeric protein that lacks integrin-adhesive function, but maintains the ability to signal, can substitute for the endogenous integrin and regulate integrin target genes. This chimera consists of an oligomeric extracellular domain fused to the integrin betaPS subunit cytoplasmic domain; a control monomeric extracellular domain fusion does not alter integrin target gene expression. Therefore, oligomerization of the 47-amino-acid betaPS intracellular domain is sufficient to initiate a signaling pathway that regulates gene expression in the developing embryo. (+info)
Developmental competence of the gut endoderm: genetic potentiation by GATA and HNF3/fork head proteins.
A long-standing problem in developmental biology has been to understand how the embryonic germ layers gain the competence to differentiate into distinct cell types. Genetic studies have shown that members of the GATA and HNF3/fork head transcription factor families are essential for the formation and differentiation of gut endoderm tissues in worms, flies, and mammals. Recent in vivo footprinting studies have shown that GATA and HNF3 binding sites in chromatin are occupied on a silent gene in endoderm that has the potential to be activated solely in that germ layer. These and other data indicate that these evolutionarily conserved factors help impart the competence of a gene to be activated in development, a phenomenon called genetic potentiation. The mechanistic implications of genetic potentiation and its general significance are discussed. (+info)
The type I serine/threonine kinase receptor ActRIA (ALK2) is required for gastrulation of the mouse embryo.
ActRIA (or ALK2), one of the type I receptors of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily, can bind both activin and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) in conjunction with the activin and BMP type II receptors, respectively. In mice, ActRIA is expressed primarily in the extraembryonic visceral endoderm before gastrulation and later in both embryonic and extraembryonic cells during gastrulation. To elucidate its function in mouse development, we disrupted the transmembrane domain of ActRIA by gene targeting. We showed that embryos homozygous for the mutation were arrested at the early gastrulation stage, displaying abnormal visceral endoderm morphology and severe disruption of mesoderm formation. To determine in which germ layer ActRIA functions during gastrulation, we performed reciprocal chimera analyses. (1) Homozygous mutant ES cells injected into wild-type blastocysts were able to contribute to all three definitive germ layers in chimeric embryos. However, a high contribution of mutant ES cells in chimeras disrupted normal development at the early somite stage. (2) Consistent with ActRIA expression in the extraembryonic cells, wild-type ES cells failed to rescue the gastrulation defect in chimeras in which the extraembryonic ectoderm and visceral endoderm were derived from homozygous mutant blastocysts. Furthermore, expression of HNF4, a key visceral endoderm-specific transcription regulatory factor, was significantly reduced in the mutant embryos. Together, our results indicate that ActRIA in extraembryonic cells plays a major role in early gastrulation, whereas ActRIA function is also required in embryonic tissues during later development in mice. (+info)
Identification and characterization of maternally expressed genes with mRNAs that are segregated with the endoplasm of early ascidian embryos.
Endoderm cells of the ascidian embryo are specified autonomously dependent on maternal cytoplasmic information or determinants that are localized in the endoplasm. In the present study, we identified three maternally expressed genes (CsEndo-1, CsEndo-2 and CsEndo-3) by screening a cDNA library of Ciona savignyi fertilized egg mRNAs subtracted with gastrula mRNAs. CsEndo-1 encoded a protein with nuclear localization signals, CsEndo-3 predicted a protein containing both a potential transmembrane domain and the PDZ domain, and CsEndo-2 suggested a protein with no similarity to known proteins. The maternal transcripts of all of these genes were not concentrated during early stages of embryogenesis up to the 8-cell stage, but were concentrated at the endoplasmic region by the 16-cell stage and then segregated later with the endoplasm. At the 110-cell stage, the maternal transcript of CsEndo-1 was evident only in the primordial endoderm cells, while those of CsEndo-2 and CsEndo-3 were found in the primordial endoderm cells as well as the primordial notochord cells. All of the transcripts became barely detectable during gastrulation and neurulation. Later, zygotic expression of the three genes became evident again in the endoderm and notochord cells, suggesting developmental roles in the formation of these types of cell. Although we were not able to deduce their functions, this is the first report of maternal genes with mRNAs that are segregated with the endoplasm of ascidian embryos. (+info)
Posterior fossa epithelial cyst: case report and review of the literature.
A 49-year old woman with progressive cranial nerve signs and hemiparesis was found at MR imaging and at surgery to have a cyst at the foramen magnum. Immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy showed an epithelial cyst of endodermal origin. MR findings were of an extraaxial mass, with short T1 and T2 times. Unless immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy are used in the final diagnosis of such cysts, all posterior fossa cysts lined by a single layer of epithelium should be described simply as epithelial cysts. (+info)