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(1/687) Telomere loss in somatic cells of Drosophila causes cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.

Checkpoint mechanisms that respond to DNA damage in the mitotic cell cycle are necessary to maintain the fidelity of chromosome transmission. These mechanisms must be able to distinguish the normal telomeres of linear chromosomes from double-strand break damage. However, on several occasions, Drosophila chromosomes that lack their normal telomeric DNA have been recovered, raising the issue of whether Drosophila is able to distinguish telomeric termini from nontelomeric breaks. We used site-specific recombination on a dispensable chromosome to induce the formation of a dicentric chromosome and an acentric, telomere-bearing, chromosome fragment in somatic cells of Drosophila melanogaster. The acentric fragment is lost when cells divide and the dicentric breaks, transmitting a chromosome that has lost a telomere to each daughter cell. In the eye imaginal disc, cells with a newly broken chromosome initially experience mitotic arrest and then undergo apoptosis when cells are induced to divide as the eye differentiates. Therefore, Drosophila cells can detect and respond to a single broken chromosome. It follows that transmissible chromosomes lacking normal telomeric DNA nonetheless must possess functional telomeres. We conclude that Drosophila telomeres can be established and maintained by a mechanism that does not rely on the terminal DNA sequence.  (+info)

(2/687) Townes-Brocks syndrome.

Townes-Brocks syndrome (TBS) is an autosomal dominant disorder with multiple malformations and variable expression. Major findings include external ear anomalies, hearing loss, preaxial polydactyly and triphalangeal thumbs, imperforate anus, and renal malformations. Most patients with Townes-Brocks syndrome have normal intelligence, although mental retardation has been noted in a few.  (+info)

(3/687) Microdeletion 22q11 and oesophageal atresia.

Oesophageal atresia (OA) is a congenital defect associated with additional malformations in 30-70% of the cases. In particular, OA is a component of the VACTERL association. Since some major features of the VACTERL association, including conotruncal heart defect, radial aplasia, and anal atresia, have been found in patients with microdeletion 22q11.2 (del(22q11.2)), we have screened for del(22q11.2) by fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH) in 15 syndromic patients with OA. Del(22q11.2) was detected in one of them, presenting with OA, tetralogy of Fallot, anal atresia, neonatal hypocalcaemia, and subtle facial anomalies resembling those of velocardiofacial syndrome. The occurrence of del(22q11.2) in our series of patients with OA is low (1/15), but this chromosomal anomaly should be included among causative factors of malformation complexes with OA. In addition, clinical variability of del(22q11.2) syndrome is further corroborated with inclusion of OA in the list of the findings associated with the deletion.  (+info)

(4/687) A mutation in the RIEG1 gene associated with Peters' anomaly.

Mutations within the RIEG1 homeobox gene on chromosome 4q25 have previously been reported in association with Rieger syndrome. We report a 3' splice site mutation within the 3rd intron of the RIEG1 gene which is associated with unilateral Peters' anomaly. The mutation is a single base substition of A to T at the invariant -2 site of the 3' splice site. Peters' anomaly, which is characterised by ocular anterior segment dysgenesis and central corneal opacification, is distinct from Rieger anomaly. This is the first description of a RIEG1 mutation associated with Peters' anomaly.  (+info)

(5/687) Ectopic bone morphogenetic proteins 5 and 4 in the chicken forebrain lead to cyclopia and holoprosencephaly.

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)

(6/687) Pleiotropic skeletal and ocular phenotypes of the mouse mutation congenital hydrocephalus (ch/Mf1) arise from a winged helix/forkhead transcriptionfactor gene.

Congenital hydrocephalus is an etiologically diverse, poorly understood, but relatively common birth defect. Most human cases are sporadic with familial forms showing considerable phenotypic and etiologic heterogeneity. We have studied the autosomal recessive mouse mutation congenital hydrocephalus ( ch ) to identify candidate human hydrocephalus genes and their modifiers. ch mice have a congenital, lethal hydrocephalus in association with multiple developmental defects, notably skeletal defects, in tissues derived from the cephalic neural crest. We utilized positional cloning methods to map ch in the vicinity of D13Mit294 and confirm that the ch phenotype is caused by homozygosity for a nonsense mutation in a gene encoding a winged helix/forkhead transcription factor ( Mf1 ). Based on linked genetic markers, we performed detailed phenotypic characterization of mutant homozygotes and heterozygotes to demonstrate the pleiotropic effects of the mutant gene. Surprisingly, ch heterozygotes have the glaucoma-related distinct phenotype of multiple anterior segment defects resembling Axenfeld-Rieger anomaly. We also localized a second member of this gene family ( Hfh1 ), a candidate for other developmental defects, approximately 470 kb proximal to Mf1.  (+info)

(7/687) Sprouty, an intracellular inhibitor of Ras signaling.

Sprouty was identified in a genetic screen as an inhibitor of Drosophila EGF receptor signaling. The Egfr triggers cell recruitment in the eye, and sprouty- eyes have excess photoreceptors, cone cells, and pigment cells. Sprouty's function is, however, more widespread. We show that it also interacts genetically with the receptor tyrosine kinases Torso and Sevenless, and it was first discovered through its effect on FGF receptor signaling. In contrast to an earlier proposal that Sprouty is extracellular, we show by biochemical analysis that Sprouty is an intracellular protein, associated with the inner surface of the plasma membrane. Sprouty binds to two intracellular components of the Ras pathway, Drk and Gap1. Our results indicate that Sprouty is a widespread inhibitor of Ras pathway signal transduction.  (+info)

(8/687) wing blister, a new Drosophila laminin alpha chain required for cell adhesion and migration during embryonic and imaginal development.

We report the molecular and functional characterization of a new alpha chain of laminin in Drosophila. The new laminin chain appears to be the Drosophila counterpart of both vertebrate alpha2 (also called merosin) and alpha1 chains, with a slightly higher degree of homology to alpha2, suggesting that this chain is an ancestral version of both alpha1 and alpha2 chains. During embryogenesis, the protein is associated with basement membranes of the digestive system and muscle attachment sites, and during larval stage it is found in a specific pattern in wing and eye discs. The gene is assigned to a locus called wing blister (wb), which is essential for embryonic viability. Embryonic phenotypes include twisted germbands and fewer pericardial cells, resulting in gaps in the presumptive heart and tracheal trunks, and myotubes detached from their target muscle attachment sites. Most phenotypes are in common with those observed in Drosophila laminin alpha3, 5 mutant embryos and many are in common with those observed in integrin mutations. Adult phenotypes show blisters in the wings in viable allelic combinations, similar to phenotypes observed in integrin genes. Mutation analysis in the eye demonstrates a function in rhabdomere organization. In summary, this new laminin alpha chain is essential for embryonic viability and is involved in processes requiring cell migration and cell adhesion.  (+info)