A developmental timer that regulates apoptosis at the onset of gastrulation.
ABSTRACT Recent work identified an apoptotic program in gastrulation stage Xenopus embryos (Anderson, J.A., Lewellyn, A.L., Maller, J.L., 1997. Mol. Biol. Cell 8, 1195-1206; Stack, J.H., Newport, J.W., 1997. Development 124, 3185-3195). Here, we characterize in detail this maternal cell death program, which is set up at fertilization and abruptly activated at the onset of gastrulation, following DNA damage or treatment of embryos with inhibitors of transcription, translation, or replication, between the time of fertilization and the midblastula transition (MBT). This apoptotic pathway is activated under tightly regulated developmental control(s): if the same treatments are applied after the MBT the apoptotic response is abrogated. Embryos displayed many characteristic apoptotic features, including DNA fragmentation, caspase activation, and embryonic death was blocked in vivo by the ectopic expression of Bcl-2, or injection of the caspase-3 inhibitor z-DEVD-fmk. The precise timing and the execution of this maternal cell death program is set at fertilization and does not depend on the type of stress applied, on cell cycle progression, or on de novo protein synthesis. This maternal developmental program might palliate the lack of cell cycle checkpoints in the pre-MBT embryo.
Article: The F-box protein Cdc4/Fbxw7 is a novel regulator of neural crest development in Xenopus laevis.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The neural crest is a unique population of cells that arise in the vertebrate ectoderm at the neural plate border after which they migrate extensively throughout the embryo, giving rise to a wide range of derivatives. A number of proteins involved in neural crest development have dynamic expression patterns, and it is becoming clear that ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation is partly responsible for this. Here we demonstrate a novel role for the F-box protein Cdc4/Fbxw7 in neural crest development. Two isoforms of Xenopus laevis Cdc4 were identified, and designated xCdc4alpha and xCdc4beta. These are highly conserved with vertebrate Cdc4 orthologs, and the Xenopus proteins are functionally equivalent in terms of their ability to degrade Cyclin E, an established vertebrate Cdc4 target. Blocking xCdc4 function specifically inhibited neural crest development at an early stage, prior to expression of c-Myc, Snail2 and Snail. We demonstrate that Cdc4, an ubiquitin E3 ligase subunit previously identified as targeting primarily cell cycle regulators for proteolysis, has additional roles in control of formation of the neural crest. Hence, we identify Cdc4 as a protein with separable but complementary functions in control of cell proliferation and differentiation.Neural Development 01/2010; 5:1. · 3.70 Impact Factor
Article: Identification, characterization, and effects of Xenopus laevis PNAS-4 gene on embryonic development.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Apoptosis plays an important role in embryonic development. PNAS-4 has been demonstrated to induce apoptosis in several cancer cells. In this study, we cloned Xenopus laevis PNAS-4 (xPNAS-4), which is homologous to the human PNAS-4 gene. Bioinformatics analysis for PNAS-4 indicated that xPNAS-4 shared 87.6% identity with human PNAS-4 and 85.5% with mouse PNAS-4. The phylogenetic tree of PNAS-4 protein was also summarized. An analysis of cellular localization using an EGFP-fused protein demonstrated that xPNAS-4 was localized in the perinuclear region of the cytoplasm. RT-PCR analysis revealed that xPNAS-4, as a maternally expressed gene, was present in all stages of early embryo development. Whole-mount in situ hybridization showed that xPNAS-4 was mainly expressed in ectoderm and mesoderm. Furthermore, microinjection of xPNAS-4 mRNA in vivo caused developmental defects manifesting as a small eye phenotype in the Xenopous embryos, and as a small eye or one-eye phenotype in developing zebrafish embryos. In addition, embryos microinjected with xPNAS-4 antisense morpholino oligonucleotides (MOs) exhibited a failure of head development and shortened axis.Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 01/2010; 2010:134764. · 2.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: EMSY interacts directly with BRCA2 and links the BRCA2 pathway to sporadic breast and ovarian cancer. It also interacts with BS69 and HP1b, both of which are involved in chromatin remodelling, and with NIF-1 and DBC-1 in the regulation of nuclear receptor-mediated transcription. Here we investigate the function of EMSY during amphibian development, and in doing so provide the first loss-of-function analysis of this protein. Injection of Xenopus tropicalis embryos with antisense morpholino oligonucleotides targeting XtEMSY impairs gastrulation movements, disrupts dorsal structures, and kills embryos by tailbud stages. Consistent with these observations, regional markers such as Xbra, Chd, Gsc, Shh, Sox3 and Sox17 are downregulated. In contrast to these regional markers, expression of p53 is upregulated in such embryos, and at later stages Bax expression is elevated and apoptotic cells can be detected. Our results demonstrate that EMSY has an essential role in development and they provide an in vivo loss-of-function model that might be used to explore the biochemical functions of this protein in more detail.New Biotechnology 11/2010; 28(4):334-41. · 2.76 Impact Factor