Epithelial Bmp (Bone morphogenetic protein) signaling for bulbourethral gland development: a mouse model for congenital cystic dilation.
ABSTRACT The bulbourethral gland (BUG) is a male-specific organ, which secretes part of the semen fluid. As the BUG is located in the deep pelvic floor, its developmental process is still unclear. Bone morphogenetic protein (Bmp) signaling plays pivotal roles in various organs. However, the function of Bmp signaling for BUG development is still unclear. The present study aimed to elucidate the role of Bmp signaling in the development of the BUG. We observed the prominent nuclear accumulation of phosphorylated (p) SMAD1/5/8, the downstream molecules of Bmp signaling, during BUG epithelial development. These results suggest that Bmp signaling contributes to BUG development. Bmp receptor1a (Bmpr1a) is known as the major type 1 signal transducer in some organogeneses. To analyze the Bmp signaling function for BUG development, we examined epithelial cell-specific Bmpr1a gene conditional mutant mice utilizing the tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase system. We observed cystic dilation and epithelial hyperplasia of the BUG in the Bmpr1a conditional knockout mice. The mutant cystic BUG specimens also showed inflammatory lesions. These BUG abnormalities resembled some of the BUG malformations observed in human congenital syndromes. The current study suggests that Bmp signaling possesses an essential role in BUG development and homeostasis. This would be the first report showing that the mutation of the Bmpr1a gene in the BUG epithelia phenocopied some abnormalities of human congenital syndromes affecting the BUG duct.
- SourceAvailable from: Gen Yamada[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Sirenomelia, also known as mermaid syndrome, is a developmental malformation of the caudal body characterized by leg fusion and associated anomalies of pelvic/urogenital organs including bladder, kidney, rectum and external genitalia. Most affected infants are stillborn, and the few born alive rarely survive beyond the neonatal period. Despite the many clinical studies of sirenomelia in humans, little is known about the pathogenic developmental mechanisms that cause the complex array of phenotypes observed. Here, we provide new evidences that reduced BMP (Bone Morphogenetic Protein) signaling disrupts caudal body formation in mice and phenocopies sirenomelia. Bmp4 is strongly expressed in the developing caudal body structures including the peri-cloacal region and hindlimb field. In order to address the function of Bmp4 in caudal body formation, we utilized a conditional Bmp4 mouse allele (Bmp4(flox/flox)) and the Isl1 (Islet1)-Cre mouse line. Isl1-Cre is expressed in the peri-cloacal region and the developing hindimb field. Isl1Cre;Bmp4(flox/flox) conditional mutant mice displayed sirenomelia phenotypes including hindlimb fusion and pelvic/urogenital organ dysgenesis. Genetic lineage analyses indicate that Isl1-expressing cells contribute to both the aPCM (anterior Peri-Cloacal Mesenchyme) and the hindlimb bud. We show Bmp4 is essential for the aPCM formation independently with Shh signaling. Furthermore, we show Bmp4 is a major BMP ligand for caudal body formation as shown by compound genetic analyses of Bmp4 and Bmp7. Taken together, this study reveals coordinated development of caudal body structures including pelvic/urogenital organs and hindlimb orchestrated by BMP signaling in Isl1-expressing cells. Our study offers new insights into the pathogenesis of sirenomelia.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e43453. · 3.73 Impact Factor