cDermo-1 misexpression induces dense dermis, feathers, and scales.
ABSTRACT Reciprocal epithelio-mesenchymal interactions between the prospective epidermis and the underlying dermis are the major driving forces in the development of skin appendages. Feather development is initiated by a still unknown signal from the dermis in feather-forming skin. The morphological response of the ectoderm to this signal is the formation of an epidermal placode, which signals back to the mesenchyme to induce dermal condensations. Together, epidermal and dermal components constitute the outgrowing feather bud. The bHLH transcription factor cDermo-1 is expressed in developing dermis and is the earliest known marker of prospective feather tracts. To test its function during feather development, we forced cDermo-1 expression in embryonic chicken dermis using a retroviral expression vector. In featherless (apteric) regions, cDermo-1 misexpression induced dense, thickened dermis normally observed in feathered skin (pterylae), and leads to the development of regularly spaced and normally shaped ectopic feather buds. In pterylae, cDermo-1 misexpression enhanced feather growth. In hindlimb skin, according to the local skin identity, misexpression of cDermo-1 induced ectopic scale formation. Thus, we show that forced cDermo-1 expression in developing dermis is sufficient to launch the developmental program leading to skin appendage formation. We propose a role of cDermo-1 at the initial stages of feather induction upstream of FGF10.
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ABSTRACT: Vertebrate and invertebrate nervous tissue is derived from early embryonic ectoderm, which also gives rise to epidermal derivatives such as skin. Proneural basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors are the key players in the formation of peripheral nervous system (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS) from naïve ectoderm to differentiated postmitotic neurons. The com-
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ABSTRACT: The embryonic origin of the dermis in vertebrates can be traced back to the dermomyotome of the somites, the lateral plate mesoderm and the neural crest. The dermal precursors directly overlying the neural tube display a unique dense arrangement and are the first to induce skin appendage formation in vertebrate embryos. These dermal precursor cells have been shown to derive from the dorsomedial lip of the dermomyotome (DML). Based on its expression pattern in the DML, Wnt11 is a candidate regulator of dorsal dermis formation. Using EGFP-based cell labelling and time-lapse imaging, we show that the Wnt11 expressing DML is the source of the dense dorsal dermis. Loss-of-function studies in chicken embryos show that Wnt11 is indeed essential for the formation of dense dermis competent to support cutaneous appendage formation. Our findings show that dermogenic progenitors cannot leave the DML to form dense dorsal dermis following Wnt11 silencing. No alterations were noticeable in the patterning or in the epithelial state of the dermomyotome including the DML. Furthermore, we show that Wnt11 expression is regulated in a manner similar to the previously described early dermal marker cDermo-1. The analysis of Wnt11 mutant mice exhibits an underdeveloped dorsal dermis and strongly supports our gene silencing data in chicken embryos. We conclude that Wnt11 is required for dense dermis and subsequent cutaneous appendage formation, by influencing the cell fate decision of the cells in the DML.PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e92679. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0092679 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The feather is a complex ectodermal organ with hierarchical branching patterns. It provides functions in endothermy, communication, and flight. Studies of feather growth, cycling, and health are of fundamental importance to avian biology and poultry science. In addition, feathers are an excellent model for morphogenesis studies because of their accessibility, and their distinct patterns can be used to assay the roles of specific molecular pathways. Here we review the progress in aspects of development, regeneration, and evolution during the past three decades. We cover the development of feather buds in chicken embryos, regenerative cycling of feather follicle stem cells, formation of barb branching patterns, emergence of intrafeather pigmentation patterns, interplay of hormones and feather growth, and the genetic identification of several feather variants. The discovery of feathered dinosaurs redefines the relationship between feathers and birds. Inspiration from biomaterials and flight research further fuels biomimetic potential of feathers as a multidisciplinary research focal point. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Animal Biosciences Volume 3 is February 15, 2015. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.11/2014; 3(1). DOI:10.1146/annurev-animal-022513-114127