[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During early vertebrate development, the correct establishment of the body axes is critical. The anterior pole of the mouse embryo is established when Distal Visceral Endoderm (DVE) cells migrate to form the Anterior Visceral Endoderm (AVE). Symmetrical expression of Lefty1, Cer1 and Dkk1 determines the direction of DVE migration and the future anterior side. In addition to the establishment of the Anterior-Posterior axis, the AVE has also been implicated in anterior neural specification. To better understand the role of the AVE in these processes, we have performed a differential screening using Affymetrix GeneChip technology with AVE cells isolated from cer1P-EGFP transgenic mouse embryos. We found 175 genes which were upregulated in the AVE and 36 genes in the Proximal-posterior sample. Using DAVID software, we characterized the AVE cell population regarding cellular component, molecular function and biological processes. Among the genes that were found to be upregulated in the AVE, several novel genes were identified. Four of these transcripts displaying high-fold change in the AVE were further characterized by in situ hybridization in early stages of development in order to validate the screening. From those four selected genes, one, denominated Adtk1, was chosen to be functionally characterized by targeted inactivation in ES cells. Adtk1 encodes for a serine/threonine kinase. Adtk1 null mutants are smaller and present short limbs due to decreased mineralization, suggesting a potential role in chondrogenesis during limb development. Taken together, these data point to the importance of reporting novel genes present in the AVE.
The International journal of developmental biology 05/2011; 55(3):281-95. DOI:10.1387/ijdb.103273lg · 2.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One fundamental aspect of vertebrate embryonic development is the formation of the body plan. For this process, asymmetries have to be generated during early stages of development along the three main body axes: Anterior-Posterior, Dorso-Ventral and Left-Right. We have been studying the role of a novel class of molecules, the Cerberus/Dan gene family. These are dedicated secreted antagonists of three major signaling pathways: Nodal, BMP and Wnt. Our studies contribute to the current view that the fine tuning of signaling is controlled by a set of inhibitory molecules rather than by activators. In this context, the Cerberus-like molecules emerge as key players in the regulation and generation of asymmetries in the early vertebrate embryo.
The International journal of developmental biology 12/2008; 53(8-10):1399-407. DOI:10.1387/ijdb.072297jb · 2.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: N-acetylgalactosamine 4-sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase (GalNAc4S-6ST) is an enzyme which is known to help build up the GlcAbeta1-3GalNAc(4,6-bisSO4) unit of chondroitin sulfate E (CS-E). This enzymatic activity has been reported in squid cartilage and in human serum, but has never been reported as an enzyme required during early mouse development. On the other hand, CS-E has been shown to bind with strong affinity to Midkine (MK). The latter is a heparin-binding growth factor which has been found to play important regulatory roles in differentiation and morphogenesis during mouse embryonic development. We have analyzed the expression pattern of the GalNAc4S-6ST gene during early mouse embryonic development by whole mount in situ hybridization. The results show that GalNAc4S-6ST is differentially expressed in the anterior visceral ectoderm at stage E5.5 and later becomes restricted to the embryonic endoderm, especially in the prospective midgut region. During the turning process, expression of GalNAc4S-6ST gene is detected in the forebrain, branchial arches, across the gut tube (hindgut, midgut and foregut diverticulum), in the vitelline veins and artery and in the splanchnopleure layer. These results open the possibility of a role for GalNAc4S-6ST during early mouse development.
The International Journal of Developmental Biology 02/2006; 50(8):705-8. DOI:10.1387/ijdb.062168as · 2.57 Impact Factor