[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. · 2.16 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epithelial ureteric bud is critical for mammalian kidney development as it generates the ureter and the collecting duct system that induces nephrogenesis in dicrete locations in the kidney mesenchyme during its emergence. We show that a secreted Bmp antagonist Cerberus homologue (Cer1) fine tunes the organization of the ureteric tree during organogenesis in the mouse embryo. Both enhanced ureteric expression of Cer1 and Cer1 knock out enlarge kidney size, and these changes are associated with an altered three-dimensional structure of the ureteric tree as revealed by optical projection tomography. Enhanced Cer1 expression changes the ureteric bud branching programme so that more trifid and lateral branches rather than bifid ones develop, as seen in time-lapse organ culture. These changes may be the reasons for the modified spatial arrangement of the ureteric tree in the kidneys of Cer1+ embryos. Cer1 gain of function is associated with moderately elevated expression of Gdnf and Wnt11, which is also induced in the case of Cer1 deficiency, where Bmp4 expression is reduced, indicating the dependence of Bmp expression on Cer1. Cer1 binds at least Bmp2/4 and antagonizes Bmp signalling in cell culture. In line with this, supplementation of Bmp4 restored the ureteric bud tip number, which was reduced by Cer1+ to bring it closer to the normal, consistent with models suggesting that Bmp signalling inhibits ureteric bud development. Genetic reduction of Wnt11 inhibited the Cer1-stimulated kidney development, but Cer1 did not influence Wnt11 signalling in cell culture, although it did inhibit the Wnt3a-induced canonical Top Flash reporter to some extent. We conclude that Cer1 fine tunes the spatial organization of the ureteric tree by coordinating the activities of the growth-promoting ureteric bud signals Gndf and Wnt11 via Bmp-mediated antagonism and to some degree via the canonical Wnt signalling involved in branching.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(11):e27676. · 3.73 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. · 2.16 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During early mouse development, the TGFbeta-related protein Nodal specifies the organizing centers that control the formation of the anterior-posterior (A-P) axis. EGF-CFC proteins are important components of the Nodal signaling pathway, most likely by acting as Nodal coreceptors. However, the extent to which Nodal activity depends on EGF-CFC proteins is still debated. Cripto is the earliest EGF-CFC gene expressed during mouse embryogenesis and is involved in both A-P axis orientation and mesoderm formation. To investigate the relation between Cripto and Nodal in the early mouse embryo, we removed the Nodal antagonist Cerberus 1 (Cer1) and simultaneously Cripto, by generating Cer1;Cripto double mouse mutants. We observed that two thirds of the Cer1;Cripto double mutants are rescued in processes that are severely compromised in Cripto(-/-) embryos, namely A-P axis orientation, anterior mesendoderm and posterior neuroectoderm formation. The observed rescue is strongly reduced in Cer1;Cripto;Nodal triple mutants, suggesting that Nodal can signal extensively in the absence of Cripto, if Cer1 is also inhibited. This signaling activity drives A-P axis positioning. Our results provide evidence for the existence of Cripto-independent signaling mechanisms, by which Nodal controls axis specification in the early mouse embryo.
[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. · 2.61 Impact Factor