Erik N Meyers

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (22)202.59 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In order to understand how secreted signals regulate complex morphogenetic events, it is crucial to identify their cellular targets. By conditional inactivation of Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 and overexpression of the FGF antagonist sprouty 2 in different cell types, we have dissected the role of FGF signaling during heart outflow tract development in mouse. Contrary to expectation, cardiac neural crest and endothelial cells are not primary paracrine targets. FGF signaling within second heart field mesoderm is required for remodeling of the outflow tract: when disrupted, outflow myocardium fails to produce extracellular matrix and TGFbeta and BMP signals essential for endothelial cell transformation and invasion of cardiac neural crest. We conclude that an autocrine regulatory loop, initiated by the reception of FGF signals by the mesoderm, regulates correct morphogenesis at the arterial pole of the heart. These findings provide new insight into how FGF signaling regulates context-dependent cellular responses during development.
    Development 12/2008; 135(21):3599-610. DOI:10.1242/dev.025437 · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Septation of the mammalian heart into four chambers requires the orchestration of multiple tissue progenitors. Abnormalities in this process can result in potentially fatal atrioventricular septation defects (AVSD). The contribution of extracardiac cells to atrial septation has recently been recognized. Here, we use a genetic marker and novel magnetic resonance microscopy techniques to demonstrate the origins of the dorsal mesenchymal protrusion in the dorsal mesocardium, and its substantial contribution to atrioventricular septation. We explore the functional significance of this tissue to atrioventricular septation through study of the previously uncharacterized AVSD phenotype of Shh(-/-) mutant mouse embryos. We demonstrate that Shh signaling is required within the dorsal mesocardium for its contribution to the atria. Failure of this addition results in severe AVSD. These studies demonstrate that AVSD can result from a primary defect in dorsal mesocardium, providing a new paradigm for the understanding of human AVSD.
    Development 06/2008; 135(10):1887-95. DOI:10.1242/dev.016147 · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiac outflow tract (OFT) septation is crucial to the formation of the aortic and pulmonary arteries. Defects in the formation of the OFT can result in serious congenital heart defects. Two cell populations, the anterior heart field (AHF) and cardiac neural crest cells (CNCCs), are crucial for OFT development and septation. In this study, we use a series of tissue-specific genetic manipulations to define the crucial role of the Hedgehog pathway in these two fields of cells during OFT development. These data indicate that endodermally-produced SHH ligand is crucial for several distinct processes, all of which are required for normal OFT septation. First, SHH is required for CNCCs to survive and populate the OFT cushions. Second, SHH mediates signaling to myocardial cells derived from the AHF to complete septation after cushion formation. Finally, endodermal SHH signaling is required in an autocrine manner for the survival of the pharyngeal endoderm, which probably produces a secondary signal required for AHF survival and for OFT lengthening. Disruption of any of these steps can result in a single OFT phenotype.
    Development 05/2007; 134(8):1593-604. DOI:10.1242/dev.02824 · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play many roles in mammalian cardiac development. Here we address the functions of Noggin, a dedicated BMP antagonist, in the developing mouse heart. In early cardiac tissues, the Noggin gene is mainly expressed in the myocardial cells of the outflow tract, atrioventricular canal, and future right ventricle. The major heart phenotypes of Noggin mutant embryos are thicker myocardium and larger endocardial cushions. Both defects result from increased cell number. Cell proliferation is increased and cell cycle exit is decreased in the myocardium. Although we find evidence of increased BMP signal transduction in the myocardium and endocardium, we show that the cardiac defects of Noggin mutants are rescued by halving the gene dosage of Bmp4. In culture, BMP increases the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transformation (EMT) of endocardial explant cells. Increased EMT likely accounts for the enlarged atrioventricular cushion. In the outflow tract cushion, we observed an increased contribution of cardiac neural crest cells to the mutant cushion mesenchyme, although many cells of the cushion were not derived from neural crest. Thus the enlarged outflow tract cushion of Noggin mutants likely arises by increased contributions both of endocardial cells that have undergone EMT as well as cells that have migrated from the neural crest. These data indicate that antagonism of BMP signaling by Noggin plays a critical role in ensuring proper levels of cell proliferation and EMT during cardiac morphogenesis in the mouse.
    Circulation Research 03/2007; 100(2):220-8. DOI:10.1161/01.RES.0000257780.60484.6a · 11.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the mouse embryo, the splanchnic mesodermal cells of the anterior heart field (AHF) migrate from the pharynx to contribute to the early myocardium of the outflow tract (OT) and right ventricle (RV). Recent studies have attempted to distinguish the AHF from other precardiac populations, and to determine the genetic and molecular mechanisms that regulate its development. Here, we have used an Fgf8lacZ allele to demonstrate that Fgf8 is expressed within the developing AHF. In addition, we use both a hypomorphic Fgf8 allele (Fgf8neo) and Cre-mediated gene ablation to show that Fgf8 is essential for the survival and proliferation of the AHF. Nkx2.5Cre is expressed in the AHF, primary heart tube and pharyngeal endoderm, while TnT-Cre is expressed only within the specified heart tube myocardium. Deletion of Fgf8 by Nkx2.5Cre results in a significant loss of the Nkx2.5Cre lineage and severe OT and RV truncations by E9.5, while the remaining heart chambers (left ventricle and atria) are grossly normal. These defects result from significant decreases in cell proliferation and aberrant cell death in both the pharyngeal endoderm and splanchnic mesoderm. By contrast, ablation of Fgf8 in the TnT-Cre domain does not result in OT or RV defects, providing strong evidence that Fgf8 expression is crucial in the pharyngeal endoderm and/or overlying splanchnic mesoderm of the AHF at a stage prior to heart tube elongation. Analysis of downstream signaling components, such as phosphorylated-Erk and Pea3, identifies the AHF splanchnic mesoderm itself as a target for Fgf8 signaling.
    Development 07/2006; 133(12):2435-45. DOI:10.1242/dev.02408 · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During kidney morphogenesis, the formation of nephrons begins when mesenchymal nephron progenitor cells aggregate and transform into epithelial vesicles that elongate and assume an S-shape. Cells in different regions of the S-shaped body subsequently differentiate into the morphologically and functionally distinct segments of the mature nephron. Here, we have used an allelic series of mutations to determine the role of the secreted signaling molecule FGF8 in nephrogenesis. In the absence of FGF8 signaling, nephron formation is initiated, but the nascent nephrons do not express Wnt4 or Lim1, and nephrogenesis does not progress to the S-shaped body stage. Furthermore, the nephron progenitor cells that reside in the peripheral zone, the outermost region of the developing kidney, are progressively lost. When FGF8 signaling is severely reduced rather than eliminated, mesenchymal cells differentiate into S-shaped bodies. However, the cells within these structures that normally differentiate into the tubular segments of the mature nephron undergo apoptosis, resulting in the formation of kidneys with severely truncated nephrons consisting of renal corpuscles connected to collecting ducts by an abnormally short tubular segment. Thus, unlike other FGF family members, which regulate growth and branching morphogenesis of the collecting duct system, Fgf8 encodes a factor essential for gene regulation and cell survival at distinct steps in nephrogenesis.
    Development 10/2005; 132(17):3847-57. DOI:10.1242/dev.01944 · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    Noah A Byrd, Erik N Meyers
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    ABSTRACT: Several syndromes characterized by defects in cardiovascular and craniofacial development are associated with a hemizygous deletion of chromosome 22q11 in humans and involve defects in pharyngeal arch and neural crest cell development. Recent efforts have focused on identifying 22q11 deletion syndrome modifying loci. In this study, we show that mouse embryos deficient for Gbx2 display aberrant neural crest cell patterning and defects in pharyngeal arch-derived structures. Gbx2(-/-) embryos exhibit cardiovascular defects associated with aberrant development of the fourth pharyngeal arch arteries including interrupted aortic arch type B, right aortic arch, and retroesophageal right subclavian artery. Other developmental abnormalities include overriding aorta, ventricular septal defects, cranial nerve, and craniofacial skeletal patterning defects. Recently, Fgf8 has been proposed as a candidate modifier for 22q11 deletion syndromes. Here, we demonstrate that Fgf8 and Gbx2 expression overlaps in regions of the developing pharyngeal arches and that they interact genetically during pharyngeal arch and cardiovascular development.
    Developmental Biology 09/2005; 284(1):233-45. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.05.023 · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Hedgehog signaling pathway is critical for a significant number of developmental patterning events. In this study, we focus on the defects in pharyngeal arch and cardiovascular patterning present in Sonic hedgehog (Shh) null mouse embryos. Our data indicate that, in the absence of Shh, there is general failure of the pharyngeal arch development leading to cardiac and craniofacial defects. The cardiac phenotype results from arch artery and outflow tract patterning defects, as well as abnormal development of migratory neural crest cells (NCCs). The constellation of cardiovascular defects resembles a severe form of the human birth defect syndrome tetralogy of Fallot with complete pulmonary artery atresia. Previous studies have demonstrated a role for Shh in NCC survival and proliferation at later stages of development. Our data suggest that SHH signaling does not act directly on NCCs as a survival factor, but rather acts to restrict the domains that NCCs can populate during early stages (e8.5-10.5) of cardiovascular and craniofacial development.
    Developmental Biology 08/2005; 283(2):357-72. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.04.029 · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mouse gene Zfp36L1 encodes zinc finger protein 36-like 1 (Zfp36L1), a member of the tristetraprolin (TTP) family of tandem CCCH finger proteins. TTP can bind to AU-rich elements within the 3'-untranslated regions of the mRNAs encoding tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), leading to accelerated mRNA degradation. TTP knockout mice exhibit an inflammatory phenotype that is largely due to increased TNF secretion. Zfp36L1 has activities similar to those of TTP in cellular RNA destabilization assays and in cell-free RNA binding and deadenylation assays, suggesting that it may play roles similar to those of TTP in mammalian physiology. To address this question we disrupted Zfp36L1 in mice. All knockout embryos died in utero, most by approximately embryonic day 11 (E11). Failure of chorioallantoic fusion occurred in about two-thirds of cases. Even when fusion occurred, by E10.5 the affected placentas exhibited decreased cell division and relative atrophy of the trophoblast layers. Although knockout embryos exhibited neural tube abnormalities and increased apoptosis within the neural tube and also generalized runting, these and other findings may have been due to deficient placental function. Embryonic expression of Zfp36L1 at E8.0 was greatest in the allantois, consistent with a potential role in chorioallantoic fusion. Fibroblasts derived from knockout embryos had apparently normal levels of fully polyadenylated compared to deadenylated GM-CSF mRNA and normal rates of turnover of this mRNA species, both sensitive markers of TTP deficiency in cells. We postulate that lack of Zfp36L1 expression during mid-gestation results in the abnormal stabilization of one or more mRNAs whose encoded proteins lead directly or indirectly to abnormal placentation and fetal death.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 08/2004; 24(14):6445-55. DOI:10.1128/MCB.24.14.6445-6455.2004 · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    Developmental Biology 07/2004; 271(1):223-223. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2004.04.002 · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The neural crest is a multipotent, migratory cell population arising from the border of the neural and surface ectoderm. In mouse, the initial migratory neural crest cells occur at the five-somite stage. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), particularly BMP2 and BMP4, have been implicated as regulators of neural crest cell induction, maintenance, migration, differentiation and survival. Mouse has three known BMP2/4 type I receptors, of which Bmpr1a is expressed in the neural tube sufficiently early to be involved in neural crest development from the outset; however, earlier roles in other domains obscure its requirement in the neural crest. We have ablated Bmpr1a specifically in the neural crest, beginning at the five-somite stage. We find that most aspects of neural crest development occur normally; suggesting that BMPRIA is unnecessary for many aspects of early neural crest biology. However, mutant embryos display a shortened cardiac outflow tract with defective septation, a process known to require neural crest cells and to be essential for perinatal viability. Surprisingly, these embryos die in mid-gestation from acute heart failure, with reduced proliferation of ventricular myocardium. The myocardial defect may involve reduced BMP signaling in a novel, minor population of neural crest derivatives in the epicardium, a known source of ventricular myocardial proliferation signals. These results demonstrate that BMP2/4 signaling in mammalian neural crest derivatives is essential for outflow tract development and may regulate a crucial proliferation signal for the ventricular myocardium.
    Development 06/2004; 131(9):2205-18. DOI:10.1242/dev.01086 · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tbx1 has been implicated as a candidate gene responsible for defective pharyngeal arch remodeling in DiGeorge/Velocardiofacial syndrome. Tbx1(+/-) mice mimic aspects of the DiGeorge phenotype with variable penetrance, and null mice display severe pharyngeal hypoplasia. Here, we identify enhancer elements in the Tbx1 gene that are conserved through evolution and mediate tissue-specific expression. We describe the generation of transgenic mice that utilize these enhancer elements to direct Cre recombinase expression in endogenous Tbx1 expression domains. We use these Tbx1-Cre mice to fate map Tbx1-expressing precursors and identify broad regions of mesoderm, including early cardiac mesoderm, which are derived from Tbx1-expressing cells. We test the hypothesis that fibroblast growth factor 8 (Fgf8) functions downstream of Tbx1 by performing tissue-specific inactivation of Fgf8 using Tbx1-Cre mice. Resulting newborn mice display DiGeorge-like congenital cardiovascular defects that involve the outflow tract of the heart. Vascular smooth muscle differentiation in the great vessels is disrupted. This data is consistent with a model in which Tbx1 induces Fgf8 expression in the pharyngeal endoderm, which is subsequently required for normal cardiovascular morphogenesis and smooth muscle differentiation in the aorta and pulmonary artery.
    Developmental Biology 04/2004; 267(1):190-202. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2003.10.024 · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Haploinsufficiency of Tbx1 is likely a major determinant of cardiac and craniofacial birth defects associated with DiGeorge syndrome. Although mice deficient in Tbx1 exhibit pharyngeal and aortic arch defects, the developmental program and mechanisms through which Tbx1 functions are relatively unknown. We identified a single cis-element upstream of Tbx1 that recognized winged helix/forkhead box (Fox)-containing transcription factors and was essential for regulation of Tbx1 transcription in the pharyngeal endoderm and head mesenchyme. The Tbx1 regulatory region was responsive to signaling by Sonic hedgehog (Shh) in vivo. We show that Shh is necessary for aortic arch development, similar to Tbx1, and is also required for expression of Foxa2 and Foxc2 in the pharyngeal endoderm and head mesenchyme, respectively. Foxa2, Foxc1, or Foxc2 could bind and activate transcription through the critical cis-element upstream of Tbx1, and Foxc proteins were required, within their expression domains, for Tbx1 transcription in vivo. We propose that Tbx1 is a direct transcriptional target of Fox proteins and that Fox proteins may serve an intermediary role in Shh regulation of Tbx1.
    Genes & Development 02/2003; 17(2):269-81. DOI:10.1101/gad.1048903 · 12.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tbx1 haploinsufficiency causes aortic arch abnormalities in mice because of early growth and remodeling defects of the fourth pharyngeal arch arteries. The function of Tbx1 in the development of these arteries is probably cell non-autonomous, as the gene is not expressed in structural components of the artery but in the surrounding pharyngeal endoderm. We hypothesized that Tbx1 may trigger signals from the pharyngeal endoderm directed to the underlying mesenchyme. We show that the expression patterns of Fgf8 and Fgf10, which partially overlap with Tbx1 expression pattern, are altered in Tbx1(-/-) mutants. In particular, Fgf8 expression is abolished in the pharyngeal endoderm. To understand the significance of this finding for the pathogenesis of the mutant Tbx1 phenotype, we crossed Tbx1 and Fgf8 mutants. Double heterozygous Tbx1(+/-);Fgf8(+/-) mutants present with a significantly higher penetrance of aortic arch artery defects than do Tbx1(+/-);Fgf8(+/+) mutants, while Tbx1(+/+);Fgf8(+/-) animals are normal. We found that Fgf8 mutation increases the severity of the primary defect caused by Tbx1 haploinsufficiency, i.e. early hypoplasia of the fourth pharyngeal arch arteries, consistent with the time and location of the shared expression domain of the two genes. Hence, Tbx1 and Fgf8 interact genetically in the development of the aortic arch. Our data provide the first evidence of a genetic link between Tbx1 and FGF signaling, and the first example of a modifier of the Tbx1 haploinsufficiency phenotype. We speculate that the FGF8 locus might affect the penetrance of cardiovascular defects in individuals with chromosome 22q11 deletions involving TBX1.
    Development 11/2002; 129(19):4605-11. · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present here an analysis of cardiovascular and pharyngeal arch development in mouse embryos hypomorphic for Fgf8. Previously, we have described the generation of Fgf8 compound heterozygous (Fgf8(neo/-)) embryos. Although early analysis demonstrated that some of these embryos have abnormal left-right (LR) axis specification and cardiac looping reversals, the number and type of cardiac defects present at term suggested an additional role for Fgf8 in cardiovascular development. Most Fgf8(neo/-) mutant embryos survive to term with abnormal cardiovascular patterning, including outflow tract, arch artery and intracardiac defects. In addition, these mutants have hypoplastic pharyngeal arches, small or absent thymus and abnormal craniofacial development. Neural crest cells (NCCs) populate the pharyngeal arches and contribute to many structures of the face, neck and cardiovascular system, suggesting that Fgf8 may be required for NCC development. Fgf8 is expressed within the developing pharyngeal arch ectoderm and endoderm during NCC migration through the arches. Analysis of NCC development in Fgf8(neo/-) mutant embryos demonstrates that NCCs are specified and migrate, but undergo cell death in areas both adjacent and distal to where Fgf8 is normally expressed. This study defines the cardiovascular defects present in Fgf8 mutants and supports a role for Fgf8 in development of all the pharyngeal arches and in NCC survival.
    Development 11/2002; 129(19):4613-25. · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Development of the vertebrate limb bud depends on reciprocal interactions between the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA) and the apical ectodermal ridge (AER). Sonic hedgehog (SHH) and fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are key signalling molecules produced in the ZPA and AER, respectively. Experiments in chicks suggested that SHH expression in the ZPA is maintained by FGF4 expression in the AER, and vice versa, providing a molecular mechanism for coordinating the activities of these two signalling centres. This SHH/FGF4 feedback loop model is supported by genetic evidence showing that Fgf4 expression is not maintained in Shh-/- mouse limbs. We report here that Shh expression is maintained and limb formation is normal when Fgf4 is inactivated in mouse limbs, thus contradicting the model. We also found that maintenance of Fgf9 and Fgf17 expression is dependent on Shh, whereas Fgf8 expression is not. We discuss a model in which no individual Fgf expressed in the AER (AER-Fgf) is solely necessary to maintain Shh expression, but, instead, the combined activities of two or more AER-Fgfs function in a positive feedback loop with Shh to control limb development.
    Nature Genetics 06/2000; 25(1):83-6. DOI:10.1038/75644 · 29.65 Impact Factor
  • E N Meyers, G R Martin
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    ABSTRACT: A molecular pathway leading to left-right asymmetry in the chick embryo has been described, in which FGF8 is a right determinant and Sonic Hedgehog a left determinant. Here evidence is presented that the Fgf8 and Sonic Hedgehog genes are required for left-right axis determination in the mouse embryo, but that they have different functions from those previously reported in the chick. In the mouse FGF8 is a left determinant and Sonic Hedgehog is required to prevent left determinants from being expressed on the right.
    Science 08/1999; 285(5426):403-6. DOI:10.1126/science.285.5426.403 · 31.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fgf8 and Fgf4 encode FGF family members that are coexpressed in the primitive streak of the gastrulating mouse embryo. We have analyzed the phenotype of Fgf8−/− embryos and discovered that they fail to express Fgf4 in the streak. In the absence of both FGF8 and FGF4, epiblast cells move into the streak and undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, but most cells then fail to move away from the streak. As a consequence, no embryonic mesoderm- or endoderm-derived tissues develop, although extraembryonic tissues form. Patterning of the prospective neuroectoderm is greatly perturbed in the mutant embryos. Anterior neuroectoderm markers are widely expressed, at least in part because the anterior visceral endoderm, which provides signals that regulate their expression, is not displaced proximally in the absence of definitive endoderm. Posterior neuroectoderm markers are not expressed, presumably because there is neither mesendoderm underlying the prospective neuroectoderm nor a morphologically normal node to provide the inductive signals necessary for their expression. This study identifies Fgf8 as a gene essential for gastrulation and shows that signaling via FGF8 and/or FGF4 is required for cell migration away from the primitive streak.
    Genes & Development 08/1999; DOI:10.1101/gad.13.14.1834 · 12.64 Impact Factor
  • Erik N Meyers, Gail R Martin
    Pediatric Research 04/1999; 45. DOI:10.1203/00006450-199904020-00343 · 2.84 Impact Factor
  • Erik N. Meyers, Mark Lewandoski, Gail R. Martin
    Pediatric Research 04/1998; 43. DOI:10.1203/00006450-199804001-00307 · 2.84 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
202.59 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2003–2008
    • Duke University
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2002–2008
    • Duke University Medical Center
      • Department of Pediatrics
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 1997–2005
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • • Division of Hospital Medicine
      • • Department of Anatomy
      San Francisco, CA, United States