[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microinjection has a long and distinguished history in Xenopus and has been used to introduce a surprisingly diverse array of agents into embryos by both intra- and intercellular means. In addition to nuclei, investigators have variously injected peptides, antibodies, biologically active chemicals, lineage markers, mRNA, DNA, morpholinos, and enzymes. While enumerating many of the different microinjection approaches that can be taken, we will focus upon the mechanical operations and options available to introduce mRNA, DNA, and morpholinos intracellularly into early stage embryos for the study of neurogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pitx3 has been identified as the causative locus in a developmental eye mutation associated with mammalian anterior segment dysgenesis, congenital cataracts, and aphakia. In recent studies of frog eye development we discovered that pitx3 expresses symmetrically in the somites and lateral plate mesoderm and asymmetrically during cardiac and gut looping. We report that disruption of pitx3 activity on one side of an embryo relative to the other, either by over- or underexpression of pitx3, elicits a crooked dorsal axis in embryos that is a consequence of a retarded progression through somitogenesis. Unlike in amniotes, Xenopus somites form as cohorts of presomitic cells that rotate perpendicular to the dorsal axis. Since no vertebral anomalies have been reported in mouse and human Pitx3 mutants, we attempt to distinguish whether the segmentation clock is uniquely affected in frog or if the pitx3 perturbation inhibits the cellular changes that are necessary to rotation of presomitic cells. In Xenopus, pitx3 appears to inhibit the rotation of presomitic cell cohorts and to be necessary to the bilaterally symmetric expression of pitx2 in somites.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unexpected phenotypes resulting from morpholino-mediated translational knockdown of Pitx3 in Xenopus laevis required further investigation regarding the genetic networks in which the gene might play a role. Microarray analysis was, therefore, used to assess global transcriptional changes downstream of Pitx3.
From the large data set generated, selected candidate genes were confirmed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ hybridization.
We have identified four genes as likely direct targets of Pitx3 action: Pax6, β Crystallin-b1 (Crybb1), Hes7.1, and Hes4. Four others show equivocal promise worthy of consideration: Vent2, and Ripply2 (aka Ledgerline or Stripy), eFGF and RXRα. We also describe the expression pattern of additional and novel genes that are Pitx3-sensitive but that are unlikely to be direct targets.