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Early kidney development in mammals is characterized by reciprocal tissue interaction between the ureteric bud and the metanephric mesenchyme. The coordinated response to this interaction is regulated largely at the transcriptional level. Here, we investigate the expression and function of Cited1, a transcriptional cofactor that we have previously implicated in kidney development. We show that Cited1 is expressed in the metanephric mesenchyme after invasion of the ureteric bud and that its expression is limited to the cap mesenchyme, those cells that aggregate most tightly around the tip of the ureteric bud and give rise to nephronic epithelium of the adult kidney. Cited1 is down-regulated during the initial stages of epithelial conversion and is not expressed past this progenitor stage. Despite its unique expression pattern, deletion of Cited1 does not disrupt kidney development. We hypothesized that this finding was due to functional redundancy with other members of this gene family. The expression pattern of Cited2 overlaps that of Cited1, but its deletion, either alone or in combination with Cited1, does not disrupt epithelial differentiation of the metanephric mesenchyme. From these studies, we conclude that Cited1 and 2 are dynamically expressed during kidney development, but are not required for nephrogenesis.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
The Nodal and Nodal-related morphogens are utilized for the specification of distinct cellular identity throughout development by activating discrete target genes in a concentration-dependant manner. Lefty is a principal extracellular antagonist involved in the spatiotemporal regulation of the Nodal morphogen gradient during mesendoderm induction. The Xenopus Lefty proprotein contains a single N-linked glycosylation motif in the mature domain and two potential cleavage sites that would be expected to produce long (Xlefty(L)) and short (Xlefty(S)) isoforms. Here we demonstrate that both isoforms were secreted from Xenopus oocytes, but that Xlefty(L) is the only isoform detected when embryonic tissue was analyzed. In mesoderm induction assays, Xlefty(L) is the functional blocker of Xnr signaling. When secreted from oocytes, vertebrate Lefty molecules were N-linked glycosylated. However, glycan addition was not required to inhibit Xnr signaling and did not influence its movement through the extracellular space. These findings demonstrate that Lefty molecules undergo post-translational modifications and that some of these modifications are required for the Nodal inhibitory function.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Induction and patterning of the mesodermal germ layer is a key early step of vertebrate embryogenesis. We report that FoxD3 function in the Xenopus gastrula is essential for dorsal mesodermal development and for Nodal expression in the Spemann organizer. In embryos and explants, FoxD3 induced mesodermal genes, convergent extension movements and differentiation of axial tissues. Engrailed-FoxD3, but not VP16-FoxD3, was identical to native FoxD3 in mesoderm-inducing activity, indicating that FoxD3 functions as a transcriptional repressor to induce mesoderm. Antagonism of FoxD3 with VP16-FoxD3 or morpholino-knockdown of FoxD3 protein resulted in a complete block to axis formation, a loss of mesodermal gene expression, and an absence of axial mesoderm, indicating that transcriptional repression by FoxD3 is required for mesodermal development. FoxD3 induced mesoderm in a non-cell-autonomous manner, indicating a role for secreted inducing factors in the response to FoxD3. Consistent with this mechanism, FoxD3 was necessary and sufficient for the expression of multiple Nodal-related genes, and inhibitors of Nodal signaling blocked mesoderm induction by FoxD3. Therefore, FoxD3 is required for Nodal expression in the Spemann organizer and this function is essential for dorsal mesoderm formation.
Most internal organs are situated in a coelomic cavity and are covered by a mesothelium. During heart development, epicardial cells (a mesothelium) move to and over the heart, undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and subsequently differentiate into endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells. This is thought to be a unique process in blood vessel formation. Still, structural and developmental similarities between the heart and gut led us to test the hypothesis that a conserved or related mechanism may regulate blood vessel development to the gut, which, similar to the heart, is housed in a coelomic cavity. By using a combination of molecular genetics, vital dye fate mapping, organ culture and immunohistochemistry, we demonstrate that the serosal mesothelium is the major source of vasculogenic cells in developing mouse gut. Our studies show that the gut is initially devoid of a mesothelium but that serosal mesothelial cells expressing the Wilm's tumor protein (Wt1) move to and over the gut. Subsequently, a subset of these cells undergoes EMT and migrates throughout the gut. Using Wt1-Cre genetic lineage marking of serosal cells and their progeny, we demonstrate that these cells differentiate to smooth muscle of all major blood vessels in the mesenteries and gut. Our data reveal a conserved mechanism in blood vessel formation to coelomic organs, and have major implications for our understanding of vertebrate organogenesis and vascular deficiencies of the gut.
This review on normal and neoplastic growth of the prostate emphasizes the importance of epithelial-mesenchymal/stromal interactions. Accordingly, during prostatic development urogenital sinus mesenchyme (a) specifies prostatic epithelial identity, (b) induces epithelial bud formation, (c) elicits prostatic bud growth and regulates ductal branching, (d) promotes differentiation of a secretory epithelium, and (e) specifies the types of secretory proteins expressed. In reciprocal fashion, prostatic epithelium induces smooth muscle differentiation in the mesenchyme. Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions during development continue postnatally into adulthood as stromal-epithelial interactions which play a homeostatic role and in so doing reciprocally maintain epithelial and stromal differentiation and growth-quiescence. Prostatic carcinogenesis involves perturbation of these reciprocal homeostatic cell-cell interactions. The central role of mesenchyme in prostatic epithelial development has been firmly established through analysis of tissue recombinants composed of androgen-receptor-positive wild-type mesenchyme and androgen-receptor-negative epithelium. These studies revealed that at the very least ductal morphogenesis, epithelial cytodifferentiation, epithelial apoptosis and epithelial proliferation are regulated by stromal and not epithelial androgen receptors. Likewise, progression from non-tumorigenesis to tumorigenesis elicited by testosterone plus estradiol proceeds via paracrine mechanisms. Thus, stromal-epithelial interactions play critical roles in the hormonal, cellular, and molecular regulation of normal and neoplastic prostatic development.
The location and lineage of cells that give rise to endocrine islets during embryogenesis has not been established nor has the origin or identity of adult islet stem cells. We have employed an inducible Cre-ER(TM)-LoxP system to indelibly mark the progeny of cells expressing either Ngn3 or Pdx1 at different stages of development. The results provide direct evidence that NGN3+ cells are islet progenitors during embryogenesis and in adult mice. In addition, we find that cells expressing Pdx1 give rise to all three types of pancreatic tissue: exocrine, endocrine and duct. Furthermore, exocrine and endocrine cells are derived from Pdx1-expressing progenitors throughout embryogenesis. By contrast, the pancreatic duct arises from PDX1+ progenitors that are set aside around embryonic day 10.5 (E9.5-E11.5). These findings suggest that lineages for exocrine, endocrine islet and duct progenitors are committed at mid-gestation.
The neural crest is a migratory cell population that gives rise to multiple cell types in the vertebrate embryo. The intrinsic determinants that segregate neural crest cells from multipotential dorsal progenitors within the neural tube are poorly defined. In this study, we show that the winged helix transcription factor Foxd3 is expressed in both premigratory and migratory neural crest cells. Foxd3 is genetically downstream of Pax3 and is not expressed in regions of Pax3 mutant mice that lack neural crest, implying that Foxd3 may regulate aspects of the neural crest differentiation program. We show that misexpression of Foxd3 in the chick neural tube promotes a neural crest-like phenotype and suppresses interneuron differentiation. Cells that ectopically express Foxd3 upregulate HNK1 and Cad7, delaminate and emigrate from the neural tube at multiple dorsoventral levels. Foxd3 does not induce Slug and RhoB, nor is its ability to promote a neural crest-like phenotype enhanced by co-expression of Slug. Together these results suggest Foxd3 can function independently of Slug and RhoB to promote the development of neural crest cells from neural tube progenitors.
The dorsal ectoderm of the vertebrate gastrula was proposed by Nieuwkoop to be specified towards an anterior neural fate by an activation signal, with its subsequent regionalization along the anteroposterior (AP) axis regulated by a graded transforming activity, leading to a properly patterned forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain and spinal cord. The activation phase involves inhibition of BMP signals by dorsal antagonists, but the later caudalization process is much more poorly characterized. Explant and overexpression studies in chick, Xenopus, mouse and zebrafish implicate lateral/paraxial mesoderm in supplying the transforming influence, which is largely speculated to be a Wnt family member. We have analyzed the requirement for the specific ventrolaterally expressed Wnt8 ligand in the posteriorization of neural tissue in zebrafish wild-type and Nodal-deficient embryos (Antivin overexpressing or cyclops;squint double mutants), which show extensive AP brain patterning in the absence of dorsal mesoderm. In different genetic situations that vary the extent of mesodermal precursor formation, the presence of lateral wnt8-expressing cells correlates with the establishment of AP brain pattern. Cell tracing experiments show that the neuroectoderm of Nodal-deficient embryos undergoes a rapid anterior-to-posterior transformation in vivo during a short period at the end of the gastrula stage. Moreover, in both wild-type and Nodal-deficient embryos, inactivation of Wnt8 function by morpholino (MO(wnt8)) translational interference dose-dependently abrogates formation of spinal cord and posterior brain fates, without blocking ventrolateral mesoderm formation. MO(wnt8) also suppresses the forebrain deficiency in bozozok mutants, in which inactivation of a homeobox gene causes ectopic wnt8 expression. In addition, the bozozok forebrain reduction is suppressed in bozozok;squint;cyclops triple mutants, and is associated with reduced wnt8 expression, as seen in cyclops;squint mutants. Hence, whereas boz and Nodal signaling largely cooperate in gastrula organizer formation, they have opposing roles in regulating wnt8 expression and forebrain specification. Our findings provide strong support for a model of neural transformation in which a planar gastrula-stage Wnt8 signal, promoted by Nodal signaling and dorsally limited by Bozozok, acts on anterior neuroectoderm from the lateral mesoderm to produce the AP regional patterning of the CNS.
Mutations in WNT effector genes perturb hair follicle morphogenesis, suggesting key roles for WNT proteins in this process. We show that expression of Wnts 10b and 10a is upregulated in placodes at the onset of follicle morphogenesis and in postnatal hair follicles beginning a new cycle of hair growth. The expression of additional Wnt genes is observed in follicles at later stages of differentiation. Among these, we find that Wnt5a is expressed in the developing dermal condensate of wild type but not Sonic hedgehog (Shh)-null embryos, indicating that Wnt5a is a target of SHH in hair follicle morphogenesis. These results identify candidates for several key follicular signals and suggest that WNT and SHH signaling pathways interact to regulate hair follicle morphogenesis.