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author:("zakian, Lise")
1.  Systems control of BMP morphogen flow in vertebrate embryos 
Embryonic morphogenetic programs coordinate cell behavior to ensure robust pattern formation. Having identified components of those programs by molecular genetics, developmental biology is now borrowing concepts and tools from systems biology to decode their regulatory logic. Dorsal-ventral (D-V) patterning of the frog gastrula by Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) is one of the best studied examples of a self-regulating embryonic patterning system. Embryological analyses and mathematical modeling are revealing that the BMP activity gradient is maintained by a directed flow of BMP ligands towards the ventral side. Pattern robustness is ensured through feedback control of the levels of extracellular BMP pathway modulators that adjust the flow to the dimensions of the embryonic field.
doi:10.1016/j.gde.2011.09.001
PMCID: PMC3224208  PMID: 21937218
2.  Crossveinless-2 is required for the relocalization of Chordin protein within the vertebral field in mouse embryos 
Developmental biology  2010;347(1):204-215.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), as well as the BMP-binding molecules Chordin (Chd), Crossveinless-2 (CV2) and Twisted Gastrulation (Tsg), are essential for axial skeletal development in the mouse embryo. We previously reported a strong genetic interaction between CV2 and Tsg and proposed a role for this interaction in the shaping of the BMP morphogenetic field during vertebral development. In the present study we investigated the roles of CV2 and Chd in the formation of the vertebral morphogenetic field. We performed immunostainings for CV2 and Chd protein on wild-type, CV2−/− or Chd−/− mouse embryo sections at the stage of onset of the vertebral phenotypes. By comparing mRNA and protein localizations we found that CV2 does not diffuse away from its place of synthesis, the vertebral body. The most interesting finding of this study was that Chd synthesized in the intervertebral disc accumulates in the vertebral body. This relocalization does not take place in CV2−/− mutants. Instead, Chd was found to accumulate at its site of synthesis in CV2−/− embryos. These results indicate a CV2-dependent flow of Chd protein from the intervertebral disc to the vertebral body. Smad1/5/8 phosphorylation was decreased in CV2−/−vertebral bodies. This impaired BMP signaling may result from the decreased levels of Chd/BMP complexes diffusing from the intervertebral region. The data indicate a role for CV2 and Chd in the establishment of the vertebral morphogenetic field through the long-range relocalization of Chd/BMP complexes. The results may have general implications for the formation of embryonic organ-forming morphogenetic fields.
doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.08.025
PMCID: PMC2975673  PMID: 20807528
BMP signaling; CV2; Chd; Chdl-1; Chdl-2; long-range signaling; morphogenetic field; vertebral development; Tolloid; Twisted gastrulation
3.  Extracellular regulation of BMP signaling 
Current biology : CB  2010;20(3):R89-R92.
doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.11.021
PMCID: PMC3034644  PMID: 20144774
4.  Development of the vertebral morphogenetic field in the mouse: interactions between Crossveinless-2 and Twisted gastrulation 
Developmental biology  2008;323(1):6-18.
Crossveinless-2 (Cv2), Twisted Gastrulation (Tsg) and Chordin (Chd) are components of an extracellular biochemical pathway that regulates Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) activity during dorso-ventral patterning of Drosophila and Xenopus embryos, the formation of the fly wing, and mouse skeletogenesis. Because the nature of their genetic interactions remained untested in the mouse, we generated a null allele for Cv2 which was crossed to Tsg and Chd mutants to obtain Cv2;Tsg and Cv2;Chd compound mutants. We found that Cv2 is essential for skeletogenesis as its mutation caused the loss of multiple bone structures and posterior homeotic transformation of the last thoracic vertebra. During early vertebral development, Smad1 phosphorylation in the intervertebral region was decreased in the Cv2 mutant, even though CV2 protein is normally located in the future vertebral bodies. Because Cv2 mutation affects BMP signaling at a distance, this suggested that CV2 is involved in the localization of the BMP morphogenetic signal. Cv2 and Chd mutations did not interact significantly. However, mutation of Tsg was epistatic to all CV2 phenotypes. We propose a model in which CV2 and Tsg participate in the generation of a BMP signaling morphogenetic field during vertebral formation in which CV2 serves to concentrate diffusible Tsg/BMP4 complexes in the vertebral body cartilage.
doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.08.019
PMCID: PMC2647368  PMID: 18789316
BMP; Crossveinless-2; Chordin; Twisted Gastrulation; Tolloid; vertebra; morphogenetic field; cartilage; pattern formation
5.  Proteolytic cleavage of Chordin as a switch for the dual activities of Twisted gastrulation in BMP signaling 
Development (Cambridge, England)  2001;128(22):4439-4447.
SUMMARY
Dorsoventral patterning is regulated by a system of interacting secreted proteins involving BMP, Chordin, Xolloid and Twisted gastrulation (Tsg). We have analyzed the molecular mechanism by which Tsg regulates BMP signaling. Overexpression of Tsg mRNA in Xenopus embryos has ventralizing effects similar to Xolloid, a metalloprotease that cleaves Chordin. In embryos dorsalized by LiCl treatment, microinjection of Xolloid or Tsg mRNA restores the formation of trunk-tail structures, indicating an increase in BMP signaling. Microinjection of Tsg mRNA leads to the degradation of endogenous Chordin fragments generated by Xolloid. The ventralizing activities of Tsg require an endogenous Xolloid-like activity, as they can be blocked by a dominant-negative Xolloid mutant. A BMP-receptor binding assay revealed that Tsg has two distinct and sequential activities on BMP signaling. First, Tsg makes Chordin a better BMP antagonist by forming a ternary complex that prevents binding of BMP to its cognate receptor. Second, after cleavage of Chordin by Xolloid, Tsg competes the residual anti-BMP activity of Chordin fragments and facilitates their degradation. This molecular pathway, in which Xolloid switches the activity of Tsg from a BMP antagonist to a pro-BMP signal once all endogenous full-length Chordin is degraded, may help explain how sharp borders between embryonic territories are generated.
PMCID: PMC2277371  PMID: 11714670
TGFβ; BMP; Chordin; Tolloid; Twisted gastrulation; Crossveinless; Xenopus

Results 1-5 (5)