Signaling by Bone morphogenetic proteins (Bmps) has multiple and diverse roles in patterning and morphogenesis of the kidney, eye, limbs and the neural tube. Here, we employed the Bmp7lacZ strain to perform a detailed analysis of Bmp7 expression and the null phenotype during development of the mouse urogenital system. The urethral compartment originates in mid-embryogenesis from the ventral part of the cloaca, a transient cavity at the caudal end of the hindgut. At mid-gestation, Bmp7 expression was detected within several specific domains in the cloacal epithelium and mesenchyme. In late embryogenesis, Bmp7 expression was present in the urethra, rectum, the urethral glands, corpus cavernosum, and in the male and female genital ducts. Importantly, loss of Bmp7 resulted in arrest in cloacal septation, and severe defects in morphogenesis of the genital urethra and mesenchyme. Together, our analysis of Bmp7 expression and the null phenotype, indicates that Bmp7 may play an important role in re-organization of the epithelium during cloacal septation and morphogenesis of the genital tubercle.
Bone morphogenetic protein 7 (Bmp7); urogenital; anorectal; cloaca; rectourethral fistula; genital tubercle; hypospadia
The A2A adenosine receptor (AdR) subtype has emerged as an attractive target in the pursuit of improved therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD). This report focuses on characterization of zebrafish a2 AdRs. By mining the zebrafish EST and genomic sequence databases, we identified two zebrafish a2a (adora2a.1 and adora2a.2) genes and one a2b (adora2b) AdR gene. Sequence comparisons indicate that the predicted zebrafish A2 AdR polypeptides share 62–74% amino acid identity to mammalian A2 AdRs. We mapped the adora2a.1 gene to chromosome 8, the adora2a.2 gene to chromosome 21, and the adora2b gene to chromosome 5. Whole mount in situ hybridization analysis indicates zebrafish a2 AdR genes are expressed primarily within the central nervous system (CNS). Zebrafish are known to be sensitive to 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), a neurotoxin that causes selective loss of dopaminergic neurons and PD-like symptoms in humans as well as in animal models. Here we show that caffeine, an A2A AdR antagonist, is neuroprotective against the adverse effects of MPTP in zebrafish embryos. These results suggest that zebrafish AdRs may serve as useful targets for testing novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of PD.
A2 adenosine receptors; central nervous system; zebrafish; Parkinson’s disease; MPTP; caffeine
The rhesus monkey embryonic stem cell line 366.4 differentiates into serotonin neurons. We examined the genetic cascade during differentiation and compared ESC-derived serotonin neurons to adult monkey serotonin neurons. RNA was extracted from ESC colonies, embryoid bodies (EBs), neurospheres in selection (N1) and proliferation stages (N2), differentiated serotonin neurons (N3) and from laser captured (LC) serotonin neurons of spayed female macaques treated with placebo, estrogen (E), progesterone (P) or E+P. The RNA was labeled and hybridized to Rhesus Monkey Affymetrix Gene Chips (n=1 per stage and 2 per animal treatment). Gene expression was examined with GeneSifter software. 545 genes that were related to developmental processes showed a 3-fold or greater change between stages. TGFβ, Wnt, VEGF and Hedgehog signaling pathways showed the highest percent of probe set changes during differentiation. Genes in the categories (a) homeobox binding and transcription factors, (b) growth factors and receptors, (c) brain and neural specific factors and (d) serotonin specific factors are reported. Pivotal genes were confirmed with quantitative RT-PCR. In the serotonin developmental cascade, FGFR2 was robustly expressed at each stage. GATA3 was robustly expressed in EBs. Sonic hedgehog (Shh), PTCH (Shh-R), and Fev1 transcription factor expression coincided with the induction of serotonin specific marker genes during N1-selection. A majority of the examined genes were expressed in adult serotonin neurons. However, in the ESC-derived neurons, there was significant over-representation of probe sets related to cell cycle, axon guidance & dorso-ventral axis formation. This analysis suggests that the 366.4 cell line possesses cues for serotonin differentiation at early stages of differentiation, but that ESC-derived serotonin neurons are still immature.
embryonic stem cells; development; serotonin; macaques; Affymetrix array; gene expression; dorsal raphe
The objective of this study was to determine the ontogenetic profiles in left and right ventricle of genes implicated in cardiac growth, including mineralocorticoid (MR) and glucocorticoid (GR) receptor, 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD) 1 and 2 and genes of the angiotensin system and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) family. Samples from left and right ventricles (LV, RV) were collected from hearts of sheep fetuses at 80, 100, 120, 130, and 145 days of gestation and from newborn lambs. Quantitative real-time PCR was performed to determine the MR, GR, 11β-HSD 1 and 2, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) 1 and 2, IGF1, IGF2, IGF receptors IGF-1R and IGF-2R, and IGF-binding proteins (IGFBP) 2 and 3. In the LV, MR and GR both decreased toward term. In the RV, MR and GR expression did not decrease, but both 11β-HSD 1 and 2 mRNA levels increased after birth. ACE1 expression in LV and RV sharply increases just before parturition, whereas ACE2 decreased in the LV and RV in late gestation. IGF2, IGF2R, and IGFBP2 expression levels substantially decreased in late gestation in LV and RV; IGF2R also decreased with age in LV. These patterns suggest that reduced expression of genes related to IGF and angiotensin II action occur as proliferative activity declines and terminal differentiation occurs in the late gestation fetal heart.
Heart; Fetus; MR; GR; 11βHSD1; 11βHSD2; IGF1; IGF2; IGF1R; IGF2R; IGFBP2; ACE1; ACE2; AT1R; AT2R; Cortisol; Angiotensin; Angiotensinogen
Muscle development involves the specification and morphogenesis of muscle fibers that attach to tendons. After attachment, muscles and tendons then function as an integrated unit to transduce force to the skeletal system and stabilize joints. The attachment site is the myotendinous junction, or MTJ, and is the primary site of force transmission. We find that attachment of fast-twitch myofibers to the MTJ correlates with the formation of novel microenvironments within the MTJ. The expression or activation of two proteins involved in anchoring the intracellular cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix, Focal adhesion kinase (Fak) and β-dystroglycan is up-regulated. Conversely, the extracellular matrix protein Fibronectin (Fn) is down-regulated. This degradation of Fn as fast-twitch fibers attach to the MTJ results in Fn protein defining a novel microenvironment within the MTJ adjacent to slow-twitch, but not fast-twitch, muscle. Interestingly, however, Fak, laminin, Fn and β-dystroglycan concentrate at the MTJ in mutants that do not have slow-twitch fibers. Taken together, these data elucidate novel and dynamic microenvironments within the MTJ and indicate that MTJ morphogenesis is spatially and temporally complex.
myofiber; morphogenesis; fibronectin; somite; myotendinous junction; MTJ; muscle; Hedgehog; zebrafish; tendon; laminin; Fak
Promoters with high-levels of ubiquitous expression are of significant utility in the production of transgenic animals and cell lines. One such promoter is derived from the human cytomegalovirus immediate early (CMV-IE) gene. We sought to ascertain if the simian CMV-IE promoter (sCMV), used extensively in non-mammalian vertebrate research, also directs intense, widespread expression when stably introduced into zebrafish. Analysis of sCMV-driven expression revealed a temporal and spatial pattern not predicted by studies using the hCMV promoter in other transgenic animals or by observations of early F0 embryos expressing injected sCMV reporter plasmids. Unexpectedly, in transgenic fish produced by both integration of linearized plasmid or Tol2-mediated transgenesis, sCMV promoter expression was generally observed in a small population of cells in telencephalon and spinal cord between days 2-7, and was thereafter confined to discrete regions of CNS that included the olfactory bulb, retina, cerebellum, spinal cord, and lateral line. In skeletal muscle, intense transgene expression was not observed until well into adulthood (>2-3 months post-fertilization). One final unexpected characteristic of the sCMV promoter in stable transgenic fish was tissue-specific responsiveness of the promoter to heat shock at both embryonic and adult stages. These data suggest that, in the context of stable transgenesis, the simian CMV-IE gene promoter responds differently to intracellular regulatory forces than other characterized CMV promoters.
CMV; simian cytomegalovirus; promoter; transgenic; danio rerio; zebrafish; heat shock; periglomerular cells; photoreceptors; pineal; cerebellum; lateral line; skeletal muscle; non-somitic muscle; appendicular muscle; delayed expression; late-onset expression
The hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and supraoptic nucleus (SON) contain neuroendocrine cells that modulate pituitary secretion to maintain homeostasis. These two nuclei have a common developmental origin but they eventually form at locations distant from each other. Little is known about the molecular cues that direct the segregation of PVN and SON. As a means to identify potential factors, we have documented expression patterns of genes with known guidance roles in neural migration. Here, we focus on two groups of ligand/receptor families classified to mediate chemo-repulsion of neurons and their axons: the Slit/Robo and the Semaphorin/Plexin/Neuropilin families. Their dynamic expression patterns within and around the common PVN/SON progenitor as well as the mature PVN and SON may provide a framework for understanding the formation of these two important nuclei.
Lung remodeling requires active collagen deposition and degradation. Urokinase plasminogen activator receptor-associated protein (uPARAP), or Endo 180, is a cell surface receptor for collagens, which leads to collagen internalization and degradation. Thus, uPARAP-mediated collagen degradation is an additional pathway for matrix remodeling in addition to matrix remodeling mediated by matrix metalloproteinases and cathepsins. Using immunohistochemistry, we demonstrate extensive uPARAP expression in the mesenchyme throughout murine lung development. By immunofluorescence, we demonstrate significant overlap of uPARAP expression with collagen IV expression, but minimal overlap with collagen I expression in the developing murine lung. Finally, we compared lung development between wild-type and uPARAP −/− mice, and found no significant histologic differences, indicating the presence of alternative collagen degradation pathways during murine lung development.
lung development; collagen; uPARAP; Endo 180
Unlike mammals, fish have the capacity for functional adult CNS regeneration, which is due, in part, to their ability to express axon growth-related genes in response to nerve injury. One such axon growth-associated gene is gap43, which is expressed during periods of developmental and regenerative axon growth, but is not expressed in CNS neurons that do not regenerate in adult mammals. We previously demonstrated that cis-regulatory elements of gap43 that are sufficient for developmental expression are not sufficient for regenerative expression in the zebrafish. Here we have identified a 3.6 kb genomic sequence from Fugu rubripes that can promote reporter gene expression in the nervous system during both development and regeneration in zebrafish. This compact sequence is advantageous for functional dissection of regions important for axon growth-associated gene expression during development and/or regeneration. In addition, this sequence will also be useful for targeting gene expression to neurons during periods of growth and plasticity.
GAP-43; axon growth; gene expression; neuronal development; regeneration; adult neurogenesis; transgenic zebrafish; fugu; CNS; PNS; GFP; reporter gene
Cl− transport is essential for lung development. Because gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors allow the flow of negatively-charged Cl− ions across the cell membrane, we hypothesized that the expression of ionotropic GABA receptors are regulated in the lungs during development. We identified 17 GABA receptor subunits in the lungs by real-time PCR. These subunits were categorized into 4 groups: Group 1 had high mRNA expression during fetal stages and low in adults; Group 2 had steady expression to adult stages with a slight up-regulation at birth; Group 3 showed an increasing expression from fetal to adult lungs; and Group 4 displayed irregular mRNA fluctuations. The protein levels of selected subunits were also determined by Western blots and some subunits had protein levels that corresponded to mRNA levels. Further studied subunits were primarily localized in epithelial cells in the developing lung with differential mRNA expression between isolated cells and whole lung tissues. Our results add to the knowledge of GABA receptor expression in the lung during development.
lungs; ionotropic GABA receptor; fetal lung development; chloride homeostasis; lung fluid transport; real time PCR; gene expression; alveolar epithelial cells
We have previously reported the isolation and characterization of a novel endothelial-restricted gene, Egfl7, that encodes a secreted protein of about 30-kDa. We and others demonstrated that Egfl7 is highly expressed by endothelial cells during embryonic development and becomes down-regulated in the adult vasculature. In the present paper we show that during mouse embryonic development, Egfl7 is also expressed by primordial germ cells (PGC). Expression is down-regulated when PGCs differentiate into pro-spermatogonia and oogonia, and by 15.5 dpc Egfl7 can no longer be detected in the germ line of both sexes. Notably, Egfl7 is again transiently up-regulated in germ cells of the adult testis. In contrast, expression in the ovary remains limited to the vascular endothelium. Our results provide the first evidence of a non-endothelial expression of EGFL7 and suggest distinctive roles for Egfl7 in vascular development and germ cell differentiation.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are short, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression and have prominent roles during early embryo development and organogenesis. We set out to determine the expression pattern of miRNAs in the developmental model system, Xenopus tropicalis. We made probes to predicted primary miRNA transcripts and performed in situ hybridization. Our data show conserved and novel tissue-specific expression patterns during embryogenesis that suggest functional roles during development.
Xenopus tropicalis; microRNA; miRNA; expression; in situ hybridization
The HMGN proteins are a group of non-histone nuclear proteins that associate with the core nucleosome and alter the structure of the chromatin fiber. We investigated the distribution of the three best characterized HMGN family members, HMGN1, HMGN2 and HMGN3 during mouse eye development. HMGN1 protein is evenly distributed in all ocular structures of 10.5 days post coitum (dpc) mouse embryos however, by 13.5 dpc, relatively less HMGN1 is detected in the newly formed lens fiber cells compared to other cell types. In the adult, HMGN1 is detected throughout the retina and lens, although in the cornea, HMGN1 protein is predominately located in the epithelium. HMGN2 is also abundant in all ocular structures of mouse embryos, however, unlike HMGN1, intense immunolabeling is maintained in the lens fiber cells at 13.5 dpc. In the adult eye, HMGN2 protein is still found in all lens nuclei while in the cornea, HMGN2 protein is mostly restricted to the epithelium. In contrast, the first detection of HMGN3 in the eye is in the presumptive corneal epithelium and lens fiber cells at 13.5 dpc. In the lens, HMGN3 remained lens fiber cell preferred into adulthood. In the cornea, HMGN3 is transiently upregulated in the stroma and endothelium at birth while its expression is restricted to the corneal epithelium in adulthood. In the retina, HMGN3 upregulates around two weeks of age and is found at relatively high levels in the inner nuclear and ganglion cell layers of the adult retina. RT-PCR analysis determined that the predominant HMGN3 splice form found in ocular tissues is HMGN3b which lacks the chromatin unfolding domain although HMGN3a mRNA is also detected. These results demonstrate that the HMGN class of chromatin proteins has a dynamic expression pattern in the developing eye.
The mature nephron forms from a simple epithelial vesicle into an elaborate structure with distinct regions of specialized physiological function. The molecular components driving the process of nephron development are not well understood. To identify genes that may be informative in this process we conducted a transcriptional profiling screen using Wnt4 mutant kidneys. In Wnt4 −/− homozygous mice, condensates and pretubular aggregates are induced, however, epithelial renal vesicles fail to form and subsequent tubulogenesis is blocked. A transcriptional profile comparison between wildtype and Wnt4−/− mutant kidneys at E14.5 was performed using Affymetrix oligonucleotide microarrays to identify nephron-expressed genes. This approach identified 236 genes with expression levels >1.8 fold higher in wildtype versus mutant kidneys, amongst these were a number of known nephron component markers confirming the validity of the screen. These results were further detailed by wholemount in situ hybridization (WISH) of E15.5 urogenital systems (UGS). We annotated the spatial expression pattern of these genes into eight categories of expression. Genes expressed in renal vesicle and their derivatives, structures absent in the mutant, accounted for the largest number of the observed expression patterns. A number of additional genes in areas not directly overlapping the Wnt4 expression domain were also identified including the cap mesenchyme, the collecting duct, and the cortical interstitium. This study provides a useful compendium of molecular markers for the study of nephrogenesis.
nephrogenesis; mesenchymal to epithelial transition; tubulogenesis; kidney development
Transient receptor potential (TRP) genes encode subunits that form cation-selective ion channels in a variety of organisms and cell types. TRP channels serve diverse functions ranging from thermal, tactile, taste, and osmolar sensing to fluid flow sensing. TRPC1 and TRPC6 belong to the TRPC subfamily, members of which are thought to contribute to several cellular events such as regulated migration of neuronal dendrites, contractile responses of smooth muscle cells and maintenance of the structural integrity of kidney podocytes. Pathogenic roles have been suggested for TRPC1 in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and TRPC6 dysfunction was recently linked to proteinuric kidney disease. To explore the potential roles for TRPC channels in zebrafish organ function, we cloned zebrafish trpC1 and trpC6 cDNAs, and investigated their expression during zebrafish development. We detected trpC1 expression in the head, in cells surrounding the outflow tract of the heart, and in the ganglion cells as well as the inner nuclear layer of the eye. trpC6 expression was detected in the head, pectoral fins, aortic endothelial cells, and gastrointestinal smooth muscle cells. Our results point to roles of TRPC channels in several tissues during zebrafish development, and suggest that the zebrafish may be a suitable model system to study the pathophysiology of TRPC1 and TRPC6 in specific cell types.
Transient receptor potential; ion channel; smooth muscle; in situ hybridization
Wnt signalling is one of the fundamental cell communication systems operating in the embryo and the collection of 19 Wnt and 10 Frizzled (Fzd) receptor genes (in mouse and human) represent just part of a complex system to be unravelled. Here we present a spatially comprehensive set of data on the 3D distribution of Wnt and Fzd gene expression patterns at a carefully selected single stage of mouse development. Overviews and selected features of the patterns are presented and the full 3D data set, generated by fully described probes, is available to the research community through the Edinburgh Mouse Atlas of Gene Expression. In addition to being comprehensive, the data set has been generated and recorded in a consistent manner to facilitate comparisons between gene expression patterns with the capacity to generate matching virtual sections from the 3D representations for specific studies. Expression patterns in the left forelimb were selected for more detailed comparative description. In addition to confirming the previously published expression of these genes, our whole embryo and limb bud analyses significantly extend the data in terms of details of the patterns and the addition of previously undetected sites of expression. Our focussed analysis of expression domains in the limb, defined by just two gene families, reveals a surprisingly high degree of spatial complexity and underlines the enormous potential for local cellular interactions that exist within an emerging structure. This work also highlights the use of OPT to generate detailed high-quality, spatially complex expression data that is readily comparable between specimens and can be reviewed and reanalysed as required for specific studies. It represents a core set of data that will be extended with additional stages of development and through addition of potentially interacting genes and ultimately other cross-regulatory communication pathways operating in the embryo.
Wnt; Fzd; OPT; Mouse embryo; 3D expression patterns; Comparative analysis