The Twirler mutation arose spontaneously and causes inner ear defects in heterozygous and cleft lip and/or cleft palate in homozygous mutant mice, providing a unique animal model for investigating the molecular mechanisms of inner ear and craniofacial development. Here we report the identification of a novel homeobox gene, Iroquois-related homeobox like-1 (Irxl1), from the Twirler locus. Irxl1 encodes a TALE-family homeodomain protein with its homeodomain exhibiting the highest amino acid sequence identity (54%) to those of invertebrate Iroquois and vertebrate Irx subfamily members. The putative Irxl1 protein lacks the Iro-box, a conserved motif in all known members of the Irx subfamily. Searching the databases showed that Irxl1 orthologs exist in Xenopus, chick, and mammals. In situ hybridization analyses of mouse embryos at various developmental stages showed that Irxl1 mRNA is highly expressed in the frontonasal process and palatal mesenchyme during primary and secondary palate development. In addition, Irxl1 mRNA is strongly expressed in mesenchyme surrounding the developing inner ear, in discrete regions of the developing mandible, in the dermamyotome during somite differentiation, and in a subset of muscular structures in late embryonic stages. The developmental expression pattern indicates that Irxl1 is a good candidate gene for the Twirler gene.
cleft lip; cleft palate; craniofacial development; dermamyotome; homeobox; homeodomain; Hox; intervertebral disc; Iroquois; Irx; Irxl1; mandible; palate development; secondary palate; skeletal muscle; somite; TALE; Twirler mutation
The critical contribution of the Notch signaling pathway to vascular morphogenesis has been underscored by loss-of-function studies in mouse and zebrafish. Nonetheless, a comprehensive understanding as to how this signaling system influences the formation of blood vessels at the cellular and molecular level is far from reached. Here, we provide a detailed analysis of the distribution of active Notch1 in relation to its DSL (Delta, Serrate, Lag2) ligands, Jagged1, Delta-like1, and Delta-like4, during progressive stages of vascular morphogenesis and maturation. Important differences in the cellular distribution of Notch ligands were found. Jagged1 (Jag1) was detected in “stalk cells” of the leading vasculature and at arterial branch points, a site where Delta-like4 (Dll4) was clearly absent. Dll4 was the only ligand expressed in “tip cells” at the end of the growing vascular sprouts. It was also present in stalk cells, capillaries, arterial endothelium, and in mural cells of mature arteries in a homogenous manner. Delta-like1 (Dll1) was observed in both arteries and veins of the developing network, but was also excluded from mature arterial branch points. These findings support alternative and distinct roles for Notch ligands during the angiogenic process.
arteries; blood vessels; capillaries; delta-like1; delta-like4; endothelial; jagged1; vascular remodeling; vasculature; veins
The mammalian pancreas develops by the expansion and morphogenesis of the epithelial cells of the foregut endoderm via the sequential activation of transcription factors that direct differentiation into the various pancreatic lineages. Implicit in this growth and differentiation are the temporal and spatial processes of cell migration and three-dimensional organization, which cooperate to form a properly functioning organ. In many organ systems, such as the kidney, heart, and neural crest derivatives, migration and tissue morphogenesis is accomplished by the transient conversion of stationary epithelial cells to migratory mesenchymal-like cells in a process known as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). We report the identification of the expression of the transcription factor Snail2/Slug, a known inducer of EMT and cell movement, in both the endocrine and exocrine cells of the developing mouse pancreas. Snail2 is expressed in Neurogenin3-positive endocrine progenitor cells, and expression is maintained during endocrine cell differentiation where it becomes increasingly restricted to the insulin-producing beta cells and somatostatin-producing delta cells. In the adult pancreas, the expression of Snail2 is maintained at low but detectable levels in all beta cells, indicating a latent role for Snail2 in the mature islet. These findings of Snail2 expression during endocrine pancreas development are relevant to the recent evidence demonstrating the involvement of EMT in the expansion of human islet tissue in vitro. EMT-like events appear to be involved in the development of the mammalian pancreas in vivo.
Snail2; Slug; EMT; Neurogenin3; progenitor; pancreas; endocrine; E-Cadherin; N-Cadherin; PDX1; delamination; migration; insulin; ISL1; TCF2; development
Transient receptor potential channels function in a wide spectrum of tissues and transduce sensory stimuli. The vanilloid (capsaicin) channel TRPV4 is sensitive to osmotic changes and plays a central role in osmoregulatory responses in a variety of organisms. We cloned a zebrafish trpv4 cDNA and assayed its expression during embryogenesis. trpv4 is expressed as maternal mRNA in 4-cell embryos and later zygotic expression is first observed in the forming notochord at the one somite stage. Notochord expression persists to 24 hpf when broad expression in the brain is observed. At 32 hpf trpv4 expression is observed in the endocardium, restricted primarily to the ventricular endothelium. Low level expression of trpv4 is also seen from 32–48 hpf in the pronephric kidney with strongest expression in the most distal nephron segment and in the cloaca. Expression is also observed in lateral line organs starting at 32 hpf, primarily in the hair cells. At 72 hpf, expression of trpv4 in heart, kidney, brain and lateral line organs persists while expression in the notochord is down-regulated.
TRPV4; osm-9; zebrafish; osmosensory; ion channel
Cadherins are cell surface adhesion molecules that play important roles in development of tissues and organs. In this study we analyzed expression pattern of cadherin10, a member of the type II classic cadherin subfamily, in the embryonic zebrafish using in situ hybridization methods. cadherin10 message (cdh10) is first and transiently expressed by the notochord. In the developing nervous system, cdh10 was first detected in a subset of the cranial ganglia, then in restricted brain regions and neural retina. As development proceeds, cdh10 expression domain and/or expression levels increased in the embryonic nervous system. Our results show that cdh10 expression in the zebrafish developing nervous system is both spatially and temporally regulated.
zebrafish; development; cell adhesion molecules; brain; cranial and lateral line ganglia
We show that a 2.6 kb fragment of the muscle myosin heavy-chain gene (Mhc) of Drosophila melanogaster (containing 458 base pairs of upstream sequence, the first exon, the first intron and the beginning of the second exon) drives expression in all muscles. Comparison of the minimal promoter to Mhc genes of ten Drosophila species identified putative regulatory elements in the upstream region and in the first intron. The first intron is required for expression in four small cells of the tergal depressor of the trochanter (jump) muscle and in the indirect flight muscle. The 3′ end of this intron is important for Mhc transcription in embryonic body wall muscle and contains AT–rich elements that are protected from DNase I digestion by nuclear proteins of Drosophila embryos. Sequences responsible for expression in embryonic, adult body wall and adult head muscles are present both within and outside the intron. Elements important for expression in leg muscles and in the large cells of the jump muscle flank the intron. We conclude that multiple transcriptional regulatory elements are responsible for Mhc expression in specific sets of Drosophila muscles.
Drosophila melanogaster; muscle; myosin heavy chain; transcription; enhancer; gene regulation
Cadherin cell adhesion molecules exhibit unique expression patterns during development of the vertebrate central nervous system. In this study we obtained a full-length cDNA of a novel zebrafish cadherin using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and 5′ and 3′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE). The deduced amino acid sequence of this molecule is most similar to the published amino acid sequences of chicken and mammalian cadherin7 (Cdh7), a member of the type II cadherin subfamily. cadherin7 message (cdh7) expression in embryonic zebrafish was studied using in situ hybridization and RT-PCR methods. cdh7 expression begins at about 12 hours post fertilization (hpf) in a small patch in the anterior neural keel, and along the midline of the posterior neural keel. By 24 hpf, cdh7 expression in the brain shows a distinct segmental pattern that reflects the neuromeric organization of the brain, while its expression domain in the spinal cord is continuous, but confined to the middle region of the spinal cord. As development proceeds, cdh7 expression is detected in more regions of the brain, including the major visual structures in the fore- and midbrains, while its expression domain in the hindbrain becomes more restricted, and its expression in the spinal cord becomes undetectable. cdh7 expression becomes reduced in 3-day old embryos. Our results show that cdh7 expression in the zebrafish developing central nervous system is both spatially and temporally regulated.
zebrafish; development; cell adhesion molecules; brain; spinal cord; visual system
Post-translational modification by ubiquitin and ubiquitin-related proteins plays critical roles in protein degradation and in regulation of essential cellular processes. In mammals, transcription grinds to a halt during late spermiogenesis due to compaction of the spermatid genome, which creates a special need for robust post-transcriptional regulation. Here we report the finding of a novel mouse ubiquitin-like protein, UBL4B. Ubl4b is a testis-specific autosomal gene. Ubl4b lacks introns and evidently arose from an X-linked intron-bearing housekeeping gene, Ubl4a, by retroposition during mammalian evolution. While Ubl4a is expressed throughout spermatogenesis, Ubl4b is restricted to post-meiotic germ cells. Ubl4a is highly conserved, but Ubl4b has undergone rapid evolution and may have evolved new functions. Our data suggest that evolution of Ubl4b is not due to meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI). Alternatively, origination of Ubl4b was due to MSCI, but Ubl4b eventually evolved to be restricted to post-meiotic germ cells.
ubiquitin; meiosis; retrogene; MSCI; sex chromosomes; XY body; spermiogenesis; testis; germ cells
Titin proteins play an essential role in maintaining muscle function and structure. Recent work has implicated the involvement of the novex-3 titin isoform in sarcomere restructuring and disease. Unlike avian and mammalian systems, Xenopus laevis myogenesis is characterized by a wave of primary myogenesis followed by apoptosis of the primary muscles and formation of new muscles by secondary myogenesis. We show here that the Xenopus laevis novex-3 titin isoform (Xtn3) is developmentally expressed throughout the somites, heart, and primary muscles of the developing embryo. Downregulation of Xtn3 expression at tadpole stages appears to coincide with the change in myofiber composition from solely embryonic “fast” fiber types to myofibers containing both “fast” and “slow” fiber types. We demonstrate that Xtn3 is expressed early in the presomitic mesoderm and remains expressed in the somites, ventral myoblasts, and developing jaw muscles through late tailbud stage. Furthermore, we show that Xtn3 is expressed in the cardiac primordia prior to linear heart tube formation and remains expressed in the heart until tadpole stage, at which point it is downregulated in the heart except in discrete patches of cardiac cells. Finally, we demonstrate that Xtn3 transcripts are detectable in adult heart and muscle tissues.
Titin; TTN; Novex; Xtn3; Cardiogenesis; Cardiac; Heart; Somite; Muscle; Skeletal muscle; Pharyngeal; Myoblast; Myogenesis; Somitogenesis; Myofibril; Sarcomere; Development; Xenopus
Recently, sequence analyses have identified a large number of opposite strands transcripts in the vertebrate genome. Although the transcripts appear to be spliced and polyadenylated, many of them are predicted to represent noncoding RNAs. High levels of noncoding transcripts of the Six3 opposite strand (Six3OS) were recently identified in the embryonic and postnatal retina of the mouse. In this study, we expanded those initial expression analyses, elucidated in detail the developmental expression profile of mouse Six3OS in the brain and visual system, and compared it with that of Six3. Our results show that Six3OS expression overlaps extensively with that of Six3 and is not altered in Six3-null embryos.
Six3OS; Six3; homeobox; mouse; expression analysis; brain development
Forkhead proteins are involved in gene regulation in a large variety of developmental situations. Several forkhead gene products are expressed in the developing eye and brain. Here we characterize the expression of FoxN4 during Xenopus development. We report that FoxN4 is expressed in the eye from the earliest stages of specification through retinal maturation. FoxN4 is also expressed in the pallium, optic tectum, isthmus, reticular formation, and in cells lining the ventricle of the tadpole brain.