Journal article

Cooperative function of deltaC and her7 in anterior segment formation

Segmentation of paraxial mesoderm in vertebrates is regulated by a genetic oscillator that manifests as a series of wavelike or cyclic gene expression domains in the embryo. In zebrafish, this oscillator involves members of the Delta/Notch intercellular signaling pathway, and its down-stream targets, the Her family of transcriptional repressors. Loss of function of any one of the genes of this system, such as her7, gives rise to segmentation defects in the posterior trunk and tail, concomitant with a disruption of cyclic expression domains, indicating that the oscillator is required for posterior segmentation. Control of segmentation in the anterior trunk, and its relationship to that of the posterior is, however, not yet well understood. A combined loss of the cyclic Her genes her1 and her7 disrupts segmentation of both anterior and posterior paraxial mesoderm, indicating that her genes function redundantly in anterior segmentation. To test whether this anterior redundancy is specific to the her gene family, or alternatively is a more global feature of the segmentation oscillator, we looked at anterior segmentation after morpholino knock down of the cyclic cell-surface Notch ligand deltaC (dlc), either alone or in combination with her7, or other Delta/Notch pathway genes. We find that dlc is required for coherence of wavelike expression domains of cyclic genes her1 and her7 and maintenance of their expression levels, as well as for cyclic transcription of dlc itself, confirming that dlc is a component of the segmentation oscillator. Dose dependent, posteriorly-restricted segmentation defects were seen in the dlc knock down, and in combination with the deltaD or notch1a mutants. However, combined reduction of function of dlc and her7 results in defective segmentation of both anterior and posterior paraxial mesoderm, and a failure of cyclic expression domains to initiate, similar to loss of both her genes. Thus, anterior segmentation requires the functions of both her and delta family members in a parallel manner, suggesting that the segmentation oscillator operates in paraxial mesoderm along the entire vertebrate axis. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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