University of Utah

Publications Available in Pubmed:

Nash D, Arrington CB, Kennedy BJ, Yandell M, Wu W, Zhang W, Ware S, Jorde LB, Gruber PJ, Yost HJ, Bowles NE, Bleyl SB (2015) Shared Segment Analysis and Next-Generation Sequencing Implicates the Retinoic Acid Signaling Pathway in Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR). PLoS One. 2015 Jun 29;10(6):e0131514. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131514. eCollection 2015.

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Most isolated congenital heart defects are thought to be sporadic and are often ascribed to multifactorial mechanisms with poorly understood genetics. Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) occurs in 1 in 15,000 live-born infants and occurs either in isolation or as part of a syndrome involving aberrant left-right development. Previously, we reported causative links between TAVPR and the PDGFRA gene. TAPVR has also been linked to the ANKRD1/CARP genes. However, these genes only explain a small fraction of the heritability of the condition. By examination of phased single nucleotide polymorphism genotype data from 5 distantly related TAPVR patients we identified a single 25 cM shared, Identical by Descent genomic segment on the short arm of chromosome 12 shared by 3 of the patients and their obligate-carrier parents. Whole genome sequence (WGS) analysis identified a non-synonymous variant within the shared segment in the retinol binding protein 5 (RBP5) gene. The RBP5 variant is predicted to be deleterious and is overrepresented in the TAPVR population. Gene expression and functional analysis of the zebrafish orthologue, rbp7, supports the notion that RBP5 is a TAPVR susceptibility gene. Additional sequence analysis also uncovered deleterious variants in genes associated with retinoic acid signaling, including NODAL and retinol dehydrogenase 10. These data indicate that genetic variation in the retinoic acid signaling pathway confers, in part, susceptibility to TAPVR.

Percival SM, Thomas HR, Amsterdam A, Carroll AJ, Lees JA, Yost HJ, Parant JM (2015) Variations in dysfunction of sister chromatid cohesion in esco2 mutant zebrafish reflect the phenotypic diversity of Roberts syndrome. Dis Model Mech. 2015 Aug 1;8(8):941-55. doi: 10.1242/dmm.019059. Epub 2015 Jun 4.

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Mutations in ESCO2, one of two establishment of cohesion factors necessary for proper sister chromatid cohesion (SCC), cause a spectrum of developmental defects in the autosomal-recessive disorder Roberts syndrome (RBS), warranting in vivo analysis of the consequence of cohesion dysfunction. Through a genetic screen in zebrafish targeting embryonic-lethal mutants that have increased genomic instability, we have identified an esco2 mutant zebrafish. Utilizing the natural transparency of zebrafish embryos, we have developed a novel technique to observe chromosome dynamics within a single cell during mitosis in a live vertebrate embryo. Within esco2 mutant embryos, we observed premature chromatid separation, a unique chromosome scattering, prolonged mitotic delay, and genomic instability in the form of anaphase bridges and micronuclei formation. Cytogenetic studies indicated complete chromatid separation and high levels of aneuploidy within mutant embryos. Amongst aneuploid spreads, we predominantly observed decreases in chromosome number, suggesting that either cells with micronuclei or micronuclei themselves are eliminated. We also demonstrated that the genomic instability leads to p53-dependent neural tube apoptosis. Surprisingly, although many cells required Esco2 to establish cohesion, 10-20% of cells had only weakened cohesion in the absence of Esco2, suggesting that compensatory cohesion mechanisms exist in these cells that undergo a normal mitotic division. These studies provide a unique in vivo vertebrate view of the mitotic defects and consequences of cohesion establishment loss, and they provide a compensation-based model to explain the RBS phenotypes.

Hill JT, Demarest BL, Bisgrove BW, Su YC, Smith M, Yost HJ (2014) Poly peak parser: Method and software for identification of unknown indels using sanger sequencing of polymerase chain reaction products. Dev Dyn. 2014 Dec;243(12):1632-6. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24183. Epub 2014 Sep 30.

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BACKGROUND: Genome editing techniques, including ZFN, TALEN, and CRISPR, have created a need to rapidly screen many F1 individuals to identify carriers of indels and determine the sequences of the mutations. Current techniques require multiple clones of the targeted region to be sequenced for each individual, which is inefficient when many individuals must be analyzed. Direct Sanger sequencing of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified region surrounding the target site is efficient, but Sanger sequencing genomes heterozygous for an indel results in a string of "double peaks" due to the mismatched region. RESULTS: To facilitate indel identification, we developed an online tool called Poly Peak Parser (available at http://yost.genetics.utah.edu/software.php) that is able to separate chromatogram data containing ambiguous base calls into wild-type and mutant allele sequences. This tool allows the nature of the indel to be determined from a single sequencing run per individual performed directly on a PCR product spanning the targeted site, without cloning. CONCLUSIONS: The method and algorithm described here facilitate rapid identification and sequence characterization of heterozygous mutant carriers generated by genome editing. Although designed for screening F1 individuals, this tool can also be used to identify heterozygous indels in many contexts.

Lyozin GT, Bressloff PC, Kumar A, Kosaka Y, Demarest BL, Yost HJ, Kuehn MR, Brunelli L (2014) Isolation of rare recombinants without using selectable markers for one-step seamless BAC mutagenesis. Nat Methods. 2014 Sep;11(9):966-70. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3030. Epub 2014 Jul 13.

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Current methods to isolate rare (1:10,000-1:100,000) bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) recombinants require selectable markers. For seamless BAC mutagenesis, selectable markers need to be removed after isolation of recombinants through counterselection. Here we illustrate founder principle-driven enrichment (FPE), a simple method to rapidly isolate rare recombinants without using selectable markers, allowing one-step seamless BAC mutagenesis. As proof of principle, we isolated 1:100,000 seamless fluorescent protein-modified Nodal BACs and confirmed BAC functionality by generating fluorescent reporter mice. We also isolated small indel P1 phage-derived artificial chromosome (PAC) and BAC recombinants. Statistical analysis revealed that 1:100,000 recombinants can be isolated with <40 PCRs, and we developed a web-based calculator to optimize FPE.

Neugebauer JM, Yost HJ (2014) FGF signaling is required for brain left-right asymmetry and brain midline formation. Dev Biol. 2014 Feb 1;386(1):123-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.11.020. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

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Early disruption of FGF signaling alters left-right (LR) asymmetry throughout the embryo. Here we uncover a role for FGF signaling that specifically disrupts brain asymmetry, independent of normal lateral plate mesoderm (LPM) asymmetry. When FGF signaling is inhibited during mid-somitogenesis, asymmetrically expressed LPM markers southpaw and lefty2 are not affected. However, asymmetrically expressed brain markers lefty1 and cyclops become bilateral. We show that FGF signaling controls expression of six3b and six7, two transcription factors required for repression of asymmetric lefty1 in the brain. We found that Z0-1, atypical PKC (aPKC) and beta-catenin protein distribution revealed a midline structure in the forebrain that is dependent on a balance of FGF signaling. Ectopic activation of FGF signaling leads to overexpression of six3b, loss of organized midline adherins junctions and bilateral loss of lefty1 expression. Reducing FGF signaling leads to a reduction in six3b and six7 expression, an increase in cell boundary formation in the brain midline, and bilateral expression of lefty1. Together, these results suggest a novel role for FGF signaling in the brain to control LR asymmetry, six transcription factor expressions, and a midline barrier structure.

Samson SC, Ferrer T, Jou CJ, Sachse FB, Shankaran SS, Shaw RM, Chi NC, Tristani-Firouzi M, Yost HJ (2013) 3-OST-7 regulates BMP-dependent cardiac contraction. PLoS Biol. 2013 Dec;11(12):e1001727. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001727. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

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The 3-O-sulfotransferase (3-OST) family catalyzes rare modifications of glycosaminoglycan chains on heparan sulfate proteoglycans, yet their biological functions are largely unknown. Knockdown of 3-OST-7 in zebrafish uncouples cardiac ventricular contraction from normal calcium cycling and electrophysiology by reducing tropomyosin4 (tpm4) expression. Normal 3-OST-7 activity prevents the expansion of BMP signaling into ventricular myocytes, and ectopic activation of BMP mimics the ventricular noncontraction phenotype seen in 3-OST-7 depleted embryos. In 3-OST-7 morphants, ventricular contraction can be rescued by overexpression of tropomyosin tpm4 but not by troponin tnnt2, indicating that tpm4 serves as a lynchpin for ventricular sarcomere organization downstream of 3-OST-7. Contraction can be rescued by expression of 3-OST-7 in endocardium, or by genetic loss of bmp4. Strikingly, BMP misregulation seen in 3-OST-7 morphants also occurs in multiple cardiac noncontraction models, including potassium voltage-gated channel gene, kcnh2, affected in Romano-Ward syndrome and long-QT syndrome, and cardiac troponin T gene, tnnt2, affected in human cardiomyopathies. Together these results reveal 3-OST-7 as a key component of a novel pathway that constrains BMP signaling from ventricular myocytes, coordinates sarcomere assembly, and promotes cardiac contractile function.

Arrington CB, Peterson AG, Yost HJ (2013) Sdc2 and Tbx16 regulate Fgf2-dependent epithelial cell morphogenesis in the ciliated organ of asymmetry. Development. 2013 Oct;140(19):4102-9. doi: 10.1242/dev.096933.

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Heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) control many cellular processes and have been implicated in the regulation of left-right (LR) development by as yet unknown mechanisms. Using lineage-targeted knockdowns, we found that the transmembrane HSPG Syndecan 2 (Sdc2) regulates LR patterning through cell-autonomous functions in the zebrafish ciliated organ of asymmetry, Kupffer's vesicle (KV), including regulation of cell proliferation and adhesion, cilia length and asymmetric fluid flow. Exploring downstream pathways, we found that the cell signaling ligand Fgf2 is exclusively expressed in KV cell lineages, and is dependent on Sdc2 and the transcription factor Tbx16. Strikingly, Fgf2 controls KV morphogenesis but not KV cilia length, and KV morphogenesis in sdc2 morphants can be rescued by expression of fgf2 mRNA. Through an Fgf2-independent pathway, Sdc2 and Tbx16 also control KV ciliogenesis. Our results uncover a novel Sdc2-Tbx16-Fgf2 pathway that regulates epithelial cell morphogenesis.

Neugebauer JM, Cadwallader AB, Amack JD, Bisgrove BW, Yost HJ (2013) Differential roles for 3-OSTs in the regulation of cilia length and motility. Development. 2013 Sep;140(18):3892-902. doi: 10.1242/dev.096388. Epub 2013 Aug 14.

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As cells integrate molecular signals from their environment, cell surface receptors require modified proteoglycans for the robust activation of signaling pathways. Heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) have long unbranched chains of repetitive disaccharide units that can be sulfated at specific positions by heparan sulfate O-sulfotransferase (OST) families. Here, we show that two members of the 3-OST family are required in distinct signaling pathways to control left-right (LR) patterning through control of Kupffer's vesicle (KV) cilia length and motility. 3-OST-5 functions in the fibroblast growth factor pathway to control cilia length via the ciliogenic transcription factors FoxJ1a and Rfx2. By contrast, a second 3-OST family member, 3-OST-6, does not regulate cilia length, but regulates cilia motility via kinesin motor molecule (Kif3b) expression and cilia arm dynein assembly. Thus, two 3-OST family members cell-autonomously control LR patterning through distinct pathways that regulate KV fluid flow. We propose that individual 3-OST isozymes create distinct modified domains or 'glycocodes' on cell surface proteoglycans, which in turn regulate the response to diverse cell signaling pathways.

Peterson AG, Wang X, Yost HJ (2013) Dvr1 transfers left-right asymmetric signals from Kupffer's vesicle to lateral plate mesoderm in zebrafish. Dev Biol. 2013 Oct 1;382(1):198-208. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.06.011. Epub 2013 Jun 17.

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An early step in establishing left-right (LR) symmetry in zebrafish is the generation of asymmetric fluid flow by Kupffer's vesicle (KV). As a result of fluid flow, a signal is generated and propagated from the KV to the left lateral plate mesoderm, activating a transcriptional response of Nodal expression in the left lateral plate mesoderm (LPM). The mechanisms and molecules that aid in this transfer of information from the KV to the left LPM are still not clear. Here we provide several lines of evidence demonstrating a role for a member of the TGFbeta family member, Dvr1, a zebrafish Vg1 ortholog. Dvr1 is expressed bilaterally between the KV and the LPM. Knockdown of Dvr1 by morpholino causes dramatically reduced or absent expression of southpaw (spaw, a Nodal homolog), in LPM, and corresponding loss of downstream Lefty (lft1 and lft) expression, and aberrant brain and heart LR patterning. Dvr1 morphant embryos have normal KV morphology and function, normal expression of southpaw (spaw) and charon (cha) in the peri-KV region and normal expression of a variety of LPM markers in LPM. Additionally, Dvr1 knockdown does not alter the capability of LPM to respond to signals that initiate and propagate spaw expression. Co-injection experiments in Xenopus and zebrafish indicate that Dvr1 and Spaw can enhance each other's ability to activate the Nodal response pathway and co-immunoprecipitation experiments reveal differential relationships among activators and inhibitors in this pathway. These results indicate that Dvr1 is responsible for enabling the transfer of a left-right signal from KV to the LPM.

Wang G, Yost HJ, Amack JD (2013) Analysis of gene function and visualization of cilia-generated fluid flow in Kupffer's vesicle. J Vis Exp. 2013 Mar 31;(73). doi: 10.3791/50038.

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Internal organs such as the heart, brain, and gut develop left-right (LR) asymmetries that are critical for their normal functions. Motile cilia are involved in establishing LR asymmetry in vertebrate embryos, including mouse, frog, and zebrafish. These 'LR cilia' generate asymmetric fluid flow that is necessary to trigger a conserved asymmetric Nodal (TGF-beta superfamily) signaling cascade in the left lateral plate mesoderm, which is thought to provide LR patterning information for developing organs. Thus, to understand mechanisms underlying LR patterning, it is essential to identify genes that regulate the organization of LR ciliated cells, the motility and length of LR cilia and their ability to generate robust asymmetric flow. In the zebrafish embryo, LR cilia are located in Kupffer's vesicle (KV). KV is comprised of a single layer of monociliated epithelial cells that enclose a fluid-filled lumen. Fate mapping has shown that KV is derived from a group of ~20-30 cells known as dorsal forerunner cells (DFCs) that migrate at the dorsal blastoderm margin during epiboly stages. During early somite stages, DFCs cluster and differentiate into ciliated epithelial cells to form KV in the tailbud of the embryo. The ability to identify and track DFCs-in combination with optical transparency and rapid development of the zebrafish embryo-make zebrafish KV an excellent model system to study LR ciliated cells. Interestingly, progenitors of the DFC/KV cell lineage retain cytoplasmic bridges between the yolk cell up to 4 hr post-fertilization (hpf), whereas cytoplasmic bridges between the yolk cell and other embryonic cells close after 2 hpf(8). Taking advantage of these cytoplasmic bridges, we developed a stage-specific injection strategy to deliver morpholino oligonucleotides (MO) exclusively to DFCs and knockdown the function of a targeted gene in these cells. This technique creates chimeric embryos in which gene function is knocked down in the DFC/KV lineage developing in the context of a wild-type embryo. To analyze asymmetric fluid flow in KV, we inject fluorescent microbeads into the KV lumen and record bead movement using videomicroscopy. Fluid flow is easily visualized and can be quantified by tracking bead displacement over time. Here, using the stage-specific DFC-targeted gene knockdown technique and injection of fluorescent microbeads into KV to visualize flow, we present a protocol that provides an effective approach to characterize the role of a particular gene during KV development and function.

Tay HG, Schulze SK, Compagnon J, Foley FC, Heisenberg CP, Yost HJ, Abdelilah-Seyfried S, Amack JD (2013) Lethal giant larvae 2 regulates development of the ciliated organ Kupffer's vesicle. Development. 2013 Apr;140(7):1550-9. doi: 10.1242/dev.087130.

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Motile cilia perform crucial functions during embryonic development and throughout adult life. Development of organs containing motile cilia involves regulation of cilia formation (ciliogenesis) and formation of a luminal space (lumenogenesis) in which cilia generate fluid flows. Control of ciliogenesis and lumenogenesis is not yet fully understood, and it remains unclear whether these processes are coupled. In the zebrafish embryo, lethal giant larvae 2 (lgl2) is expressed prominently in ciliated organs. Lgl proteins are involved in establishing cell polarity and have been implicated in vesicle trafficking. Here, we identified a role for Lgl2 in development of ciliated epithelia in Kupffer's vesicle, which directs left-right asymmetry of the embryo; the otic vesicles, which give rise to the inner ear; and the pronephric ducts of the kidney. Using Kupffer's vesicle as a model ciliated organ, we found that depletion of Lgl2 disrupted lumen formation and reduced cilia number and length. Immunofluorescence and time-lapse imaging of Kupffer's vesicle morphogenesis in Lgl2-deficient embryos suggested cell adhesion defects and revealed loss of the adherens junction component E-cadherin at lateral membranes. Genetic interaction experiments indicate that Lgl2 interacts with Rab11a to regulate E-cadherin and mediate lumen formation that is uncoupled from cilia formation. These results uncover new roles and interactions for Lgl2 that are crucial for both lumenogenesis and ciliogenesis and indicate that these processes are genetically separable in zebrafish.

Jurisch-Yaksi N, Rose AJ, Lu H, Raemaekers T, Munck S, Baatsen P, Baert V, Vermeire W, Scales SJ, Verleyen D, Vandepoel R, Tylzanowski P, Yaksi E, de Ravel T, Yost HJ, Froyen G, Arrington CB, Annaert W (2013) Rer1p maintains ciliary length and signaling by regulating gamma-secretase activity and Foxj1a levels. J Cell Biol. 2013 Mar 18;200(6):709-20. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201208175. Epub 2013 Mar 11.

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Cilia project from the surface of most vertebrate cells and are important for several physiological and developmental processes. Ciliary defects are linked to a variety of human diseases, named ciliopathies, underscoring the importance of understanding signaling pathways involved in cilia formation and maintenance. In this paper, we identified Rer1p as the first endoplasmic reticulum/cis-Golgi-localized membrane protein involved in ciliogenesis. Rer1p, a protein quality control receptor, was highly expressed in zebrafish ciliated organs and regulated ciliary structure and function. Both in zebrafish and mammalian cells, loss of Rer1p resulted in the shortening of cilium and impairment of its motile or sensory function, which was reflected by hearing, vision, and left-right asymmetry defects as well as decreased Hedgehog signaling. We further demonstrate that Rer1p depletion reduced ciliary length and function by increasing gamma-secretase complex assembly and activity and, consequently, enhancing Notch signaling as well as reducing Foxj1a expression.

Maguire CT, Demarest BL, Hill JT, Palmer JD, Brothman AR, Yost HJ, Condic ML (2013) Genome-wide analysis reveals the unique stem cell identity of human amniocytes. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53372. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053372. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

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Human amniotic fluid contains cells that potentially have important stem cell characteristics, yet the programs controlling their developmental potency are unclear. Here, we provide evidence that amniocytes derived from multiple patients are marked by heterogeneity and variability in expression levels of pluripotency markers. Clonal analysis from multiple patients indicates that amniocytes have large pools of self-renewing cells that have an inherent property to give rise to a distinct amniocyte phenotype with a heterogeneity of pluripotent markers. Significant to their therapeutic potential, genome-wide profiles are distinct at different gestational ages and times in culture, but do not differ between genders. Based on hierarchical clustering and differential expression analyses of the entire transcriptome, amniocytes express canonical regulators associated with pluripotency and stem cell repression. Their profiles are distinct from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs), induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and newborn foreskin fibroblasts. Amniocytes have a complex molecular signature, coexpressing trophoblastic, ectodermal, mesodermal, and endodermal cell-type-specific regulators. In contrast to the current view of the ground state of stem cells, ESCs and iPSCs also express high levels of a wide range of cell-type-specific regulators. The coexpression of multilineage differentiation markers combined with the strong expression of a subset of ES cell repressors in amniocytes suggests that these cells have a distinct phenotype that is unlike any other known cell-type or lineage.

Hill JT, Demarest BL, Bisgrove BW, Gorsi B, Su YC, Yost HJ (2013) MMAPPR: mutation mapping analysis pipeline for pooled RNA-seq. Genome Res. 2013 Apr;23(4):687-97. doi: 10.1101/gr.146936.112. Epub 2013 Jan 8.

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Forward genetic screens in model organisms are vital for identifying novel genes essential for developmental or disease processes. One drawback of these screens is the labor-intensive and sometimes inconclusive process of mapping the causative mutation. To leverage high-throughput techniques to improve this mapping process, we have developed a Mutation Mapping Analysis Pipeline for Pooled RNA-seq (MMAPPR) that works without parental strain information or requiring a preexisting SNP map of the organism, and adapts to differential recombination frequencies across the genome. MMAPPR accommodates the considerable amount of noise in RNA-seq data sets, calculates allelic frequency by Euclidean distance followed by Loess regression analysis, identifies the region where the mutation lies, and generates a list of putative coding region mutations in the linked genomic segment. MMAPPR can exploit RNA-seq data sets from isolated tissues or whole organisms that are used for gene expression and transcriptome analysis in novel mutants. We tested MMAPPR on two known mutant lines in zebrafish, nkx2.5 and tbx1, and used it to map two novel ENU-induced cardiovascular mutants, with mutations found in the ctr9 and cds2 genes. MMAPPR can be directly applied to other model organisms, such as Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans, that are amenable to both forward genetic screens and pooled RNA-seq experiments. Thus, MMAPPR is a rapid, cost-efficient, and highly automated pipeline, available to perform mutant mapping in any organism with a well-assembled genome.

Chang B, Gorbea C, Lezin G, Li L, Shan L, Sakai N, Kogaki S, Otomo T, Okinaga T, Hamaoka A, Yu X, Hata Y, Nishida N, Yost HJ, Bowles NE, Brunelli L, Ichida F (2013) 14-3-3epsilon gene variants in a Japanese patient with left ventricular noncompaction and hypoplasia of the corpus callosum. Gene. 2013 Feb 15;515(1):173-80. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2012.12.049. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

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BACKGROUND: Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) is a cardiomyopathy characterized by a prominent trabecular meshwork and deep intertrabecular recesses, and is thought to be due to an arrest of normal endomyocardial morphogenesis. However, the genes contributing to this process remain poorly understood. 14-3-3epsilon, encoded by YWHAE, is an adapter protein belonging to the 14-3-3 protein family which plays important roles in neuronal development and is involved in Miller-Dieker syndrome. We recently showed that mice lacking this gene develop LVNC. Therefore, we hypothesized that variants in YWHAE may contribute to the pathophysiology of LVNC in humans. METHODS AND RESULTS: In 77 Japanese patients with LVNC, including the probands of 29 families, mutation analysis of YWHAE by direct DNA sequencing identified 7 novel variants. One of them, c.-458G>T, in the YWHAE promoter, was identified in a familial patient with LVNC and hypoplasia of the corpus callosum. The -458G>T variant is located within a regulatory CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) response element of the YWHAE promoter, and it reduced promoter activity by approximately 50%. Increased binding of an inhibitory C/EBPbeta isoform was implicated in decreasing YWHAE promoter activity. Interestingly, we had previously shown that C/EBPbeta is a key regulator of YWHAE. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that the -458G>T YWHAE variant contributes to the abnormal myocardial morphogenesis characteristic of LVNC as well as abnormal brain development, and implicate YWHAE as a novel candidate gene in pediatric cardiomyopathies.

Arrington CB, Bleyl SB, Matsunami N, Bowles NE, Leppert TI, Demarest BL, Osborne K, Yoder BA, Byrne JL, Schiffman JD, Null DM, DiGeronimo R, Rollins M, Faix R, Comstock J, Camp NJ, Leppert MF, Yost HJ, Brunelli L (2012) A family-based paradigm to identify candidate chromosomal regions for isolated congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Am J Med Genet A. 2012 Dec;158A(12):3137-47. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.35664. Epub 2012 Nov 19.

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Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a developmental defect of the diaphragm that causes high newborn mortality. Isolated or non-syndromic CDH is considered a multifactorial disease, with strong evidence implicating genetic factors. As low heritability has been reported in isolated CDH, family-based genetic methods have yet to identify the genetic factors associated with the defect. Using the Utah Population Database, we identified distantly related patients from several extended families with a high incidence of isolated CDH. Using high-density genotyping, seven patients were analyzed by homozygosity exclusion rare allele mapping (HERAM) and phased haplotype sharing (HapShare), two methods we developed to map shared chromosome regions. Our patient cohort shared three regions not previously associated with CDH, that is, 2q11.2-q12.1, 4p13 and 7q11.2, and two regions previously involved in CDH, that is, 8p23.1 and 15q26.2. The latter regions contain GATA4 and NR2F2, two genes implicated in diaphragm formation in mice. Interestingly, three patients shared the 8p23.1 locus and one of them also harbored the 15q26.2 segment. No coding variants were identified in GATA4 or NR2F2, but a rare shared variant was found in intron 1 of GATA4. This work shows the role of heritability in isolated CDH. Our family-based strategy uncovers new chromosomal regions possibly associated with disease, and suggests that non-coding variants of GATA4 and NR2F2 may contribute to the development of isolated CDH. This approach could speed up the discovery of the genes and regulatory elements causing multifactorial diseases, such as isolated CDH.

Kosaka Y, Cieslik KA, Li L, Lezin G, Maguire CT, Saijoh Y, Toyo-oka K, Gambello MJ, Vatta M, Wynshaw-Boris A, Baldini A, Yost HJ, Brunelli L (2012) 14-3-3epsilon plays a role in cardiac ventricular compaction by regulating the cardiomyocyte cell cycle. Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Dec;32(24):5089-102. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00829-12. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

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Trabecular myocardium accounts for the majority of the ventricles during early cardiogenesis, but compact myocardium is the primary component at later developmental stages. Elucidation of the genes regulating compact myocardium development is essential to increase our understanding of left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC), a cardiomyopathy characterized by increased ratios of trabecular to compact myocardium. 14-3-3epsilon is an adapter protein expressed in the lateral plate mesoderm, but its in vivo cardiac functions remain to be defined. Here we show that 14-3-3epsilon is expressed in the developing mouse heart as well as in cardiomyocytes. 14-3-3epsilon deletion did not appear to induce compensation by other 14-3-3 isoforms but led to ventricular noncompaction, with features similar to LVNC, resulting from a selective reduction in compact myocardium thickness. Abnormal compaction derived from a 50% decrease in cardiac proliferation as a result of a reduced number of cardiomyocytes in G(2)/M and the accumulation of cardiomyocytes in the G(0)/G(1) phase of the cell cycle. These defects originated from downregulation of cyclin E1 and upregulation of p27(Kip1), possibly through both transcriptional and posttranslational mechanisms. Our work shows that 14-3-3epsilon regulates cardiogenesis and growth of the compact ventricular myocardium by modulating the cardiomyocyte cell cycle via both cyclin E1 and p27(Kip1). These data are consistent with the long-held view that human LVNC may result from compaction arrest, and they implicate 14-3-3epsilon as a new candidate gene in congenital human cardiomyopathies.

Cadwalader EL, Condic ML, Yost HJ (2012) 2-O-sulfotransferase regulates Wnt signaling, cell adhesion and cell cycle during zebrafish epiboly. Development. 2012 Apr;139(7):1296-305. doi: 10.1242/dev.078238. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

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O-sulfotransferases modify heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) by catalyzing the transfer of a sulfate to a specific position on heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains. Although the roles of specific HSPG modifications have been described in cell culture and invertebrates, little is known about their functions or abilities to modulate specific cell signaling pathways in vertebrate development. Here, we report that 2-O-sulfotransferase (2-OST) is an essential component of canonical Wnt signaling in zebrafish development. 2-OST-deficient embryos have reduced GAG chain sulfation and are refractory to exogenous Wnt8 overexpression. Embryos in which maternally encoded 2-OST is knocked down have normal activation of several zygotic mesoderm, endoderm and ectoderm patterning genes, but have decreased deep cell adhesion and fail to initiate epiboly, which can be rescued by re-expression of 2-OST protein. Reduced cell adhesion and altered cell cycle regulation in 2-OST-deficient embryos are associated with decreased beta-catenin and E-cadherin protein levels at cell junctions, and these defects can be rescued by reactivation of the intracellular Wnt pathway, utilizing stabilized beta-catenin or dominant-negative Gsk3, but not by overexpression of Wnt8 ligand. Together, these results indicate that 2-OST functions within the Wnt pathway, downstream of Wnt ligand signaling and upstream of Gsk3beta and beta-catenin intracellular localization and function.

Bisgrove BW, Makova S, Yost HJ, Brueckner M (2012) RFX2 is essential in the ciliated organ of asymmetry and an RFX2 transgene identifies a population of ciliated cells sufficient for fluid flow. Dev Biol. 2012 Mar 1;363(1):166-78. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.12.030. Epub 2011 Dec 29.

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Motile cilia create asymmetric fluid flow in the evolutionarily conserved ciliated organ of asymmetry (COA) and play a fundamental role in establishing the left-right (LR) axis in vertebrate embryos. The transcriptional control of the large group of genes that encode proteins that contribute to ciliary structure and function remains poorly understood. In this study we find that the winged helix transcription factor Rfx2 is expressed in motile cilia in mouse and zebrafish embryos. Morpholino knockdown of Rfx2 function in the whole embryo or specifically in cells of the zebrafish COA (Kupffer's Vesicle, KV) leads to reduced KV cilia length and perturbations in LR asymmetry. LR patterning defects include randomization of the early asymmetric Nodal signaling pathway genes southpaw, lefty1 and lefty2 and subsequent reversals in the organ primordia of the heart and gut. Rfx2 is also required for ciliogenesis in zebrafish pronephric duct. We further show that by restoring Left-Right dynein (LRD) expression and motility specifically in a subset of ciliated cells of the mouse COA (posterior notochord, PNC), we can restore fluid flow, asymmetric expression of Pitx2 and partially rescue situs defects.

Lezin G, Kosaka Y, Yost HJ, Kuehn MR, Brunelli L (2011) A one-step miniprep for the isolation of plasmid DNA and lambda phage particles. PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23457. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023457. Epub 2011 Aug 15.

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Plasmid DNA minipreps are fundamental techniques in molecular biology. Current plasmid DNA minipreps use alkali and the anionic detergent SDS in a three-solution format. In addition, alkali minipreps usually require additional column-based purification steps and cannot isolate other extra-chromosomal elements, such as bacteriophages. Non-ionic detergents (NIDs) have been used occasionally as components of multiple-solution plasmid DNA minipreps, but a one-step approach has not been developed. Here, we have established a one-tube, one-solution NID plasmid DNA miniprep, and we show that this approach also isolates bacteriophage lambda particles. NID minipreps are more time-efficient than alkali minipreps, and NID plasmid DNA performs better than alkali DNA in many downstream applications. In fact, NID crude lysate DNA is sufficiently pure to be used in digestion and sequencing reactions. Microscopic analysis showed that the NID procedure fragments E. coli cells into small protoplast-like components, which may, at least in part, explain the effectiveness of this approach. This work demonstrates that one-step NID minipreps are a robust method to generate high quality plasmid DNA, and NID approaches can also isolate bacteriophage lambda particles, outperforming current standard alkali-based minipreps.

Wythe JD, Jurynec MJ, Urness LD, Jones CA, Sabeh MK, Werdich AA, Sato M, Yost HJ, Grunwald DJ, Macrae CA, Li DY (2011) Hadp1, a newly identified pleckstrin homology domain protein, is required for cardiac contractility in zebrafish. Dis Model Mech. 2011 Sep;4(5):607-21. doi: 10.1242/dmm.002204. Epub 2011 May 31.

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The vertebrate heart is one of the first organs to form, and its early function and morphogenesis are crucial for continued embryonic development. Here we analyze the effects of loss of Heart adaptor protein 1 (Hadp1), which we show is required for normal function and morphogenesis of the embryonic zebrafish heart. Hadp1 is a pleckstrin homology (PH)-domain-containing protein whose expression is enriched in embryonic cardiomyocytes. Knockdown of hadp1 in zebrafish embryos reduced cardiac contractility and altered late myocyte differentiation. By using optical mapping and submaximal levels of hadp1 knockdown, we observed profound effects on Ca(2+) handling and on action potential duration in the absence of morphological defects, suggesting that Hadp1 plays a major role in the regulation of intracellular Ca(2+) handling in the heart. Hadp1 interacts with phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate [PI4P; also known as PtdIns(4)P] derivatives via its PH domain, and its subcellular localization is dependent upon this motif. Pharmacological blockade of the synthesis of PI4P derivatives in vivo phenocopied the loss of hadp1 in zebrafish. Collectively, these results demonstrate that hadp1 is required for normal cardiac function and morphogenesis during embryogenesis, and suggest that hadp1 modulates Ca(2+) handling in the heart through its interaction with phosphatidylinositols.

Wang G, Cadwallader AB, Jang DS, Tsang M, Yost HJ, Amack JD (2011) The Rho kinase Rock2b establishes anteroposterior asymmetry of the ciliated Kupffer's vesicle in zebrafish. Development. 2011 Jan;138(1):45-54. doi: 10.1242/dev.052985. Epub 2010 Nov 23.

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The vertebrate body plan features a consistent left-right (LR) asymmetry of internal organs. In several vertebrate embryos, motile cilia generate an asymmetric fluid flow that is necessary for normal LR development. However, the mechanisms involved in orienting LR asymmetric flow with previously established anteroposterior (AP) and dorsoventral (DV) axes remain poorly understood. In zebrafish, asymmetric flow is generated in Kupffer's vesicle (KV). The cellular architecture of KV is asymmetric along the AP axis, with more ciliated cells densely packed into the anterior region. Here, we identify a Rho kinase gene, rock2b, which is required for normal AP patterning of KV and subsequent LR development in the embryo. Antisense depletion of rock2b in the whole embryo or specifically in the KV cell lineage perturbed asymmetric gene expression in lateral plate mesoderm and disrupted organ LR asymmetries. Analyses of KV architecture demonstrated that rock2b knockdown altered the AP placement of ciliated cells without affecting cilia number or length. In control embryos, leftward flow across the anterior pole of KV was stronger than rightward flow at the posterior end, correlating with the normal AP asymmetric distribution of ciliated cells. By contrast, rock2b knockdown embryos with AP patterning defects in KV exhibited randomized flow direction and equal flow velocities in the anterior and posterior regions. Live imaging of Tg(dusp6:memGFP)(pt19) transgenic embryos that express GFP in KV cells revealed that rock2b regulates KV cell morphology. Our results suggest a link between AP patterning of the ciliated Kupffer's vesicle and LR patterning of the zebrafish embryo.

Parant JM, George SA, Holden JA, Yost HJ (2010) Genetic modeling of Li-Fraumeni syndrome in zebrafish. Dis Model Mech. 2010 Jan-Feb;3(1-2):45-56. doi: 10.1242/dmm.003749.

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Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS) is a highly penetrant, autosomal dominant, human familial cancer predisposition. Although a key role for the tumor suppressor p53 has been implicated in LFS, the genetic and cellular mechanisms underpinning this disease remain unknown. Therefore, modeling LFS in a vertebrate system that is accessible to both large-scale genetic screens and in vivo cell biological studies will facilitate the in vivo dissection of disease mechanisms, help identify candidate genes, and spur the discovery of therapeutic compounds. Here, we describe a forward genetic screen in zebrafish embryos that was used to identify LFS candidate genes, which yielded a p53 mutant (p53(I166T)) that as an adult develops tumors, predominantly sarcomas, with 100% penetrance. As in humans with LFS, tumors arise in heterozygotes and display loss of heterozygosity (LOH). This report of LOH indicates that Knudson's two-hit hypothesis, a hallmark of human autosomal dominant cancer syndromes, can be modeled in zebrafish. Furthermore, as with some LFS mutations, the zebrafish p53(I166T) allele is a loss-of-function allele with dominant-negative activity in vivo. Additionally, we demonstrate that the p53 regulatory pathway, including Mdm2 regulation, is evolutionarily conserved in zebrafish, providing a bona fide biological context in which to systematically uncover novel modifier genes and therapeutic agents for human LFS.

Parant JM, George SA, Pryor R, Wittwer CT, Yost HJ (2009) A rapid and efficient method of genotyping zebrafish mutants. Dev Dyn. 2009 Dec;238(12):3168-74. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22143.

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In order to facilitate high throughput genotyping of zebrafish, we have developed a novel technique that uses High Resolution Melting Analysis (HRMA) to distinguish wild-type, heterozygous mutants and homogyzous mutants. This one hour technique removes the need for restriction enzymes and agarose gels. The generated melting curve profiles are sensitive enough to detect non-specific PCR products. We have been able to reliably genotype three classes of mutations in zebrafish, including point mutants, apc(hu745) (apc(mcr)), and p53(zy7) (p53(I166T)), a small deletion mutant (bap28(y75)) and a retroviral insertion mutant (wdr43(hi821a)). This technique can genotype individual zebrafish embryos and adults (by tail-clip) and is applicable to other model organisms.

Arrington CB, Yost HJ (2009) Extra-embryonic syndecan 2 regulates organ primordia migration and fibrillogenesis throughout the zebrafish embryo. Development. 2009 Sep;136(18):3143-52. doi: 10.1242/dev.031492.

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One of the first steps in zebrafish heart and gut organogenesis is the migration of bilateral primordia to the midline to form cardiac and gut tubes. The mechanisms that regulate this process are poorly understood. Here we show that the proteoglycan syndecan 2 (Sdc2) expressed in the extra-embryonic yolk syncytial layer (YSL) acts locally at the YSL-embryo interface to direct organ primordia migration, and is required for fibronectin and laminin matrix assembly throughout the embryo. Surprisingly, neither endogenous nor exogenous sdc2 expressed in embryonic cells can compensate for knockdown of sdc2 in the YSL, indicating that Sdc2 expressed in extra-embryonic tissues is functionally distinct from Sdc2 in embryonic cells. The effects of sdc2 knockdown in the YSL can be rescued by extra-embryonic Sdc2 lacking an extracellular proteolytic cleavage (shedding) site, but not by extra-embryonic Sdc2 lacking extracellular glycosaminoglycan (GAG) addition sites, suggesting that distinct GAG chains on extra-embryonic Sdc2 regulate extracellular matrix assembly, cell migration and epithelial morphogenesis of multiple organ systems throughout the embryo.

Yost HJ (2009) Coordinating the development of bilateral symmetry and left-right asymmetry. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2009 Jun;20(4):455. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2009.05.005. Epub 2009 May 31.

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Neugebauer JM, Amack JD, Peterson AG, Bisgrove BW, Yost HJ (2009) FGF signalling during embryo development regulates cilia length in diverse epithelia. Nature. 2009 Apr 2;458(7238):651-4. doi: 10.1038/nature07753. Epub 2009 Feb 25.

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Cilia are cell surface organelles found on most epithelia in vertebrates. Specialized groups of cilia have critical roles in embryonic development, including left-right axis formation. Recently, cilia have been implicated as recipients of cell-cell signalling. However, little is known about cell-cell signalling pathways that control the length of cilia. Here we provide several lines of evidence showing that fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signalling regulates cilia length and function in diverse epithelia during zebrafish and Xenopus development. Morpholino knockdown of FGF receptor 1 (Fgfr1) in zebrafish cell-autonomously reduces cilia length in Kupffer's vesicle and perturbs directional fluid flow required for left-right patterning of the embryo. Expression of a dominant-negative FGF receptor (DN-Fgfr1), treatment with SU5402 (a pharmacological inhibitor of FGF signalling) or genetic and morpholino reduction of redundant FGF ligands Fgf8 and Fgf24 reproduces this cilia length phenotype. Knockdown of Fgfr1 also results in shorter tethering cilia in the otic vesicle and shorter motile cilia in the pronephric ducts. In Xenopus, expression of a dn-fgfr1 results in shorter monocilia in the gastrocoel roof plate that control left-right patterning and in shorter multicilia in external mucociliary epithelium. Together, these results indicate a fundamental and highly conserved role for FGF signalling in the regulation of cilia length in multiple tissues. Abrogation of Fgfr1 signalling downregulates expression of two ciliogenic transcription factors, foxj1 and rfx2, and of the intraflagellar transport gene ift88 (also known as polaris), indicating that FGF signalling mediates cilia length through an Fgf8/Fgf24-Fgfr1-intraflagellar transport pathway. We propose that a subset of developmental defects and diseases ascribed to FGF signalling are due in part to loss of cilia function.

Wang X, Yost HJ (2008) Initiation and propagation of posterior to anterior (PA) waves in zebrafish left-right development. Dev Dyn. 2008 Dec;237(12):3640-7. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21771.

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One of the most highly conserved steps in left-right patterning is asymmetric gene expression in lateral plate mesoderm (LPM). Here, we quantitatively describe the timing of the posterior to anterior (PA) wave-like propagation of zebrafish southpaw (Nodal) and pitx2 in LPM and lefty1 in the midline. By altering the timing of the PA wave, we provide evidence that the PA wave in the LPM instructs brain asymmetry. We find that initiation of pitx2 in LPM and lefty1 in midline depends on Southpaw, and that casanova (sox32) and two Nodal inhibitors, lefty1 and charon, have distinct roles upstream of PA wave initiation. Surprisingly, Casanova, endoderm and Kupffer's Vesicle are not required for normal timing of southpaw initiation and PA propagation. In contrast, lefty1 morphants display precocious asymmetric initiation of southpaw with an intrinsic left-hand orientation, whereas charon morphants have premature initiation without LR orientation, indicating distinct roles for these Nodal antagonists.

Wolman MA, Sittaramane VK, Essner JJ, Yost HJ, Chandrasekhar A, Halloran MC (2008) Transient axonal glycoprotein-1 (TAG-1) and laminin-alpha1 regulate dynamic growth cone behaviors and initial axon direction in vivo. Neural Dev. 2008 Feb 20;3:6. doi: 10.1186/1749-8104-3-6.

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BACKGROUND: How axon guidance signals regulate growth cone behavior and guidance decisions in the complex in vivo environment of the central nervous system is not well understood. We have taken advantage of the unique features of the zebrafish embryo to visualize dynamic growth cone behaviors and analyze guidance mechanisms of axons emerging from a central brain nucleus in vivo. RESULTS: We investigated axons of the nucleus of the medial longitudinal fascicle (nucMLF), which are the first axons to extend in the zebrafish midbrain. Using in vivo time-lapse imaging, we show that both positive axon-axon interactions and guidance by surrounding tissue control initial nucMLF axon guidance. We further show that two guidance molecules, transient axonal glycoprotein-1 (TAG-1) and laminin-alpha1, are essential for the initial directional extension of nucMLF axons and their subsequent convergence into a tight fascicle. Fixed tissue analysis shows that TAG-1 knockdown causes errors in nucMLF axon pathfinding similar to those seen in a laminin-alpha1 mutant. However, in vivo time-lapse imaging reveals that while some defects in dynamic growth cone behavior are similar, there are also defects unique to the loss of each gene. Loss of either TAG-1 or laminin-alpha1 causes nucMLF axons to extend into surrounding tissue in incorrect directions and reduces axonal growth rate, resulting in stunted nucMLF axons that fail to extend beyond the hindbrain. However, defects in axon-axon interactions were found only after TAG-1 knockdown, while defects in initial nucMLF axon polarity and excessive branching of nucMLF axons occurred only in laminin-alpha1 mutants. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate how two guidance cues, TAG-1 and laminin-alpha1, influence the behavior of growth cones during axon pathfinding in vivo. Our data suggest that TAG-1 functions to allow growth cones to sense environmental cues and mediates positive axon-axon interactions. Laminin-alpha1 does not regulate axon-axon interactions, but does influence neuronal polarity and directional guidance.

Kwan KM, Fujimoto E, Grabher C, Mangum BD, Hardy ME, Campbell DS, Parant JM, Yost HJ, Kanki JP, Chien CB (2007) The Tol2kit: a multisite gateway-based construction kit for Tol2 transposon transgenesis constructs. Dev Dyn. 2007 Nov;236(11):3088-99.

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Transgenesis is an important tool for assessing gene function. In zebrafish, transgenesis has suffered from three problems: the labor of building complex expression constructs using conventional subcloning; low transgenesis efficiency, leading to mosaicism in transient transgenics and infrequent germline incorporation; and difficulty in identifying germline integrations unless using a fluorescent marker transgene. The Tol2kit system uses site-specific recombination-based cloning (multisite Gateway technology) to allow quick, modular assembly of [promoter]-[coding sequence]-[3' tag] constructs in a Tol2 transposon backbone. It includes a destination vector with a cmlc2:EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein) transgenesis marker and a variety of widely useful entry clones, including hsp70 and beta-actin promoters; cytoplasmic, nuclear, and membrane-localized fluorescent proteins; and internal ribosome entry sequence-driven EGFP cassettes for bicistronic expression. The Tol2kit greatly facilitates zebrafish transgenesis, simplifies the sharing of clones, and enables large-scale projects testing the functions of libraries of regulatory or coding sequences.

Amack JD, Wang X, Yost HJ (2007) Two T-box genes play independent and cooperative roles to regulate morphogenesis of ciliated Kupffer's vesicle in zebrafish. Dev Biol. 2007 Oct 15;310(2):196-210. Epub 2007 Jun 4.

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The brain, heart and gastro-intestinal tract develop distinct left-right (LR) asymmetries. Asymmetric cilia-dependent fluid flow in the embryonic node in mouse, Kupffer's vesicle in zebrafish, notochordal plate in rabbit and gastrocoel roof plate in frog appears to be a conserved mechanism that directs LR asymmetric gene expression and establishes the orientation of organ asymmetry. However, the cellular processes and genetic pathways that control the formation of these essential ciliated structures are unknown. In zebrafish, migratory dorsal forerunner cells (DFCs) give rise to Kupffer's vesicle (KV), a ciliated epithelial sheet that forms a lumen and generates fluid flow. Using the epithelial marker atypical Protein Kinase C (aPKC) and other markers to analyze DFCs and KV cells, we describe a multi-step process by which DFCs form a functional KV. Using mutants and morpholinos, we show that two T-box transcription factors-No tail (Ntl)/Brachyury and Tbx16/Spadetail-cooperatively regulate an early step of DFC mesenchyme to epithelial transition (MET) and KV cell specification. Subsequently, each transcription factor independently controls a distinct step in KV formation: Tbx16 regulates apical clustering of KV cells and Ntl is necessary for KV lumen formation. By targeting morpholinos to DFCs, we show that these cell autonomous functions in KV morphogenesis are necessary for LR patterning throughout the embryo.

Tsai IC, Amack JD, Gao ZH, Band V, Yost HJ, Virshup DM (2007) A Wnt-CKIvarepsilon-Rap1 pathway regulates gastrulation by modulating SIPA1L1, a Rap GTPase activating protein. Dev Cell. 2007 Mar;12(3):335-47.

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Noncanonical Wnt signals control morphogenetic movements during vertebrate gastrulation. Casein kinase I epsilon (CKIvarepsilon) is a Wnt-regulated kinase that regulates Wnt/beta-catenin signaling and has a beta-catenin-independent role(s) in morphogenesis that is poorly understood. Here we report the identification of a CKIvarepsilon binding partner, SIPA1L1/E6TP1, a GAP (GTPase activating protein) of the Rap small GTPase family. We show that CKIvarepsilon phosphorylates SIPA1L1 to reduce its stability and thereby increase Rap1 activation. Wnt-8, which activates CKIvarepsilon, enhances the CKIvarepsilon-dependent phosphorylation and degradation of SIPA1L1. In early Xenopus or zebrafish development, inactivation of the Rap1 pathway results in abnormal gastrulation and a shortened anterior-posterior axis. Although CKIvarepsilon also transduces Wnt/beta-catenin signaling, inhibition of Rap1 does not alter beta-catenin-regulated gene expression. Our data demonstrate a role for CKIvarepsilon in noncanonical Wnt signaling and indicate that Wnt regulates morphogenesis in part through CKIvarepsilon-mediated control of Rap1 signaling.

Luo W, Peterson A, Garcia BA, Coombs G, Kofahl B, Heinrich R, Shabanowitz J, Hunt DF, Yost HJ, Virshup DM (2007) Protein phosphatase 1 regulates assembly and function of the beta-catenin degradation complex. EMBO J. 2007 Mar 21;26(6):1511-21. Epub 2007 Feb 22.

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The Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway is critical in both cellular proliferation and organismal development. However, how the beta-catenin degradation complex is inhibited upon Wnt activation remains unclear. Using a directed RNAi screen we find that protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), a ubiquitous serine/threonine phosphatase, is a novel potent positive physiologic regulator of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway. PP1 expression synergistically activates, and inhibition of PP1 inhibits, Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in Drosophila and mammalian cells as well as in Xenopus embryos. The data suggest that PP1 controls Wnt signaling through interaction with, and regulated dephosphorylation of, axin. Inhibition of PP1 leads to enhanced phosphorylation of specific sites on axin by casein kinase I. Axin phosphorylation markedly enhances the binding of glycogen synthase kinase 3, leading to a more active beta-catenin destruction complex. Wnt-regulated changes in axin phosphorylation, mediated by PP1, may therefore determine beta-catenin transcriptional activity. Specific inhibition of PP1 in this pathway may offer therapeutic approaches to disorders with increased beta-catenin signaling.

Takeuchi JK, Lickert H, Bisgrove BW, Sun X, Yamamoto M, Chawengsaksophak K, Hamada H, Yost HJ, Rossant J, Bruneau BG (2007) Baf60c is a nuclear Notch signaling component required for the establishment of left-right asymmetry. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jan 16;104(3):846-51. Epub 2007 Jan 8.

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Notch-mediated induction of Nodal at the vertebrate node is a critical step in initiating left-right (LR) asymmetry. In mice and zebrafish we show that Baf60c, a subunit of the Swi/Snf-like BAF chromatin remodeling complex, is essential for establishment of LR asymmetry. Baf60c knockdown mouse embryos fail to activate Nodal at the node and also have abnormal node morphology with mixing of crown and pit cells. In cell culture, Baf60c is required for Notch-dependent transcriptional activation and functions to stabilize interactions between activated Notch and its DNA-binding partner, RBP-J. Brg1 is also required for these processes, suggesting that BAF complexes are key components of nuclear Notch signaling. We propose a critical role for Baf60c in Notch-dependent transcription and LR asymmetry.

Cadwallader AB, Yost HJ (2007) Combinatorial expression patterns of heparan sulfate sulfotransferases in zebrafish: III. 2-O-sulfotransferase and C5-epimerases. Dev Dyn. 2007 Feb;236(2):581-6.

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Heparan sulfate (HS) is an unbranched chain of repetitive disaccharides, which specifically binds ligands when attached to the cell surface or secreted extracellularly. HS chains contain sulfated domains, termed the HS fine structure, which give HS specific binding affinities for extracellular ligands. HS 2-O-sulfotransferase (2-OST) catalyzes the transfer of sulfate groups to the 2-O position of uronic acid residues of HS. We report here the characterization and developmental expression patterns of 2-OST in several tissues/organs throughout early zebrafish development, including early cleavage stages, eyes, somites, brain, internal organ primordial, and pectoral fin. The 2-OST gene has spatially and temporally distinct expression, which is a surprise given the essential role of 2-OST in HS fine structure formation. Furthermore, although 2-OST and C5-epimerase are predicted to be interdependent for protein translocation from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi, their expression is not coordinately regulated during zebrafish development.

Tsai IC, Woolf M, Neklason DW, Branford WW, Yost HJ, Burt RW, Virshup DM (2007) Disease-associated casein kinase I delta mutation may promote adenomatous polyps formation via a Wnt/beta-catenin independent mechanism. Int J Cancer. 2007 Mar 1;120(5):1005-12.

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The Wnt signaling pathway is critical for embryonic development and is dysregulated in multiple cancers. Two closely related isoforms of casein kinase I (CKIdelta and epsilon) are positive regulators of this pathway. We speculated that mutations in the autoinhibitory domain of CKIdelta/epsilon might upregulate CKIdelta/epsilon activity and hence Wnt signaling and increase the risk of adenomatous polyps and colon cancer. Exons encoding the CKIepsilon and CKIdelta regulatory domains were sequenced from DNA obtained from individuals with adenomatous polyps and a family history of colon cancer unaffected by familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). A CKIdelta missense mutation, changing a highly conserved residue, Arg324, to His (R324H), was found in an individual with large and multiple polyps diagnosed at a relatively young age. Two findings indicate that this mutation is biologically active. First, ectopic ventral expression of CKIdelta(R324H) in Xenopus embryos results in secondary axis formation with an additional distinctive phenotype (altered morphological movements) similar to that seen with unregulated CKIepsilon. Second, CKIdelta(R324H) is more potent than wildtype CKIdelta in transformation of RKO colon cancer cells. Although the R324H mutation does not significantly change CKIdelta kinase activity in an in vitro kinase assay or Wnt/beta-catenin signal transduction as assessed by a beta-catenin reporter assay, it alters morphogenetic movements via a beta-catenin-independent mechanism in early Xenopus development. This novel human CKIdelta mutation may alter the physiological role and enhance the transforming ability of CKIdelta through a Wnt/beta-catenin independent mechanism and thereby influence colonic adenoma development.

Cadwallader AB, Yost HJ (2006) Combinatorial expression patterns of heparan sulfate sulfotransferases in zebrafish: II. The 6-O-sulfotransferase family. Dev Dyn. 2006 Dec;235(12):3432-7.

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Heparan sulfate (HS) is an unbranched chain of repetitive disaccharides, which specifically binds ligands when attached to the cell surface or secreted extracellularly. HS chains contain sulfated domains termed the HS fine structure, which gives HS specific binding affinities for extracellular ligands. HS 6-O-sulfotransferases (6-OST) catalyze the transfer of sulfate groups to the 6-O position of glucosamine residues of HS. We report here the characterization and developmental expression analysis of the 6-OST gene family in the zebrafish. The zebrafish 6-OST gene family consists of four conserved vertebrate orthologues, including a gene duplication specific to zebrafish. We examined the mRNA expression patterns in several tissues/organs throughout early zebrafish development, including early cleavage stages, eyes, somites, brain, internal organ primordial, and pectoral fin development. Members of the 6-OST gene family have spatially and temporally distinct restricted expression, suggesting in vivo functional differences exist between members of this family.

Cadwallader AB, Yost HJ (2006) Combinatorial expression patterns of heparan sulfate sulfotransferases in zebrafish: I. The 3-O-sulfotransferase family. Dev Dyn. 2006 Dec;235(12):3423-31.

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Heparan sulfate (HS) is an unbranched chain of repetitive disaccharides, which specifically binds ligands when attached to the cell surface or secreted extracellularly. HS chains contain sulfated domains termed the HS fine structure, which gives HS specific binding affinities for extracellular ligands. HS 3-O-sulfotransferases (3-OST) catalyze the transfer of sulfate groups to the 3-O position of glucosamine residues of HS, a rare, but essential HS chain modification required for HS fine structure. We report here the first characterization and developmental expression analysis of the 3-OST gene family in a vertebrate. There are eight 3-OST genes in zebrafish: seven genes with homology to known 3-OST genes in mouse and human, as well as a novel, 3-OST-7. A phylogenetic comparison of human, mouse, and zebrafish indicates the 3-OST family can be subdivided into two distinct subgroups. We examined the mRNA expression patterns in several tissues/organs throughout early zebrafish development, including early cleavage stages, somites, brain, internal body organ primordial, and pectoral fin development. The 3-OST gene family has both specifically expressed and ubiquitously expressed genes, suggesting in vivo functional differences exist between members of this family.

Bisgrove BW, Yost HJ (2006) The roles of cilia in developmental disorders and disease. Development. 2006 Nov;133(21):4131-43. Epub 2006 Oct 4.

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Cilia are highly conserved organelles that have diverse motility and sensory functions. Recent discoveries have revealed that cilia also have crucial roles in cell signaling pathways and in maintaining cellular homeostasis. As such, defects in cilia formation or function have profound effects on the development of body pattern and the physiology of multiple organ systems. By categorizing syndromes that are due to cilia dysfunction in humans and from studies in vertebrate model organisms, molecular pathways that intersect with cilia formation and function have come to light. Here, we summarize an emerging view that in order to understand some complex developmental pathways and disease etiologies, one must consider the molecular functions performed by cilia.

Nadauld LD, Chidester S, Shelton DN, Rai K, Broadbent T, Sandoval IT, Peterson PW, Manos EJ, Ireland CM, Yost HJ, Jones DA (2006) Dual roles for adenomatous polyposis coli in regulating retinoic acid biosynthesis and Wnt during ocular development. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Sep 5;103(36):13409-14. Epub 2006 Aug 28.

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Congenital hypertrophy/hyperplasia of the retinal pigmented epithelium is an ocular lesion found in patients harboring mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor gene. We report that Apc-deficient zebrafish display developmental abnormalities of both the lens and retina. Injection of dominant-negative Lef reduced Wnt signaling in the lens but did not rescue retinal differentiation defects. In contrast, treatment of apc mutants with all-trans retinoic acid rescued retinal differentiation defects but had no apparent effect on the lens. We identified Rdh5 as a retina-specific retinol dehydrogenase controlled by APC. Morpholino knockdown of Rdh5 phenocopied the apc mutant retinal differentiation defects and was rescued by treatment with exogenous all-trans retinoic acid. Microarray analyses of apc mutants and Rdh5 morphants revealed a profound overlap in the transcriptional profile of these embryos. These findings support a model wherein Apc serves a dual role in regulating Wnt and retinoic acid signaling within the eye and suggest retinoic acid deficiency as an explanation for APC mutation-associated retinal defects such as congenital hypertrophy/hyperplasia of the retinal pigmented epithelium.

Sato M, Tsai HJ, Yost HJ (2006) Semaphorin3D regulates invasion of cardiac neural crest cells into the primary heart field. Dev Biol. 2006 Oct 1;298(1):12-21. Epub 2006 Jun 2.

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The primary heart field in all vertebrates is thought to be derived exclusively from lateral plate mesoderm (LPM), which gives rise to a cardiac tube shortly after gastrulation. The heart tube then begins looping and additional cells are added from other embryonic regions, including the secondary heart field, cardiac neural crest and the proepicardial organ. Here we show in zebrafish that neural crest cells invade and contribute cardiac myosin light chain2 (cmlc2)-positive cardiomyocytes to the primary heart field. Knockdown of semaphorin3D, which is expressed in the neural crest but apparently not in LPM, reduces the size of the primary heart field and the number of cardiomyocytes in the primary heart field by 20% before formation of the primary heart tube. Sema3D morphants have subsequent complex congenital heart defects, including hypertrophic cardiomyocytes, decreased ventricular size and defects in trabeculation and in atrioventricular (AV) valve development. Neuropilin1A, a semaphorin receptor, is expressed in LPM but apparently not in the neural crest, and nrp1A morphants have cardiac development defects. We propose that a population of sema3D-dependent neural crest cells follow a novel migratory pathway, perhaps toward nrp1A-expressing LPM, and serve as an important early source of cardiomyocytes in the primary heart field.

Yoshigi M, Hoffman LM, Jensen CC, Yost HJ, Beckerle MC (2005) Mechanical force mobilizes zyxin from focal adhesions to actin filaments and regulates cytoskeletal reinforcement. J Cell Biol. 2005 Oct 24;171(2):209-15.

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Organs and tissues adapt to acute or chronic mechanical stress by remodeling their actin cytoskeletons. Cells that are stimulated by cyclic stretch or shear stress in vitro undergo bimodal cytoskeletal responses that include rapid reinforcement and gradual reorientation of actin stress fibers; however, the mechanism by which cells respond to mechanical cues has been obscure. We report that the application of either unidirectional cyclic stretch or shear stress to cells results in robust mobilization of zyxin from focal adhesions to actin filaments, whereas many other focal adhesion proteins and zyxin family members remain at focal adhesions. Mechanical stress also induces the rapid zyxin-dependent mobilization of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein from focal adhesions to actin filaments. Thickening of actin stress fibers reflects a cellular adaptation to mechanical stress; this cytoskeletal reinforcement coincides with zyxin mobilization and is abrogated in zyxin-null cells. Our findings identify zyxin as a mechanosensitive protein and provide mechanistic insight into how cells respond to mechanical cues.

Bisgrove BW, Snarr BS, Emrazian A, Yost HJ (2005) Polaris and Polycystin-2 in dorsal forerunner cells and Kupffer's vesicle are required for specification of the zebrafish left-right axis. Dev Biol. 2005 Nov 15;287(2):274-88. Epub 2005 Oct 7.

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Recently, it has become clear that motile cilia play a central role in initiating a left-sided signaling cascade important in establishing the LR axis during mouse and zebrafish embryogenesis. Two genes proposed to be important in this cilia-mediated signaling cascade are polaris and polycystin-2 (pkd2). Polaris is involved in ciliary assembly, while Pkd2 is proposed to function as a Ca(2+)-permeable cation channel. We have cloned zebrafish homologues of polaris and pkd2. Both genes are expressed in dorsal forerunner cells (DFCs) from gastrulation to early somite stages when these cells form a ciliated Kupffer's vesicle (KV). Morpholino-mediated knockdown of Polaris or Pkd2 in zebrafish results in misexpression of left-side-specific genes, including southpaw, lefty1 and lefty2, and randomization of heart and gut looping. By targeting morpholinos to DFCs/KV, we show that polaris and pkd2 are required in DFCs/KV for normal LR development. Polaris morphants have defects in KV cilia, suggesting that the laterality phenotype is due to problems in cilia function per se. We further show that expression of polaris and pkd2 is dependent on the T-box transcription factors no tail and spadetail, respectively, suggesting that these genes have a previously unrecognized role in regulating ciliary structure and function. Our data suggest that the functions of polaris and pkd2 in LR patterning are conserved between zebrafish and mice and that Kupffer's vesicle functions as a ciliated organ of asymmetry.

Nadauld LD, Shelton DN, Chidester S, Yost HJ, Jones DA (2005) The zebrafish retinol dehydrogenase, rdh1l, is essential for intestinal development and is regulated by the tumor suppressor adenomatous polyposis coli. J Biol Chem. 2005 Aug 26;280(34):30490-5. Epub 2005 Jun 20.

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Retinoic acid (RA) is a potent signaling molecule that plays important roles in multiple and diverse developmental processes. The contribution of retinoic acid to promoting the development and differentiation of the vertebrate intestine and the factors that regulate RA production in the gut remain poorly defined. Herein, we report that the novel retinol dehydrogenase, rdh1l, is required for proper gut development and differentiation. rdh1l is expressed ubiquitously during early development but becomes restricted to the gut by 3 days postfertilization. Knockdown of rdh1l results in a robust RA-deficient phenotype including lack of intestinal differentiation, which can be rescued by the addition of exogenous retinoic acid. We report that adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) mutant zebrafish harbor an RA-deficient phenotype including aberrant intestinal differentiation and that these mutants can be rescued by treatment with retinoic acid or injection of rdh1l mRNA. Further, we have found that although APC mutants are deficient in rdh1l expression, they harbor increased expression of raldh2 suggesting the control of RA production by APC is via retinol dehydrogenase activity. These results provide genetic evidence that retinoic acid is required for vertebrate gut development and that the tumor suppressor APC controls the production of RA in the gut by regulating the expression of the retinol dehydrogenase, rdh1l.

Essner JJ, Amack JD, Nyholm MK, Harris EB, Yost HJ (2005) Kupffer's vesicle is a ciliated organ of asymmetry in the zebrafish embryo that initiates left-right development of the brain, heart and gut. Development. 2005 Mar;132(6):1247-60. Epub 2005 Feb 16.

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Monocilia have been proposed to establish the left-right (LR) body axis in vertebrate embryos by creating a directional fluid flow that triggers asymmetric gene expression. In zebrafish, dorsal forerunner cells (DFCs) express a conserved ciliary dynein gene (left-right dynein-related1, lrdr1) and form a ciliated epithelium inside a fluid-filled organ called Kupffer's vesicle (KV). Here, videomicroscopy demonstrates that cilia inside KV are motile and create a directional fluid flow just prior to the onset of asymmetric gene expression in lateral cells. Laser ablation of DFCs and surgical disruption of KV provide direct evidence that ciliated KV cells are required during early somitogenesis for subsequent LR patterning in the brain, heart and gut. Antisense morpholinos against lrdr1 disrupt KV fluid flow and perturb LR development. Furthermore, lrdr1 morpholinos targeted to DFC/KV cells demonstrate that Lrdr1 functions in these ciliated cells to control LR patterning. This provides the first direct evidence, in any vertebrate, that impairing cilia function in derivatives of the dorsal organizer, and not in other cells that express ciliogenic genes, alters LR development. Finally, genetic analysis reveals novel roles for the T-box transcription factor no tail and the Nodal signaling pathway as upstream regulators of lrdr1 expression and KV morphogenesis. We propose that KV is a transient embryonic 'organ of asymmetry' that directs LR development by establishing a directional fluid flow. These results suggest that cilia are an essential component of a conserved mechanism that controls the transition from bilateral symmetry to LR asymmetry in vertebrates.

Nadauld LD, Sandoval IT, Chidester S, Yost HJ, Jones DA (2004) Adenomatous polyposis coli control of retinoic acid biosynthesis is critical for zebrafish intestinal development and differentiation. J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 3;279(49):51581-9. Epub 2004 Sep 8.

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Mutations in the APC (adenomatous polyposis coli) tumor suppressor gene cause uncontrolled proliferation and impaired differentiation of intestinal epithelial cells. Recent studies indicate that human colon adenomas and carcinomas lack retinol dehydrogenases (RDHs) and that APC regulates the expression of human RDHL. These data suggest a model wherein APC controls enterocyte differentiation by controlling retinoic acid production. However, the importance of APC and retinoic acid in mediating control of normal enterocyte development and differentiation remains unclear. To examine the relationship between APC and retinoic acid biosynthesis in normal enterocytes, we have identified two novel zebrafish retinol dehydrogenases, termed zRDHA and zRDHB, that show strong expression within the gut of developing zebrafish embryos. Morpholino knockdown of either APC or zRDHB in zebrafish embryos resulted in defects in structures known to require retinoic acid. These defects included cardiac abnormalities, pericardial edema, failed jaw and pectoral fin development, and the absence of differentiated endocrine and exocrine pancreas. In addition, APC or zRDHB morphant fish developed intestines that lacked columnar epithelial cells and failed to express the differentiation marker intestinal fatty acid-binding protein. Treatment of either APC or zRDHB morphant embryos with retinoic acid rescued the defective phenotypes. Downstream of retinoic acid production, we identified hoxc8 as a retinoic acid-induced gene that, when ectopically expressed, rescued phenotypes of APC- and zRDHB-deficient zebrafish. Our data establish a genetic link supporting a critical role for retinoic acid downstream of APC and confirm the importance of retinoic acid in enterocyte differentiation.

Branford WW, Yost HJ (2004) Nodal signaling: CrypticLefty mechanism of antagonism decoded. Curr Biol. 2004 May 4;14(9):R341-3.

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The secreted TGFbeta factor Lefty antagonizes Nodal signaling during vertebrate embryogenesis, but how it does so has been a mystery. Recent analyses have elucidated the molecular mechanisms underlying this function of Lefty.

Amack JD, Yost HJ (2004) The T box transcription factor no tail in ciliated cells controls zebrafish left-right asymmetry. Curr Biol. 2004 Apr 20;14(8):685-90.

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The heart, brain, and gut develop essential left-right (LR) asymmetries. Specialized groups of ciliated cells have been implicated in LR patterning in mouse, chick, frog, and zebrafish embryos. In zebrafish, these ciliated cells are found in Kupffer's vesicle (KV) and are progeny of dorsal forerunner cells (DFCs). However, there is no direct evidence in any vertebrate that the genes involved in LR development are specifically required in ciliated cells. By using a novel method in zebrafish, we knocked down the function of no tail (ntl, homologous to mouse brachyury) in DFCs without affecting its expression in other cells in the embryo. We find that the Ntl transcription factor functions cell autonomously in DFCs to regulate KV morphogenesis and LR determination. This is the first evidence that loss-of-gene function exclusively in ciliated cells perturbs vertebrate LR patterning. Our results demonstrate that the ciliated KV, a transient embryonic organ of previously unknown function, is involved in the earliest known step in zebrafish LR development, suggesting that a ciliary-based mechanism establishes the LR axis in all vertebrate embryos.

Chen Y, Mironova E, Whitaker LL, Edwards L, Yost HJ, Ramsdell AF (2004) ALK4 functions as a receptor for multiple TGF beta-related ligands to regulate left-right axis determination and mesoderm induction in Xenopus. Dev Biol. 2004 Apr 15;268(2):280-94.

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In Xenopus, several TGF betas, including nodal-related 1 (Xnr1), derriere, and chimeric forms of Vg1, elicit cardiac and visceral organ left-right (LR) defects when ectopically targeted to right mesendoderm cell lineages, suggesting that LR axis determination may require activity of one or more TGF betas. However, it is not known which, if any, of these ligands is required for LR axis determination, nor is it known which type I TGF beta receptor(s) are involved in mediating left-side TGF beta signaling. We report here that similar to effects of ectopic TGF betas, right-side expression of constitutively active activin-like kinase (ALK) 4 results in LR organ reversals as well as altered Pitx2 expression in the lateral plate mesoderm. Moreover, left-side expression of a kinase-deficient, dominant-negative ALK4 (DN-ALK4) or an ALK4 antisense morpholino also results in abnormal embryonic body situs, demonstrating a left-side requirement for ALK4 signaling. To determine which TGF beta(s) utilize the ALK4 pathway to mediate LR development, biochemical and functional assays were performed using an Activin-Vg1 chimera (AVg), Xnr1, and derriere. Whereas ALK4 can co-immunoprecipitate all of these TGF betas, including endogenous Vg1 protein from embryo homogenates, functional assays demonstrate that not all of these ligands require an intact ALK4 signaling pathway to modulate LR asymmetry. When AVg and DN-ALK4 are co-expressed, LR defects otherwise induced by AVg alone are attenuated by DN-ALK4; however, when functional assays are performed with Xnr1 or derriere, LR defects otherwise elicited by these ligands alone still occur in the presence of DN-ALK4. Intriguingly, when any of these TGF betas is expressed at a higher concentration to elicit primary axis defects, DN-ALK4 blocks gastrulation and dorsoanterior/ventroposterior defects that otherwise occur following ligand-only expression. Together, these results suggest not only that ALK4 interacts with multiple TGF betas to generate embryonic pattern, but also that ALK4 ligands differentially utilize the ALK4 pathway to regulate distinct aspects of axial pattern, with Vg1 as a modulator of ALK4 function in LR axis determination and Vg1, Xnr1, and derriere as modulators of ALK4 function in mesoderm induction during primary axis formation.

Swiatek W, Tsai IC, Klimowski L, Pepler A, Barnette J, Yost HJ, Virshup DM (2004) Regulation of casein kinase I epsilon activity by Wnt signaling. J Biol Chem. 2004 Mar 26;279(13):13011-7. Epub 2004 Jan 13.

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The Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway is important in both development and cancer. Casein kinase Iepsilon (CKIepsilon) is a positive regulator of the canonical Wnt pathway. CKIepsilon itself can be regulated in vitro by inhibitory autophosphorylation, and recent data suggest that in vivo kinase activity can be regulated by extracellular stimuli. We show here that the phosphorylation state and kinase activity of CKIepsilon are directly regulated by Wnt signaling. Coexpression of XWnt-8 or addition of soluble Wnt-3a ligand led to a significant and rapid increase in the activity of endogenous CKIepsilon. The increase in CKIepsilon activity is the result of decreased inhibitory autophosphorylation because it is abolished by preincubation of immunoprecipitated kinase with ATP. Furthermore, mutation of CKIepsilon inhibitory autophosphorylation sites creates a kinase termed CKIepsilon(MM2) that is significantly more active than CKIepsilon and is not activated further upon Wnt stimulation. Autoinhibition of CKIepsilon is biologically relevant because CKIepsilon(MM2) is more effective than CKIepsilon at activating transcription from a Lef1-dependent promoter. Finally, CKIepsilon(MM2) expression in Xenopus embryos induces both axis duplication and additional developmental abnormalities. The data suggest that Wnt signaling activates CKIepsilon by causing transient dephosphorylation of critical inhibitory sites present in the carboxyl-terminal domain of the kinase. Activation of the Wnt pathway may therefore stimulate a cellular phosphatase to dephosphorylate and activate CKIepsilon

Liang P, Jones CA, Bisgrove BW, Song L, Glenn ST, Yost HJ, Gross KW (2004) Genomic characterization and expression analysis of the first nonmammalian renin genes from zebrafish and pufferfish. Physiol Genomics. 2004 Feb 13;16(3):314-22.

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Renin is a key enzyme in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), a pathway which plays an important physiological role in blood pressure and electrolyte homeostasis. The origin of the RAS is believed to have accompanied early evolution of vertebrates. However, renin genes have so far only been unequivocally identified in mammals. Whether or not a bona fide renin gene exists in nonmammalian vertebrates has been an intriguing question of physiological and evolutionary interest. Using a genomic analytical approach, we identified renin genes in two nonmammalian vertebrates, zebrafish (Danio rerio) and pufferfish (Takifugu rubripes). Phylogenetic analysis demonstrates that the predicted fish renins cluster together with mammalian renins to form a distinct subclass of vertebrate aspartyl proteases. RT-PCR results confirm generation of the predicted zebrafish mRNA and its expression in association with the opisthonephric kidney of adult zebrafish. Comparative in situ hybridization analysis of wild-type and developmental mutants indicates that renin expression is first detected bilaterally in cells of the interrenal primordia at 24 h postfertilization, which subsequently migrate to lie adjacent to, but distinct from, the glomerulus of the developing pronephric kidney. Our report provides the first molecular evidence for the existence of renin genes in lower vertebrates. The observation that the earliest renin-expressing cells, arising during ontogeny of this teleost vertebrate, are of adrenocortical lineage raises an interesting hypothesis as regards the origin of renin-expressing cells in the metanephric kidney of higher vertebrates.

Kramer KL, Yost HJ (2003) Heparan sulfate core proteins in cell-cell signaling. Annu Rev Genet. 2003;37:461-84.

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Heparan sulfate (HS) binds numerous extracellular ligands, including cell-cell signaling molecules and their signal-transducing receptors. Ligand binding sites in HS have specific sulfation patterns; and several observations suggest that the HS sulfation pattern is the same for every HS chain that a cell synthesizes, regardless of the core protein to which it is attached. Nonetheless, virtually every Drosophila, zebrafish, Xenopus, and mouse that lacks a specific HS core protein has a mutant phenotype, even though other HS core proteins are expressed in the affected cells. Genetic manipulation of HS core protein genes is beginning to indicate that HS core proteins have functional specificities that are required during distinct stages of development.

Yost HJ (2003) Left-right asymmetry: nodal cilia make and catch a wave. Curr Biol. 2003 Oct 14;13(20):R808-9.

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Asymmetric fluid flow in the mouse node initiates the development of left-right asymmetry. This flow is generated by motile cilia and is detected by immotile mechanosensory cilia, activating an asymmetric calcium spike.

Yoshigi M, Clark EB, Yost HJ (2003) Quantification of stretch-induced cytoskeletal remodeling in vascular endothelial cells by image processing. Cytometry A. 2003 Oct;55(2):109-18.

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BACKGROUND: Reorientation of the cell axis induced by cyclic stretching is an early response to mechanical forces in vitro. However, quantitative assay for this phenomenon has been difficult due to lack of robust methods. We hypothesized that cell orientation may be redefined by the orientation of actin fibers. We developed image processing methods to quantitate the orientation and density of actin fibers. METHODS: A convolution filter using Sobel kernels was adapted to determine the orientation and density of actin fibers in human endothelial cells. Unidirectional stretching (10%, 0.5 Hz) was applied to induce cytoskeletal remodeling by varying the duration of stimulation (control, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 h). Actin fibers were visualized by fluorescent phalloidin. The image processing method was compared with the manual method for reproducibility. Both confluent and subconfluent cells were tested to assess the efficacy of the methods. RESULTS: Cyclic stretch-induced dense and uninterrupted actin cabling formed across the cell body and, later, the actin fibers became aligned perpendicular to the stretch direction. The variance of actin fiber orientation became smaller after 2 h of stretch (F < 0.01). The actin fiber density index, a derived parameter related to the density of actin fibers, increased as early as 30 min of stretching (P < 0.05) and decreased after 10 h of stretching. Reproducibility of our method was extremely good. Applicability of the method was not compromised by cell density. CONCLUSIONS: Our method is reliable for quantifying cytoskeletal remodeling induced by mechanical force.

Kramer KL, Yost HJ (2002) Cardiac left-right development: are the early steps conserved? Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2002;67:37-43.

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Bisgrove BW, Morelli SH, Yost HJ (2003) Genetics of human laterality disorders: insights from vertebrate model systems. Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2003;4:1-32. Epub 2003 Apr 21.

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Many internal organs in the vertebrate body are asymmetrically oriented along the left-right (L-R) body axis. Organ asymmetry and some components of the molecular signaling pathways that direct L-R development are highly conserved among vertebrate species. Although individuals with full reversal of organ L-R asymmetry (situs inversus totalis) are healthy, significant morbidity and mortality is associated with perturbations in laterality that result in discordant orientation of organ systems and complex congenital heart defects. In humans and other vertebrates, genetic alterations of L-R signaling pathways can result in a wide spectrum of laterality defects. In this review we categorize laterality defects in humans, mice, and zebrafish into specific classes based on altered patterns of asymmetric gene expression, organ situs defects, and midline phenotypes. We suggest that this classification system provides a conceptual framework to help consolidate the disparate laterality phenotypes reported in humans and vertebrate model organisms, thereby refining our understanding of the genetics of L-R development. This approach helps suggest candidate genes and genetic pathways that might be perturbed in human laterality disorders and improves diagnostic criteria.

Sato M, Yost HJ (2003) Cardiac neural crest contributes to cardiomyogenesis in zebrafish. Dev Biol. 2003 May 1;257(1):127-39.

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In birds and mammals, cardiac neural crest is essential for heart development and contributes to conotruncal cushion formation and outflow tract septation. The zebrafish prototypical heart lacks outflow tract septation, raising the question of whether cardiac neural crest exists in zebrafish. Here, results from three distinct lineage-labeling approaches identify zebrafish cardiac neural crest cells and indicate that these cells have the ability to generate MF20-positive muscle cells in the myocardium of the major chambers during development. Fate-mapping demonstrates that cardiac neural crest cells originate both from neural tube regions analogous to those found in birds, as well as from a novel region rostral to the otic vesicle. In contrast to other vertebrates, cardiac neural crest invades the myocardium in all segments of the heart, including outflow tract, atrium, atrioventricular junction, and ventricle in zebrafish. Three distinct groups of premigratory neural crest along the rostrocaudal axis have different propensities to contribute to different segments in the heart and are correspondingly marked by unique combinations of gene expression patterns. Zebrafish will serve as a model for understanding interactions between cardiac neural crest and cardiovascular development.

Kramer KL, Barnette JE, Yost HJ (2002) PKCgamma regulates syndecan-2 inside-out signaling during xenopus left-right development. Cell. 2002 Dec 27;111(7):981-90.

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The transmembrane proteoglycan syndecan-2 cell nonautonomously regulates left-right (LR) development in migrating mesoderm by an unknown mechanism, leading to LR asymmetric gene expression and LR orientation of the heart and gut. Here, we demonstrate that protein kinase C gamma (PKCgamma) mediates phosphorylation of the cytoplasmic domain of syndecan-2 in right, but not left, animal cap ectodermal cells. Notably, both phosphorylation states of syndecan-2 are obligatory for normal LR development, with PKCgamma-dependent phosphorylated syndecan-2 in right ectodermal cells and nonphosphorylated syndecan-2 in left cells. The ectodermal cells contact migrating mesodermal cells during early gastrulation, concurrent with the transmission of LR information. This precedes the appearance of monocilia and is one of the earliest steps of LR development. These results demonstrate that PKCgamma regulates the cytoplasmic phosphorylation of syndecan-2 and, consequently, syndecan-2-mediated inside-out signaling to adjacent cells.

Branford WW, Yost HJ (2002) Lefty-dependent inhibition of Nodal- and Wnt-responsive organizer gene expression is essential for normal gastrulation. Curr Biol. 2002 Dec 23;12(24):2136-41.

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During gastrulation, diffusible "organizer" signals, including members of the TGFbeta Nodal subfamily, pattern dorsal mesoderm and the embryonic axes. Simultaneously, negative regulators of these signals, including the Nodal inhibitor Lefty, an atypical TGFbeta factor, are induced by Nodal. This suggests that Lefty-dependent modulation of organizer signaling might regulate dorsal mesoderm patterning and axial morphogenesis. Here, Xenopus Lefty (Xlefty) function was blocked by injection of anti-Xlefty morpholino oligonucleotides (MO). Xlefty-deficient embryos underwent exogastrulation, an aberrant morphogenetic process not predicted from deregulation of the Nodal pathway alone. In the absence of Xlefty, both Nodal- (Xnr2, gsc, cer, Xbra) and Wnt-responsive (gsc, Xnr3) organizer gene expression expanded away from the dorsal blastopore lip. Conversely, coexpression of Xlefty with Nodal or Wnt reduced the ectopic expression of Nodal- (Xbra) and Wnt-responsive (Xnr3) genes in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, Xlefty expression in the ectodermal animal pole inhibited endogenous Nodal- and Wnt-responsive gene expression in distant mesoderm cells, indicating that Xlefty inhibition can spread from its source. We hypothesize that Xlefty negatively regulates the spatial extent of Nodal- and Wnt-responsive gene expression in the organizer and that this Xlefty-dependent inhibition is essential for normal organizer patterning and gastrulation.

Essner JJ, Vogan KJ, Wagner MK, Tabin CJ, Yost HJ, Brueckner M (2002) Conserved function for embryonic nodal cilia. Nature. 2002 Jul 4;418(6893):37-8.

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How left right handedness originates in the body plan of the developing vertebrate embryo is a subject of considerable debate. In mice, a left right bias is thought to arise from a directional extracellular flow (nodal flow) that is generated by dynein-dependent rotation of monocilia on the ventral surface of the embryonic node. Here we show that the existence of node monocilia and the expression of a dynein gene that is implicated in ciliary function are conserved across a wide range of vertebrate classes, indicating that a similar ciliary mechanism may underlie the establishment of handedness in all vertebrates.

Prescott SM, Yost HJ (2002) The COXes of Danio: from mechanistic model to experimental therapeutics. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jul 9;99(14):9084-6. Epub 2002 Jul 1.

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Morgan D, Goodship J, Essner JJ, Vogan KJ, Turnpenny L, Yost HJ, Tabin CJ, Strachan T (2002) The left-right determinant inversin has highly conserved ankyrin repeat and IQ domains and interacts with calmodulin. Hum Genet. 2002 Apr;110(4):377-84. Epub 2002 Mar 2.

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All vertebrates have a left-right body axis with invariant asymmetries of the heart and the positions of the abdominal viscera. Major advances have recently been made in defining molecular components of the pathway specifying the vertebrate left-right axis, but our knowledge of the early determinants is extremely limited. In the invmouse the left-right axis is consistently reversed, unlike other vertebrate mutants where randomisation of situs is apparent. The gene disrupted in this mouse encodes a 1062-amino-acid protein, inversin. We previously reported 16 tandem ankyrin repeats, spanning amino acids 13-557, and two putative nuclear localisation sequences, but otherwise the sequence offered few clues to the possible function. In order to identify regions likely to be functionally important, we have identified and characterised orthologous sequences in several species, including chick, Xenopus and zebrafish. Sequence comparisons show strong conservation of the ankyrin repeat region and also a lysine-rich domain spanning amino acids 558-604. Further analysis identified a highly conserved IQ calmodulin-binding domain in the latter region and another such domain in an otherwise poorly conserved C-terminal region. A yeast two-hybrid screen identified calmodulin in one third of the positive clones, and we confirmed this interaction by immunoprecipitation.

Kramer KL, Yost HJ (2002) Ectodermal syndecan-2 mediates left-right axis formation in migrating mesoderm as a cell-nonautonomous Vg1 cofactor. Dev Cell. 2002 Jan;2(1):115-24.

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Heparan sulfate proteoglycans expressed on the Xenopus animal cap ectoderm have been implicated in transmitting left-right information to heart and gut primordia. We report here that syndecan-2 functions in the ectoderm to mediate cardiac and visceral situs, upstream of known asymmetrically expressed genes but independently of its ability to mediate fibronectin fibrillogenesis. Left-right development is dependent on a distinct subset of glycosaminoglycan attachment sites on syndecan-2. A novel in vivo approach with enterokinase demonstrates that syndecan-2 functions in left-right patterning during early gastrulation. We describe a cell-nonautonomous role for ectodermal syndecan-2 in transmitting left-right information to migrating mesoderm. The results further suggest that this function may be related to the transduction of Vg1-related signals.

Hu N, Yost HJ, Clark EB (2001) Cardiac morphology and blood pressure in the adult zebrafish. Anat Rec. 2001 Sep 1;264(1):1-12.

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Zebrafish has become a popular model for the study of cardiovascular development. We performed morphologic analysis on 3 months postfertilization zebrafish hearts (n > or = 20) with scanning electron microscopy, hematoxylin and eosin staining and Masson's trichrome staining, and morphometric analysis on cell organelles with transmission electron photomicrographs. We measured atrial, ventricular, ventral, and dorsal aortic blood pressures (n > or = 5) with a servonull system. The atrioventricular orifice was positioned on the dorsomedial side of the anterior ventricle, surmounted by the single-chambered atrium. The atrioventricular valve was free of tension apparati but supported by papillary bands to prevent retrograde flow. The ventricle was spanned with fine trabeculae perpendicular to the compact layer and perforated with a subepicardial network of coronary arteries, which originated from the efferent branchial arteries by means of the main coronary vessel. Ventricular myocytes were larger than those in the atrium (P < 0.05) with abundant mitochondria close to the sarcolemmal. Sarcoplasmic reticulum was sparse in zebrafish ventricle. Bulbus arteriosus was located anterior to the ventricle, and functioned as an elastic reservoir to absorb the rapid rise of pressure during ventricular contraction. The dense matrix of collagen interspersed across the entire bulbus arteriosus exemplified the characteristics of vasculature smooth muscle. There were pressure gradients from atrium to ventricle, and from ventral to dorsal aorta, indicating that the valves and the branchial arteries, respectively, were points of resistance to blood flow. These data serve as a framework for structure-function investigations of the zebrafish cardiovascular system.

Li X, Yost HJ, Virshup DM, Seeling JM (2001) Protein phosphatase 2A and its B56 regulatory subunit inhibit Wnt signaling in Xenopus. EMBO J. 2001 Aug 1;20(15):4122-31.

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Wnt signaling increases beta-catenin abundance and transcription of Wnt-responsive genes. Our previous work suggested that the B56 regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) inhibits Wnt signaling. Okadaic acid (a phosphatase inhibitor) increases, while B56 expression reduces, beta-catenin abundance; B56 also reduces transcription of Wnt-responsive genes. Okadaic acid is a tumor promoter, and the structural A subunit of PP2A is mutated in multiple cancers. Taken together, the evidence suggests that PP2A is a tumor suppressor. However, other studies suggest that PP2A activates Wnt signaling. We now show that the B56, A and catalytic C subunits of PP2A each have ventralizing activity in Xenopus embryos. B56 was epistatically positioned downstream of GSK3beta and axin but upstream of beta-catenin, and axin co-immunoprecipitated B56, A and C subunits, suggesting that PP2A:B56 is in the beta-catenin degradation complex. PP2A appears to be essential for beta-catenin degradation, since beta-catenin degradation was reconstituted in phosphatase-depleted Xenopus egg extracts by PP2A, but not PP1. These results support the hypothesis that PP2A:B56 directly inhibits Wnt signaling and plays a role in development and carcinogenesis.

Bisgrove BW, Yost HJ (2001) Classification of left-right patterning defects in zebrafish, mice, and humans. Am J Med Genet. 2001 Jul 15;101(4):315-23.

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Numerous genes and developmental processes have been implicated in the establishment of the vertebrate left-right axis. Although the mechanisms that initiate left-right patterning may be distinct in different classes of vertebrates, it is clear that the asymmetric gene expression patterns of nodal, lefty, and pitx2 in the left lateral plate mesoderm are conserved and that left-right development of the brain, heart, and gut is tightly linked to the development of the embryonic midline. This review categorizes left-right patterning defects based on asymmetric gene expression patterns, midline phenotypes, and situs phenotypes. In so doing, we hope to provide a framework to assess the genetic bases of laterality defects in humans and other vertebrates.

Liu J, Stevens J, Rote CA, Yost HJ, Hu Y, Neufeld KL, White RL, Matsunami N (2001) Siah-1 mediates a novel beta-catenin degradation pathway linking p53 to the adenomatous polyposis coli protein. Mol Cell. 2001 May;7(5):927-36.

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The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor-suppressor protein, together with Axin and GSK3beta, forms a Wnt-regulated signaling complex that mediates phosphorylation-dependent degradation of beta-catenin by the proteasome. Siah-1, the human homolog of Drosophila seven in absentia, is a p53-inducible mediator of cell cycle arrest, tumor suppression, and apoptosis. We have now found that Siah-1 interacts with the carboxyl terminus of APC and promotes degradation of beta-catenin in mammalian cells. The ability of Siah-1 to downregulate beta-catenin signaling was also demonstrated by hypodorsalization of Xenopus embryos. Unexpectedly, degradation of beta-catenin by Siah-1 was independent of GSK3beta-mediated phosphorylation and did not require the F box protein beta-TrCP. These results indicate that APC and Siah-1 mediate a novel beta-catenin degradation pathway linking p53 activation to cell cycle control.

Lohr JL, Yost HJ (2000) Vertebrate model systems in the study of early heart development: Xenopus and zebrafish. Am J Med Genet. 2000 Winter;97(4):248-57.

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Xenopus and zebrafish serve as outstanding models in which to study vertebrate heart development. The embryos are transparent, allowing observation during organogenesis; they can be obtained in large numbers; and they are readily accessible to embryologic manipulation and microinjection of RNA, DNA, or protein. These embryos can live by diffusion for several days, allowing analysis of mutants or experimental treatments that perturb normal heart development. Xenopus embryos have been used to understand the induction of the cardiac field, the role of Nkx genes in cardiac development, and the role transforming growth factor beta molecules in the establishment and signaling of left-right axis information. Large-scale mutant screens in zebrafish and the development of transgenics in both Xenopus and zebrafish have accelerated the molecular identification of genes that regulate conserved steps in cardiovascular development.

Yost HJ (2001) Establishment of left-right asymmetry. Int Rev Cytol. 2001;203:357-81.

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The vertebrate body plan has bilateral symmetry and left-right asymmetries that are highly conserved. The molecular pathways for left-right development are beginning to be elucidated. Several distinct mechanisms to initiate the vertebrate left-right axis have been proposed. These mechanisms appear to converge on highly conserved expression patterns of genes in the transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) family of cell-cell signaling factors, nodal and lefty-2, and subsequently the expression of the transcription regulator Pitx2, in left lateral plate mesoderm. It is possible that downstream signaling pathways diverge in distinct classes of vertebrates.

Hu N, Sedmera D, Yost HJ, Clark EB (2000) Structure and function of the developing zebrafish heart. Anat Rec. 2000 Oct 1;260(2):148-57.

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The combination of optical clarity and large scale of mutants makes the zebrafish vital for developmental biologists. However, there is no comprehensive reference of morphology and function for this animal. Since study of gene expression must be integrated with structure and function, we undertook a longitudinal study to define the cardiac morphology and physiology of the developing zebrafish. Our studies included 48-hr, 5-day, 2-week, 4-week, and 3-month post-fertilization zebrafish. We measured ventricular and body wet weights, and performed morphologic analysis on the heart with H&E and MF-20 antibody sections. Ventricular and dorsal aortic pressures were measured with a servonull system. Ventricular and body weight increased geometrically with development, but at different rates. Ventricle-to-body ratio decreased from 0.11 at 48-hr to 0.02 in adult. The heart is partitioned into sinus venosus, atrium, ventricle, and bulbus arteriosus as identified by the constriction between the segments at 48-hr. Valves were formed at 5-day post-fertilization. Until maturity, the atrium showed extensive pectinate muscles, and the atrial wall increased to two to three cell layers. The ventricular wall and the compact layer increased to three to four cell layers, while the extent and complexity in trabeculation continued. Further thickening of the heart wall was mainly by increase in cell size. The bulbus arteriosus had similar characteristics to the myocardium in early stages, but lost the MF-20 positive staining, and transitioned to smooth muscle layer. All pressures increased geometrically with development, and were linearly related to stage-specific values for body weight (P < 0.05). These data define the parameters of normal cardiac morphology and ventricular function in the developing zebrafish.

Angelo S, Lohr J, Lee KH, Ticho BS, Breitbart RE, Hill S, Yost HJ, Srivastava D (2000) Conservation of sequence and expression of Xenopus and zebrafish dHAND during cardiac, branchial arch and lateral mesoderm development. Mech Dev. 2000 Jul;95(1-2):231-7.

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dHAND and eHAND are related basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors that are expressed in the cardiac mesoderm and in numerous neural crest-derived cell types in chick and mouse. To better understand the evolutionary development of overlapping expression and function of the HAND genes during embryogenesis, we cloned the zebrafish and Xenopus orthologues. Comparison of dHAND sequences in zebrafish, Xenopus, chick, mouse and human demonstrated conservation throughout the protein. Expression of dHAND in zebrafish was seen in the earliest precursors of all lateral mesoderm at early gastrulation stages. At neurula and later stages, dHAND expression was observed in lateral precardiac mesoderm, branchial arch neural crest derivatives and posterior lateral mesoderm. At looping heart stages, cardiac dHAND expression remained generalized with no apparent regionalization. Interestingly, no eHAND orthologue was found in zebrafish. In Xenopus, dHAND and eHAND were co-expressed in the cardiac mesoderm without the segmental restriction seen in mice. Xenopus dHAND and eHAND were also expressed bilaterally in the lateral mesoderm without any left-right asymmetry. Within the branchial arches, XdHAND was expressed in a broader domain than XeHAND, similar to their mouse counterparts. Together, these data demonstrate conservation of HAND structure and expression across species.

Bisgrove BW, Essner JJ, Yost HJ (2000) Multiple pathways in the midline regulate concordant brain, heart and gut left-right asymmetry. Development. 2000 Aug;127(16):3567-79.

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The embryonic midline in vertebrates has been implicated in left-right development, but the mechanisms by which it regulates left-right asymmetric gene expression and organ morphogenesis are unknown. Zebrafish embryos have three domains of left-right asymmetric gene expression that are useful predictors of organ situs. cyclops (nodal), lefty1 and pitx2 are expressed in the left diencephalon; cyclops, lefty2 and pitx2 are expressed in the left heart field; and cyclops and pitx2 are expressed in the left gut primordium. Distinct alterations of these expression patterns in zebrafish midline mutants identify four phenotypic classes that have different degrees of discordance among the brain, heart and gut. These classes help identify two midline domains and several genetic pathways that regulate left-right development. A cyclops-dependent midline domain, associated with the prechordal plate, regulates brain asymmetry but is dispensable for normal heart and gut left-right development. A second midline domain, associated with the anterior notochord, is dependent on no tail, floating head and momo function and is essential for restricting asymmetric gene expression to the left side. Mutants in spadetail or chordino give discordant gene expression among the brain, heart and gut. one-eyed pinhead and schmalspur are necessary for asymmetric gene expression and may mediate signaling from midline domains to lateral tissues. The different phenotypic classes help clarify the apparent disparity of mechanisms proposed to explain left-right development in different vertebrates.

Branford WW, Essner JJ, Yost HJ (2000) Regulation of gut and heart left-right asymmetry by context-dependent interactions between xenopus lefty and BMP4 signaling. Dev Biol. 2000 Jul 15;223(2):291-306.

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The Lefty subfamily of TGFbeta signaling molecules has been implicated in early development in mouse, zebrafish, and chick. Here, we show that Xenopus lefty (Xlefty) is expressed both bilaterally in symmetric midline domains and unilaterally in left lateral plate mesoderm and anterior dorsal endoderm. To examine the roles of Xlefty in left-right development, we created a system for scoring gut asymmetry and examined the effects of unilateral Xlefty misexpression on gut development, heart development, and Xnr-1 and XPitx2 expression. In contrast to the unilateral effects of Vg1, Activin, Nodal, or BMPs, targeted expression of Xlefty in either the left or the right side of Xenopus embryos randomized the direction of heart looping, gut coiling, and left-right positioning of the gut and downregulated the asymmetric expression of Xnr-1 and XPitx2. It is currently thought that Lefty proteins act as feedback inhibitors of Nodal signaling. However, this would not explain the effects of right-sided Xlefty misexpression. Here, we show that Xlefty interacts with the signaling pathways of other members of the TGFbeta family during left-right development. Results from coexpression of Xlefty and Vg1 indicate that Xlefty can nullify the effects of Vg1 ectopic expression and that Xlefty is downstream of left-sided Vg1 signaling. Results from coexpression of Xlefty and XBMP4 indicate that XLefty and XBMP4 interact both synergistically and antagonistically in a context-dependent manner. We propose a model in which interactions of Xlefty with multiple members of the TGFbeta family enhance the differences between the right-sided BMP/ALK2/Smad pathway and the left-sided Vg1/anti-BMP/Nodal pathway, leading to left-right morphogenesis of the gut and heart.

Yost HJ (2000) Specification of cardiac mesenchyme and heart morphogenesis in vitro. Methods Mol Biol. 2000;136:39-43.

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Wagner MK, Yost HJ (2000) Left-right development: the roles of nodal cilia. Curr Biol. 2000 Feb 24;10(4):R149-51.

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Cilia on the ventral side of the mouse node have been implicated in initiating the left-right axis during embryonic development, but how cilia relate to other factors in the left-right pathway and the mechanism by which cilia convey patterning information remain uncertain.

Essner JJ, Branford WW, Zhang J, Yost HJ (2000) Mesendoderm and left-right brain, heart and gut development are differentially regulated by pitx2 isoforms. Development. 2000 Mar;127(5):1081-93.

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The pitx2 gene is a member of the bicoid-homeodomain class of transcription factors that has been implicated in the control of left-right asymmetry during organogenesis. Here we demonstrate that in zebrafish there are two pitx2 isoforms, pitx2a and pitx2c, which show distinct expression patterns and have non-overlapping functions during mesendoderm and asymmetric organ development. pitx2c is expressed symmetrically in presumptive mesendoderm during late blastula stages and in the prechordal plate during late gastrulation. pitx2a expression is first detected at bud stage in the anterior prechordal plate. The regulation of early mesendoderm pitx2c expression is dependent on one-eyed pinhead (EGF-CFC-related gene) and spadetail (tbx-transcription factor) and can be induced by ectopic goosecoid expression. Maintenance of pitx2c midline expression is dependent on cyclops (nodal) and schmalspur, but not no tail (brachyury). Ectopic expression of pitx2 isoforms results in distinct morphological and molecular phenotypes, indicating that pitx2a and pitx2c have divergent regulatory functions. Both isoforms downregulate goosecoid on the dorsal side, but in contrast to earlier reports that nodal and lefty are upstream of pitx2, ectopic pitx2c in other regions induces cyclops, lefty2 and goosecoid expression. Asymmetric isoform expression occurs in non-overlapping domains, with pitx2c in left dorsal diencephalon and developing gut and pitx2a in left heart primordium. Targeted asymmetric expression in Xenopus shows that both isoforms can alter left-right development, but pitx2a has a slightly stronger effect on heart laterality. Our results indicate that distinct genetic pathways regulate pitx2a and pitx2c isoform expression, and each isoform regulates different downstream pathways during mesendoderm and asymmetric organ development.

Ramsdell AF, Yost HJ (1999) Cardiac looping and the vertebrate left-right axis: antagonism of left-sided Vg1 activity by a right-sided ALK2-dependent BMP pathway. Development. 1999 Dec;126(23):5195-205.

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The rightward looping of the primary heart tube is dependent upon upstream patterning events that establish the vertebrate left-right axis. In Xenopus, a left-sided Vg1 signaling pathway has been implicated in instructing cells to adopt a 'left-sided identity'; however, it is not known whether 'right-sided identity' is acquired by a default pathway or by antagonism of Vg1 signaling. Here, we propose that an antagonistic, BMP/ALK2/Smad-mediated signaling pathway is active on the right side of the Xenopus embryo. Truncated ALK2 receptor expression on the right side of the blastula elicits heart reversals and altered nodal expression. Consistent with these findings, constitutively active ALK2 (CA-ALK2) receptor expression on the left side of the blastula also elicits heart reversals and altered nodal expression. Coexpression of CA-ALK2 with mature Vg1 ligand results in predominantly left-sided nodal expression patterns and normal heart looping, demonstrating that the ALK2 pathway can 'rescue' left-right reversals that otherwise occur following right-sided misexpression of mature Vg1 ligand alone. Results with chimeric precursor proteins indicate that the mature domain of BMP ligands can mimic the ability of the ALK2 signaling pathway to antagonize the Vg1 pathway. Consistent with the observed antagonism between BMP and Vg1 ligands, left-sided ectopic expression of Xolloid results in heart reversals. Moreover, ectopic expression of Smad1 or Smad7 identified two downstream modulators of the BMP/ALK2 signaling pathway that also can regulate cardiac orientation. Collectively, these results define a BMP/ALK2-mediated pathway on the right side of the Xenopus embryo and, moreover, suggest that left-right patterning preceding cardiac morphogenesis involves the activation of two distinct and antagonistic, left- and right-sided TGF(beta)-related signaling pathways.

Schroeder KE, Condic ML, Eisenberg LM, Yost HJ (1999) Spatially regulated translation in embryos: asymmetric expression of maternal Wnt-11 along the dorsal-ventral axis in Xenopus. Dev Biol. 1999 Oct 15;214(2):288-97.

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Transition from symmetry to asymmetry is a central theme in cell and developmental biology. In Xenopus embryos, dorsal-ventral asymmetry is initiated by a microtubule-dependent cytoplasmic rotation during the first cell cycle after fertilization. Here we show that the cytoplasmic rotation initiates differential cytoplasmic polyadenylation of maternal Xwnt-11 RNA, encoding a member of the Wnt family of cell-cell signaling factors. Translational regulation of Xwnt-11 mRNA along the dorsal-ventral axis results in asymmetric accumulation of Xwnt-11 protein. These results demonstrate spatially regulated translation of a maternal cell-signaling factor along the vertebrate dorsal-ventral axis and represent a novel mechanism for Wnt gene regulation. Spatial regulation of maternal RNA translation, which has been established in invertebrates, appears to be an evolutionarily conserved mechanism in the generation of intracellular asymmetry and the consequential formation of the multicellular body pattern.

Yost HJ (1999) Diverse initiation in a conserved left-right pathway? Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1999 Aug;9(4):422-6.

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Preceding stereotypical left-right asymmetric morphogenesis, asymmetric gene expression patterns of nodal and pitx2 are very similar in major groups of vertebrates. I propose that these conserved expression patterns are indicative of 'left-right' phylotypic stages' of development. It is not known whether these patterns are initiated by conserved or divergent developmental mechanisms.

Bisgrove BW, Essner JJ, Yost HJ (1999) Regulation of midline development by antagonism of lefty and nodal signaling. Development. 1999 Jun;126(14):3253-62.

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The embryonic midline is crucial for the development of embryonic pattern including bilateral symmetry and left-right asymmetry. In zebrafish, lefty1 (lft1) and lefty2 (lft2) have distinct midline expression domains along the anteroposterior axis that overlap with the expression patterns of the nodal-related genes cyclops and squint. Altered expression patterns of lft1 and lft2 in zebrafish mutants that affect midline development suggests different upstream pathways regulate each expression domain. Ectopic expression analysis demonstrates that a balance of lefty and cyclops signaling is required for normal mesendoderm patterning and goosecoid, no tail and pitx2 expression. In late somite-stage embryos, lft1 and lft2 are expressed asymmetrically in the left diencephalon and left lateral plate respectively, suggesting an additional role in laterality development. A model is proposed by which the vertebrate midline, and thus bilateral symmetry, is established and maintained by antagonistic interactions among co-expressed members of the lefty and nodal subfamilies of TGF-beta signaling molecules.

Lohr JL, Danos MC, Groth TW, Yost HJ (1998) Maintenance of asymmetric nodal expression in Xenopus laevis. Dev Genet. 1998;23(3):194-202.

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Vertebrate species display consistent left-right asymmetry in the arrangement of their internal organs. This asymmetry reflects the establishment of the left-right axis and the alignment of the organs along this axis during development. Members of the TGF-beta family of molecules have been implicated in both the establishment and signaling of left-right axis information. Asymmetric expression of one member, nodal (called Xnr-1 in the frog, Xenopus laevis), is highly conserved among species. The nodal-related genes are normally expressed in the left lateral plate mesoderm prior to the development of morphologic asymmetry. Expression patterns of nodal have been correlated with heart situs in mouse, chick, and frog and our previous work has implicated the dorsal midline structures in the regulation of nodal expression and cardiac laterality. In this study, three approaches were used to address the embryologic and molecular basis of asymmetric Xnr-1 expression. First, notochord and lateral plate recombinants were performed and showed that notochord can repress Xnr-1 expression in lateral plate mesoderm explants derived from either the left or the right side. Second, lateral plate mesoderm grafts indicated that Xnr-1 expression is specified but not determined at neurula stages and can subsequently be repatterned. These experiments suggest that a repressive signal from the notochord is required for maintenance of asymmetric Xnr-1 expression and that Xnr-1 expression is regulated by signals outside of the lateral plate mesoderm. Third, candidate molecules were injected to test for their ability to alter Xnr-1 expression pattern in the lateral plate. Late injection of activin protein on the right side of the embryo induced ectopic Xnr-1 expression and randomized cardiac orientation. This suggests that activin or a related TGF-beta molecule is involved in the proximal regulation of asymmetric Xnr-1 expression.

Yost HJ (1998) Left-right development from embryos to brains. Dev Genet. 1998;23(3):159-63.

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Bilateran animals have external bilateral symmetry along the dorsoventral (DV) and anteroposterior (AP) axes. Internal left-right asymmetries appear to be consistently aligned along the left-right (LR) axis with respect to the other axes. Left-right development is most apparent in the directional looping of the cardiac tube, the coiling and placement of the intestines, the positioning of internal organs such as liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and stomach. In addition, there are obvious morphological asymmetries in the brains of some vertebrates and functional left-right asymmetries in the activities of the brain, as assessed by psychological testing, MRI, and the analysis of lesions. There are several fundamental questions: What are the origins of the left-right axis, and are they highly conserved across metazoans? Once the left-right axis is established by the initial breaking of bilateral symmetry, what is the genetic pathway that perpetrates left-right development? What are the cellular and tissue mechanics that lead to morphogenesis during, for example, the looping of the cardiac tube, the coiling of the gut, or asymmetric brain development? Finally, do the asymmetric developmental pathways of each organ system take register from the same initial event that establishes the left-right axis, or are there separate mechanisms that orient heart, gut, and brain left-right asymmetry with respect to the DV and AP axes? These questions are beginning to be experimentally addressed, and papers in this issue of Developmental Genetics make contributions to several aspects in the burgeoning field of left-right development. Recent reviews have summarized the emerging genes and pathways in vertebrate left-right development [Wood, 1997; Harvey, 1998; Ramsdell and Yost, 1998]. Here, I give an overview of the contributions in this issue to the fundamental questions in left-right development.

Ramsdell AF, Yost HJ (1998) Molecular mechanisms of vertebrate left-right development. Trends Genet. 1998 Nov;14(11):459-65.

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Patterning of all tissues and organs in the vertebrate embryo occurs along the dorsoventral (DV), anteroposterior (AP), and left-right (LR) body axes. Whereas significant progress has been made in identifying the processes underlying DV and AP patterning, relatively little is known about mechanisms guiding LR development. The significant incidence of human disease conditions associated with LR laterality defects, particularly those of the cardiovascular system, underscores the importance of understanding how LR asymmetries become established in the embryo. The focus of this review is on recently identified genes that are involved in generation of vertebrate LR asymmetry, and the proposed cellular and molecular mechanisms by which they might function in initiation, propagation and interpretation of LR patterning information.

Yost HJ (1998) The genetics of midline and cardiac laterality defects. Curr Opin Cardiol. 1998 May;13(3):185-9.

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Left-right asymmetric looping of the cardiac tube during embryogenesis places the segments of the cardiac tube that give rise to the left and right chambers into their appropriate spatial orientation. Cardiac looping is required for subsequent formation of septa, valves, and outflow tract. Defects in embryonic left-right axis formation represent a significant portion of congenital heart malformations. Recent discoveries make it apparent that the orientation of cardiac tube looping is dependent on a cascade of genes in noncardiac embryonic cells, including lateral cells and midline cells, before neural tube closure. These observations suggest a linkage between complex cardiac defects and subtle midline defects in early embryos.

Yost HJ (1998) Left-right development in Xenopus and zebrafish. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 1998 Feb;9(1):61-6.

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One of the most striking features of the vertebrate body plan is that most exterior structures are bilaterally symmetric while many interior structures are left-right asymmetric. Left-right asymmetries are displayed in the heart, the circulatory, digestive and respiratory systems and in the central nervous system. A fundamental question in the study of all patterning events, including left-right axis formation, is how does asymmetry arise from apparent symmetry. A second important question that is perhaps unique to the study of left-right development, is how does the left-right axis align with the asymmetries that develop along the orthogonal axes; dorsal-ventral and anterior-posterior. Recent experiments in Xenopus laevis and zebrafish address both of these questions and have identified signaling molecules and interactions with midline cells that regulate left-right development.

Hyatt BA, Yost HJ (1998) The left-right coordinator: the role of Vg1 in organizing left-right axis formation. Cell. 1998 Apr 3;93(1):37-46.

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The asymmetries of internal organs are consistently oriented along the left-right axis in all vertebrates, and perturbations of left-right orientation lead to significant congenital disease. We propose a model in which a "left-right coordinator" interacts with the Spemann organizer to coordinate the evolutionarily conserved three-dimensional asymmetries in the embryo. The Vg1 cell-signaling pathway plays a central role in left-right coordinator function. Antagonists of Vg1 alter left-right development; antagonists of other members of the TGFbeta family do not. Cell-lineage directed expression of Vg1 protein can fully invert the left-right axis (situs inversus), can randomize left-right asymmetries, or can "rescue" a perturbed left-right axis in conjoined twins to normal orientation (situs solitus), indicating that Vg1 can mimic left-right coordinator activity. These are the first molecular manipulations in any vertebrate by which the left-right axis can be reliably controlled.

Lohr JL, Danos MC, Yost HJ (1997) Left-right asymmetry of a nodal-related gene is regulated by dorsoanterior midline structures during Xenopus development. Development. 1997 Apr;124(8):1465-72.

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Development of asymmetry along the left-right axis is a critical step in the formation of the vertebrate body plan. Disruptions of normal left-right patterning are associated with abnormalities of multiple organ systems, including significant congenital heart disease. The mouse nodal gene, and its homologues in chick and Xenopus, are among the first genes known to be asymmetrically expressed along the left-right axis before the development of organ asymmetry. Alterations in the expression pattern of mouse nodal and the chick homologue (cNR-1) have been associated with defects in the development of left-right asymmetry and cardiac looping (Levin, M., Johnson, R. L., Stern, C. D., Kuehn, M. and Tabin, C. (1995) Cell 82, 803-814; Collignon, J., Varlet, I. and Robertson, E. J. (1996) Nature 381, 155-158; Lowe, L. A., Supp, D. M., Sampath, K., Yokoyama, T., Wright, C. V. E., Potter, S. S., Overbeek, P. and Kuehn, M. R. (1996) Nature 381, 158-161). Here, we show that the normal expression patterns of the Xenopus nodal-related gene (Xnr-1) are variable in a large population of embryos and that Xnr-1 expression is altered by treatments that perturb normal left-right development. The incidence of abnormal Xnr-1 expression patterns correlates well with cardiac reversal rates in both control and experimentally treated Xenopus embryos. Furthermore, dorsal midline structures, including notochord and/or hypochord and neural floorplate, regulate Xnr-1 expression prior to the specification of cardiac left-right orientation by repression of Xnr-1 expression in the right lateral plate mesoderm during closure of the neural tube. The correlation of Xnr-1 expression and orientation of cardiac looping suggests that Xnr-1 is a component of the left-right signaling pathway required for the specification of cardiac orientation in Xenopus, and that dorsal midline structures normally act to repress the signaling pathway on the right side of the embryo.

Bowers PN, Brueckner M, Yost HJ (1996) The genetics of left-right development and heterotaxia. Semin Perinatol. 1996 Dec;20(6):577-88.

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Looping of the primitive heart tube is one of the earliest and most crucial steps in cardiac morphogenesis. Cardiac looping is dependent on normal left-right development, and defects in left-right development result in both heterotaxia and complex congenital heart disease. Single gene defects result in the wide spectrum of heterotaxy phenotypes, and conversely, different gene defects result in similar heterotaxy phenotypes. Elucidation of the molecular-genetic mechanisms of left-right development will greatly increase our understanding of the etiology of this complex group of congenital heart defects.

Hyatt BA, Lohr JL, Yost HJ (1996) Initiation of vertebrate left-right axis formation by maternal Vg1. Nature. 1996 Nov 7;384(6604):62-5.

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In the development of the three-dimensional vertebrate body plan, the left-right axis is linked to the dorsoventral and anterioposterior axes. In humans, altered left-right development results in severe cardiovascular and visceral abnormalities in individuals and in conjoined twins. Although zygotically transcribed genes that are asymmetrically expressed have been identified, the mechanism by which left-right asymmetries are established during embryogenesis is unknown. Here we show that the Xenopus maternal gene Vg1, a member of the TGF-beta family of cell-signalling molecules which are implicated in dorsoanterior development, initiates left-right axis formation. Altered expression of Vg1 on the right side of 16-cell embryos or disruption of endogenous Vg1 signalling on the left side randomizes cardiac and visceral left-right orientation and alters expression of Xnr-1, a nodal-related molecular marker for left-right development. Furthermore, the orientation of the left-right axis in conjoined twins is dependent upon which cell-signalling molecule initiated twin formation and on whether the secondary axis is on the left or right side of the primary embryonic axis, implicating a molecular pathway leading to the formation of conjoined twins.

Teel AL, Yost HJ (1996) Embryonic expression patterns of Xenopus syndecans. Mech Dev. 1996 Oct;59(2):115-27.

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Syndecans are a family of heparan sulfate proteoglycans implicated in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. To investigate the roles of syndecans in early development, we identified three syndecan family members in Xenopus laevis: Xsyn-1, Xsyn-2, and Xsyn-3. Xsyn-1 and Xsyn-2 are maternal mRNAs localized to the animal pole in blastulae, and are expressed in the ectoderm of gastrulae. In neurulae, Xsyn-1 is restricted to non-neural ectoderm and Xsyn-2 is restricted to neural ectoderm. In tailbud embryos, the three syndecans are expressed in adjacent, non-overlapping patterns. Xsyn-2 is expressed in the heart while Xsyn-1 is expressed in the underlying anterior endoderm. Xsyn-3 is expressed in the hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain, while Xsyn-2 is expressed in the intervening regions. These results suggest that different members of the syndecan family have distinct developmental roles, perhaps acting as barriers to define tissue boundaries.

Danos MC, Yost HJ (1996) Role of notochord in specification of cardiac left-right orientation in zebrafish and Xenopus. Dev Biol. 1996 Jul 10;177(1):96-103.

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The left-right body axis is coordinately aligned with the orthogonal dorsoventral and anterioposterior body axes. The developmental mechanisms that regulate axis coordination are unknown. Here it is shown that the cardiac left-right orientation in zebrafish (Danio rerio) is randomized in notochord-defective no tail and floating head mutants. no tail (Brachyury) and floating head (Xnot) encode putative transcription factors that are expressed in the organizer and notochord, structures which regulate dorsoventral and anterioposterior development in vertebrate embryos. Results from dorsal tissue extirpation and cardiac primordia explantation indicate that cardiac left-right orientation is dependent on dorsoanterior structures including the notochord and is specified during neural fold stages in Xenopus laevis. Thus, the notochord coordinates the development of all three body axes in the vertebrate body plan.

Schroeder KE, Yost HJ (1996) Xenopus poly (A) binding protein maternal RNA is localized during oogenesis and associated with large complexes in blastula. Dev Genet. 1996;19(3):268-76.

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Maternal mRNAs are synthesized during oogenesis and often stored for use during early embryogenesis, before the onset of zygotic transcription. The temporal and spatial regulation of maternal RNAs is likely to be crucial mechanism for the establishment of the body pattern. In the course of a study that identified a Xenopus maternal mRNA that is translationally regulated along the dorsoventral axis, several RNAs were found to behave anomalously in polysomal analysis and are further characterized here. As controls for polysome analysis, elF4E RNA and D7.1 RNA were equally translated in both dorsal and ventral cells, whereas the cell-cell signaling factor noggin RNA was not translated in either cell type. Maternal RNAs encoding poly (A) binding protein (PABP), Vg1 and Xcat-2 were associated with large complexes that, in contrast to polysomes, were not dissociated in magnesium-free buffer. Vg1 and Xcat-2 maternal mRNAs have been shown to be localized during oogenesis to the vegetal hemisphere of the oocyte [Rebagliati et al., 1985; Mosquera et al., 1993]. In situ hybridization analysis indicated that PABP RNA was also localized during oogenesis, to the animal hemisphere in stage VI oocytes. This suggests that association of maternal mRNAs with large EDTA-insensitive mRNP complexes is correlated with intracellular localization, but the specific localization within the oocyte is dependent upon the RNA species.

Yost HJ (1995) Vertebrate left-right development. Cell. 1995 Sep 8;82(5):689-92.

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Yost HJ, Phillips CR, Boore JL, Bertman J, Whalon B, Danilchik MV (1995) Relocation of mitochondria to the prospective dorsal marginal zone during Xenopus embryogenesis. Dev Biol. 1995 Jul;170(1):83-90.

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Dorsal-ventral axis formation in Xenopus laevis begins with a cytoplasmic rotation during the first cell cycle and culminates in a series of cell interactions and movements during gastrulation and neurulation that lead to the formation of dorsal-anterior structures. Evidence reported here indicates that mitochondria are differentially redistributed along the prospective dorsal-ventral axis as a consequence of the cortical-cytoplasmic rotation during the first cell cycle. This finding reinvigorates a possibility that has been considered for many years: asymmetries in cytoplasmic components and metabolic activities contribute to the development of morphological asymmetries.

Danos MC, Yost HJ (1995) Linkage of cardiac left-right asymmetry and dorsal-anterior development in Xenopus. Development. 1995 May;121(5):1467-74.

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The left-right body axis is defined relative to the dorsal-ventral and anterior-posterior body axes. Since left-right asymmetries are not randomly oriented with respect to dorsal-ventral and anterior-posterior spatial patterns, it is possible that a common mechanism determines all three axes in a coordinate manner. Two approaches were undertaken to determine whether alteration in dorsal-anterior development perturbs the left-right orientation of heart looping. Treatments known to decrease dorsal-anterior development in Xenopus laevis, UV irradiation during the first cell cycle or Xwnt-8 DNA injections into dorsal blastomeres, caused an increase in cardiac left-right reversals. The frequency of left-right reversal was correlated with the severity of dorsal-anterior perturbation and with the extent of anterior notochord regression. Injection of Xwnt-8 DNA into dorsal midline cells resulted in decreased dorsal-anterior development and a correlated increase in cardiac left-right reversals. In contrast, injection of Xwnt-8 DNA into cardiac progenitor blastomeres did not result in left-right reversals, and dorsal-anterior development and notochord formation were normal. Disrupting development of dorsal-anterior cells, including cells that give rise to the Organizer region and the notochord, results in the randomization of cardiac left-right asymmetry. These results suggest dorsal-anterior development and the regulation of left-right orientation are linked.

Galeazza MT, Garry MG, Yost HJ, Strait KA, Hargreaves KM, Seybold VS (1995) Plasticity in the synthesis and storage of substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide in primary afferent neurons during peripheral inflammation. Neuroscience. 1995 May;66(2):443-58.

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Several indices of peptidergic, primary afferent neural transmission in rat at the level of the lumbar spinal cord exhibited differential changes over time in response to adjuvant-induced inflammation of the hindpaw. The indices were measurements of the production of messenger RNA encoding the precursors for substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide in dorsal root ganglia, the storage of substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide in the dorsal spinal cord and the release of the peptides evoked by application of capsaicin to the dorsal spinal cord. A 47% decrease in the content of immunoreactive substance P in the dorsal half of the lumbar spinal cord, as determined by radioimmunoassay, was measured at 6 h following the injection of complete Freund's adjuvant into the hindpaw. Decreased content of immunoreactive SP persisted for four days, but was no longer present at eight days after the adjuvant injection. The content of immunoreactive calcitonin gene-related peptide in the dorsal spinal cord was decreased by 29% at one day following the injection of adjuvant into the rat hindpaw and 43% at two days; the content then increased to a level greater than that of control animals at eight days. The amount of messenger RNA encoding preprotachykinin and prepro-calcitonin gene-related peptide in L4-L6 dorsal root ganglia was determined from northern blot analysis of the total messenger RNA extracted from the dorsal root ganglia. Each species of messenger RNA had increased compared to the control animals at two days following the injection of adjuvant into the rat hindpaws and remained elevated after eight days. Thus, an increase in the messenger RNAs encoding substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide in the dorsal root ganglia preceeded the recovery of the content of the peptides in the spinal cord. Morphometric studies of calcitonin gene-related peptide-immunoreactive perikarya in the L4 dorsal root ganglia indicated that the increase in messenger RNA occurred in neurons of the size that normally express calcitonin gene-related protein. Radioimmunoassay of the superfusate of the dorsal half of the lumbar spinal cord was used to measure the release of immunoreactive substance P and immunoreactive calcitonin gene-related protein in vitro. Although the basal release of immunoreactive substance P and immunoreactive calcitonin-gene related protein from the dorsal spinal cord was constant throughout the time points examined, changes occurred in the release of peptide evoked by 10 microM capsaicin. The capsaicin-evoked release of immunoreactive substance P was decreased at 6 h and eight days post-injection of adjuvant.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Yost HJ (1992) Regulation of vertebrate left-right asymmetries by extracellular matrix. Nature. 1992 May 14;357(6374):158-61.

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The vertebrate body is organized along three geometric axes: anterior-posterior, dorsal-ventral and left-right. Left-right axis formation, displayed in heart and gut development, is the least understood, even though it has been studied for many years. In Xenopus laevis gastrulae, a fibronectin-rich extracellular matrix is deposited on the basal surface of ectoderm cells over which cardiac and visceral primordia move during development. Here I report experiments in which localized perturbation of a small patch of extracellular matrix by microsurgery was correlated with localized randomization of left-right asymmetries. Global perturbation of the extracellular matrix by microinjection of Arg-Gly-Asp peptides or heparinase into the blastocoel resulted in global randomization of left-right asymmetries. From these observations, I suggest that left-right axial information is contained in the extracellular matrix early in development and is independently transmitted to cardiac and visceral primordia.

Yost HJ, Lindquist S (1991) Heat shock proteins affect RNA processing during the heat shock response of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mol Cell Biol. 1991 Feb;11(2):1062-8.

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In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the splicing of mRNA precursors is disrupted by a severe heat shock. Mild heat treatments prior to severe heat shock protect splicing from disruption, as was previously reported for Drosophila melanogaster. In contrast to D. melanogaster, protein synthesis during the pretreatment is not required to protect splicing in yeast cells. However, protein synthesis is required for the rapid recovery of splicing once it has been disrupted by a sudden severe heat shock. Mutations in two classes of yeast hsp genes affect the pattern of RNA splicing during the heat shock response. First, certain hsp70 mutants, which overproduce other heat shock proteins at normal temperatures, show constitutive protection of splicing at high temperatures and do not require pretreatment. Second, in hsp104 mutants, the recovery of RNA splicing after a severe heat shock is delayed compared with wild-type cells. These results indicate a greater degree of specialization in the protective functions of hsps than has previously been suspected. Some of the proteins (e.g., members of the hsp70 and hsp82 gene families) help to maintain normal cellular processes at higher temperatures. The particular function of hsp104, at least in splicing, is to facilitate recovery of the process once it has been disrupted.

Yost HJ (1991) Development of the left-right axis in amphibians. Ciba Found Symp. 1991;162:165-76; discussion 176-81.

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The heart and viscera of vertebrates are formed from primordia that are apparently bilaterally symmetrical. This symmetry is broken during development, yielding organs that develop characteristic asymmetries along the left-right axis. Results from three lines of experimentation on embryos of the amphibian Xenopus laevis indicate that left-right asymmetries are established early in development and that cellular interactions transmit left-right information from one primordium to another. First, a cytoplasmic rearrangement that occurs during the first cell cycle after fertilization may establish left-right asymmetry in some regions of the embryo. Second, a variety of experimental results indicate that embryonic ectoderm or its basal extracellular matrix may transmit left-right axial information to cardiac mesoderm and visceral endoderm. Third, inhibition of proteoglycan synthesis during a narrow period of development, concurrent with the migration of the cardiac primordia to the ventral midline, prevents asymmetrical development of the heart.

Yost HJ (1990) Inhibition of proteoglycan synthesis eliminates left-right asymmetry in Xenopus laevis cardiac looping. Development. 1990 Nov;110(3):865-74.

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The heart of any vertebrate is formed from an apparently symmetric cardiac tube that loops consistently in the same direction along the left-right axis of the embryo. In the amphibian Xenopus laevis, inhibition of proteoglycan synthesis by p-nitrophenyl-beta-D-xylopyranoside during a narrow period of development from late gastrula to early neurula specifically eliminated the looping of the cardiac tube. Most of the proteoglycans synthesized during this period were heparan sulfate proteoglycans. Treatment with p-nitrophenyl-alpha-D-xylopyranoside, an analogue that does not inhibit proteoglycan synthesis, did not interfere with cardiac looping. The critical period for proteoglycan synthesis was coincident with the migration of cardiac primordia to the ventral midline. The inhibition of cardiac looping was further explored in explants of cardiac primordia and anterioventral ectoderm. In recombinate embryos in which half the embryo, and thus one of the two heart primordia, was treated with p-nitrophenyl-beta-D-xylopyranoside, and the other half was untreated, cardiac looping occurred normally. It is proposed that the left-right axis in Xenopus, as reflected in cardiac looping, is established early in development, and that proteoglycan synthesis is involved in the transduction of left-right axial information to the cardiac primordia during migration.

Yost HJ, Petersen RB, Lindquist S (1990) RNA metabolism: strategies for regulation in the heat shock response. Trends Genet. 1990 Jul;6(7):223-7.

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It has long been appreciated that selective transcription and translation play important roles in the heat shock response. More recently, regulatory strategies acting at the levels of RNA processing and message degradation have been shown to exert a profound effect on gene expression both during heat shock and during recovery from heat shock. In turn, as heat shock proteins accumulate, they affect those very processes that govern their expression.

Yost HJ, Lindquist S (1988) Translation of unspliced transcripts after heat shock. Science. 1988 Dec 16;242(4885):1544-8.

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Severe heat shocks block the splicing of intervening sequences from messenger RNA precursors. The RNA's that accumulate after a severe heat shock have normal transcription start sites and are uncut at both their 5' and 3' splice junctions. Some of these unspliced transcripts leave the nucleus and enter the pool of cytoplasmic messenger RNA. Translation of these RNA's proceeds into their intervening sequences, resulting in the production of abnormal proteins. Thus, the repression of normal transcription, which usually accompanies the heat shock response, may protect the cell from the large-scale synthesis of abnormal RNA's and aberrant proteins.

Yost HJ, Lindquist S (1986) RNA splicing is interrupted by heat shock and is rescued by heat shock protein synthesis. Cell. 1986 Apr 25;45(2):185-93.

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The transcripts of most eukaryotic genes contain intervening sequences and must be spliced to yield functional messenger RNA. We report that a brief severe heat shock blocks the processing of intervening sequences in Drosophila cells and that this block persists for at least 2 hr after cells are returned to normal temperatures. If a mild heat shock, which induces the synthesis of heat shock proteins, is administered prior to the severe heat shock, processing occurs under otherwise restrictive conditions. When heat shock protein synthesis is inhibited, this protection is not observed. We suggest that the disruption of intron processing contributes to heat-induced lethality and developmental abnormalities and that one function of the heat shock proteins is to protect processing from heat-induced disruption.

Martinez-Arias A, Yost HJ, Casadaban MJ (1984) Role of an upstream regulatory element in leucine repression of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae leu2 gene. Nature. 1984 Feb 23-29;307(5953):740-2.

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The expression of a number of eukaryotic genes has been shown to involve at least two sequences located upstream of the actual transcription unit: one of these sequences, centred on a widely conserved TATAAT sequence, is thought to be involved in determining the precise site of initiation of transcription; the other has a gene-specific sequence, can function at a variable distance upstream of the initiation site, and is involved in the regulation of transcription. By constructing beta-galactosidase gene fusions, to facilitate measuring gene expression in vivo, we have now defined a cis-acting regulatory element of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae leu2 gene. This element is located within a 280 base pair (bp) fragment which occurs 125 bp upstream of the leu2 translation initiation codon and which contains a short G + C-rich palindromic sequence. A fragment of the Escherichia coli transposable element Tn9 which contains a similar palindromic sequence can functionally replace the natural leu2 regulatory element. Our results are contrary to previous speculations that the leu2 gene is regulated by an attenuation mechanism.

Updated: 2015-07-28 02:00:02.161988

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