Alterations in gene expression during mesoderm formation and axial patterning in Brachyury (T) embryos

P Rashbass, V Wilson, B Rosen, R S Beddington

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The mouse T (Brachyury) deletion causes defective mesoderm formation and notochord morphogenesis, and abnormalities in the caudal neural tube and somites. To investigate the effect of the wild type T gene on concurrently expressed genes, we have compared expression of a panel of such genes in homozygous T mutants with that in wild type and heterozygous T/+ control embryos. Two classes of genes were used in this study: those implicated in primitive streak or mesoderm formation, and those which are differentially expressed in regions of the neural tube and somites. Results of wholemount in situ analysis show that the mRNA levels of Evx-1, Wnt-3a and Wnt-5a decrease in T/T embryos late in gastrulation, although earlier expression patterns are similar to control embryos. In contrast, BMP-4 and Msx-1 expression patterns remain similar throughout the period studied. Pax-3 and Pax-6, which are expressed in specific dorsoventral domains of the neural tube, both have ventrally extended expression domains in caudal T/T neural tube. This is consistent with a missing ventral signal provided by the notochord. However, the expression of Msx-1 in the most dorsal domain of the neural tube is unaltered in T/T embryos. Pax-1 and Pax-3, which are expressed in the sclerotome and dermamyotome respectively, are expressed correctly in anterior T/T somites, although the Pax-3 expression domain is widened ventromedially. This extension into ventromedial somite domains is more pronounced caudally, supporting a function for the notochord in ventralizing somites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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