The splanchnic mesodermal plate directs spleen and pancreatic laterality, and is regulated by Bapx1/Nkx3.2

Jacob Hecksher-Sørensen, Robert P Watson, Laura A Lettice, Palle Serup, Lorraine Eley, Carlo De Angelis, Ulf Ahlgren, Robert E Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanism by which left-right (LR) information is interpreted by organ primordia during asymmetric morphogenesis is largely unknown. We show that spleen and pancreatic laterality is dependent on a specialised, columnar mesodermal-derived cell layer referred to here as the splanchnic mesodermal plate (SMP). At early embryonic stages, the SMP is bilateral, surrounding the midline-located stomach and dorsal pancreatic bud. Under control of the LR asymmetry pathway, the left SMP is maintained and grows laterally. Mice carrying the dominant hemimelia (Dh) mutation lack the SMP. Significantly, the mice are asplenic and the pancreas remains positioned along the embryonic midline. In the absence of Fgf10 expression, the spleno-pancreatic mesenchyme and surrounding SMP grow laterally but contain no endodermal component, showing that leftward growth is autonomous and independent of endoderm. In the Bapx1(-/-) mutants, the SMP is defective. Normally, the SMP is a source for both Fgf9 and Fgf10; however, in the Bapx1 mutant, Fgf10 expression is downregulated and the dorsal pancreas remains at the midline. We conclude that the SMP is an organiser responsible for the leftward growth of the spleno-pancreatic region and that Bapx1 regulates SMP functions required for pancreatic laterality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4665-75
Number of pages11
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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