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Curr Biol. 2011 Feb 22;21(4):294-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.017. Epub 2011 Feb 3.

A Bmp/Admp regulatory circuit controls maintenance and regeneration of dorsal-ventral polarity in planarians.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Whitehead Institute and Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


Animal embryos have diverse anatomy and vary greatly in size. It is therefore remarkable that a common signaling pathway, BMP signaling, controls development of the dorsoventral (DV) axis throughout the Bilateria. In vertebrates, spatially opposed expression of the BMP family proteins Bmp4 and Admp (antidorsalizing morphogenetic protein) can promote restoration of DV pattern following tissue removal. bmp4 orthologs have been identified in all three groups of the Bilateria (deuterostomes, ecdysozoans, and lophotrochozoans). By contrast, the absence of admp orthologs in ecdysozoans such as Drosophila and C. elegans has suggested that a regulatory circuit of oppositely expressed bmp4 and admp genes represents a deuterostome-specific innovation. Here we describe the existence of spatially opposed bmp and admp expression in a protostome. An admp ortholog (Smed-admp) is expressed ventrally and laterally in adult Schmidtea mediterranea planarians, opposing the dorsal-pole expression of Smed-bmp4. Smed-admp is required for regeneration following parasagittal amputation. Furthermore, Smed-admp promotes Smed-bmp4 expression and Smed-bmp4 inhibits Smed-admp expression, generating a regulatory circuit that buffers against perturbations of Bmp signaling. These results suggest that a Bmp/Admp regulatory circuit is a central feature of the Bilateria, used broadly for the establishment, maintenance, and regeneration of the DV axis.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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