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Curr Biol. 1999 Feb 25;9(4):219-22.

Conserved function of mSpry-2, a murine homolog of Drosophila sprouty, which negatively modulates respiratory organogenesis.

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Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology Departments of Surgery and Pediatrics The Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Research Institute University of Southern California Schools of Dentistry and Medicine Los Angeles California 90033, USA.


In Drosophila embryos, the loss of sprouty gene function enhances branching of the respiratory system. Three human sprouty homologues (h-Spry1-3) have been cloned recently, but their function is as yet unknown [1]. Here, we show that a murine sprouty gene (mSpry-2), the product of which shares 97% homology with the respective human protein, is expressed in the embryonic murine lung. We used an antisense oligonucleotide strategy to reduce expression of mSpry-2 by 96%, as measured by competitive reverse transcriptase PCR, in E11. 5 murine embryonic lungs cultured for 4 days [2]. Morphologically, the decrease in mSpry-2 expression resulted in a 72% increase in embryonic murine lung branching morphogenesis as well as a significant increase in expression of the lung epithelial marker genes SP-C, SP-B and SP-A. These results support a striking conservation of function between the Drosophila and mammalian sprouty gene families to negatively modulate respiratory organogenesis.

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