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Dev Biol. 1999 Nov 15;215(2):332-42.

Retinoic acid affects left-right patterning.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Our understanding of the means by which the left-right axis is patterned is not fully understood, although a number of key intermediaries have been recently described. We report here that retinoic acid (RA) excess affects heart situs concomitant with alterations in the expression of genes implicated in the establishment of the left-right axis. Specifically, RA exposure during a specific developmental window evoked bilateral expression of lefty-1, lefty-2, nodal, and pitx-2 in the lateral plate mesoderm. Time course experiments, together with analysis of midline markers, suggest that nascent mesoderm constitutes a predominant RA target involved in this process. These events are likely to underlie the perturbations of heart looping provoked by excess RA and suggest a means by which retinoids influence the early steps in establishment of the left-right embryonic axis.

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