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Development. 1999 Dec;126(23):5495-504.

Targeted deletion of the ATP binding domain of left-right dynein confirms its role in specifying development of left-right asymmetries.

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Divisions of Molecular and Developmental Biology, The Children's Hospital Research Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


Vertebrates develop distinct asymmetries along the left-right axis, which are consistently aligned with the anteroposterior and dorsoventral axes. The mechanisms that direct this handed development of left-right asymmetries have been elusive, but recent studies of mutations that affect left-right development have shed light on the molecules involved. One molecule implicated in left-right specification is left-right dynein (LRD), a microtubule-based motor protein. In the LRD protein of the inversus viscerum (iv) mouse, there is a single amino acid difference at a conserved position, and the lrd gene is one of many genes deleted in the legless (lgl) mutation. Both iv and lgl mice display randomized left-right development. Here we extend the analysis of the lrd gene at the levels of sequence, expression and function. The complete coding sequence of the lrd gene confirms its classification as an axonemal, or ciliary, dynein. Expression of lrd in the node at embryonic day 7.5 is shown to be symmetric. At embryonic day 8.0, however, a striking asymmetric expression pattern is observed in all three germ layers of the developing headfold, suggesting roles in both the establishment and maintenance of left-right asymmetries. At later times, expression of lrd is also observed in the developing floorplate, gut and limbs. These results suggest function for LRD protein in both ciliated and non-ciliated cells, despite its sequence classification as axonemal. In addition, a targeted mutation of lrd was generated that deletes the part of the protein required for ATP binding, and hence motor function. The resulting left-right phenotype, randomization of laterality, is identical to that of iv and lgl mutants. Gross defects in ciliary structure were not observed in lrd/lrd mutants. Strikingly, however, the monocilia on mutant embryonic node cells were immotile. These results prove the identity of the iv and lrd genes. Further, they argue that LRD motor function, and resulting nodal monocilia movement, are required for normal left-right development.

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