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Development. 2009 Apr;136(7):1071-81. doi: 10.1242/dev.032912. Epub 2009 Feb 18.

The Wnt antagonists Frzb-1 and Crescent locally regulate basement membrane dissolution in the developing primary mouth.

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1
Whitehead institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02102, USA.

Abstract

The primary mouth forms from ectoderm and endoderm at the extreme anterior of the embryo, a conserved mesoderm-free region. In Xenopus, a very early step in primary mouth formation is loss of the basement membrane between the ectoderm and endoderm. In an unbiased microarray screen, we defined genes encoding the sFRPs Frzb-1 and Crescent as transiently and locally expressed in the primary mouth anlage. Using antisense oligonucleotides and ;face transplants', we show that frzb-1 and crescent expression is specifically required in the primary mouth region at the time this organ begins to form. Several assays indicate that Frzb-1 and Crescent modulate primary mouth formation by suppressing Wnt signaling, which is likely to be mediated by beta-catenin. First, a similar phenotype (no primary mouth) is seen after loss of Frzb-1/Crescent function to that seen after temporally and spatially restricted overexpression of Wnt-8. Second, overexpression of either Frzb-1 or Dkk-1 results in an enlarged primary mouth anlage. Third, overexpression of Dkk-1 can restore a primary mouth to embryos in which Frzb-1/Crescent expression has been inhibited. We show that Frzb-1/Crescent function locally promotes basement membrane dissolution in the primary mouth primordium. Consistently, Frzb-1 overexpression decreases RNA levels of the essential basement membrane genes fibronectin and laminin, whereas Wnt-8 overexpression increases the levels of these RNAs. These data are the first to connect Wnt signaling and basement membrane integrity during primary mouth development, and suggest a general paradigm for the regulation of basement membrane remodeling.

PMID:
19224982
PMCID:
PMC2685928
DOI:
10.1242/dev.032912
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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