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Cell. 1998 Apr 3;93(1):37-46.

The left-right coordinator: the role of Vg1 in organizing left-right axis formation.

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Graduate Program in Molecular, Cell, Developmental Biology, and Genetics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


The asymmetries of internal organs are consistently oriented along the left-right axis in all vertebrates, and perturbations of left-right orientation lead to significant congenital disease. We propose a model in which a "left-right coordinator" interacts with the Spemann organizer to coordinate the evolutionarily conserved three-dimensional asymmetries in the embryo. The Vg1 cell-signaling pathway plays a central role in left-right coordinator function. Antagonists of Vg1 alter left-right development; antagonists of other members of the TGFbeta family do not. Cell-lineage directed expression of Vg1 protein can fully invert the left-right axis (situs inversus), can randomize left-right asymmetries, or can "rescue" a perturbed left-right axis in conjoined twins to normal orientation (situs solitus), indicating that Vg1 can mimic left-right coordinator activity. These are the first molecular manipulations in any vertebrate by which the left-right axis can be reliably controlled.

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