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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Analysis of talpid(3) and wild-type chicken embryos reveals roles for Hedgehog signalling in development of the limb bud vasculature.

Chicken talpid(3) mutant embryos have a wide range of Hedgehog-signalling related defects and it is now known that the talpid(3) gene product encodes a novel protein essential for Hedgehog signalling which is required for both activator and repressor functions of Gli transcription factors (Davey, M.G., Paton, I.R., Yin, Y., Schmidt, M., Bangs, F.K., Morrice, D.R., Gordon-Smith, T., Buxton, P., Stamataki, D., Tanaka, M., M??nsterberg, A.E., Briscoe, J., Tickle, C., Burt, D.W. (2006). The chicken talpid(3) gene encodes a novel protein essential for Hedgehog signalling. Genes Dev 20 1365-77). Haemorrhaging, oedema and other severe vascular defects are a central aspect of the talpid(3) phenotype (Ede, D.A. and Kelly, W.A (1964a). Developmental abnormalities in the head region of the talpid(3) mutant fowl. J. Embryol. exp. Morp. 12:161-182) and, as Hedgehog (Hh) signalling has been implicated in every stage of development of the vascular system, the vascular defects seen in talpid(3) are also likely to be attributable to abnormal Hedgehog signalling. Gene expression of members of the VEGF and Angiopoietin families of angiogenic growth factors has been linked to haemorrhaging and oedema and we find widespread expression of VEGF-D, rigf and Ang2a in the talpid(3) limb. Furthermore, ectopic expression of these genes in talpid(3) limbs points to regulation via Gli repression rather than activation. We monitored specification of vessel identity in talpid(3) limb vasculature by examining expression of artery-specific genes, Np1 and EphrinB2, and the vein-specific genes, Np2a and Tie2. We show that there are supernumerary subclavian arteries in talpid(3) limb buds and abnormal expression of an artery-specific gene in the venous submarginal sinus, despite the direction of blood flow being normal. Furthermore, we show that Shh can induce Np1 expression but has no effect on Np2a. Finally, we demonstrate that induction of VEGF and Ang2a expression by Shh in normal limb buds is accompanied by vascular remodelling. Thus Hedgehog signalling has a pivotal role in the cascade of angiogenic events in a growing embryonic organ which is similar to that proposed in tumours.[1]


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