Wright, D., Ferjentsik, Z., Chong, S.W., Qiu, X., Jiang, Y.J., Malapert, P., Pourquié, O., Van Hateren, N., Wilson, S.A., Franco, C., Gerhardt, H., Dale, J.K., and Maroto, M. (2009) Cyclic Nrarp mRNA expression is regulated by the somitic oscillator but Nrarp protein levels do not oscillate. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 238(12):3043-3055.
Somites are formed progressively from the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) in a highly regulated process according to a strict periodicity driven by an oscillatory mechanism. The Notch and Wnt pathways are key components in the regulation of this somitic oscillator and data from Xenopus and zebrafish embryos indicate that the Notch-downstream target Nrarp participates in the regulation of both activities. We have analyzed Nrarp/nrarp-a expression in the PSM of chick, mouse and zebrafish embryos, and we show that it cycles in synchrony with other Notch regulated cyclic genes. In the mouse its transcription is both Wnt- and Notch-dependent, whereas in the chick and fish embryo it is simply Notch-dependent. Despite oscillating mRNA levels, Nrarp protein does not oscillate in the PSM. Finally, neither gain nor loss of Nrarp function interferes with the normal expression of Notch-related cyclic genes.