Tiso, N., Filippi, A., Pauls, S., Bortolussi, M., and Argenton, F. (2002) BMP signalling regulates anteroposterior endoderm patterning in zebrafish. Mechanisms of Development. 118(1-2):29-37.
In vertebrates, the embryonic dorsoventral asymmetry is regulated by the bone morphogenetic proteins (Bmp) activity gradient. In the present study, we have used dorsalized swirl (bmp2b) and ventralized chordino ( chordin) zebrafish mutants to investigate the effects of dorsoventral signalling on endoderm patterning and on the differentiation and positioning of its derivatives. Alterations of dorsoventral Bmp signalling do not perturb the induction of endodermal precursors, as shown by normal amounts of cells expressing cas and sox17 in swirl and chordino gastrulae, but affect dramatically the expression pattern of her5, a regulator of endoderm anteroposterior patterning in zebrafish. In particular, increased levels of Bmp signalling in chordino gastrulae are associated with a markedly reduced her5 expression domain, that may be abolished by injecting bmp2b mRNA. Conversely, in swirl mutants, lacking Bmp2b, the her5 expression domain is expanded. Thus, a gradient of Bmp2b signalling defines the extension of the her5 expression domain at gastrulation and the allocation of anterior endodermal precursors. A balanced Bmp2b signalling is also required for the normal development of the pancreas, as shown by the sharp reduction of the pancreatic primordium in swirl embryos and its expansion in chordino mutants. In the latter, at 3 days post-fertilization, the increased Bmp signalling does not compromise the endocrine/exocrine pancreas compartmentalization , but the right/left positioning of the pancreas and liver is randomized Our results suggest that by regulating the expression of her5, the Bmp2b/Chordin gradient directs the anteroposterior patterning of endoderm in zebrafish embryos.