Wnt11-R, a protein closely related to mammalian Wnt11, is required for heart morphogenesis in Xenopus

Robert J. Garriock, Susan L. D'Agostino, Karen C. Pilcher, Paul A. Krieg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

87 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wnt11 is a secreted protein that signals through the non-canonical planar cell polarity pathway and is a potent modulator of cell behavior and movement. In human, mouse, and chicken, there is a single Wnt11 gene, but in zebrafish and Xenopus, there are two genes related to Wnt11. The originally characterized Xenopus Wnt11 gene is expressed during early embryonic development and has a critical role in regulation of gastrulation movements. We have identified a second Xenopus Wnt11-Related gene (Wnt11-R) that is expressed after gastrulation. Sequence comparison suggests that Xenopus Wnt11-R, not Wnt11, is the ortholog of mammalian and chicken Wnt11. Xenopus Wnt11-R is expressed in neural tissue, dorsal mesenchyme derived from the dermatome region of the somites, the brachial arches, and the muscle layer of the heart, similar to the expression patterns reported for mouse and chicken Wnt11. Xenopus Wnt11-R exhibits biological properties similar to those previously described for Xenopus Wnt11, in particular the ability to activate Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) and to induce myocardial marker expression in ventral marginal zone (VMZ) explants. Morpholino inhibition experiments demonstrate, however, that Wnt11-R is not required for cardiac differentiation, but functions in regulation of cardiac morphogenesis. Embryos with reduced Wnt11-R activity exhibit aberrant cell-cell contacts within the myocardial wall and defects in fusion of the nascent heart tube.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-192
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental biology
Volume279
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005

Keywords

  • Cell adhesion
  • Heart development
  • Heart tube morphology
  • Wnt11
  • Xenopus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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