This study characterizes defects associated with abnormal mesoderm development in mouse embryos homozygous for the induced Ednrb(s-1Acrg) allele of the piebald deletion complex. The Ednrb(s-1Acrg) deletion results in recessive embryonic lethality and mutant embryos exhibit a truncated posterior body axis. The primitive streak and node become disfigured, consistent with evidence that cell migration is impaired in newly formed mesoderm. Additional defects related to mesoderm development include notochord degeneration, somite malformations, and abnormal vascular development. Arrested heart looping morphogenesis and a randomized direction of embryonic turning indicate that left-right development is also perturbed. The expression of nodal and leftb, Tgf-beta-related genes involved in a left-determinant signaling pathway, is variably lost in the left lateral plate mesoderm. Mutational analysis has demonstrated that Fgf8 and Brachyury (T) are required for normal mesoderm and left-right development and the asymmetric expression of nodal and leftb. Fgf8 expression in nascent mesoderm exiting the primitive streak is dramatically reduced in mutant embryos, and diminished T expression accompanies the progressive loss of paraxial, lateral, and primitive streak mesoderm. In contrast, axial mesoderm persists and T and nodal appear to be appropriately expressed in their specific domains in the node and notochord. We propose that this mutation disrupts a morphogenetic pathway, likely involving FGF signaling, important for the development of streak-derived posterior mesoderm and lateral morphogenesis.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.