Combinatorial Wnt Control of Zebrafish Midbrain-Hindbrain Boundary Formation

Mech Dev. 2004 May;121(5):437-47. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2004.03.026.

Abstract

Wnt signaling is known to be required for the normal development of the vertebrate midbrain and hindbrain, but genetic loss of function analyses in the mouse and zebrafish yield differing results regarding the relative importance of specific Wnt loci. In the zebrafish, Wnt1 and Wnt10b functionally overlap in their control of gene expression in the ventral midbrain-hindbrain boundary (MHB), but they are not required for the formation of the MHB constriction. Whether other wnt loci are involved in zebrafish MHB development is unclear, although the expression of at least two wnts, wnt3a and wnt8b, is maintained in wnt1/wnt10b mutants. In order to address the role of wnt3a in zebrafish, we have isolated a full length cDNA and examined its expression and function via knockdown by morpholino antisense oligonucleotide (MO)-mediated knockdown. The expression pattern of wnt3a appears to be evolutionarily conserved between zebrafish and mouse, and MO knockdown shows that Wnt3a, while not uniquely required for MHB development, is required in the absence of Wnt1 and Wnt10b for the formation of the MHB constriction. In zebrafish embryos lacking Wnt3a, Wnt1 and Wnt10b, the expression of engrailed orthologs, pax2a and fgf8 is not maintained after mid-somitogenesis. In contrast to acerebellar and no isthmus mutants, in which midbrain and hindbrain cells acquire new fates but cell number is not significantly affected until late in embryogenesis, zebrafish embryos lacking Wnt3a, Wnt1 and Wnt10b undergo extensive apoptosis in the midbrain and cerebellum anlagen beginning in mid-somitogenesis, which results in the absence of a significant portion of the midbrain and cerebellum. Thus, the requirement for Wnt signaling in forming the MHB constriction is evolutionarily conserved in vertebrates and it is possible in zebrafish to dissect the relative impact of multiple Wnt loci in midbrain and hindbrain development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Apoptosis
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / embryology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / chemistry
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Signal Transduction
  • Somites / metabolism
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • Wnt3 Protein
  • Wnt3A Protein
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish / metabolism*

Substances

  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • WNT1 protein, human
  • WNT3A protein, human
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • Wnt3 Protein
  • Wnt3A Protein
  • Wnt3a protein, mouse