Although Wnt and Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathways play important roles in mouse lung development, these have not been explored in the development of Xenopus lung. This may be due to the lack of specific molecular markers for different layers of tissue in Xenopus lung and/or insufficient knowledge on expression patterns of Wnt and Hh signaling components in Xenopus lung. In this study, we first described the early morphogenesis of Xenopus laevis lung by using surfactant protein C (sftpc) as a marker of lung epithelium and compared it with the expression patterns of several genes of Wnt and Hh pathways in Xenopus lungs. Our data showed that wnt7b was expressed in the entire lung epithelium from stage 37 to stage 45, while two other Wnt signaling components, wnt5a and wif1 (wnt inhibitory factor 1), were expressed in the mesenchyme layer of the entire lungs through stages 39-41. We also found that sonic hedgehog (shh) was expressed at stage 41 only in the anterior, but not in the posterior part of the lungs. These results show the expression of wnt5a, wnt7b, wif1 and shh in different layers of tissue of Xenopus lungs at early developmental stages, which implies different roles of these genes in the early development of Xenopus lungs. Our study for the first time defined specific molecular markers for description of early lung development in Xenopus, as well as provided information about expression of components of Wnt and Hh pathways in early Xenopus lungs, which should be useful for future functional studies.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.