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Spatial and temporal patterns of distribution of the gap junction protein connexin43 during mouse gastrulation and organogenesis

Yancey, S. Barbara and Biswal, Sandip and Revel, Jean-Paul (1992) Spatial and temporal patterns of distribution of the gap junction protein connexin43 during mouse gastrulation and organogenesis. Development, 114 (1). pp. 203-212. ISSN 0950-1991.

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Connexin43 (Cx43) is a member of the family of channel-forming proteins that make up the gap junction and are believed to provide pathways for cell-cell exchange of developmental signals. We have used immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy to characterize the patterns of distribution of Cx43 in postimplantation mouse embryos representing stages of development extending through gastrulation and the major period of organogenesis [through 13.5 days post coitum (dpc)]. We find that Cx43 is expressed early after implantation by the undifferentiated, pluripotent cells of the primitive embryonic ectoderm from which all tissues of the fetus are believed to be derived. As cells become committed to particular developmental pathways, there is a progressive restriction of Cx43 to specific areas and organ systems. The patterns are complex and not limited by germ layer of origin, although there is a clear preference for expression in ectodermal and, to a lesser extent, mesodermal derivatives. Expression in lens, retina, kidney, brain, pineal and pituitary glands is initiated early in organogenesis. In heart, the first clear signal for Cx43 appears in the ventricle at about 10 dpc and is only subsequently detected in the atrium at about 13-13.5 dpc. Particularly intriguing with regard to functional implications is the high level expression observed at sites of inductive interaction; the eye lens and optic cup, the infundibulum and the apical ectodermal ridge of the limb bud.

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Additional Information:Copyright © 1992 by Company of Biologists. (Accepted 30 September 1991) We are especially grateful to Dale Laird who supplied the anti-Cx43 antibody. We also thank Janis Lem and Carol Readhead for their advice in breeding mice and are indebted to Scott Fraser for his assistance in the photography. The research was supported by grant HL-37109 from the National Institutes of Health, funds from BRSG grant RR07003 and a grant from the Markey Foundation to S.B.Y. and J.-P. Revel.
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National Institutes of HealthHL-37109
National Institutes of HealthRR07003
Lucille P. Markey Charitable TrustUNSPECIFIED
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Deposited On:21 Dec 2008 05:02
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 00:31

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