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The Anterior-Posterior Axis Emerges Respecting the Morphology of the Mouse Embryo that Changes and Aligns with the Uterus before Gastrulation

Mesnard, Daniel and Filipe, Mario and Belo, José A. and Zernicka-Goetz, Magdalena (2004) The Anterior-Posterior Axis Emerges Respecting the Morphology of the Mouse Embryo that Changes and Aligns with the Uterus before Gastrulation. Current Biology, 14 (3). pp. 184-196. ISSN 0960-9822. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.01.026.

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Background: When the anterior-posterior axis of the mouse embryo becomes explicit at gastrulation, it is almost perpendicular to the long uterine axis. This led to the belief that the uterus could play a key role in positioning this future body axis. Results: Here, we demonstrate that when the anterior-posterior axis first emerges it does not respect the axes of the uterus but, rather, the morphology of the embryo. Unexpectedly, the emerging anterior-posterior axis is initially aligned not with the long, but the short axis of the embryo. Then whether the embryo develops in vitro or in utero, the anterior-posterior axis becomes aligned with the long axis of embryo just prior to gastrulation. Of three mechanisms that could account for this apparent shift in anterior-posterior axis orientation–cell migration, spatial change of gene expression, or change in embryo shape–lineage tracing studies favor a shape change accompanied by restriction of the expression domain of anterior markers. This property of the embryo must be modulated by interactions with the uterus as ultimately the anterior-posterior and long axes of the embryo align with the left-right uterine axis. Conclusions: The emerging anterior-posterior axis relates to embryo morphology rather than that of the uterus. The apparent shift in its orientation to align with the long embryonic axis and with the uterus is associated with a change in embryo shape and a refinement of anterior gene expression pattern. This suggests an interdependence between anterior-posterior gene expression, the shape of the embryo, and the uterus.

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Zernicka-Goetz, Magdalena0000-0002-7004-2471
Additional Information:© 2004 Cell Press. Published by Elsevier Under an Elsevier user license. Received 20 August 2003, Revised 24 December 2003, Accepted 30 December 2003, Available online 5 February 2004. This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship to M.Z.-G., and by F.C.T. and IGC/Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian to J.A.B. D.M. and M.F. were supported by PhD studentships from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council and F.C.T, respectively. We thank Maria Elena Torres Padilla, David Glover, Patrick Tam, Claudio Stern, and Stephen Frankenberg for the discussions. We also thank Aitana Perea-Gomez and Jerome Collignon for sharing their results with us before publication and for discussions. Supplemental Data: Supplemental Data including a figure showing colocalization of GFP and mRNA Expression from the Cerl promoter are available at
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Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)UNSPECIFIED
IGC/Fundação Calouste GulbenkianUNSPECIFIED
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190419-105738498
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Official Citation:Daniel Mesnard, Mario Filipe, José A. Belo, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, The Anterior-Posterior Axis Emerges Respecting the Morphology of the Mouse Embryo that Changes and Aligns with the Uterus before Gastrulation, Current Biology, Volume 14, Issue 3, 2004, Pages 184-196, ISSN 0960-9822, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:94824
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:23 Apr 2019 17:52
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:08

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