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XB-ART-36660
Nature October 25, 2007; 449 (7165): 1058-62.

Purine-mediated signalling triggers eye development.

Massé K , Bhamra S , Eason R , Dale N , Jones EA .


Abstract
A conserved network of eye field transcription factors (EFTFs) underlies the development of the eye in vertebrates and invertebrates. To direct eye development, Pax6, a key gene in this network, interacts with genes encoding other EFTFs such as Rx1 and Six3 (refs 4-6). However, the mechanisms that control expression of the EFTFs remain unclear. Here we show that purine-mediated signalling triggers both EFTF expression and eye development in Xenopus laevis. Overexpression of ectonucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase 2 (E-NTPDase2), an ectoenzyme that converts ATP to ADP, caused ectopic eye-like structures, with occasional complete duplication of the eye, and increased expression of Pax6, Rx1 and Six3. In contrast, downregulation of endogenous E-NTPDase2 decreased Rx1 and Pax6 expression. E-NTPDase2 therefore acts upstream of these EFTFs. To test whether ADP (the product of E-NTPDase2) might act to trigger eye development through P2Y1 receptors, selective in Xenopus for ADP, we simultaneously knocked down expression of the genes encoding E-NTPDase2 and the P2Y1 receptor. This could prevent the expression of Rx1 and Pax6 and eye formation completely. We next measured ATP release in the presumptive eye field, demonstrating a transient release of ATP at a time that could plausibly trigger (once converted to ADP) expression of the EFTFs. This surprising role for transient purine-mediated signalling in eye development may be widely conserved, because alterations to the locus of E-NTPDase2 on human chromosome 9 cause severe head and eye defects, including microphthalmia. Our results suggest a new mechanism for the initiation of eye development.

PubMed ID: 17960245
Article link: Nature
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: entpd2 p2ry1 pax6 rax six3
Antibodies: Lsamp Ab1