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Purinergic Signal September 1, 2012; 8 (3): 503-21.

Purines as potential morphogens during embryonic development.

Massé K , Dale N .

Components of purinergic signalling are expressed in the early embryo raising the possibility that ATP, ADP and adenosine may contribute to the mechanisms of embryonic development. We summarize the available data from four developmental models-mouse, chick, Xenopus and zebrafish. While there are some notable examples where purinergic signalling is indeed important during development, e.g. development of the eye in the frog, it is puzzling that deletion of single components of purinergic signalling often results in rather minor developmental phenotypes. We suggest that a key step in further analysis is to perform combinatorial alterations of expression of purinergic signalling components to uncover their roles in development. We introduce the concept that purinergic signalling could create novel morphogenetic fields to encode spatial location via the concentration of ATP, ADP and adenosine. We show that using minimal assumptions and the known properties of the ectonucleotidases, complex spatial patterns of ATP and adenosine can be set up. These patterns may provide a new way to assess the potential of purinergic signalling in developmental processes.

PubMed ID: 22270538
PMC ID: PMC3360092
Article link: Purinergic Signal
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: ado brap p2ry1

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Abbracchio, Purinergic signalling in the nervous system: an overview. 2009, Pubmed