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Dev Biol September 1, 2017; 429 (1): 213-224.
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Wbp2nl has a developmental role in establishing neural and non-neural ectodermal fates.

Marchak A , Grant PA , Neilson KM , Datta Majumdar H , Yaklichkin S , Johnson D , Moody SA .

In many animals, maternally synthesized mRNAs are critical for primary germ layer formation. In Xenopus, several maternal mRNAs are enriched in the animal blastomere progenitors of the embryonic ectoderm. We previously identified one of these, WW-domain binding protein 2 N-terminal like (wbp2nl), that others previously characterized as a sperm protein (PAWP) that promotes meiotic resumption. Herein we demonstrate that it has an additional developmental role in regionalizing the embryonic ectoderm. Knock-down of Wbp2nl in the dorsal ectoderm reduced cranial placode and neural crest gene expression domains and expanded neural plate domains; knock-down in ventral ectoderm reduced epidermal gene expression. Conversely, increasing levels of Wbp2nl in the neural plate induced ectopic epidermal and neural crest gene expression and repressed many neural plate and cranial placode genes. The effects in the neural plate appear to be mediated, at least in part, by down-regulating chd, a BMP antagonist. Because the cellular function of Wbp2nl is not known, we mutated several predicted motifs. Expressing mutated proteins in embryos showed that a putative phosphorylation site at Thr45 and an α-helix in the PH-G domain are required to ectopically induce epidermal and neural crest genes in the neural plate. An intact YAP-binding motif also is required for ectopic epidermal gene expression as well as for down-regulating chd. This work reveals novel developmental roles for a cytoplasmic protein that promotes epidermal and neural crest formation at the expense of neural ectoderm.

PubMed ID: 28663133
PMC ID: PMC5554722
Article link: Dev Biol
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: a2m chrd.1 foxd3 foxd4l1.1 foxi1 irx1 krt12.4 myc pax3 six1 smad1 sox11 sox17b.1 sox2 tbxt tfap2a wbp2 wbp2nl yap1 yes1 zic1 zic2
Antibodies: Smad1 Ab7
Morpholinos: wbp2nl MO1 wbp2nl MO2

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Aarabi, Sperm-borne protein, PAWP, initiates zygotic development in Xenopus laevis by eliciting intracellular calcium release. 2010, Pubmed, Xenbase