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Genome Biol January 1, 2010; 11 (5): R55.
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Studies on Xenopus laevis intestine reveal biological pathways underlying vertebrate gut adaptation from embryo to adult.

Heimeier RA , Das B , Buchholz DR , Fiorentino M , Shi YB .

To adapt to its changing dietary environment, the digestive tract is extensively remodeled from the embryo to the adult during vertebrate development. Xenopus laevis metamorphosis is an excellent model system for studying mammalian gastrointestinal development and is used to determine the genes and signaling programs essential for intestinal development and maturation. The metamorphosing intestine can be divided into four distinct developmental time points and these were analyzed with X. laevis microarrays. Due to the high level of conservation in developmental signaling programs and homology to mammalian genes, annotations and bioinformatics analysis were based on human orthologs. Clustering of the expression patterns revealed co-expressed genes involved in essential cell processes such as apoptosis and proliferation. The two largest clusters of genes have expression peaks and troughs at the climax of metamorphosis, respectively. Novel conserved gene ontology categories regulated during this period include transcriptional activity, signal transduction, and metabolic processes. Additionally, we identified larval/embryo- and adult-specific genes. Detailed analysis revealed 17 larval specific genes that may represent molecular markers for human colonic cancers, while many adult specific genes are associated with dietary enzymes. This global developmental expression study provides the first detailed molecular description of intestinal remodeling and maturation during postembryonic development, which should help improve our understanding of intestinal organogenesis and human diseases. This study significantly contributes towards our understanding of the dynamics of molecular regulation during development and tissue renewal, which is important for future basic and clinical research and for medicinal applications.

PubMed ID: 20482879
PMC ID: PMC2898076
Article link: Genome Biol
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: cela3a epha8 fabp2 gnao1 mmp11 mmp14 nfix npl prss2 prss3 renbp rpl8 rps13 shh slc7a2.1
GO keywords: digestive tract development

GEO Series: GSE21303: NCBI

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Allen, Transformation by oncogenic Ras expands the early genomic response to transforming growth factor beta in intestinal epithelial cells. 2008, Pubmed