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Dev Biol May 15, 2012; 365 (2): 350-62.
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Plasma membrane cholesterol depletion disrupts prechordal plate and affects early forebrain patterning.

Reis AH , Almeida-Coburn KL , Louza MP , Cerqueira DM , Aguiar DP , Silva-Cardoso L , Mendes FA , Andrade LR , Einicker-Lamas M , Atella GC , Brito JM , Abreu JG .

Cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains (CRMMs) are specialized structures that have recently gained much attention in cell biology because of their involvement in cell signaling and trafficking. However, few investigations, particularly those addressing embryonic development, have succeeded in manipulating and observing CRMMs in living cells. In this study, we performed a detailed characterization of the CRMMs lipid composition during early frog development. Our data showed that disruption of CRMMs through methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) cholesterol depletion at the blastula stage did not affect Spemann''s organizer gene expression and inductive properties, but impaired correct head development in frog and chick embryos by affecting the prechordal plate gene expression and cellular morphology. The MβCD anterior defect phenotype was recapitulated in head anlagen (HA) explant cultures. Culture of animal cap expressing Dkk1 combined with MβCD-HA generated a head containing eyes and cement gland. Together, these data show that during Xenopus blastula and gastrula stages, CRMMs have a very dynamic lipid composition and provide evidence that the secreted Wnt antagonist Dkk1 can partially rescue anterior structures in cholesterol-depleted head anlagen.

PubMed ID: 22426006
Article link: Dev Biol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: ag1 chrd.1 dkk1 egr2 en2 gsc hoxb9 lhx1 otx2 pc.1 shh sox2

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