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Zoological Lett January 1, 2018; 4 16.

Bapx1 upregulation is associated with ectopic mandibular cartilage development in amphibians.

Background: The emergence of novel structures during evolution is crucial for creating variation among organisms, but the underlying processes which lead to the emergence of evolutionary novelties are poorly understood. The gnathostome jaw joint is such a novelty, and the incorporation of bapx1 expression into the intermediate first pharyngeal arch may have played a major role in the evolution of this joint. Knockdown experiments revealed that loss of bapx1 function leads to the loss of the jaw joint, because Meckel''s cartilage and the palatoquadrate fuse during development. We used Xenopus laevis and Ambystoma mexicanum to further investigate the function of bapx1 in amphibians. Bapx1 expression levels were upregulated through the use of Ly-294,002 and we investigated the potential consequences of the enhanced bapx1 expression in amphibians to test the hypothesized joint inducing function of bapx1. Results: We show that Ly-294,002 upregulates bapx1 expression in vivo. Additionally, ectopic mandibular arch derived cartilages develop after Ly-294,002 treatment. These ectopic cartilages are dorsoventrally oriented rods situated lateral to the palatoquadrate. The development of these additional cartilages did not change the muscular arrangement of mandibular arch-derived muscles. Conclusions: Development of additional mandibular cartilages is not unusual in larval anurans. Therefore, changes in the bapx1 expression during evolution may have been the reason for the development of several additional cartilages in the larval anuran jaw. Furthermore, our observations imply a joint-promoting function of bapx1, which further substantiates its hypothetical role in the evolution of the gnathostome jaw joint.

PubMed ID: 29942645
PMC ID: PMC5998585
Article link: Zoological Lett

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: barx1 col2a1 fubp1 nkx3-2 pik3cb
Antibodies: Col2a1 Ab1

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References [+] :
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