The tight spatiotemporal coordination of signaling activity determining embryo patterning and the physical processes driving embryo morphogenesis renders embryonic development robust, such that key developmental processes can unfold relatively normally even outside of the full embryonic context. For instance, embryonic stem cell cultures can recapitulate the hallmarks of gastrulation, i.e. break symmetry leading to germ layer formation and morphogenesis, in a very reduced environment. This leads to questions on specific contributions of embryo-specific features, such as the presence of extraembryonic tissues, which are inherently involved in gastrulation in the full embryonic context. To address this, we established zebrafish embryonic explants without the extraembryonic yolk cell, an important player as a signaling source and for morphogenesis during gastrulation, as a model of ex vivo development. We found that dorsal-marginal determinants are required and sufficient in these explants to form and pattern all three germ layers. However, formation of tissues, which require the highest Nodal-signaling levels, is variable, demonstrating a contribution of extraembryonic tissues for reaching peak Nodal signaling levels. Blastoderm explants also undergo gastrulation-like axis elongation. We found that this elongation movement shows hallmarks of oriented mesendoderm cell intercalations typically associated with dorsal tissues in the intact embryo. These are disrupted by uniform upregulation of BMP signaling activity and concomitant explant ventralization, suggesting that tight spatial control of BMP signaling is a prerequisite for explant morphogenesis. This control is achieved by Nodal signaling, which is critical for effectively downregulating BMP signaling in the mesendoderm, highlighting that Nodal signaling is not only directly required for mesendoderm cell fate specification and morphogenesis, but also by maintaining low levels of BMP signaling at the dorsal side. Collectively, we provide insights into the capacity and organization of signaling and morphogenetic domains to recapitulate features of zebrafish gastrulation outside of the full embryonic context.
Schauer A. Mesendoderm formation in zebrafish gastrulation: The role of extraembryonic tissues. 2023. doi:10.15479/at:ista:12891
Schauer, A. (2023). Mesendoderm formation in zebrafish gastrulation: The role of extraembryonic tissues. Institute of Science and Technology Austria. https://doi.org/10.15479/at:ista:12891
Schauer, Alexandra. “Mesendoderm Formation in Zebrafish Gastrulation: The Role of Extraembryonic Tissues.” Institute of Science and Technology Austria, 2023. https://doi.org/10.15479/at:ista:12891.
A. Schauer, “Mesendoderm formation in zebrafish gastrulation: The role of extraembryonic tissues,” Institute of Science and Technology Austria, 2023.
Schauer A. 2023. Mesendoderm formation in zebrafish gastrulation: The role of extraembryonic tissues. Institute of Science and Technology Austria.
Schauer, Alexandra. Mesendoderm Formation in Zebrafish Gastrulation: The Role of Extraembryonic Tissues. Institute of Science and Technology Austria, 2023, doi:10.15479/at:ista:12891.
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