An Hh-Dependent Pathway in Lateral Plate Mesoderm Enables the Generation of Left/Right Asymmetry

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Breaking bilateral symmetry is critical for vertebrate morphogenesis. In the mouse, directional looping of the heart and rotation of the embryo, the first overt evidence of left/right asymmetry (L/R), are observed at early somite stages (∼E8.5) [1, 2]. Activation of a Nodal-Pitx2 regulatory pathway specifically within the left lateral plate mesoderm (LPM) is critical for these events [3-10]. Asymmetric expression of Nodal is thought to be triggered by left-oriented, cilia-generated flow within the ventral, midline node [11, 12]. Genetic removal of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling in the mouse demonstrates a requirement for Hedgehog signals in the symmetry-breaking process [13], and analysis of node trafficking has suggested a mechanism of directional transport in the node that might relate to symmetry breaking in the LPM [14]. Here we provide evidence that Hedgehog signaling in the node is not essential for breaking bilateral symmetry. In contrast, direct Hh signaling in the LPM is critical. Evidence is presented that Sonic and Indian hedgehog signals act together, through a Foxf1/Bmp4 pathway, to enable the initiation and propagation of Nodal signaling within the LPM, regulating the competence of that tissue to respond to the Nodal pathway. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Tsiairis, C. D., & McMahon, A. P. (2009). An Hh-Dependent Pathway in Lateral Plate Mesoderm Enables the Generation of Left/Right Asymmetry. Current Biology, 19(22), 1912–1917.

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