Fast controlling axis specification

May 14, 2001

Following fertilization, the first cell of a developing organism is essentially 'round-', or in other words, has no polarity--. Shortly afterwards, three axes are established: anterior-posterior (front to back), dorsal-ventral (top to bottom) and left-right. As a result, we develop a chest and back, a head and feet, etc. Previous research has shown that several genes are involved in setting up polarity in all three dimensions, but that in addition, many genes have very specific effects.

For example, a particular gene might be essential for setting up the anterior-posterior axis but it might not have any effects on the dorsal-ventral axis. As with many developmental processes, transcription factors - genes that directly turn on other sets of genes - are key players in axis specification. One such gene is FoxH1. FoxH1 has been proposed as a candidate mediator of axis specification.

Only recently has the definitive test of FoxH1's function been performed. Two independent research groups, led by Dr. Hiroshi Hamada of Osaka University in Japan and Dr. Jeff Wrana of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in Toronto, have inactivated the FoxH1 gene in mice. As published in G&D, both groups found that the lack of functional FoxH1 had a profound effect on axis specification. In many cases, the developing mouse embryos could not specify the anterior-posterior axis. In some cases, the embryos could establish the anterior-posterior axis, but later developmental steps were defective. This work establishes FoxH1 as an essential gene for anterior-posterior axis specification, and suggests a number of candidate genes with which FoxH1 may interact.
-end-


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Related Genes Articles from Brightsurf:

Are male genes from Mars, female genes from Venus?
In a new paper in the PERSPECTIVES section of the journal Science, Melissa Wilson reviews current research into patterns of sex differences in gene expression across the genome, and highlights sampling biases in the human populations included in such studies.

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use?

How status sticks to genes
Life at the bottom of the social ladder may have long-term health effects that even upward mobility can't undo, according to new research in monkeys.

Symphony of genes
One of the most exciting discoveries in genome research was that the last common ancestor of all multicellular animals already possessed an extremely complex genome.

New genes out of nothing
One key question in evolutionary biology is how novel genes arise and develop.

Good genes
A team of scientists from NAU, Arizona State University, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, the Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts and nine other institutions worldwide to study potential cancer suppression mechanisms in cetaceans, the mammalian group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.

How lifestyle affects our genes
In the past decade, knowledge of how lifestyle affects our genes, a research field called epigenetics, has grown exponentially.

Genes that regulate how much we dream
Sleep is known to allow animals to re-energize themselves and consolidate memories.

The genes are not to blame
Individualized dietary recommendations based on genetic information are currently a popular trend.

Timing is everything, to our genes
Salk scientists discover critical gene activity follows a biological clock, affecting diseases of the brain and body.

Read More: Genes News and Genes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.