Volume 21, Issue 3
May 1996, pages 259-444
pp 259-259 May 1996
pp 261-271 May 1996
Studies of regeneration research has a very profound historical background, longer than genetics and embryologyper se. In this article, I have tried to make clear the importance of the discovery of Niazi on the effect of vitamin A on amphibian limb regeneration in the long tradition of regeneration study. His discovery is truly one of the main milestones in recent era of the field. It revitalized the study of regeneration, in particular the problem of replication of pattern. A more recent discovery of heteromorphic regeneration in tadpoles elicited by vitamin A by Mohanty-Hejmadi is also of a great historical significance. It has opened the way to investigate the most mysterious phenomena known from early 20th in modern eyes, most probably in terms of the epigenetic switch of homeotic genes
pp 273-297 May 1996
Studies on the effects of exogenous vitamin A palminate on limb development and regeneration in anuran tadpoles carried out since late 1960s at the author’s laboratory are reviewed and discussed. Most significant was the initial discovery that vitamin A causes regeneration of complete or nearly complete limbs instead of only the missing distal part, thus altering the P-D pattern of regeneration—a phenomenon now called proximalization. Often more than one such regenerates develop per stump. Vitamin A produces proximalizing effect on regeneration cells during their dedifferentiation and blastema formation but inhibits regeneration if given once redifferentiation begins. Shank-level blastemas from treated tadpoles grafted into orbits of previously treated/untreated host tadpoles formed complete limbs. Proximalizing effect is proportionate to vitamin A concentration, duration of treatment, amputational level and stage of tadpoles. Vitamin A produces this effect also if given only prior to amputation. Its influence persists after cessation of treatment, declining with time. Proximalizing effect is correlated with natural ability in limbs to regenerate. Vitamin A improves regenerative ability and can induce it to some extent in non-regenerating limbs. Vitamin A excess retards limb development and produces stage dependent teratogenic defects. Further development of only that limb region is prevented in which differentiation is beginning when vitamin A is given. Short treatment of tadpoles beginning with limbs at spatula/paddle stage inhibited foot development in the unoperated limbs hut promoted regeneration of complete limbs from the contra-lateral amputated limbs. These dual effects were due to cells of the former differentiating and of the latter dedifferentiating when exposed to vitamin A palmitate.
pp 299-312 May 1996
Retinoids are low molecular weight, lipophilic derivatives of vitamin A which have profound effects upon the development of various embryonic systems. Here I review the effects on developing and regenerating limbs, regenerating amphibian tails and the developing central nervous system (CNS). In the regenerating amphibian limb, retinoids can proximalize, posteriorize and ventralize the axes of the blastema. In the chick limb bud retinoids can only posteriorize the tissue. In the regenerating amphibian tail retinoids can homeotically transform tail tissue into hindlimb tissue. In the developing and regenerating limb retinoic acid has been detected endogenously, confirming that this molecule plays a role in the generation of pattern and we have shown that limbs cannot develop in the absence of retinoic acid. In the developing CNS retinoic acid specifically affects the hindbrain where it causes a transformation of anterior rhombomeres into more posterior ones. Again, endogenous retinoic acid has been detected in the CNS and in the absence of retinoids the posterior hindbrain has been found to be affected. The effects of retinoids on the CNS are most likely to be mediated via theHox genes acting in the mesoderm after gastrulation. It has also been proposed that the establishment of the head-to-tail axis in the mesoderm is established by retinoic acid. These data show that retinoids play an important role in both the development and regeneration of various systems in the embryo and post-embryonically
pp 313-327 May 1996
Retinoic acid is a morphogenetic signalling molecule in vertebrate embryos, one being known to perform a specific function in organizing the body pattern along the anteroposterior axis. This molecule has especially attracted research attention because retinoic acid treatment will also induce abnormal morphogenesis, particularly in the craniofacial structures. The present review discusses recent molecular insights revealing how the retinoic acid signal is transduced within a cell, specifically focusing on the involvement of cranial neural crest cells in retinoic acid-induced abnormal morphogenesis in the mammalian head
pp 329-339 May 1996
We have constructed dominant-negative retinoic acid receptors by substituting a single amino acid which has been found in a dominant-negative thyroid hormone receptor, and have expressed the dominant-negative retinoic acid receptors in the epidermis, a potential target organ of retinoic acid. The resultant transgenic mice exhibited dramatic suppression of epidermal development, demonstrating the absolute requirement of retionic acid in normal skin development. This novel method, targeted expression of the dominant-negative receptor, is theoretically applicable to any organ, thus opening the way to defining the physiological roles of retionic acid as well as other lipophilic hormones during embryogenesis as well as in adults
pp 341-352 May 1996
Orphan nuclear receptors are divergent members of the steroid/thyroid/retinoic acid receptor superfamily for which ligands have yet to be identified. Unlike the classice hormone/ vitamin receptors which are found only in vertebrates, some orphan receptors are conserved between vertebrates and invertebrates, indicating a possible link in regulatory gene networks underlying key biological events like those in embryonic development. In this review we examine such an example focusing on our analysis of a novel class of orphan receptors, vertebrate TIx and fruit fly tailless, both of which are structurally related and expressed in a homologous pattern during development. Our studies show thatin vitro Tlx and Tll recognize and bind similar DNA targets, and consequentlyin vivo they can control the same transcriptional cascades, indicating that their biochemical properties are well conserved. Based upon these observations, we will discuss possible mechanisms responsible for the creations of divergence and uniqueness in vertebrate and invertebrate morphogenetic processes
pp 353-368 May 1996
Induction is a process in which the developmental pathway of one cell is controlled by signals emitted from another. Mesoderm induction is the first inductive interaction in theXenopus enbryo and probably occurs in all vertebrates. It is a very important event as it is implicated in the regulation of morphogenesis. Nieuwkoop first demonstrated the importance of vegetal endoderm in inducing the mesoderm. Slack and co-workers incorporated the information obtained from experimental embryology in a “three signal” model for mesoderm induction in amphibians (signals arising from ventral vegetal hemisphere, dorsal vegetal hemisphere and the organizer). More recent research has resulted in the detection of mesoderm inducing factors which are members of FGF and TGF--β families. Activin, a member of the TGF-β family, has been shown to induce differential gene expression and cell differentiation in a concentration-dependent manner giving credence to the theory of morphogen gradients. Study of mesoderm induction in the chick embryo is much more difficult due to several reasons. Novel experimental approaches, however, have been used which point to the role of activin and FGF in chick mesoderm induction. The demonstration of mesoderm inducing activity of activin and FGF in other groups of vertebrates, particularly the chick embryo brings out the possibility of a universal mechanism of mesoderm induction being operative in all the vertebrates.
pp 369-378 May 1996
Recent genetic and molecular analyses usingArabidopsis has revealed basic mechanisms of floral pattern formation. Here is outlined a genetic model of flower morphogenesis. This shows that combinations of floral organ identity genes direct the organ type and the place in the flower bud. After molecular cloning of these genes, the hypothesis is supported at the molecular level. Molecular analyses of homologous genes from other plants show the same system of flower morphogenesis is shared widely among distantly related species.
pp 379-395 May 1996
Flower development provides a model system to study mechanisms that govern pattern formation in plants. Most flowers consist of four organ types that are present in a specific order from the periphery to the centre of the flower. Reviewed here are studies on flower development in two model species:Arabidopsis thaliana andAntirrhinum majus that focus on the molecular genetic analysis of homeotic mutations affecting pattern formation in the flower. Based on these studies a model was proposed that explains how three classes of regulatory genes can together control the development of the correct pattern of organs in the flower. The universality of the basic tenets of the model is apparent from the analysis of the homologues of theArabidopsis genes from other plant species
pp 397-411 May 1996
When deprived of combined nitrogen, aerobically-grown filaments ofAnabaena sp. strain PCC7120 differentiate specialized cells called the heterocysts. The differentiation process is an elaborate and well orchestrated programme involving sensing of environmental and developmental signals, commitment of cells to development, gene rearrangements, intricate DNA-protein interactions, and differential expression of several genes. It culminates in a physiological division of labour between heterocysts, which become the sole sites of aerobic nitrogen fixation, and vegetative cells, that provide photosynthate to the heterocysts in return for nitrogen supplies. We propose a model, to describe the chronology of the important events and to explain how cell type-specific differential gene expression is facilitated by DNA-protein interactions leading to the development of heterocysts and constitution of nitrogen-fixing apparatus inAnabaena.
pp 413-421 May 1996
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an example of an intracellular pathogen that mediates the disease state through complex interactions with the host’s immune system. Not only does this organism replicate in the hostile environment prevailing within the infected macrophage, but it has also developed intricate mechanisms to inhibit several defence mechanisms of the host’s immune system. It is postulated here that the mediators of these interactions with the host are products of differentially expressed genes in the pathogen. B and T cell responses of the host are hence to be used as tools to identify such gene products from an expression library of theMycobacterium tuberculosis genome. The various pathways of generating a productive immune response that may be targeted by the pathogen are discussed
pp 423-432 May 1996
Entamoeba histolytica, a protozoan parasite, is the etiologic agent of amoebiasis in humans. It exists in two forms—the trophozoite which is the active, dividing form, and the cyst which is dormant and can survive for prolonged periods outside the host. In most infected individuals the trophozoites exist as commensals. In a small percentage of infections, the trophozoites become invasive and penetrate the intestinal mucosa, causing ulcers. The trophozoites may reach other parts of the body—mainly liver, where they cause tissue necrosis, leading to lifethreatening abscesses. It is thought that pathogenesis of infection byEntamoeba histolytica is governed at several levels, chief among them are (i) adherence of trophozoite to the target cell, (ii) lysis of target cell, and (iii) phagocytosis of target cell. Several molecules which may be involved in these processes have been identified. A lectin inhibitable by galactose and N-acetyl-D-galactosamine is present on the trophozoite surface. This is implicated in adherence of trophozoite to the target cell. Various amoebic poreforming proteins are known, of which 5kDa protein (amoebapore) has been extensively studied. These can insert into the lipid bilayers of target cells, forming ion-channels. The phagocytic potential of trophozoites is directly linked to virulence as measured in animal models. Factors like association of bacteria with trophozoites also influence virulence. Thus, pathogenesis is determined by multiple factors and a unifying picture taking into account the relative contributions of each factor is sought. Recent technical advances, which includes the development of a transfection system to introduce genes into trophozoites, should help to understand the mechanism of pathogenesis in amoebiasis.
pp 433-444 May 1996
Genetic instability is very common amongStreptomyces strains and the affected strains display several distinctive phenotypes. In several cases DNA rearrangements, specifically deletions and amplifications of specific segments of DNA, were demonstrated. Depending upon the reproducible amplification of a segment in independent isolates one could predict the basic structural elements involved in the amplification process. In the case ofS. lividans 66,5.7 kb amplifiable DNA sequence is located near the end of the linear chromosome. Amplification of this sequence and deletion of the chromosome linked to it leads to the creation of a new end or in some cases even circularisation of the chromosome occurs. A model incorporating these aspects is discussed. The possible involvement of proteins encoded by the amplifiable region is also discussed.