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Most zygotic genes remain transcriptionally silent in Drosophila, Xenopus, and zebrafish embryos through multiple mitotic divisions until the midblastula transition (MBT). Several genes have been identified in each of these organisms that are transcribed before the MBT, but whether precocious expression of specific mRNAs is important for later development(More)
Neural induction is the process that initiates nervous system development in vertebrates. Two distinct models have been put forward to describe this phenomenon in molecular terms. The default model states that ectoderm cells are fated to become neural in absence of instruction, and do so when bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signals are abolished. A more(More)
Multiciliated cells lining the surface of some vertebrate epithelia are essential for various physiological processes, such as airway cleansing. However, the mechanisms governing motile cilia biosynthesis remain poorly elucidated. We identify miR-449 microRNAs as evolutionarily conserved key regulators of vertebrate multiciliogenesis. In human airway(More)
Glypicans are essential modulators of cell signalling during embryogenesis. Little is known about their functions in brain development. We show here that mouse glypicans (gpc-1 to gpc-6) are differentially expressed in embryonic brains during key morphogenetic events. In gastrulating embryos, gpc-4 is the only glypican expressed in anterior visceral(More)
The vertebrate body plan is established in two major steps. First, mesendoderm induction singles out prospective endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm progenitors. Second, these progenitors are spatially rearranged during gastrulation through numerous and complex movements to give rise to an embryo comprising three concentric germ layers, polarised along(More)
Vertebrate development requires progressive commitment of embryonic cells into specific lineages through a continuum of signals that play off differentiation versus multipotency. In mammals, Nanog is a key transcription factor that maintains cellular pluripotency by controlling competence to respond to differentiation cues. Nanog orthologs are known in most(More)
Despite the importance of mucociliary epithelia in animal physiology, the mechanisms controlling their establishment are poorly understood. Using the developing Xenopus epidermis and regenerating human upper airways, we reveal the importance of BMP signalling for the construction of vertebrate mucociliary epithelia. In Xenopus, attenuation of BMP activity(More)
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