• Popdc1;
  • Bves;
  • Popeye genes;
  • chick embryo;
  • proepicardium;
  • epicardium;
  • cardiac myocytes


The isolation of the Popeye gene family was based on its preferential expression in striated muscle tissue. Recently, a monoclonal antibody against chick Popdc1 (also known as Bves) became available and was used in this study to comparatively analyze the expression pattern of Popdc1 at both the protein and mRNA level during early chick embryogenesis. Using whole-mount immunohistochemistry, expression in the heart was first observed at Hamburger and Hamilton (HH) stage 10 in the presumptive left ventricular segment. Cardiac expression was confined to differentiated cardiac myocytes, and undifferentiated myocytes at the anterior and posterior pole showed little expression. After looping, the outer curvature myocardium showed prominent Popdc1 staining, whereas the inner curvature was unlabeled. Despite previous reports, Popdc1 protein was not detectable at any time point in the proepicardium, epicardium, or the smooth muscle layer of the coronary vessels. Whole-mount in situ hybridization using a full-length Popdc1 probe detected novel expression domains, which have not been described previously. Popdc1 mRNA was found in Hensen's node at HH stage 4, and by HH stage 5+, expression became asymmetric. In addition, Popdc1 mRNA was found in pharyngeal endoderm and in the notochordal plate. Subsequently, beginning at HH stage 9, Popdc1 mRNA expression was found in the cardiac mesoderm and expression was maintained in the heart in a pattern very similar to the one observed by antibody staining. Developmental Dynamics 235:691–700, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.