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Keywords:

  • mouse;
  • embryo;
  • tail bud;
  • ventral ectodermal ridge;
  • laminin;
  • extracellular matrix;
  • basement membrane;
  • integrin;
  • bone morphogenetic protein

Abstract

Background: The ventral ectodermal ridge (VER) is an important signalling centre in the mouse tail-bud following completion of gastrulation. BMP regulation is essential for VER function, but how these signals are transmitted between adjacent tissues is unclear. Results: We investigated the idea that extracellular matrix components might be involved, using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridisation to detect all known α, β, and γ laminin chains and their mRNAs in the early tail bud. We identified an apparently novel laminin variant, comprising α5, β3 and γ2 chains, as a major component of the VER basement membrane at E9.5. Strikingly, only the mRNAs for these chains were co-expressed in VER cells, suggesting that lamin532 may be the sole basement membrane laminin at this stage. Since α6 integrin was also expressed in VER cells, this raises the possibility of cell-matrix interactions regulating BMP signalling at this site of caudal morphogenesis. Conclusions: Laminin532 could interact with α6-containing integrin to direct differentiation of the specialised VER cells from surface ectoderm. Developmental Dynamics 241:1808–1815, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals Inc.