BioEssays

Cover image for Vol. 39 Issue 3

Edited By: Andrew Moore

Online ISSN: 1521-1878

Development

Development_2

An intertwining of cell–cell communication and intracellular signalling cascades assures that developmental steps occur in the right time, at the right place. Below is a collection of recent articles providing novel insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the development of organs and organisms: from the morphogenesis and growth of flies, fish, mammals, and seeds, through the hitherto underestimated role of commensal bacteria in development, to neural network wiring during embryogenesis and adulthood. We wish you pleasant reading!

For primary literature relevant to the articles below, see the Encyclopedia of Life SciencesELS_Logo entries under Developmental Biology.



Control of developmental networks by Rac/Rho small GTPases: How cytoskeletal changes during embryogenesis are orchestrated

Control of developmental networks by Rac/Rho small GTPases: How cytoskeletal changes during embryogenesis are orchestrated

Beatriz Sáenz-Narciso, Eva Gómez-Orte, Angelina Zheleva, Irene Gastaca, Juan Cabello*

Small GTPases in the Rho family act as major nodes during the development of Caenorhabditis elegans embryo. Rac/Rho GTPases are essential for different processes in embryo modeling, such as mitotic spindle orientation, cell migration, neuronal development, or engulfment of apoptotic corpses.

BioEssays 10.1002/bies.201600165 [Prospects & Overviews]


Establishment of X chromosome inactivation and epigenomic features of the inactive X depend on cellular contexts

Establishment of X chromosome inactivation and epigenomic features of the inactive X depend on cellular contexts

Céline Vallot, Jean-François Ouimette, Claire Rougeulle*

X chromosome inactivation initiates during early mammalian development in a manner that correlates with cellular differentiation, and the mechanisms coupling these processes are starting to be unraveled. Once established, the inactive status is stably transmitted throughout cell divisions. Recent data highlight, however, variation in Xi features, both within and across species.

BioEssays 2016, 38, No. 9, 869–880 [Prospects & Overviews]


Germline development in amniotes: A paradigm shift in primordial germ cell specification

Germline development in amniotes: A paradigm shift in primordial germ cell specification

Federica Bertocchini*, Susana M. Chuva de Sousa Lopes*

PGC specification is currently believed to occur according to two modalities, maternal specification or induction. We propose an alternative view whereby maternal determinants (germ plasm), when present, guide specification of (multipotent) PGC precursors (pPGCs), but induction is needed for the transition from pPGCs to PGCs in amniotes, and perhaps all animals (The existence of germ line stem cells is sex and/or species dependent).

BioEssays 2016, 38, No. 8, 791–800 [Prospects & Overviews]


Could we also be regenerative superheroes, like salamanders?

Could we also be regenerative superheroes, like salamanders?

Alessandra Dall'Agnese*, Pier Lorenzo Puri

Newts and axolotls (salamanders) can effectively regenerate appendages throughout adulthood, while the regeneration potential in mammals is limited to digit tips and declines with age. Since mouse and salamander regeneration undergoes the same three phases, lessons learned from these animal models may yield new therapeutic strategies to increase human regenerative potential.

BioEssays 2016, 38, No. 9, 917–926 [Prospects & Overviews]


The basal chorionic trophoblast cell layer: An emerging coordinator of placenta development

The basal chorionic trophoblast cell layer: An emerging coordinator of placenta development

Katharina Walentin, Christian Hinze, Kai M. Schmidt-Ott*

The villous tree (labyrinth) of the placenta develops as specialized trophoblast cells undergo branching morphogenesis and guide fetal blood vessels into the proximity of maternal blood sinuses. Here we discuss recent insights into the importance of the basal chorionic trophoblast (BCT) cell layer, a central coordinator of labyrinth branching, and differentiation of the feto-maternal barrier.

BioEssays 2016, 38, No. 3, 254–265 [Prospects & Overviews]


Can a few non-coding mutations make a human brain?

Can a few non‐coding mutations make a human brain?

Lucía F. Franchini, Katherine S. Pollard*

To discover the genetic modifications underlying the evolution of the distinctive capacities of the human brain it is necessary to show that human-specific DNA changes altered phenotypes. Motivated by a study linking human-specific enhancer evolution to brain development we discuss the current state of the field.

BioEssays 2015, 37, No. 10, 1054–1061 [Prospects & Overviews]


The quest for restoring hearing: Understanding ear development more completely

The quest for restoring hearing: Understanding ear development more completely

Israt Jahan, Ning Pan, Karen L. Elliott, Bernd Fritzsch*

The organ of Corti develops from a regular mosaic of hair cells surrounded by supporting cells (E14.5). Transforming this regular arrangement requires cellular reshuffling. Outer pillar cells (OP) form a row next to inner pillar cells (IP). Outer hair cells (OHC) alternate with Deiters’ cells (D) and inner hair cells (IHC) alter their position relative to inner phalangeal cell (IPC).

BioEssays 2015, 37, No. 9, 1016–1027 [Prospects & Overviews]


Cell death and morphogenesis during early mouse development: Are they interconnected?

Cell death and morphogenesis during early mouse development: Are they interconnected?

Ivan Bedzhov, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz*

Programmed cell death is tightly regulated during early embryogenesis to ensure developmental success. Apoptosis was considered as the main morphogenic force reshaping the epiblast to establish the proamniotic cavity. Instead, we found previously unknown morphogenic event reorganizing the epiblast into a radially polarized rosette-like structure, where central lumen emerges.

BioEssays 2015, 37, No. 4, 372–378 [Insights & Perspectives]


The promise of perfect adult tissue repair and regeneration in mammals: Learning from regenerative amphibians and fish

The promise of perfect adult tissue repair and regeneration in mammals: Learning from regenerative amphibians and fish

James Godwin

Looking at natural examples of near-perfect tissue regeneration in highly regenerative animals like amphibians and fish may provide a roadmap for the development of human regenerative therapies. This review discusses several factors that may underlie natural regeneration and how these may be exploited for the improvement of human health.

BioEssays 2014, 36, No. 9, 861–871 [Prospects & Overviews]


Chromatin regulators in neurodevelopment and disease: Analysis of fly neural circuits provides insights

Chromatin regulators in neurodevelopment and disease: Analysis of fly neural circuits provides insights

Hiroaki Taniguchi, Adrian W. Moore*

Disruptions in histone modifiers and chromatin remodelers cause neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Genetic approaches in Drosophila have revealed roles for these factors in neuronal precursor self-renewal, circuit wiring, developmental signaling, and cognition. They further have illustrated how chromatin regulator activity is delineated by transcription factors and chromatin remodeling complex partners.

BioEssays 2014, 36, No. 9, 872–883 [Prospects & Overviews]


Small proteins, big roles: The signaling protein Apela extends the complexity of developmental pathways in the early zebrafish embryo

Small proteins, big roles: The signaling protein Apela extends the complexity of developmental pathways in the early zebrafish embryo

Michal Reichman-Fried, Erez Raz*

Mining the zebrafish and human genomes for non-annotated open reading frames, a small signaling molecule was identified and its function analyzed, revealing a role in the regulation of cell motility and cell differentiation. This small conserved protein named Apela interacts with the G-protein-coupled receptor for the Apelin protein.

BioEssays 2014, 36, No. 8, 741–745 [Prospects & Overviews]


Fez family transcription factors: Controlling neurogenesis and cell fate in the developing mammalian nervous system

Fez family transcription factors: Controlling neurogenesis and cell fate in the developing mammalian nervous system

Matthew J. Eckler, Bin Chen*

The zinc-finger transcription factors Fezf1 and Fezf2 are evolutionarily conserved from flies to humans. Within the developing mammalian nervous system they have unique and redundant functions during generation of the forebrain and olfactory system. These include coordination of neurogenic programs and the control of neuronal fate specification.

BioEssays 2014, 36, No. 8, 788–797 [Prospects & Overviews]


Unravelling the developmental regulatory networks in early animals

Unravelling the developmental regulatory networks in early animals

Fabian Rentzsch, Maja Adamska

Development, life cycle evolution and immunity were among the topics discussed at a recent meeting in Tutzing dedicated to the biology of the ‘basal’ metazoan taxa Porifera, Ctenophora, Placozoa and Cnidaria.

BioEssays 2014, 36, No. 4, 427–430 [Meetings]


Scaling of dorsal-ventral patterning in the Xenopus laevis embryo

Scaling of dorsal‐ventral patterning in the Xenopus laevis embryo

Danny Ben-Zvi, Abraham Fainsod, Ben-Zion Shilo, Naama Barkai*

Inomata and colleagues proposed an elegant model explaining how sizzled scales patterning in Xenopus laevis embryo with embryo size. We review this work in context of the expansion-repression framework, and suggest both sizzled and Admp function as expanders of the bone morphogenic protein (BMP) activation gradient, to robustly scale its pattern with size.

BioEssays 2014, 36, No. 2, 151–156 [Prospects & Overviews]


Homosexuality via canalized sexual development: A testing protocol for a new epigenetic model

Homosexuality via canalized sexual development: A testing protocol for a new epigenetic model

William R. Rice*, Urban Friberg, Sergey Gavrilets

We recently advanced a new biological model of homosexuality that is based on transgenerational inheritance of sex-specific epigenetic marks from a parent to an offspring of opposite sex. Here, we describe a general framework to test the model using human stem cells from adult hetero- and homosexual individuals.

BioEssays 2013, 35, No. 9, 764–770 [Insights & Perspectives]


Both cell-autonomous mechanisms and hormones contribute to sexual development in vertebrates and insects

Both cell‐autonomous mechanisms and hormones contribute to sexual development in vertebrates and insects

Ashley Bear*, Antónia Monteiro

Recent research has shown that the development of male and female traits in insects, birds, and mammals depends on both hormones and on the cell-autonomous expression of the sex determination pathway in somatic cells. This new research challenges traditional views of sexual development in birds, mammals, and insects.

BioEssays 2013, 35, No. 8, 725–732 [Prospects & Overviews]


Protein partners of KCTD proteins provide insights about their functional roles in cell differentiation and vertebrate development

Protein partners of KCTD proteins provide insights about their functional roles in cell differentiation and vertebrate development

Mikhail Skoblov, Andrey Marakhonov, Ekaterina Marakasova, Anna Guskova, Vikas Chandhoke, Aybike Birerdinc, Ancha Baranova*

The functions of KCTD family proteins are proposed. KCTD20 is an AKT-mTOR-p70S6k signaling component, KCTD5 is important for cytokinesis, KCTD10 regulates the RhoA/RhoB, and KCTD15 suppresses early adipogenesis. TNFAIP1-like proteins may participate in translesional synthesis. KCTD12 suppresses gastrointestinal stromal tumors by interfering with GABAb. The DNA-like pentapeptide repeat domain of KCTD9 is important.

BioEssays 2013, 35, No. 7, 586–596 [Insights & Perspectives]


Instructive reconstruction: A new role for apoptosis in pattern formation

Instructive reconstruction: A new role for apoptosis in pattern formation

David J. Duffy*

Apoptosis is not only involved in patterning by removal of tissue (destructive apoptotic patterning), but it can also function in signalling the site of de novo tissue generation via morphogenic signals (instructive apoptotic patterning).

BioEssays 2012, 34, No. 7, 561–564 [Insights & Perspectives]


Slicing embryos gently with laser light sheets

Slicing embryos gently with laser light sheets

Jan Huisken*

Light sheet microscopy is ideally suited to in vivo imaging over long periods of time as it not only offers low photo-toxicity but also high image acquisition rates. One example of this technique is selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) which, for example, even allows imaging of entire embryos with isotropic resolution.

BioEssays 2012, 34, No. 5, 406–411 [High resolution microscopy]


Molecular bioelectricity in developmental biology: New tools and recent discoveries

Molecular bioelectricity in developmental biology: New tools and recent discoveries

Michael Levin*

BioEssays 2012, 34, No. 3, 205–217 [Prospects & Overviews]


Relaxation-expansion model for self-driven retinal morphogenesis

Relaxation‐expansion model for self‐driven retinal morphogenesis

Mototsugu Eiraku*, Taiji Adachi, Yoshiki Sasai*

BioEssays 2012, 34, No. 1, 17–25 [Insights & Perspectives]

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