Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trichoplax adhaerens: The Otp gene

The various versions:
Trichoplax: Function unknown at present. Interested in its function in a basal eumetazoan.
Human otp. Its function:
The role of Otx and Otp genes in brain development.
Over the last ten years, many genes involved in the induction, specification and regionalization of the brain have been identified and characterized at the functional level through a series of animal models. Among these genes, both Otx1 and Otx2, two murine homologues of the Drosophila orthodenticle (otd) gene which encode transcription factors, play a pivotal role in the morphogenesis of the rostral brain. Classical knock-out studies have revealed that Otx2 is fundamental for the early specification and subsequent maintenance of the anterior neural plate, whereas Otx1 is mainly necessary for both normal corticogenesis and sense organ development. A minimal threshold of both gene products is required for correct patterning of the fore-midbrain and positioning of the isthmic organizer. A third gene, Orthopedia (Otp) is a key element of the genetic pathway controlling development of the neuroendocrine hypothalamus. This review deals with a comprehensive analysis of the Otx1, Otx2 and Otp functions, and with the possible evolutionary implications suggested by the models in which the Otx genes are reciprocally replaced or substituted by the Drosophila homologue, otd.
The same for mice:
The murine Otp homeobox gene plays an essential role in the specification of neuronal cell lineages in the developing hypothalamus.
Hypothalamic nuclei, including the anterior periventricular (aPV), paraventricular (PVN), and supraoptic (SON) nuclei strongly express the homeobox gene Orthopedia (Otp) during embryogenesis. Targeted inactivation of Otp in the mouse results in the loss of these nuclei in the homozygous null neonates. The Otp null hypothalamus fails to secrete neuropeptides somatostatin, arginine vasopressin, oxytocin, corticotropin-releasing hormone, and thyrotropin-releasing hormone in an appropriate spatial and temporal fashion, and leads to the death of Otp null pups shortly after birth. Failure to produce these neuropeptide hormones is evident prior to E15.5, indicating a failure in terminal differentiation of the aPV/PVN/SON neurons. Absence of elevated apoptotic activity, but reduced cell proliferation together with the ectopic activation of Six3 expression in the presumptive PVN, indicates a critical role for Otp in terminal differentiation and maturation of these neuroendocrine cell lineages. Otp employs distinct regulatory mechanisms to modulate the expression of specific molecular markers in the developing hypothalamus. At early embryonic stages, expression of Sim2 is immediately downregulated as a result of the absence of Otp, indicating a potential role for Otp as an upstream regulator of Sim2. In contrast, the regulation of Brn4 which is also expressed in the SON and PVN is independent of Otp function. Hence no strong evidence links Otp and Brn4 in the same regulatory pathway. The involvement of Otp and Sim1 in specifying specific hypothalamic neurosecretory cell lineages is shown to operate via distinct signaling pathways that partially overlap with Brn2.
The Zebrafish version. Its function: More of the same.
Differential regulation of the zebrafish orthopedia1 gene during fate determination of diencephalic neurons
The homeodomain transcription factor Orthopedia (Otp) is essential in restricting the fate of multiple classes of secreting neurons in the neuroendocrine hypothalamus of vertebrates. However, there is little information on the intercellular factors that regulate Otp expression during development
In the sea urchin.
Evolution of OTP-independent larval skeleton patterning in the direct-developing sea urchin, Heliocidaris erythrogramma.
The Orthopedia gene (Otp) encodes a homeodomain transcription factor crucial in patterning the larval skeleton of indirect-developing sea urchins.
A clear example of a cooption, whereby the same gene plays a role in neurological development in vertebrates and skeletal development in the sea urchin. Recycling of pre-existing genes for various, distinct, developmental processes.

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