The present work aims to improve our understanding of the causes and functions of apoptosis during the morphogenesis of epibranchial placodes in mice. Schematic maps helped to compare the spatiotemporal sequence of apoptotic events with the protein expression patterns of general (Six1) and specific placodal markers (Pax2, Pax8). Our findings challenge the view that, in mammals, all three epibranchial placodes spring from the original posterior placodal area (PPA) of presomite or early somite embryos. Instead, close-meshed analysis of the Pax2/Pax8 expression patterns demonstrates the stepwise emergence of two subdomains which both belong to the gradually expanding PPA, and which largely give rise to the otic placode and epibranchial placode 1 (anterior subdomain), or to the caudal epibranchial placodes (posterior subdomain). Our observations reinforce previous doubts raised on the PPA progeny of early somite Xenopus embryos (Schlosser and Ahrens, Dev Biol 271:439–466, 2004). They also demonstrate that partly different Pax2/Pax8 codes accompany epibranchial placode development in Xenopus laevis and mice. In mice, interplacodal apoptosis assists in the establishment of the two PPA subdomains and, subsequently, of individualized placodes by predominantly eliminating Six1+ placodal precursor cells. Onset of interplacodal and intraplacodal large-scale apoptosis is almost always preceded and/or paralleled by Pax2/Pax8 expression minima in the very same region. Future work will demand the use of knock-out mice and whole embryo culture to experimentally test, whether the combined action of differentially expressed Pax2 and Pax8 genes exerts antiapoptotic effects in the mammalian PPA.
Brain Structure and Function – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 3, 2017
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