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Curr Opin Genet Dev 2019 Jun 01;56:8-14. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2019.05.005.
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Mechanical strain, novel genes and evolutionary insights: news from the frog left-right organizer.

Blum M , Ott T .

Animal asymmetries are widespread, from lobster claws to human handedness. Controlled by the left-sided Nodal signaling cascade, asymmetric morphogenesis and placement of vertebrate organs (heart, gut, etc.) are executed during embryogenesis. Fish, amphibians and mammals use a ciliated epithelium to break bilateral symmetry and induce the Nodal cascade. Cilia tilt and polarize to the posterior cell pole, such that clockwise rotation causes a leftward flow at the cell surface. Recent progress in Xenopus showed that mechanical strain drives cilia lengthening and polarization. Studying mutant alleles causing human organ situs defects and following novel EvoDevo approaches, new genes were discovered and functionally characterized in the frog, facilitated by a unique set of experimental tools.

PubMed ID: 31185381
Article link: Curr Opin Genet Dev

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: cfap53 ctnnb1 dand5 fgfr1 fgfr4 foxj1 foxj1.2 lefty myf5 myo1d myod1 nodal nodal1 nodal3.1 nodal3.4 pitx2 pkd2 rapgef5 sia2 wdr5

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