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The Wnt3a/beta-catenin target gene Mesogenin1 controls the segmentation clock by activating a Notch signalling program.

Chalamalasetty R.B., Dunty W.C. Jr., Biris K.K., Ajima R., Iacovino M., Beisaw A., Feigenbaum L., Chapman D.L., Yoon J.K., Kyba M., Yamaguchi T.P.

Segmentation is an organizing principle of body plans. The segmentation clock, a molecular oscillator best illustrated by the cyclic expression of Notch signalling genes, controls the periodic cleavage of somites from unsegmented presomitic mesoderm during vertebrate segmentation. Wnt3a controls the spatiotemporal expression of cyclic Notch genes; however, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Here we show by transcriptional profiling of Wnt3a (-/-) embryos that the bHLH transcription factor, Mesogenin1 (Msgn1), is a direct target gene of Wnt3a. To identify Msgn1 targets, we conducted genome-wide studies of Msgn1 activity in embryonic stem cells. We show that Msgn1 is a major transcriptional activator of a Notch signalling program and synergizes with Notch to trigger clock gene expression. Msgn1 also indirectly regulates cyclic genes in the Fgf and Wnt pathways. Thus, Msgn1 is a central component of a transcriptional cascade that translates a spatial Wnt3a gradient into a temporal pattern of clock gene expression.

Nat Commun 2:390-390(2011) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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