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Noggin, along with other secreted bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) inhibitors, plays a crucial role in neural induction and neural tube patterning as well as in somitogenesis, cardiac morphogenesis and formation of the skeleton in vertebrates. The BMP signalling pathway is one of the seven fundamental pathways that drive embryonic development and pattern formation in animals. Understanding its evolutionary origin and role in pattern formation is, therefore, important to evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). We have studied the evolutionary origin of BMP-Noggin antagonism in hydra, which is a powerful diploblastic model to study evolution of pattern-forming mechanisms because of the unusual cellular dynamics during its pattern formation and its remarkable ability to regenerate. We cloned and characterized the noggin gene from hydra and found it to exhibit considerable similarity with its orthologues at the amino acid level. Microinjection of hydra Noggin mRNA led to duplication of the dorsoventral axis in Xenopus embryos, demonstrating its functional conservation across the taxa. Our data, along with those of others, indicate that the evolutionarily conserved antagonism between BMP and its inhibitors predates bilateral divergence. This article reviews the various roles of Noggin in different organisms and some of our recent work on hydra Noggin in the context of evolution of developmental signalling pathways.
Division of Animal Sciences, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune 411 004, India.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of biosciences
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A genus of freshwater polyps in the family Hydridae, order Hydroida, class HYDROZOA. They are of special interest because of their complex organization and because their adult organization corresponds roughly to the gastrula of higher animals.
Cells in certain regions of an embryo that self-regulate embryonic development. These organizers have been found in dorsal and ventral poles of GASTRULA embryos, including Spemann organizer in amphibians, and Hensen node in chicken and mouse. These organizer cells communicate with each other via a network of secreted signaling proteins, such as BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEINS and their antagonists (chordin and noggin).
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