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Dev Biol 2008 Jun 15;3182:360-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.02.056.
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A new method, using cis-regulatory control, for blocking embryonic gene expression.

Smith J , Davidson EH .

Many genes, and particularly regulatory genes, are utilized multiple times in unrelated phases of development. For studies of gene function during embryogenesis, there is often need of a method for interfering with expression only at a specific developmental time or place. Here we show that in sea urchin embryos cis-regulatory control systems which operate only at specific times and places can be used to drive expression of short designed sequences targeting given primary transcripts, thereby effectively taking out the function of the target genes. The active sequences are designed to be complementary to intronic sequences of the primary transcript of the target genes. In this work, the target genes were the transcription factors alx1 and ets1, both required for skeletogenesis, and the regulatory drivers were from the sm30 and tbr genes. The sm30 gene is expressed only after skeletogenic cell ingression. When its regulatory apparatus was used as driver, the alx1 and ets1 repression constructs had the effect of preventing postgastrular skeletogenesis, while not interfering with earlier alx1 and ets1 function in promoting skeletogenic mesenchyme ingression. In contrast, repression constructs using the tbr driver, which is active in blastula stage, block ingression. This method thus provides the opportunity to study regulatory requirements of skeletogenesis after ingression, and may be similarly useful in many other developmental contexts.

PubMed ID: 18423438
PMC ID: PMC3929273
Article link: Dev Biol
Grant support: [+]

Genes referenced: alx1 ets1 LOC100887844 LOC115919910 tbr1

References [+] :
Armstrong, Cell-cell interactions regulate skeleton formation in the sea urchin embryo. 1993, Pubmed, Echinobase