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Imaging the onset of oscillatory signaling dynamics during mouse embryo gastrulation


Falk, Henning J et al. (2022), Imaging the onset of oscillatory signaling dynamics during mouse embryo gastrulation, Dryad, Dataset,


A fundamental requirement for embryonic development is the coordination of signaling activities in space and time. A notable example in vertebrate embryos is found during somitogenesis, where gene expression oscillations linked to the segmentation clock are synchronized across cells in the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) and result in tissue-level wave patterns. To examine their onset during mouse embryo development, we studied the dynamics of the segmentation clock gene Lfng during gastrulation. To this end, we established an imaging setup using selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) that enables culture and simultaneous imaging of up to four embryos (SPIM-for- 4). Using SPIM-for-4, combined with genetically encoded signaling reporters, we detected the onset of Lfng oscillations within newly formed mesoderm at presomite stages. Functionally, using chemical inhibition and genetic mutants, we found that initial synchrony and first ~6-8 oscillation cycles occurred even when Notch-signaling was impaired, revealing similarities to previous findings made in zebrafish embryos. Finally, we show that a spatial period gradient is already present at the onset of oscillatory activity, providing a potential mechanism accounting for our observation that wave patterns build up gradually over the first oscillation cycles.


European Research Council, Award: n.86653