Project Title

A conserved role for ETS genes in paired appendage and urogenital development

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Molecular and Cellular Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Marcus Davis

Additional Faculty

Dr. Amanda Cass, Molecular and Cellular Biology, acass4@kennesaw.edu

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Development of paired appendages (limbs in tetrapods; fins in fishes) and the urogenital system (reproductive and urinary organs) share a number of similarities. Among these are the sharing of genes and gene networks that explain the occurrence of syndromic birth defects in paired appendages and genitalia. Among the genes recently demonstrated to contribute to the development of both organ systems are the ETS family of transcription factors. ETS genes are known to mediate limb outgrowth and proper digit number as part of the well known Shh-Gremlin-Fgf regulatory network. Experimental studies in the mouse show that the ETS genes Etv4 and Etv5 play a role in both limb and genital tubercle development. Our lab has recently demonstrated that Etv4 and Etv5 are also expressed in the paired fins of fishes. However, this early evidence of a conserved role for ETS genes in appendages requires further characterization, and any possible role for Etv4 and Etv5 in the urogenital system of fishes remains undescribed. Here we describe the expression of these ETS genes in the paired fins and urogenital system of the American paddlefish, Polyodon spathula, a “living fossil” model system that we use to test hypotheses about the evolution of gene regulation. Our results show striking similarities with the patterns of Etv4 and Etv5 seen in the mouse, providing further evidence that a conserved Shh-Gremlin-Fgf regulatory network, mediated by ETS genes, is shared by fins, limbs, and diverse urogenital homologues across vertebrate evolution.

Project Type

Poster

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A conserved role for ETS genes in paired appendage and urogenital development

Development of paired appendages (limbs in tetrapods; fins in fishes) and the urogenital system (reproductive and urinary organs) share a number of similarities. Among these are the sharing of genes and gene networks that explain the occurrence of syndromic birth defects in paired appendages and genitalia. Among the genes recently demonstrated to contribute to the development of both organ systems are the ETS family of transcription factors. ETS genes are known to mediate limb outgrowth and proper digit number as part of the well known Shh-Gremlin-Fgf regulatory network. Experimental studies in the mouse show that the ETS genes Etv4 and Etv5 play a role in both limb and genital tubercle development. Our lab has recently demonstrated that Etv4 and Etv5 are also expressed in the paired fins of fishes. However, this early evidence of a conserved role for ETS genes in appendages requires further characterization, and any possible role for Etv4 and Etv5 in the urogenital system of fishes remains undescribed. Here we describe the expression of these ETS genes in the paired fins and urogenital system of the American paddlefish, Polyodon spathula, a “living fossil” model system that we use to test hypotheses about the evolution of gene regulation. Our results show striking similarities with the patterns of Etv4 and Etv5 seen in the mouse, providing further evidence that a conserved Shh-Gremlin-Fgf regulatory network, mediated by ETS genes, is shared by fins, limbs, and diverse urogenital homologues across vertebrate evolution.