Co-option of the cardiac transcription factor Nkx2.5 during development of the emu wing
AuthorFarlie, PG; Davidson, NM; Baker, NL; Raabus, M; Roeszler, KN; Hirst, C; Major, A; Mariette, MM; Lambert, DM; Oshlack, A; ...
Source TitleNature Communications
PublisherNATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
University of Melbourne Author/sRaabus, Mai; Farlie, Peter; Baker, Naomi; Oshlack, Alicia; Davidson, Nadia; Roeszler, Kelly Nicole
School of BioSciences
School of Physics
Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsFarlie, P. G., Davidson, N. M., Baker, N. L., Raabus, M., Roeszler, K. N., Hirst, C., Major, A., Mariette, M. M., Lambert, D. M., Oshlack, A. & Smith, C. A. (2017). Co-option of the cardiac transcription factor Nkx2.5 during development of the emu wing. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 8 (1), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-00112-7.
Access StatusOpen Access
The ratites are a distinctive clade of flightless birds, typified by the emu and ostrich that have acquired a range of unique anatomical characteristics since diverging from basal Aves at least 100 million years ago. The emu possesses a vestigial wing with a single digit and greatly reduced forelimb musculature. However, the embryological basis of wing reduction and other anatomical changes associated with loss of flight are unclear. Here we report a previously unknown co-option of the cardiac transcription factor Nkx2.5 to the forelimb in the emu embryo, but not in ostrich, or chicken and zebra finch, which have fully developed wings. Nkx2.5 is expressed in emu limb bud mesenchyme and maturing wing muscle, and mis-expression of Nkx2.5 throughout the limb bud in chick results in wing reductions. We propose that Nkx2.5 functions to inhibit early limb bud expansion and later muscle growth during development of the vestigial emu wing.The transcription factor Nkx2.5 is essential for heart development. Here, the authors identify a previously unknown expression domain for Nkx2.5 in the emu wing and explore its role in diminished wing bud development in the flightless emu, compared with three other birds that have functional wings.
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