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Zebrafish acvr2a and acvr2b exhibit distinct roles in craniofacial development

Albertson RC, Payne-Ferreira TL, Postlethwait J, Yelick PC
Dev Dyn. 2005 Aug;233(4):1405-18.
To examine the roles of activin type II receptor signaling in craniofacial development, full-length zebrafish acvr2a and acvr2b clones were isolated. Although ubiquitously expressed as maternal mRNAs and in early embryogenesis, by 24 hr postfertilization (hpf), acvr2a and acvr2b exhibit restricted expression in neural, hindbrain, and neural crest cells (NCCs). A morpholino-based targeted protein depletion approach was used to reveal discrete functions for each acvr2 gene product. The acvr2a morphants exhibited defects in the development of most cranial NCC-derived cartilage, bone, and pharyngeal tooth structures, whereas acvr2b morphant defects were largely restricted to posterior arch structures and included the absence and/or aberrant migration of posterior NCC streams, defects in NCC-derived posterior arch cartilages, and dysmorphic pharyngeal tooth development. These studies revealed previously uncharacterized roles for acvr2a and acvr2b in hindbrain and NCC patterning, in NCC derived pharyngeal arch cartilage and joint formation, and in tooth development.
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