Early arterial differentiation and patterning in the avian embryo model
Garriock RJ, Mikawa T.
Semin Cell Dev Biol (2011), doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2011.09.019
Of the many models to study vascular biology the avian embryo remains an informative and powerful model system that has provided important insights into endothelial cell recruitment, assembly and remodeling during development of the circulatory system. This review highlights several discoveries in the avian system that show how arterial patterning is regulated using the model of dorsal aortae development along the embryo midline during gastrulation and neurulation. These discoveries were made possible through spatially and temporally controlled gain-of-function experiments that provided direct evidence that BMP signaling plays a pivotal role in vascular recruitment, patterning and remodeling and that Notch-signaling recruits vascular precursor cells to the dorsal aortae. Importantly, BMP ligands are broadly expressed throughout embryos but BMP signaling activation region is spatially defined by precisely regulated expression of BMP antagonists. These discoveries provide insight into how signaling, both positive and negative, regulate vascular patterning. This review also illustrates similarities of early arterial patterning along the embryonic midline in amniotes both avian and mammalians including human, evolutionarily specialized from non-amniotes such as fish and frog.