How left-right (LR) asymmetry emerges in a patterning field along the anterior-posterior axis remains an unresolved problem in developmental biology. Left-biased Nodal emanating from the LR organizer propagates from posterior to anterior (PA) and establishes the LR pattern of the whole embryo. However, little is known about the regulatory mechanism of the PA spread of Nodal and its asymmetric activation in the forebrain. Here, we identify bilaterally expressed Follistatin (Fst) as a regulator blocking the propagation of the zebrafish Nodal ortholog Southpaw (Spaw) in the right lateral plate mesoderm (LPM), and restricting Spaw transmission in the left LPM to facilitate the establishment of a robust LR asymmetric Nodal patterning. In addition, Fst inhibits the Activin-Nodal signaling pathway in the forebrain thus preventing Nodal activation prior to the arrival, at a later time, of Spaw emanating from the left LPM. This contributes to the orderly propagation of asymmetric Nodal activation along the PA axis. The LR regulation function of Fst is further confirmed in chick and frog embryos. Overall, our results suggest that a robust LR patterning emerges by counteracting a Fst barrier formed along the PA axis.
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - 2023
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