Vertebrates have characteristic and conserved left-right (L-R) visceral asymmetries, for example the left-sided heart. In humans, alterations of L-R development can have serious clinical implications, including cardiac defects. Results support a key role for nodal and nodal-related genes in interpreting and relaying L-R patterning information in vertebrates (1). Left-sided expression of Nodal in the lateral plate mesoderm is a conserved feature necessary for the establishment of normal left-right asymmetry during vertebrate embryogenesis. By using gain- and loss-of-function experiments in zebrafish and mouse, it has been shown that the activity of the Notch pathway is necessary and sufficient for Nodal expression around the node, and for proper left-right determination (2). During gastrulation, the three germ layers of the embryo are formed and organized along the anterior-posterior body axis. In the mouse, gastrulation involves the delamination of ectodermal cells through the primitive streak and their differentiation into mesoderm. The nodal signaling molecule is essential for mesoderm formation and subsequent organization of axial structures in early mouse development (3).
TGF Beta Signaling Pathway
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