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BMP signalling specifies the pyloric sphincter



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brief communications Developmental biology BMP signalling specifies the pyloric sphincter Sphincters are muscular valves that form at the boundaries between organs of the gut for example the pyloric sphincter forms at the junction of the small intestine and stomach We show here that signalling by bone morphogenetic protein BMP from the avian small intestine induces the cells of the adjacent gizzard the equivalent of the stomach in the chicken primordium to form a sphincter This finding and related studies of the role of Hox genes in the specification of the iliocaecal sphincter1 provide insights into the processes by which new cell fates are specified at the borders between distinct embryological domains To investigate the inductive signalling involved in the development of the chicken gut we examined the expression pattern of several members of the BMP family including BMP 2 BMP 4 BMP 5 and BMP 7 and compared them with the expression domains of the known BMP receptors2 BMP 4 is the only member of the family to be expressed in the early chicken gut appearing in the mesoderm of the small intestine from embryonic day 2 5 E2 5 Fig 1a b and data not shown Several BMP receptors are expressed in the intestinal mesoderm in a position to mediate BMP 4 signalling in this portion of the gut data not shown However the type I receptor BMPR1B 3 4 is specifically expressed in the gizzard mesoderm from E2 5 Fig 1c despite the fact that neither BMP 4 nor any other related BMP family member we examined data not shown are expressed in the early gizzard mesoderm One possible explanation is that the expression of this receptor in the developing gizzard reflects a role in transducing BMP signals originating from adjacent regions of the gut such as the developing small intestine where BMP 4 is expressed thereby mediating the patterning of structures at the border of the gizzard and the small intestine The pyloric sphincter forms at the junction of the gizzard and the small intestine and



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