The Apelin receptor (Aplnr) is essential for heart development, controlling the early migration of cardiac progenitors. Here we demonstrate that in zebrafish Aplnr modulates Nodal/TGFβ signaling, a key pathway essential for mesendoderm induction and migration. Loss of Aplnr function leads to a reduction in Nodal target gene expression whereas activation of Aplnr by a non-peptide agonist increases the expression of these same targets. Furthermore, loss of Aplnr results in a delay in the expression of the cardiogenic transcription factors mespaa/ab. Elevating Nodal levels in aplnra/b morphant and double mutant embryos is sufficient to rescue cardiac differentiation defects. We demonstrate that loss of Aplnr attenuates the activity of a point source of Nodal ligands Squint and Cyclops in a non-cell autonomous manner. Our results favour a model in which Aplnr is required to fine-tune Nodal output, acting as a specific rheostat for the Nodal/TGFβ pathway during the earliest stages of cardiogenesis.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Issue number||April 2016|
|State||Published - Apr 14 2016|
Bibliographical noteGenerated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-15
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)