UCL Division of Biosciences


New paper from Stern lab in Nature Communications announces the discovery of a new embryonic 'organizer'.

26 August 2016

Prof Claudio Stern's lab in CDB have had a new paper published in Nature Communications.

Prof Stern is J Z Young Professor, former head of Cell and Developmental Biology, and an elected fellow of the Royal Society.


Organizers are regions of the embryo that can both induce new fates and impart pattern on other regions. So far, surprisingly few organizers have been discovered, considering the number of patterned tissue types generated during development. This may be because their discovery has relied on transplantation and ablation experiments. Here we describe a new approach, using chick embryos, to discover organizers based on a common gene expression signature, and use it to uncover the anterior intestinal portal (AIP) endoderm as a putative heart organizer. We show that the AIP can induce cardiac identity from non-cardiac mesoderm and that it can pattern this by specifying ventricular and suppressing atrial regional identity. We also uncover some of the signals responsible. The method holds promise as a tool to discover other novel organizers acting during development.