Int. J. Dev. Biol. 58: 379 - 384 (2014)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.140024jt
© UPV/EHU Press

Analysis of NUAK1 and NUAK2 expression during early chick development reveals specific patterns in the developing head

Abdelhamid Bekri#, Marc Billaud and Jacques Thélu*

Univ. Grenoble Alpes, INSERM, CNRS, France

ABSTRACT Several human diseases are associated with the NUAK1 and NUAK2 genes. These genes encode kinases, members of the AMPK-related kinases (ARK) gene family. Both NUAK1 and NUAK2 are known targets of the serine threonine kinase LKB1, a tumor suppressor involved in regulating cell polarity. While much is known about their functions in disease, their expression pattern in normal development has not been extensively studied. Here, we present the expression patterns for NUAK1 and NUAK2 in the chick during early-stage embryogenesis, until day 3 (Hamburger and Hamilton stage HH20). Several embryonic structures, in particular the nascent head, showed distinct expression levels. NUAK1 expression was first detected at stage HH6 in the rostral neural folds. It was then expressed (HH7-11) throughout the encephalalon, predominantly in the telencephalon and mesencephalon. NUAK1 expression was also detected in the splanchnic endoderm area at HH8-10, and in the vitellin vein derived from this area, but not in the heart. NUAK2 expression was first detected at stage HH6 in the neural folds. It was then found throughout the encephalon at stage HH20. Particular attention was paid in this study to the dorsal ectoderm at stages HH7 and HH8, where a local deficit or accumulation of NUAK2 mRNA were found to correlate with the direction of curvature of the neural plate. This is the first description of NUAK1 and NUAK2 expression patterns in the chick during early development; it reveals non-identical expression profiles for both genes in neural development.

Keywords:

NUAK, chick embryo, in situ hybridization

*Corresponding author e-mail: jacques.thelu@ujf-grenoble.fr