University of Dundee

Important role of MYC in embryonic development determined by Dale lab

31 Jul 2018

The latest research from the Dale lab, in collaboration with Professor Kate Storey, has explained the important role that Myc plays in linking different stages of mouse embryonic development. The findings have been published in the journal Development and has been selected to feature as part of that editions’ ‘Research Highlights’ section.

Although Myc transcription factors have been extensively studied in the context of cancer, there has been renewed research into their roles in stem cell maintenance and embryogenesis. Myc is expressed throughout embryogenesis, but its spatiotemporal distribution has been poorly characterised. In this study, Kim Dale and colleagues sought to clarify the expression and function of Myc during early embryogenesis in mice, focussing on its role in body axis elongation and somite formation.

Kim Dale explained the results of their studies, “Our results show that cMyc is indeed required for the proper timing of somite formation through the regulation of NOTCH signalling. Additionally, we found that Myc operates in a positive feedback loop with WNT and FGF signalling in neuromesodermal progenitors to facilitate axial elongation and to maintain accurate timing of the segmentation clock. This work places Myc activity at the centre of a signalling circuit that coordinates body axis elongation during embryogenesis.”

“Our future work will focus on deciphering the global Myc transcriptional signature within the progenitors that mediate this process.”

Photo (from left): First author Ioanna Mastromina with Dr Kim Dale and Professor Kate Storey.