Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 32105214
Link to DOI – 10.7554/eLife.50325e50325
Elife 2020 02; 9():
The establishment of separated pulmonary and systemic circulation in vertebrates, via cardiac outflow tract (OFT) septation, is a sensitive developmental process accounting for 10% of all congenital anomalies. Neural Crest Cells (NCC) colonising the heart condensate along the primitive endocardial tube and force its scission into two tubes. Here, we show that NCC aggregation progressively decreases along the OFT distal-proximal axis following a BMP signalling gradient. Dullard, a nuclear phosphatase, tunes the BMP gradient amplitude and prevents NCC premature condensation. Dullard maintains transcriptional programs providing NCC with mesenchymal traits. It attenuates the expression of the aggregation factor Sema3c and conversely promotes that of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition driver Twist1. Altogether, Dullard-mediated fine-tuning of BMP signalling ensures the timed and progressive zipper-like closure of the OFT by the NCC and prevents the formation of a heart carrying the congenital abnormalities defining the tetralogy of Fallot.