Publications by authors named "Nathan R Souchet"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The asymmetric Pitx2 gene regulates gut muscular-lacteal development and protects against fatty liver disease.

Cell Rep 2021 Nov;37(8):110030

Department of Molecular Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. Electronic address:

Intestinal lacteals are essential lymphatic channels for absorption and transport of dietary lipids and drive the pathogenesis of debilitating metabolic diseases. However, organ-specific mechanisms linking lymphatic dysfunction to disease etiology remain largely unknown. In this study, we uncover an intestinal lymphatic program that is linked to the left-right (LR) asymmetric transcription factor Pitx2. We show that deletion of the asymmetric Pitx2 enhancer ASE alters normal lacteal development through the lacteal-associated contractile smooth muscle lineage. ASE deletion leads to abnormal muscle morphogenesis induced by oxidative stress, resulting in impaired lacteal extension and defective lymphatic system-dependent lipid transport. Surprisingly, activation of lymphatic system-independent trafficking directs dietary lipids from the gut directly to the liver, causing diet-induced fatty liver disease. Our study reveals the molecular mechanism linking gut lymphatic function to the earliest symmetry-breaking Pitx2 and highlights the important relationship between intestinal lymphangiogenesis and the gut-liver axis.
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November 2021

Midgut Laterality Is Driven by Hyaluronan on the Right.

Dev Cell 2018 09 30;46(5):533-551.e5. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

Department of Molecular Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. Electronic address:

For many years, biologists have focused on the role of Pitx2, expressed on the left side of developing embryos, in governing organ laterality. Here, we identify a different pathway during left-right asymmetry initiated by the right side of the embryo. Surprisingly, this conserved mechanism is orchestrated by the extracellular glycosaminoglycan, hyaluronan (HA) and is independent of Pitx2 on the left. Whereas HA is normally synthesized bilaterally as a simple polysaccharide, we show that covalent modification of HA by the enzyme Tsg6 on the right triggers distinct cell behavior necessary to drive the conserved midgut rotation and to pattern gut vasculature. HA disruption in chicken and Tsg6 mice results in failure to initiate midgut rotation and perturbs vascular development predisposing to midgut volvulus. Our study leads us to revise the current symmetry-breaking paradigm in vertebrates and demonstrates how enzymatic modification of HA matrices can execute the blueprint of organ laterality.
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September 2018