Single-minded 2 is required for left-right asymmetric stomach morphogenesis


The morphogenesis of left-right (LR) asymmetry is a crucial phase of organogenesis. In the digestive tract, the development of anatomical asymmetry is first evident in the leftward curvature of the stomach. To elucidate the molecular events that shape this archetypal laterality, we performed transcriptome analyses of the left versus right sides of the developing stomach in frog embryos. Besides the known LR gene pitx2, the only gene found to be expressed asymmetrically throughout all stages of curvature was single-minded 2 (sim2), a Down Syndrome-related transcription factor and homolog of a Drosophila gene (sim) required for LR asymmetric looping of the fly gut. We demonstrate that sim2 functions downstream of LR patterning cues to regulate key cellular properties and behaviors in the left stomach epithelium that drive asymmetric curvature. Our results reveal unexpected convergent cooption of single-minded genes during the evolution of LR asymmetric morphogenesis, and have implications for dose-dependent roles of laterality factors in non-laterality-related birth defects.