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Gene Review

vegt  -  vegt protein

Xenopus (Silurana) tropicalis

Synonyms: Apod, antipodean, brat, tVegT, xombi
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High impact information on VegT

  • The role of maternal VegT in establishing the primary germ layers in Xenopus embryos [1].
  • In Xenopus, where the process is best understood, the endoderm is specified by a vegetally localized transcription factor, VegT, which releases nodal signals that specify the adjacent marginal zone of the blastula to become mesoderm [2].
  • Analysis of the distribution of endogenous VegT and Xlsirts in live oocytes using molecular beacons showed that these RNAs are integrated into the cytokeratin cytoskeleton [3].
  • We found that the organization of the cytokeratin filaments but not the actin cytoskeleton depends on the presence of intact VegT mRNA and a noncoding RNA, Xlsirts [3].
  • It is important now to understand the extent to which transcription factors downstream of VegT play individual, or overlapping, roles in the specification and patterning of the endoderm and mesoderm [4].

Biological context of VegT

  • We test whether these growth factors may be endogenous factors in mesoderm induction, by studying their ability to rescue the phenotype of VegT-depleted embryos, when their expression is restricted to the vegetal mass [5].
  • By contrast, microinjection of PRDX5 reduced both ROS and RNS production, and prevented the gut and growth defects, and restored VegT, Pax6 and Sox17 gene expression [6].
  • We showed that exposure of Xenopus embryos to 0.5% alcohol from stage 13 to stage 22 produced tadpoles with delayed gut maturation, reduced growth, and down-regulation in several gut developmental genes, with VegT, Pax6 and Sox17 most vulnerable [6].
  • The subsequent ventral appearance of Smad2 phosphorylation is dependent on VegT, but not on signaling from the dorsal side [7].
  • Our results suggest that VegT is a localized transcription factor, which operates sequentially in several developmental pathways during embryogenesis, including dorsoventral and posterior patterning of mesoderm [8].

Anatomical context of VegT

  • Here, we test whether VegT is required to initiate endoderm formation using a loss of function approach [9].
  • Here we have increased the efficiency of the depletion of maternal VegT mRNA and have studied the effects on mesoderm formation [5].
  • The maternal transcription factor VegT is important for establishing the primary germ layers in Xenopus [5].
  • Depletion of maternal VegT transcripts causes embryos to develop with no endoderm, while vegetal blastomeres lose the ability to induce mesoderm (Zhang, J., Houston, D. W., King, M. L., Payne, C., Wylie, C. and Heasman, J. (1998) Cell 94, 515-524) [10].
  • In previous work, we showed that the vegetal masses of embryos lacking maternal VegT do not produce mesoderm-inducing signals and that mesoderm formation in these embryos occurred ectopically, from the vegetal area rather than the equatorial zone of the blastula [5].

Associations of VegT with chemical compounds


Other interactions of VegT

  • Injection of specific inhibitors of VegT or Nodal resulted in a loss of Sox17alpha expression in the gastrula [12].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of VegT

  • Explant co-culture experiments showed that the Wnt pathway did not cause the release of a dorsal signal from the vegetal mass independent from the VegT pathway [13].
  • These observations define VegT as a key initiator of mesendodermal development in the Xenopus embryo, and in an effort to understand how it exerts its effects we have used microarray analysis to compare gene expression in control animal caps with that in ectodermal tissue expressing an activated form of VegT [14].


  1. The role of maternal VegT in establishing the primary germ layers in Xenopus embryos. Zhang, J., Houston, D.W., King, M.L., Payne, C., Wylie, C., Heasman, J. Cell (1998) [Pubmed]
  2. FoxI1e activates ectoderm formation and controls cell position in the Xenopus blastula. Mir, A., Kofron, M., Zorn, A.M., Bajzer, M., Haque, M., Heasman, J., Wylie, C.C. Development (2007) [Pubmed]
  3. Potential structural role of non-coding and coding RNAs in the organization of the cytoskeleton at the vegetal cortex of Xenopus oocytes. Kloc, M., Wilk, K., Vargas, D., Shirato, Y., Bilinski, S., Etkin, L.D. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  4. The role of Mixer in patterning the early Xenopus embryo. Kofron, M., Wylie, C., Heasman, J. Development (2004) [Pubmed]
  5. Mesoderm induction in Xenopus is a zygotic event regulated by maternal VegT via TGFbeta growth factors. Kofron, M., Demel, T., Xanthos, J., Lohr, J., Sun, B., Sive, H., Osada, S., Wright, C., Wylie, C., Heasman, J. Development (1999) [Pubmed]
  6. Protection of Xenopus laevis embryos against alcohol-induced delayed gut maturation and growth retardation by peroxiredoxin 5 and catalase. Peng, Y., Yang, P.H., Ng, S.S., Lum, C.T., Kung, H.F., Lin, M.C. J. Mol. Biol. (2004) [Pubmed]
  7. Timing of endogenous activin-like signals and regional specification of the Xenopus embryo. Lee, M.A., Heasman, J., Whitman, M. Development (2001) [Pubmed]
  8. Xenopus VegT RNA is localized to the vegetal cortex during oogenesis and encodes a novel T-box transcription factor involved in mesodermal patterning. Zhang, J., King, M.L. Development (1996) [Pubmed]
  9. Maternal VegT is the initiator of a molecular network specifying endoderm in Xenopus laevis. Xanthos, J.B., Kofron, M., Wylie, C., Heasman, J. Development (2001) [Pubmed]
  10. Bix4 is activated directly by VegT and mediates endoderm formation in Xenopus development. Casey, E.S., Tada, M., Fairclough, L., Wylie, C.C., Heasman, J., Smith, J.C. Development (1999) [Pubmed]
  11. Determinants of T box protein specificity. Conlon, F.L., Fairclough, L., Price, B.M., Casey, E.S., Smith, J.C. Development (2001) [Pubmed]
  12. VegT activation of Sox17 at the midblastula transition alters the response to nodal signals in the vegetal endoderm domain. Engleka, M.J., Craig, E.J., Kessler, D.S. Dev. Biol. (2001) [Pubmed]
  13. The roles of three signaling pathways in the formation and function of the Spemann Organizer. Xanthos, J.B., Kofron, M., Tao, Q., Schaible, K., Wylie, C., Heasman, J. Development (2002) [Pubmed]
  14. Microarray-based identification of VegT targets in Xenopus. Taverner, N.V., Kofron, M., Shin, Y., Kabitschke, C., Gilchrist, M.J., Wylie, C., Cho, K.W., Heasman, J., Smith, J.C. Mech. Dev. (2005) [Pubmed]
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