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Gene Review

gsc-a  -  goosecoid homeobox

Xenopus laevis

Synonyms: Xgsc, goosecoid
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Disease relevance of goosecoid


High impact information on goosecoid


Biological context of goosecoid

  • The possible functions of Wnt-like and activin-like signals and of the goosecoid homeobox gene, and their order of action in the formation of Spemann's organizer are discussed [5].
  • Analysis of the embryonic phenotypes and goosecoid levels reveals that chimeras composed of carboxy-terminal regions of Xwnt-8 and amino-terminal regions of Xwnt-5A are indistinguishable from the activities of native Xwnt-8 and that are the reciprocal chimeras elicit effects indistinguishable from overexpression of native Xwnt-5A [6].
  • We show that, in contrast to Spemann organiser genes such as goosecoid, chordin and noggin, Siamois gene expression is not induced following overexpression of mesoderm inducers in ectodermal (animal cap) cells [7].
  • The XFD protein inhibits the expression of the immediate early gene brachyury throughout the marginal zone, including the dorsal side; it does not, however, inhibit the dorsal lip marker goosecoid, which is expressed in the first involuting mesoderm at the dorsal side that will underlie the head [8].
  • Replacement of Xvent-2 target sites within the goosecoid (gsc) promoter by the BMP-4 enhancer converts Xvent-2 caused repression of gsc to strong activation [9].

Anatomical context of goosecoid

  • Small changes (twofold) in the amount of microinjected messenger RNA encoding the goosecoid (gsc) homeodomain protein resulted in marked changes in the differentiation of mesoderm in Xenopus laevis [10].
  • Xwnt-8 injection produces complete secondary axes including head structures whereas activin and goosecoid injection produce partial secondary axes at high frequency that lack head structures anterior to the auditory vesicle and often lack notochord [5].
  • Endogenous gsc messenger RNA was expressed in the marginal zone in a graded fashion that is congruent with a role for this gene in dorso-ventral patterning of mesoderm at the early gastrula stage [10].
  • Blastula-stage explants grafted onto activin-expressing oocytes expressed the mesodermal marker genes brachyury, goosecoid, and muscle actin [11].
  • This phenotype is unlikely to result from Xwnt-5A acting as an inducing agent, as overexpression of Xwnt-5A does not rescue dorsal structures in UV-irradiated embryos, does not induce mesoderm in blastula caps, and Xwnt-5A does not alter the endogenous patterns of expression of goosecoid, Xbra, or Xwnt-8 [12].

Associations of goosecoid with chemical compounds

  • In animal caps induced with activin, simultaneous activation of exogenous 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors inhibits both convergent extension movements associated with dorsal mesoderm induction and the expression of goosecoid, a dorsal-specific gene, but is without effect on expression of a 149 generic mesodermal marker, Xbra [13].
  • In contrast, gsc shows strong superinduction in the presence of activin and CHX, and can be induced in animal explants by CHX alone [14].

Regulatory relationships of goosecoid


Other interactions of goosecoid

  • Mesodermal patterning by a gradient of the vertebrate homeobox gene goosecoid [10].
  • The maternal Xenopus beta-catenin signaling pathway, activated by frizzled homologs, induces goosecoid in a cell non-autonomous manner [15].
  • Xlim-1 and LIM domain binding protein 1 cooperate with various transcription factors in the regulation of the goosecoid promoter [17].
  • This study analyzes the function of the homeobox gene goosecoid in Xenopus development [18].
  • Ectopic expression of BMP-4 RNA reduces goosecoid and forkhead-1 transcription in whole embryos and in activin-treated animal cap explants [19].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of goosecoid

  • Lastly, microinjection of goosecoid mRNA into the ventral side of Xenopus embryos, where goosecoid is normally absent, leads to the formation of an additional complete body axis, including head structures and abundant notochordal tissue [18].
  • Using early blastomere explants (16-128-cell stage) cultured until gastrula stages, we demonstrate by RT-PCR analysis that the expression of goosecoid (gsc), wnt-8 and brachyury (bra) is dependent on mesoderm induction [20].
  • Transcripts of the dorsal lip specific homeobox gene, goosecoid, and alpha-cardiac actin were detectable by PCR amplification in the animal quartet with a protrusion, and alpha-cardiac actin mRNA was found by whole-mount in situ hybridization to be localized in the protrusion [21].


  1. GOOSECOID inhibits erythrocyte differentiation by competing with Rb for PU.1 binding in murine cells. Konishi, Y., Tominaga, M., Watanabe, Y., Imamura, F., Goldfarb, A., Maki, R., Blum, M., De Robertis, E.M., Tominaga, A. Oncogene (1999) [Pubmed]
  2. Expression cloning of Siamois, a Xenopus homeobox gene expressed in dorsal-vegetal cells of blastulae and able to induce a complete secondary axis. Lemaire, P., Garrett, N., Gurdon, J.B. Cell (1995) [Pubmed]
  3. Xenopus chordin: a novel dorsalizing factor activated by organizer-specific homeobox genes. Sasai, Y., Lu, B., Steinbeisser, H., Geissert, D., Gont, L.K., De Robertis, E.M. Cell (1994) [Pubmed]
  4. The homeobox gene goosecoid controls cell migration in Xenopus embryos. Niehrs, C., Keller, R., Cho, K.W., De Robertis, E.M. Cell (1993) [Pubmed]
  5. Xenopus axis formation: induction of goosecoid by injected Xwnt-8 and activin mRNAs. Steinbeisser, H., De Robertis, E.M., Ku, M., Kessler, D.S., Melton, D.A. Development (1993) [Pubmed]
  6. Identification of distinct classes and functional domains of Wnts through expression of wild-type and chimeric proteins in Xenopus embryos. Du, S.J., Purcell, S.M., Christian, J.L., McGrew, L.L., Moon, R.T. Mol. Cell. Biol. (1995) [Pubmed]
  7. The homeobox gene Siamois is a target of the Wnt dorsalisation pathway and triggers organiser activity in the absence of mesoderm. Carnac, G., Kodjabachian, L., Gurdon, J.B., Lemaire, P. Development (1996) [Pubmed]
  8. FGF signalling in the early specification of mesoderm in Xenopus. Amaya, E., Stein, P.A., Musci, T.J., Kirschner, M.W. Development (1993) [Pubmed]
  9. The homeodomain transcription factor Xvent-2 mediates autocatalytic regulation of BMP-4 expression in Xenopus embryos. Schuler-Metz, A., Knöchel, S., Kaufmann, E., Knöchel, W. J. Biol. Chem. (2000) [Pubmed]
  10. Mesodermal patterning by a gradient of the vertebrate homeobox gene goosecoid. Niehrs, C., Steinbeisser, H., De Robertis, E.M. Science (1994) [Pubmed]
  11. Use of an oocyte expression assay to reconstitute inductive signaling. Lustig, K.D., Kirschner, M.W. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1995) [Pubmed]
  12. Xwnt-5A: a maternal Wnt that affects morphogenetic movements after overexpression in embryos of Xenopus laevis. Moon, R.T., Campbell, R.M., Christian, J.L., McGrew, L.L., Shih, J., Fraser, S. Development (1993) [Pubmed]
  13. Modulation of Xenopus embryo mesoderm-specific gene expression and dorsoanterior patterning by receptors that activate the phosphatidylinositol cycle signal transduction pathway. Ault, K.T., Durmowicz, G., Galione, A., Harger, P.L., Busa, W.B. Development (1996) [Pubmed]
  14. Differential induction of regulatory genes during mesoderm formation in Xenopus laevis embryos. Tadano, T., Otani, H., Taira, M., Dawid, I.B. Dev. Genet. (1993) [Pubmed]
  15. The maternal Xenopus beta-catenin signaling pathway, activated by frizzled homologs, induces goosecoid in a cell non-autonomous manner. Brown, J.D., Hallagan, S.E., McGrew, L.L., Miller, J.R., Moon, R.T. Dev. Growth Differ. (2000) [Pubmed]
  16. Functional specificity of the Xenopus T-domain protein Brachyury is conferred by its ability to interact with Smad1. Messenger, N.J., Kabitschke, C., Andrews, R., Grimmer, D., Núñez Miguel, R., Blundell, T.L., Smith, J.C., Wardle, F.C. Dev. Cell (2005) [Pubmed]
  17. Xlim-1 and LIM domain binding protein 1 cooperate with various transcription factors in the regulation of the goosecoid promoter. Mochizuki, T., Karavanov, A.A., Curtiss, P.E., Ault, K.T., Sugimoto, N., Watabe, T., Shiokawa, K., Jamrich, M., Cho, K.W., Dawid, I.B., Taira, M. Dev. Biol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  18. Molecular nature of Spemann's organizer: the role of the Xenopus homeobox gene goosecoid. Cho, K.W., Blumberg, B., Steinbeisser, H., De Robertis, E.M. Cell (1991) [Pubmed]
  19. Competition between noggin and bone morphogenetic protein 4 activities may regulate dorsalization during Xenopus development. Re'em-Kalma, Y., Lamb, T., Frank, D. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1995) [Pubmed]
  20. Pre-MBT patterning of early gene regulation in Xenopus: the role of the cortical rotation and mesoderm induction. Ding, X., Hausen, P., Steinbeisser, H. Mech. Dev. (1998) [Pubmed]
  21. The location of the third cleavage plane of Xenopus embryos partitions morphogenetic information in animal quartets. Chung, H.M., Yokota, H., Dent, A., Malacinski, G.M., Neff, A.W. Int. J. Dev. Biol. (1994) [Pubmed]
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