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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Zygotic Wnt/beta-catenin signaling preferentially regulates the expression of Myf5 gene in the mesoderm of Xenopus.

Zygotic Wnt signaling has been shown to be involved in dorsoventral mesodermal patterning in Xenopus embryos, but how it regulates different myogenic gene expression in the lateral mesodermal domains is not clear. Here, we use transient exposure of embryos or explants to lithium, which mimics Wnt/beta-catenin signaling, as a tool to regulate the activation of this pathway at different times and places during early development. We show that activation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling at the early gastrula stage rapidly induces ectopic expression of XMyf5 in both the dorsal and ventral mesoderm. In situ hybridization analysis reveals that the induction of ectopic XMyf5 expression in the dorsal mesoderm occurs within 45 min and is not blocked by the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. By contrast, the induction of XMyoD is observed after 2 h of lithium treatment and the normal expression pattern of XMyoD is blocked by cycloheximide. Analysis by RT-PCR of ectodermal explants isolated soon after midblastula transition indicates that lithium also specifically induces XMyf5 expression, which takes place 30 min following lithium treatment and is not blocked by cycloheximide, arguing strongly for an immediate-early response. In the early gastrula, inhibition of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling blocks the expression of XMyf5 and XMyoD, but not of Xbra. We further show that zygotic Wnt/beta-catenin signaling interacts specifically with bFGF and eFGF to promote XMyf5 expression in ectodermal cells. These results suggest that Wnt/beta-catenin pathway is required for regulating myogenic gene expression in the presumptive mesoderm. In particular, it may directly activate the expression of the XMyf5 gene in the muscle precursor cells.[1]


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