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

XBP1 forms a regulatory loop with BMP-4 and suppresses mesodermal and neural differentiation in Xenopus embryos.

The active form of the Xenopus X-box binding protein 1 (xXBP1) partially synergizes and partially antagonizes with BMP-4 signaling. xXBP1 overexpression inhibits mesoderm differentiation and formation of neural tissues. A functional knockdown promotes differentiation of lateral and dorsal mesoderm but not of ventral mesoderm and of neuroectoderm. We show that the active form of xXBP1 in gastrula and early neurula stage embryos is generated by removal of exon 4 and not by an endoribonuclease activity in the endoplasmic reticulum. The N-terminal region of xXBP1 which contains the basic leucine-zipper also contains a nuclear localization signal and both, the N-terminal as well as the C-terminal regions are required for xXBP1 function. The effects of xXBP1 are in part correlated to a regulatory loop between xXBP1 and BMP-4. xXBP1 and BMP-4 stimulate mutually the transcription of each other, but xXBP1 inhibits the BMP-4 target gene, Xvent-2. Both, in vitro and in vivo assays demonstrate that xXBP1 interacts with BMP-4 and Xvent-2B promoters. GST-pulldown assays reveal that xXBP1 can interact with c-Jun, the transcriptional co-activator p300 and with the BMP-4 responsive Smad1. On the other hand, xXBP1 also binds to the inhibitory Smads, Smad6 and Smad7, that can act as transcriptional co-repressors. Based on these data, we conclude that xXBP1 might function as an inhibitor of mesodermal and neural tissue formation by acting either as transcriptional activator or as repressor. This dual activity depends upon binding of co-factors being involved in the formation of distinct transcription complexes.[1]


  1. XBP1 forms a regulatory loop with BMP-4 and suppresses mesodermal and neural differentiation in Xenopus embryos. Cao, Y., Knöchel, S., Oswald, F., Donow, C., Zhao, H., Knöchel, W. Mech. Dev. (2006) [Pubmed]
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