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

Xenopus nodal related-1 is indispensable only for left-right axis determination.

In Xenopus, multiple nodal-related genes are expressed in the organizer region. Among them, only Xenopus nodal related-1 (Xnr-1) is expressed unilaterally in the left lateral plate mesoderm (LPM) at late neurula-early tailbud stage. To elucidate the essential role of Xnr-1 for left-right specification, loss of function experiments using antisense morpholino oligonucleotides (MOs) targeting three different regions of Xnr-1 were performed. Left-side injection of Xnr-1 MO suppresses the left-side specific genes such as Xnr-1, Xenopus antivin (lefty) and Xenopus pitx2 and randomizes cardiac and visceral left-right orientation. In contrast, paraxial bilateral expression of Xnr-1 along the posterior notochord is not affected by the Xnr-1 MO. In embryos injected with the Xnr-1 MO, morphology of dorsal axial structures is normal and dorsal expression of sonic hedgehog and TGF-beta5 is not changed. Right-side injection of Nodal protein, or polyethyleneimine-based gene transfer of Xnr-1 mRNA in the right LPM induces Xnr-1 and pitx2 in the same side and fully (more than 90%) reverses situs of the internal organs. Left-side injection of Nodal protein restores normal left-right orientation in the embryos that were injected with Xnr-1 MO into the left blastomere and would cause randomization of the left-right axis without the Nodal injection. Taken together, unilateral expression of Xnr-1 in the left LPM directs the orientation of the left-right axis by driving the left-specific gene cascade. Knockdown of Xnr-1 function by the MOs suggests that Xnr-1 is indispensable only for the left-right orientation and dispensable for other embryonic axes probably owing to the redundancy in the function of multiple Xnrs.[1]


  1. Xenopus nodal related-1 is indispensable only for left-right axis determination. Toyoizumi, R., Ogasawara, T., Takeuchi, S., Mogi, K. Int. J. Dev. Biol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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