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

FGF is a prospective competence factor for early activin-type signals in Xenopus mesoderm induction.

Normal pattern formation during embryonic development requires the regulation of cellular competence to respond to inductive signals. In the Xenopus blastula, vegetal cells release mesoderm-inducing factors but themselves become endoderm, suggesting that vegetal cells may be prevented from expressing mesodermal genes in response to the signals that they secrete. We show here that addition of low levels of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) induces the ectopic expression of the mesodermal markers Xbra, MyoD and muscle actin in vegetal explants, even though vegetal cells express low levels of the FGF receptor. Activin, a potent mesoderm-inducing agent in explanted ectoderm (animal explants), does not induce ectopic expression of these markers in vegetal explants. However, activin-type signaling is present in vegetal cells, since the vegetal expression of Mix.1 and goosecoid is inhibited by the truncated activin receptor. These results, together with the observation that FGF is required for mesoderm induction by activin, support our proposal that a maternal FGF acts at the equator as a competence factor, permitting equatorial cells to express mesoderm in response to an activin-type signal. The overlap of FGF and activin-type signaling is proposed to restrict mesoderm to the equatorial region.[1]


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