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

Suppression of GATA factor activity causes axis duplication in Xenopus.

In Xenopus, the dorsoventral axis is patterned by the interplay between active signalling in ventral territories, and secreted antagonists from Spemann's organiser. Two signals are important in ventral cells, bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP-4) and Wnt-8. BMP-4 plays a conserved role in patterning the vertebrate dorsoventral axis, whilst the precise role of Wnt-8 and its relationship with BMP-4, are still unclear. Here we have investigated the role played by the GATA family of transcription factors, which are expressed in ventral mesendoderm during gastrulation and are required for the differentiation of blood and endodermal tissues. Injection ventrally of a dominant-interfering GATA factor (called G2en) induced the formation of secondary axes that phenocopy those induced by the dominant-negative BMP receptor. However, unlike inhibiting BMP signalling, inhibiting GATA activity in the ectoderm does not lead to neuralisation. In addition, analysis of gene expression in G2en injected embryos reveals that at least one known target gene for BMP-4, the homeobox gene Vent-2, is unaffected. In contrast, the expression of Wnt-8 and the homeobox gene Vent-1 is suppressed by G2en, whilst the organiser-secreted BMP antagonist chordin becomes ectopically expressed. These data therefore suggest that GATA activity is essential for ventral cell fate and that subsets of ventralising and dorsalising genes require GATA activity for their expression and suppression, respectively. Finally, using G2en, we show that suppression of Wnt-8 expression, in conjunction with blocked BMP signalling, does not lead to head formation, suggesting that the head-suppressing Wnt signal may not be Wnt-8.[1]


  1. Suppression of GATA factor activity causes axis duplication in Xenopus. Sykes, T.G., Rodaway, A.R., Walmsley, M.E., Patient, R.K. Development (1998) [Pubmed]
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