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Mech Dev June 1, 1998; 74 (1-2): 133-43.

The Xcad-2 gene can provide a ventral signal independent of BMP-4.

Pillemer G , Yelin R , Epstein M , Gont L , Frumkin Y , Yisraeli JK , Steinbeisser H , Fainsod A .

Patterning of the marginal zone in the Xenopus embryo has been attributed to interactions between dorsal genes expressed in the organizer and ventral-specific genes. In this antagonistic interplay of activities, BMP-4, a gene that is not expressed in the organizer, provides a strong ventralizing signal. The Xenopus caudal type homeobox gene, Xcad-2, which is expressed around the blastopore with a gap over the dorsal lip, was analyzed as part of the ventral signal. Xcad-2 was shown to efficiently repress during early gastrula stages the dorsal genes gsc, Xnot-2, Otx-2, XFKH1 and Xlim-1, while it positively regulates the ventral genes, Xvent-1 and Xvent-2, with Xpo exhibiting a strong positive response to Xcad-2 overexpression. Xcad-2 was also capable of inducing BMP-4 expression in the organizer region. Support for a ventralizing role for Xcad-2 was obtained from co-injection experiments with the dominant negative BMP receptor which was used to block BMP-4 signaling. Under lack-of-BMP-signaling conditions Xcad-2 could still regulate dorsal and ventral gene expression and restore normal development, suggesting that it can act downstream of BMP-4 signaling or independently of it. Xcad-2 could also inhibit secondary axis formation and dorsalization induced by the dominant negative BMP receptor. Xcad-2 was also shown to efficiently reverse the dorsalizing effects of LiCl. These results place Xcad-2 as part of the ventralizing gene program which acts during early gastrula stages and can execute its ventralizing function in the absence of BMP signaling.

PubMed ID: 9651504
Article link: Mech Dev

Genes referenced: bmp4 cad foxa4 gal.1 gsc h4c4 lhx1 not otx2 post ventx1.2 ventx2.1 xpo1

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