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EMBO J June 20, 2007; 26 (12): 2955-65.

The opposing homeobox genes Goosecoid and Vent1/2 self-regulate Xenopus patterning.

Sander V , Reversade B , De Robertis EM .

We present a loss-of-function study using antisense morpholino (MO) reagents for the organizer-specific gene Goosecoid (Gsc) and the ventral genes Vent1 and Vent2. Unlike in the mouse Gsc is required in Xenopus for mesodermal patterning during gastrulation, causing phenotypes ranging from reduction of head structures-including cyclopia and holoprosencephaly-to expansion of ventral tissues in MO-injected embryos. The overexpression effects of Gsc mRNA require the expression of the BMP antagonist Chordin, a downstream target of Gsc. Combined Vent1 and Vent2 MOs strongly dorsalized the embryo. Unexpectedly, simultaneous depletion of all three genes led to a rescue of almost normal development in a variety of embryological assays. Thus, the phenotypic effects of depleting Gsc or Vent1/2 are caused by the transcriptional upregulation of their opposing counterparts. A principal function of Gsc and Vent1/2 homeobox genes might be to mediate a self-adjusting mechanism that restores the basic body plan when deviations from the norm occur, rather than generating individual cell types. The results may shed light on the molecular mechanisms of genetic redundancy.

PubMed ID: 17525737
PMC ID: PMC1894760
Article link: EMBO J
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: admp bmp4 chrd.1 egr2 en2 gsc hoxb9 myod1 nodal nodal1 otx2 rax six3 smad1 smad2 sox2 szl tal1 tbx2 ventx1.2 ventx2.2
Morpholinos: chrd.1 MO1 chrd.1 MO2 gsc MO1 ventx1.1 MO1 ventx2.1 MO2

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Ault, A novel homeobox gene PV.1 mediates induction of ventral mesoderm in Xenopus embryos. 1996, Pubmed, Xenbase