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Development November 1, 2012; 139 (21): 3950-61.

Klf4 is required for germ-layer differentiation and body axis patterning during Xenopus embryogenesis.

Cao Q , Zhang X , Lu L , Yang L , Gao J , Gao Y , Ma H , Cao Y .

Klf4 is a transcription factor of the family of Kruppel-like factors and plays important roles in stem cell biology; however, its function during embryogenesis is unknown. Here, we report the characterization of a Klf4 homologue in Xenopus laevis during embryogenesis. Klf4 is transcribed both maternally and zygotically and the transcript is ubiquitous in embryos during germ-layer formation. Klf4 promotes endoderm differentiation in both Nodal/Activin-dependent and -independent manners. Moreover, Klf4 regulates anteroposterior body axis patterning via activation of a subset of genes in the Spemann organizer, such as Noggin, Dkk1 and Cerberus, which encode Nodal, Wnt and BMP antagonists. Loss of Klf4 function leads to the failure of germ-layer differentiation, the loss of responsiveness of early embryonic cells to inducing signals, e.g. Nodal/Activin, and the loss of transcription of genes involved in axis patterning. We conclude that Klf4 is required for germ-layer differentiation and body axis patterning by means of rendering early embryonic cells competent to differentiation signals.

PubMed ID: 22992953
Article link: Development

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: actl6a ag1 agr2 cer1 chrd.1 dkk1 foxh1 gsc klf4 mix1 mixer myc nodal nodal1 nodal2 nodal5 nodal5.2 nodal5.4 nog sia1 sox17a sox2 tbxt ventx2.2
Morpholinos: klf4 MO1

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