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Dev Biol August 1, 2003; 260 (1): 138-57.

Coordination of BMP-3b and cerberus is required for head formation of Xenopus embryos.

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and their antagonists are involved in the axial patterning of vertebrate embryos. We report that both BMP-3b and BMP-3 dorsalize Xenopus embryos, but act as dissimilar antagonists within the BMP family. BMP-3b injected into Xenopus embryos triggered secondary head formation in an autonomous manner, whereas BMP-3 induced aberrant tail formation. At the molecular level, BMP-3b antagonized nodal-like proteins and ventralizing BMPs, whereas BMP-3 antagonized only the latter. These differences are due to divergence of their pro-domains. Less BMP-3b than BMP-3 precursor is proteolytically processed in embryos. BMP-3b protein associated with a monomeric form of Xnrl, a nodal-like protein, whereas BMP-3 did not. These molecular features are consistent with their expression profiles during Xenopus development. XBMP-3b is expressed in the prechordal plate, while xBMP-3 is expressed in the notochord. Using antisense morpholino oligonucleotides, we found that the depletion of both xBMP-3b and cerberus, a head inducer, caused headless Xenopus embryos, whereas the depletion of both xBMP-3 and cerberus affected the size of the somite. These results revealed that xBMP-3b and cerberus are essential for head formation regulated by the Spemann organizer, and that xBMP-3b and perhaps xBMP-3 are involved in the axial patterning of Xenopus embryos.

PubMed ID: 12885561
Article link: Dev Biol

Genes referenced: actc1 actl6a admp ag1 bmp3 cdx2 cer1 crybb1 gdf10 gdf3 hoxb9 hoxc9-like ncam1 nodal nodal1 nos1 nos3 otx2 rho tbx2 tbxt wnt8a
Morpholinos: bmp3 MO1 cer1 MO4 gdf10 MO1

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