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Mech Dev July 1, 2002; 115 (1-2): 113-6.

cDNA cloning, sequence comparison, and developmental expression of Xenopus rac1.

Lucas JM , Nikolic I , Hens MD .

The Rho family of small GTP-binding proteins are important signaling molecules that regulate the dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton and mediate changes in cell morphology and motility. Here, we describe the temporal and spatial patterns of expression of the Rho family member, rac, during the development of the amphibian, Xenopus laevis. We also present the deduced amino acid sequence of Xenopus rac (Xrac). At the amino acid level, Xrac is highly conserved relative to previously characterized rac homologs, and is nearly identical to human rac1. RNase protection assays and Western blot analysis indicate that Xrac mRNA and protein are present from fertilization through tailbud stages of development. Whole-mount in situ hybridizations show that Xrac transcripts are especially abundant in cells of the involuting marginal zone, and later, in the cranial neural crest, the developing central nervous system, and in the somites. The remarkable degree of evolutionary conservation observed in the Xrac primary structure together with its high level of expression in cells and structures critical to morphogenesis suggest a functionally important role for this Rho family member in early vertebrate development.

PubMed ID: 12049773
Article link: Mech Dev

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: actl6a akt1 rac1 rho tbxt

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