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Mech Dev December 1, 2001; 109 (2): 225-39.

Early patterning of the prospective midbrain-hindbrain boundary by the HES-related gene XHR1 in Xenopus embryos.

Shinga J , Itoh M , Shiokawa K , Taira S , Taira M .

The molecular mechanisms that govern early patterning of anterior neuroectoderm (ANE) for the prospective brain region in vertebrates are largely unknown. Screening a cDNA library of Xenopus ANE led to the isolation of a Hairy and Enhancer of split- (HES)-related transcriptional repressor gene, Xenopus HES-related 1 (XHR1). XHR1 is specifically expressed in the midbrain-hindbrain boundary (MHB) region at the tailbud stage. The localized expression of XHR1 was detected as early as the early gastrula stage in the presumptive MHB region, an area just anterior to the involuting dorsal mesoderm that is demarcated by the expression of the gene Xbra. Expression of XHR1 was detected much earlier than that of other known MHB genes, XPax-2 and En-2, and also before the formation of the expression boundary between Xotx2 and Xgbx-2, suggesting that the early patterning of the presumptive MHB is independent of Xotx2 and Xgbx-2. Instead, the location of XHR1 expression appears to be determined in relation to the Xbra expression domain, since reduced or ectopic expression of Xbra altered the XHR1 expression domain according to the location of Xbra expression. In functional assays using mRNA injection, overexpression of dominant-negative forms of XHR1 in the MHB region led to marked reduction of XPax-2 and En-2 expression, and this phenotype was rescued by coexpression of wild-type XHR1. Furthermore, ectopically expressed wild-type XHR1 near the MHB region enhanced En-2 expression only in the MHB region but not in the region outside the MHB. These data suggest that XHR1 is required, but not sufficient by itself, to initiate MHB marker gene expression. Based on these data, we propose that XHR1 demarcates the prospective MHB region in the neuroectoderm in Xenopus early gastrulae.

PubMed ID: 11731236
Article link: Mech Dev

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: en2 fgf4 fgf8 gal.2 gbx2.1 gbx2.2 hes7.1 nrp1 otx2 sox2 tbxt

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