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Genes Dev 1991 Aug 01;58:1321-32. doi: 10.1101/gad.5.8.1321.
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Retinoic acid perturbs the expression of Xhox.lab genes and alters mesodermal determination in Xenopus laevis.

Sive HL , Cheng PF .

Retinoic acid (RA) treatment of Xenopus laevis embryos leads to anterior truncation of the body axis (Durston et al. 1989; Sive et al. 1990). These initial studies suggested that RA may play a role in the patterning of the primary body axis. At least one target of RA was shown previously to be dorsal ectoderm. In this report we extend this observation and also ask whether RA alters the determination and inducing capacity of mesodermal tissue. To facilitate this analysis we isolated the homeo-domain-containing genes Xhox.lab1 and Xhox.lab2. These genes were expressed in both ectoderm and mesoderm during the RA-sensitive period and were strongly induced by RA in both germ layers. In particular, anterior regions expressed low levels of Xhox.lab RNAs in untreated embryos but showed increased expression after RA application. We show further that although RA-treated embryos contained anterior-inducing mesoderm, the amount of this activity appeared to be lower than that of controls. Additionally, we document that RA suppressed lateral (muscle) and ventral (blood) mesoderm differentiation. The data indicate that RA alters mesodermal determination and causes axial perturbation both by depressing the ability of dorsal mesoderm to induce anterior structures and by altering the response of dorsal ectoderm to induction. These analyses suggest that Xhox.lab genes may be responsible, in part, for mediating the RA effect.

PubMed ID: 1678362
Article link: Genes Dev

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: hoxa1 hoxd1 tbx2