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Dev Growth Differ August 1, 2019; 61 (6): 365-377.

Cdc2-like kinase 2 (Clk2) promotes early neural development in Xenopus embryos.

Virgirinia RP , Jahan N , Okada M , Takebayashi-Suzuki K , Yoshida H , Nakamura M , Akao H , Yoshimoto Y , Fatchiyah F , Ueno N , Suzuki A .

Neural induction and patterning in vertebrates are regulated during early development by several morphogens, such as bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and fibroblast growth factors (FGFs). Ventral ectoderm differentiates into epidermis in response to BMPs, whereas BMP signaling is tightly inhibited in the dorsal ectoderm which develops into neural tissues. Here, we show that Cdc2-like kinase 2 (Clk2) promotes early neural development and inhibits epidermis differentiation in Xenopus embryos. clk2 is specifically expressed in neural tissues along the anterior-posterior axis during early Xenopus embryogenesis. When overexpressed in ectodermal explants, Clk2 induces the expression of both anterior and posterior neural marker genes. In agreement with this observation, overexpression of Clk2 in whole embryos expands the neural plate at the expense of epidermal ectoderm. Interestingly, the neural-inducing activity of Clk2 is increased following BMP inhibition and activation of the FGF signaling pathway in ectodermal explants. Clk2 also downregulates the level of p-Smad1/5/8 in cooperation with BMP inhibition, in addition to increasing the level of activated MAPK together with FGF. These results suggest that Clk2 plays a role in early neural development of Xenopus possibly via modulation of morphogen signals such as the BMP and FGF pathways.

PubMed ID: 31270814
Article link: Dev Growth Differ
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: acvr1 cdk1 clk2 fgf4 gemin2 hoxb9 krt12.4 mapk1 nog otx2 pou5f3.2 smad1 sox2 sox3 zeb2
GO keywords: axis specification [+]

Article Images: [+] show captions