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Genes Dev 2001 Feb 01;153:304-15. doi: 10.1101/gad.855601.
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Wnt antagonism initiates cardiogenesis in Xenopus laevis.

Schneider VA , Mercola M .

Heart induction in Xenopus occurs in paired regions of the dorsoanterior mesoderm in response to signals from the Spemann organizer and underlying dorsoanterior endoderm. These tissues together are sufficient to induce heart formation in noncardiogenic ventral marginal zone mesoderm. Similarly, in avians the underlying definitive endoderm induces cardiogenesis in precardiac mesoderm. Heart-inducing factors in amphibians are not known, and although certain BMPs and FGFs can mimic aspects of cardiogenesis in avians, neither can induce the full range of activities elicited by the inducing tissues. Here we report that the Wnt antagonists Dkk-1 and Crescent can induce heart formation in explants of ventral marginal zone mesoderm. Other Wnt antagonists, including the frizzled domain-containing proteins Frzb and Szl, lacked this activity. Unlike Wnt antagonism, inhibition of BMP signaling did not promote cardiogenesis. Ectopic expression of GSK3beta, which inhibits beta-catenin-mediated Wnt signaling, also induced cardiogenesis in ventral mesoderm. Analysis of Wnt proteins expressed during gastrulation revealed that Wnt3A and Wnt8, but not Wnt5A or Wnt11, inhibited endogenous heart induction. These results indicate that diffusion of Dkk-1 and Crescent from the organizer initiate cardiogenesis in adjacent mesoderm by establishing a zone of low Wnt3A and Wnt8 activity.

PubMed ID: 11159911
PMC ID: PMC312618
Article link: Genes Dev
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: actl6a chrd dkk1 frzb frzb2 gsk3b myh4 myh6 nog sia1 szl tbx5 tnni3 wnt11 wnt3a wnt5a wnt8a

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References [+] :
Aberle, beta-catenin is a target for the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. 1997, Pubmed