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Development 1993 Nov 01;1193:661-71.
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Distinct elements of the xsna promoter are required for mesodermal and ectodermal expression.

Mayor R , Essex LJ , Bennett MF , Sargent MG .

Xsna, the Xenopus homologue of Drosophila snail, is expressed in both mesoderm and ectoderm. Expression occurs in all mesoderm initially but is down regulated in a tissue-specific fashion at the end of gastrulation in a way that reveals the subdivision of the mesoderm before its derivatives are overtly differentiated. Xsna is also expressed in the ectoderm of the prospective neural fold from stage 11, in a distinct band of cells surrounding the prospective neural plate, which we designate the neural plate border. The deep and superficial ectoderm compartments labelled by Xsna represent the prospective neural crest and the prospective roof of the neural tube, respectively. Xsna expression persists in neural crest cells during their subsequent migration. The role of the Xsna promoter in creating this pattern of expression has been investigated by injecting fertilised eggs with constructs containing the 5' upstream sequence of the gene fused to a reporter. An element of 115 base pairs (-160 to -45 relative to the transcriptional start) is sufficient to drive appropriate reporter gene expression. The promoter does not contain a TATA or CAAT box and does not have a high GC content, but RNA synthesis starts precisely at 33 bases upstream to the translational start. The start sequence can be deleted so that transcription is initiated elsewhere without affecting the expression pattern. The distribution of Xsna promoter activity within the embryo, examined using beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) fusions, is similar to that of the endogenous mRNA seen by in situ hybridisation. The contribution of elements within the 5' sequence have been assessed by comparing the expression patterns of constructs that have deletions in this region. Sequences from -112 to -97 are required for mesodermal expression and sequences from -96 to -44 are required for ectodermal expression. The behaviour of the injected promoter constructs differ in one important respect from the endogenous gene in that expression in an animal cap assay is not inducible by mesoderm-inducing factors but is inducible by cells of the vegetal pole.

PubMed ID: 8187636

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: cat.2 fgf2 gal.2 kcnt1 pou2f1 snai1

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