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Mech Dev 1998 Jun 01;741-2:75-88.
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Ventral mesoderm induction and patterning by bone morphogenetic protein heterodimers in Xenopus embryos.

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) perform diverse functions in vertebrate development. Here we demonstrate that the heterodimeric BMP-4/7 protein directly induces ventral mesoderm and blood in Xenopus animal caps, and BMP-2/7 heterodimers may function similarly. We also provide indirect evidence that BMP heterodimers function in embryos, using assays with dominant-negative BMP ligands. Homodimeric BMP-2 and BMP-4 proteins do not induce mesoderm, but they ventralize mesoderm induction by activin. In contrast, BMP-7 protein interferes with mesoderm induction by activin, but BMP-7 stimulates ventral mesoderm induction by the heterodimer, BMP-4/7. This novel property of BMP-7 distinguishes it from other BMPs. BMP-7 may therefore function in early embryogenesis to antagonize activin signals and potentiate BMP signals. We propose that BMP heterodimers convey signals for ventral mesoderm induction and patterning in Xenopus development.

PubMed ID: 9651485
Article link: Mech Dev
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: bmp2 bmp4 bmp7.1