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Development 2005 Sep 01;13217:3885-94. doi: 10.1242/dev.01959.
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An essential role of Xenopus Foxi1a for ventral specification of the cephalic ectoderm during gastrulation.

Matsuo-Takasaki M , Matsumura M , Sasai Y .

During gastrulation in Xenopus, the head ectoderm is subdivided into the central nervous system (CNS) anlage (neural plate) and the non-CNS ectoderm (i.e. epidermis, placodes and neural crest). The winged-helix transcription factor Xfoxi1a is one of the earliest markers for the preplacodal region at the mid-neurula stage. Interestingly, before the establishment of the preplacodal region, Xfoxi1a expression is detected in the entire cephalic non-neural ectoderm at the mid- and late gastrula stages. The present study focuses on the role of Xfoxi1a particularly at the gastrula stages. The early Xfoxi1a expression in the anteroventral ectoderm is dependent on Bmp signals and suppressed by Wnt signals. Inhibition of Xfoxi1a activities by injection of antisense oligonucleotides leads to suppression of non-CNS ectodermal markers (e.g. keratin) and expansion of the anterior expression domain of the CNS marker Sox2. Conversely, misexpression of Xfoxi1a suppresses Sox2 and induces keratin in the anterior neural plate. In the animal cap, Xfoxi1a overexpression antagonizes the neuralizing activity of Chordin (Chd). Studies using an inducible Xfoxi1a construct (GR-Xfoxi1a) show that the ventralizing function of Xfoxi1a is confined to the gastrula stage. Thus, Xfoxi1a is an essential regulator of ventral specification of the early head ectoderm during gastrulation.

PubMed ID: 16079156
Article link: Development

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: ag1 bmp4 chdh chrd dkk1 dlx3 dlx5 foxd3 foxi4 foxi4.2 hsp70 hspa1l krt12.4 krt12.5 msx1 myod1 six1 sox2 wnt1
Antibodies: FLAG Ab1
Morpholinos: foxi4.2 MO1 foxi4.2 MO2

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