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Dev Biol 2004 Feb 01;2661:123-37. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2003.10.011.
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The initiation of Hox gene expression in Xenopus laevis is controlled by Brachyury and BMP-4.

Wacker SA , McNulty CL , Durston AJ .

Hox genes encode a family of transcription factors that specify positional identities along the anterior-posterior (AP) axis during the development of vertebrate embryos. The earliest Hox expression in vertebrates is during gastrulation, at a position distant from the organiser or its equivalent. However, the mechanism that initiates this early expression is still not clear. Guided by the expression pattern, we identified upstream regulators in Xenopus laevis. The mesodermal transcription factor brachyury (Xbra) controls the early Hox expression domain in the animal-vegetal direction and the secreted growth factor BMP-4 limits it in the organiser/non-organiser direction. The overlap of these two signals, indicated by a Cartesian coordinate system, defines the initial Hox expression domain. We postulate that this system is a general mechanism for the activation of all Hox genes expressed during gastrulation.

PubMed ID: 14729483
Article link: Dev Biol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: alk bmp4 chrd gsc hoxa7 hoxb4 hoxb8 hoxc6 hoxc9-like hoxd1 lhx1 nog odc1 otx2 sia1 tbxt ventx2.2
Morpholinos: bmp4 MO2 bmp4 MO3

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