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Dev Dyn 2001 Nov 01;2223:368-76. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.1189.
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Xiro-1 controls mesoderm patterning by repressing bmp-4 expression in the Spemann organizer.

The Iroquois genes code for homeodomain proteins that have been implicated in the neural development of Drosophila and vertebrates. We show here for the first time that Xiro-1, one of the Xenopus Iroquois genes, is expressed in the Spemann organizer from the start of gastrulation and that its overexpression induces a secondary axis as well as the ectopic expression of several organizer genes, such as chordin, goosecoid, and Xlim-1. Our results also indicate that Xiro-1 normally functions as a transcriptional repressor in the mesoderm. Overexpression of Xiro-1 or a chimeric form fused to the repressor domain of Engrailed cause similar phenotypes while overexpression of functional derivatives of Xiro-1 fused with transactivation domains (VP16 or E1A) produce the opposite effects. Finally, we show that Xiro-1 works as a repressor of bmp-4 transcription and that its effect on organizer development is dependent on BMP-4 activity. We propose that the previously observed down regulation of bmp-4 in the dorsal mesoderm during gastrulation can be explained by the repressor activity of Xiro-1 described here. Thus, Xiro-1 seems to have at least two different functions: control of neural plate and organizer development, both of which could be mediated by repression of bmp-4 transcription.

PubMed ID: 11747072
Article link: Dev Dyn

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: bmp4 cer1 chrd.1 gsc irx1 lhx1 mst1

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