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Development 2001 Nov 01;12821:4189-201. doi: 10.1242/dev.128.21.4189.
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A morphogen gradient of Wnt/beta-catenin signalling regulates anteroposterior neural patterning in Xenopus.

Kiecker C , Niehrs C .

Anteroposterior (AP) patterning of the vertebrate neural plate is initiated during gastrulation and is regulated by Spemann's organizer and its derivatives. The prevailing model for AP patterning predicts a caudally increasing gradient of a 'transformer' which posteriorizes anteriorly specified neural cells. However, the molecular identity of the transforming gradient has remained elusive. We show that in Xenopus embryos (1) dose-dependent Wnt signalling is both necessary and sufficient for AP patterning of the neuraxis, (2) Wnt/beta-catenin signalling occurs in a direct and long-range fashion within the ectoderm, and (3) that there is an endogenous AP gradient of Wnt/beta-catenin signalling in the presumptive neural plate of the Xenopus gastrula. Our results indicate that an activity gradient of Wnt/beta-catenin signalling acts as transforming morphogen to pattern the Xenopus central nervous system.

PubMed ID: 11684656
Article link: Development

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: dkk1 egr2 en2 foxg1 gbx2 gbx2.2 hesx1 hoxd1 nog otx2 wnt3a wnt8a

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