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Development 2001 Jun 01;12812:2301-8. doi: 10.1242/dev.128.12.2301.
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Primitive erythropoiesis in the Xenopus embryo: the synergistic role of LMO-2, SCL and GATA-binding proteins.

Mead PE , Deconinck AE , Huber TL , Orkin SH , Zon LI .

Hematopoietic stem cells are derived from ventral mesoderm during vertebrate development. Gene targeting experiments in the mouse have demonstrated key roles for the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor SCL and the GATA-binding protein GATA-1 in hematopoiesis. When overexpressed in Xenopus animal cap explants, SCL and GATA-1 are each capable of specifying mesoderm to become blood. Forced expression of either factor in whole embryos, however, does not lead to ectopic blood formation. This apparent paradox between animal cap assays and whole embryo phenotype has led to the hypothesis that additional factors are involved in specifying hematopoietic mesoderm. SCL and GATA-1 interact in a transcriptional complex with the LIM domain protein LMO-2. We have cloned the Xenopus homolog of LMO-2 and show that it is expressed in a similar pattern to SCL during development. LMO-2 can specify hematopoietic mesoderm in animal cap assays. SCL and LMO-2 act synergistically to expand the blood island when overexpressed in whole embryos. Furthermore, co-expression of GATA-1 with SCL and LMO-2 leads to embryos that are ventralized and have blood throughout the dorsal-ventral axis. The synergistic effect of SCL, LMO-2 and GATA-1, taken together with the findings that these factors can form a complex in vitro, suggests that this complex specifies mesoderm to become blood during embryogenesis.

PubMed ID: 11493549
Article link: Development

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: gata1 lmo2 tal1

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