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Development. 1999 Apr;126(8):1611-20.

A developmental pathway controlling outgrowth of the Xenopus tail bud.

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  • 1Developmental Biology Programme, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK. c.beck@bath.ac.uk

Abstract

We have developed a new assay to identify factors promoting formation and outgrowth of the tail bud. A piece of animal cap filled with the test mRNAs is grafted into the posterior region of the neural plate of a host embryo. With this assay we show that expression of a constitutively active Notch (Notch ICD) in the posterior neural plate is sufficient to produce an ectopic tail consisting of neural tube and fin. The ectopic tails express the evenskipped homologue Xhox3, a marker for the distal tail tip. Xhox3 will also induce formation of an ectopic tail in our assay. We show that an antimorphic version of Xhox3, Xhox3VP16, will prevent tail formation by Notch ICD, showing that Xhox3 is downstream of Notch signalling. An inducible version of this reagent, Xhox3VP16GR, specifically blocks tail formation when induced in tailbud stage embryos, comfirming the importance of Xhox3 for tail bud outgrowth in normal development. Grafts containing Notch ICD will only form tails if placed in the posterior part of the neural plate. However, if Xwnt3a is also present in the grafts they can form tails at any anteroposterior level. Since Xwnt3a expression is localised appropriately in the posterior at the time of tail bud formation it is likely to be responsible for restricting tail forming competence to the posterior neural plate in our assay. Combined expression of Xwnt3a and active Notch in animal cap explants is sufficient to induce Xhox3, provoke elongation and form neural tubes. Conservation of gene expression in the tail bud of other vertebrates suggests that this pathway may describe a general mechanism controlling tail outgrowth and secondary neurulation.

PMID:
10079224
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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