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Mech Dev. 1999 Nov;88(2):221-7.

Gut specific expression using mammalian promoters in transgenic Xenopus laevis.

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  • 1Developmental Biology Programme, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath, UK.


The recent development of transgenic methods for the frog Xenopus laevis provides the opportunity to study later developmental events, such as organogenesis, at the molecular level. Our studies have focused on the development of the tadpole gut, where tissue specific promoters have yet to be identified. We have used mammalian promoters, for the genes elastase, pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1, transthyretin, and intestinal fatty acid binding protein to drive green fluorescent protein expression in live tadpoles. All of these were shown to drive appropriate tissue specific expression, suggesting that the molecular mechanisms organising the gut are similar in amphibians and mammals. Furthermore, expression from the elastase promoter is initiated in the pancreatic buds before morphological definition becomes possible, making it a powerful tool for the study of pancreatic determination.

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