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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1997 Feb;7(1):7-12.

Neural induction in Xenopus laevis: evidence for the default model.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Embryology, The Rockefeller University, Box 32, 1230 York Avenue, New York, New York 10021, USA.


At gastrulation, vertebrate ectoderm is competent to differentiate into either neural tissue or epidermis. Several soluble factors that can neuralize ectoderm in explant cultures have been isolated. Alternatively, neuralization can be achieved by dissociating the cells of the blastula ectoderm. These various treatments appear to neuralize by blocking or diluting out the action of an epidermal-inducing factor. Recent results demonstrate that bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP-4), a member of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) ligand superfamily, is a potent neural inhibitor and epidermal inducer and may represent the endogenous epidermal-inducing factor.

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