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Mech Dev. 1999 Jan;80(1):53-65.

The Xenopus Ets transcription factor XER81 is a target of the FGF signaling pathway.

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Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology, Department of Cell Biology, Tübingen, Germany.


We report the cloning of a cDNA encoding a Xenopus laevis Ets-type transcription factor. This new Xenopus gene belongs to the PEA3 subfamily of Ets proteins and shows the highest degree of sequence similarity to the mouse and human ER81 genes. The Xenopus ER81 gene (XER81) is transcribed in the embryo after mid blastula transition (MBT) and three transcripts of 3, 4 and 6 kb are detected throughout embryogenesis. XER81 mRNA is localized in the animal pole of the late blastula stage and higher levels of XER81 transcripts are detected in the marginal zone at the onset of gastrulation. In later embryogenesis XER81 transcripts are found in neural crest cells, eyes, otic vesicles and pronephros. The transcription of XER81 can be stimulated by bFGF and eFGF in animal and vegetal cap explants. Expression of the dominant negative FGF receptor mutant in animal caps and embryos blocks XER81 transcription, arguing that the expression of this Ets gene requires active FGF signaling. The spatial overlap of eFGF and XER81 expression domains supports the idea that XER81 transcription could be a marker for regions with active FGF signaling in the embryo.

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