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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Aug 11;261(3):756-65.

Characterization of a novel member of the FGF family, XFGF-20, in Xenopus laevis.

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Bio Resource Center, Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Tsukuba Life Science Center, The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), 3-1-1 Koyadai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0074, Japan.


The cDNA for a novel member of the FGF family (XFGF-20) was isolated from a Xenopus cDNA library prepared at the tailbud stage using as a probe the product of degenerate PCR performed with primers based on mammalian FGF-9s. This cDNA was 1860 bp long, and contained a single open reading frame that encoded 208 amino acid residues. The deduced amino acid sequence contained a motif characteristic of the FGF family and it was similar (73.1% overall homology) to XFGF-9 but differed from XFGF-9 in its amino-terminal region (33.3% homology). XFGF-20 mRNA was expressed only zygotically in embryos at and after the blastula stage, but it was also specifically expressed in the stomach and testis of adults. By contrast, XFGF-9 mRNA was expressed maternally in eggs and in many adult tissues. When XFGF-20 mRNA was overexpressed in early embryos, gastrulation was abnormal and development of anterior structures was suppressed. In such embryos, the expression of the Xbra transcript was suppressed during gastrulation while the expression of the transcripts of cerberus, Siamois, dkk-1, chordin, and Xotx-2 genes was normal. These results suggest that correct expression of XFGF-20 during gastrulation is required for the formation of normal head structures in Xenopus laevis during embryogenesis and that expression of the Xbra gene mediates this phenomenon.

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