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Cell. 1999 Sep 3;98(5):559-71.

Molecular interactions continuously define the organizer during the cell movements of gastrulation.

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Department of Genetics and Development, and Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


The organizer is a unique region in the gastrulating embryo that induces and patterns the body axis. It arises before gastrulation under the influence of the Nieuwkoop center. We show that during gastrulation, cell movements bring cells into and out of the chick organizer, Hensen's node. During these movements, cells acquire and lose organizer properties according to their position. A "node inducing center," which emits Vg1 and Wnt8C, is located in the middle of the primitive streak. Its activity is inhibited by ADMP produced by the node and by BMPs at the periphery. These interactions define the organizer as a position in the embryo, whose cellular makeup is constantly changing, and explain the phenomenon of organizer regeneration.

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