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Genesis. 2000 Apr;26(4):265-70.

Cerberus-like is a secreted BMP and nodal antagonist not essential for mouse development.


Mouse cerberus-like (cer-l) is a member of the Cerberus/Dan family of secreted factors. As other members of this family of proteins, Cer-l functions in the extracellular space, inhibiting signaling molecules. Here we show that the neural-inducing and mesoderm-inhibiting activities of Cer-l result from specific binding to BMP and Nodal molecules, respectively. These properties resemble the ones from the related factor Xenopus Cerberus. However, Xenopus Cerberus in addition to BMP4 and Nodal also binds to and inhibits Wnt proteins. We show that Cer-l does not directly inhibit Wnt signals. A null allele of the mouse Cer-l gene was generated by targeted inactivation in ES cells. Homozygous embryos show no anterior patterning defects, are born alive, and are fertile. Since mouse Cer-l and Xenopus Cerberus differ in biochemical activities, we propose the existence of additional members of this family of inhibitors, which may compensate for the loss of cer-l.

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