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Mech Dev. 2001 May;103(1-2):27-33.

Wnt-3a is required for somite specification along the anteroposterior axis of the mouse embryo and for regulation of cdx-1 expression.

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Center for Molecular and Developmental Biology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa, Sakyo-ku, 606-8502, Kyoto, Japan.


In vertebrates, each vertebra along the anteroposterior axis has a characteristic structure. It has recently been shown that several transcription factors and cell signaling molecules expressed in the primitive streak ectoderm and/or the tailbud play essential roles in establishing the correct anteroposterior specification of vertebrae during mouse development. Here, we report that Wnt-3a mutants exhibit homeotic transformations in the vertebrae along their entire body axis. In addition, reduced expression of cdx-1, the mutation of which results in an anterior transformation, as occurs in Wnt-3a mutants, was observed in the primitive streak and tail bud region of Wnt-3a mutant embryos. These results indicate that Wnt-3a is necessary for correct anteroposterior patterning of vertebra, and that cdx-1 may be one of the mediator genes of Wnt-3a signaling in this process.

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