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Dev Biol. 2001 Jun 1;234(1):1-12.

Notochord patterning of the endoderm.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Sherman Fairchild Biochemistry Building, 7 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


Endodermally derived organs of the gastrointestinal and respiratory system form at distinct anterioposterior and dorsoventral locations along the vertebrate body axis. This stereotyped program of organ formation depends on the correct patterning of the endodermal epithelium so that organ differentiation and morphogenesis occur at appropriate positions along the gut tube. Whereas some initial patterning of the endoderm is known to occur early, during germ-layer formation and gastrulation, later signaling events, originating from a number of adjacent tissue layers, are essential for the development of endodermal organs. Previous studies have shown that signals arising from the notochord are important for patterning of the ectodermally derived floor plate of the neural tube and the mesodermally derived somites. This review will discuss recent evidence indicating that signals arising from the notochord also play a role in regulating endoderm development.

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