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Mech Dev. 2001 Sep;107(1-2):25-38.

A novel sox gene, 226D7, acts downstream of Nodal signaling to specify endoderm precursors in zebrafish.

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Division of Early Embryogenesis, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima 411-8540, Shizuoka, Japan.


Vertebrate endoderm development has recently become the focus of intense investigation. We have identified a novel sox gene, 226D7, which is important in zebrafish endoderm development. 226D7 was isolated by an in situ hybridization screening for genes expressed in the yolk syncytial layer (YSL) at the blastula stage. 226D7 is expressed mainly in the YSL at this stage and, during gastrulation, its expression is also detected in the forerunner cells and endodermal precursor cells. The expression of 226D7 is positively regulated by Nodal signaling. The knockdown of 226D7 using morpholino antisense oligonucleotides results in a lack of sox17-expressing endodermal precursor cells during gastrulation, and, consequently, lacks endodermal derivatives such as gut tissue. The effect is strictly restricted to the endodermal lineage, while the mesoderm is normally formed, a phenotype that is nearly identical to that of the casanova mutant (Dev. Biol. 215 (1999) 343). We further demonstrate that overexpression of 226D7 increases the number of sox17-expressing endodermal progenitor cells without upregulating the expression of the Nodal genes, cyclops and squint. Region-specific knockdown and overexpression of 226D7 by injection into the YSL suggest that 226D7 in the YSL is not involved in endoderm formation and 226D7 in the endoderm progenitor cells is important for endoderm development. Taken together, our data demonstrate that 226D7 is a downstream target of Nodal signal and a critical transcriptional regulator of early endoderm formation.

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