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Mech Dev. 2001 Sep;107(1-2):187-9.

Xenopus Dan, a member of the Dan gene family of BMP antagonists, is expressed in derivatives of the cranial and trunk neural crest.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3202, USA.


Dan is the founding member of the Dan family of secreted cytokines. All members of this family--which includes Gremlin, Cerberus, Dante, PRDC, and several genes identified as expressed sequence tags in the mouse--characterized to date have been shown to antagonize signaling by the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family. During mouse embryogenesis, Dan is expressed in a restricted and dynamic pattern. Major sites of transcription include the somites, the myotome and the cranial, and facial and limb mesenchyme. Xenopus Dan (XDan) shares over 76% amino acid identity with mouse Dan (mDan). Here we report that in Xenopus embryos, XDan is expressed both as a maternal transcript and at later stages in populations of cells associated with the cranial and trunk neural crest. The conservation of Dan expression in cells of the head mesenchyme between Xenopus and mouse embryos suggests an important role for BMP antagonists in these tissues.

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