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Nature. 2004 Mar 25;428(6981):387-92. Epub 2004 Mar 7.

Nodal antagonists regulate formation of the anteroposterior axis of the mouse embryo.

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Developmental Genetics Group, Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, and CREST, Japan Science and Technology Corporation (JST), 1-3 Yamada-oka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Patterning of the mouse embryo along the anteroposterior axis during body plan development requires migration of the distal visceral endoderm (DVE) towards the future anterior side by a mechanism that has remained unknown. Here we show that Nodal signalling and the regionalization of its antagonists are required for normal migration of the DVE. Whereas Nodal signalling provides the driving force for DVE migration by stimulating the proliferation of visceral endoderm cells, the antagonists Lefty1 and Cerl determine the direction of migration by asymmetrically inhibiting Nodal activity on the future anterior side.

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