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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Apr 6;101(14):4839-42. Epub 2004 Mar 26.

Controlling transgene expression to study Xenopus laevis metamorphosis.

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  • 1Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 115 West University Parkway, Baltimore, MD 21210, USA.


Sperm-mediated transgenesis of Xenopus laevis is the first application of genetic methodology to an amphibian. However, some transgenes are lethal when they are expressed constitutively. To study the influence of these genes on amphibian metamorphosis and to generate F1 progeny from mature transgenic adults, these transgenes must be placed under the control of an inducible system so that they can be activated at specific times in development. We show that two well known binary inducible gene expression systems supplement transgenesis for the study of X. laevis metamorphosis, one system controlled by the progesterone analogue RU-486 and the other controlled by the tetracycline derivative doxycycline. By inducing a dominant negative form of the thyroid hormone receptor under the control of doxycycline specifically in the nervous system we have delimited the developmental periods within which thyroid hormone controls innervation of the developing limb from the spinal cord.

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