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Dev Biol. 2005 Feb 15;278(2):542-59.

The ARID domain protein dril1 is necessary for TGF(beta) signaling in Xenopus embryos.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Center for Developmental Genetics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5215, USA.


ARID domain proteins are members of a highly conserved family involved in chromatin remodeling and cell-fate determination. Dril1 is the founding member of the ARID family and is involved in developmental processes in both Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans. We describe the first embryological characterization of this gene in chordates. Dril1 mRNA expression is spatiotemporally regulated and is detected in the involuting mesoderm during gastrulation. Inhibition of dril1 by either a morpholino or an engrailed repressor-dril1 DNA binding domain fusion construct inhibits gastrulation and perturbs induction of the zygotic mesodermal marker Xbra and the organizer markers chordin, noggin, and Xlim1. Xenopus tropicalis dril1 morphants also exhibit impaired gastrulation and axial deficiencies, which can be rescued by coinjection of Xenopus laevis dril1 mRNA. Loss of dril1 inhibits the response of animal caps to activin and secondary axis induction by smad2. Dril1 depletion in animal caps prevents both the smad2-mediated induction of dorsal mesodermal and endodermal markers and the induction of ventral mesoderm by smad1. Mesoderm induction by eFGF is uninhibited in dril1 morphant caps, reflecting pathway specificity for dril1. These experiments identify dril1 as a novel regulator of TGF(beta) signaling and a vital component of mesodermal patterning and embryonic morphogenesis.

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