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Dev Biol. 2006 Jan 1;289(1):166-78.

Twisted gastrulation is required for forebrain specification and cooperates with Chordin to inhibit BMP signaling during X. tropicalis gastrulation.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California - Berkeley, 94720-3204, USA.


In the developing vertebrate embryo, proper dorsal-ventral patterning relies on BMP antagonists secreted by the organizer during gastrulation. The BMP antagonist chordin has a complex interaction with BMPs that is governed in part by its interaction with the secreted protein twisted gastrulation (tsg). In different contexts, tsg has activity as either a BMP agonist or as a BMP antagonist. Using morpholino oligonucleotides in Xenopus tropicalis, we show that reducing tsg gene product results in a ventralized embryo, and that tsg morphants specifically lack a forebrain. We provide new evidence that tsg acts as a BMP antagonist during X. tropicalis gastrulation since the tsg depletion phenotype can be rescued in two ways: by chordin overexpression and by BMP depletion. We conclude that tsg acts as a BMP antagonist in the context of the frog gastrula, and that it acts cooperatively with chordin to establish dorsal structures and particularly forebrain tissue during development.

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