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Cell. 1991 Nov 15;67(4):753-65.

Injected Xwnt-8 RNA acts early in Xenopus embryos to promote formation of a vegetal dorsalizing center.

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


Expression cloning from a pool of gastrula cDNAs identified the Wnt family member Xwnt-8 as having dorsal axis-inducing activity in Xenopus embryos. Microinjected Xwnt-8 mRNA was able to rescue the development of a dorsally complete anterior-posterior axis in embryos ventralized by exposure to UV light. Axis induction was observed in embryos injected in either marginal or vegetal blastomeres at the 32-cell stage. Vegetal blastomeres receiving Xwnt-8 mRNA contributed progeny not to the induced dorsal axis, but to the endoderm, a result consistent with Xwnt-8 causing cells to act as a Nieuwkoop center (the vegetal-inducing component of normal dorsal axis formation), rather than as a Spemann organizer (the induced dorsal marginal zone component that directly forms the dorsal mesoderm). Xwnt-8, which is normally expressed ventrally in midgastrula and neurula embryos, appears to mimic, when injected, maternally encoded dorsal mesoderm-inducing factors that act early in development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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