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Zoolog Sci. 2006 Aug;23(8):689-97.

Ledgerline, a novel Xenopus laevis gene, regulates differentiation of presomitic mesoderm during somitogenesis.

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International Cooperative Research Project by JST (Japan Science and Technology Agency), Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan.


Segmentation of the vertebrate body via the sequential formation of somites is an important process in embryogenesis. This sequential process is governed by the activation and regulation of Notch-related molecular oscillators by fibroblast growth factor and retinoic acid (RA) signaling. In this study, we identified ledgerline, a novel gene of Xenopus laevis expressed specifically in the presomitic mesoderm. Knockdown of ledgerline using antisense morpholino oligonucleotides shifted the developing somite front and altered the expression of genes that regulate molecular oscillation, including Delta2, ESR5, Hairy2a, and Thylacine1. Knockdown of ledgerline also downregulated RALDH-2 expression. Injection of RARalpha-CA, a constitutively active mutant of the RA receptor RARalpha, subsequently reduced the altered Thylacine1 expression. These results strongly suggest that ledgerline is essential for mesodermal RA activity and differentiation of the presomitic mesoderm during Xenopus somitogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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