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Cell. 2008 May 30;133(5):878-90. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.03.035.

Ectodermal factor restricts mesoderm differentiation by inhibiting p53.

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Organogenesis and Neurogenesis Group, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, Kobe 650-0047, Japan.


During gastrulation of the amphibian embryo, specification of the three germ layers, endo-, ecto-, and mesoderm, is regulated by maternal and zygotic mechanisms. Although it is known that mesoderm specification requires the cooperation between TGF-beta signaling and p53 activity and requires maternal factors, essential zygotic factors have been elusive. Here, we report that the Zn-finger protein XFDL156 is an ectodermal, zygotic factor that suppresses mesodermal differentiation. XFDL156 overexpression suppresses mesodermal markers, and its depletion induces aberrant mesodermal differentiation in the presumptive ectoderm. Furthermore, we find that XFDL156 and its mammalian homologs interact with the C-terminal regulatory region of p53, thereby inhibiting p53 target gene induction and mesodermal differentiation. Thus, XFDL156 actively restricts mesodermal differentiation in the presumptive ectoderm by controlling the spatiotemporal responsiveness to p53.

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