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Dev Dyn. 2008 Jul;237(7):1755-66. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21590.

Expression cloning in Xenopus identifies RNA-binding proteins as regulators of embryogenesis and Rbmx as necessary for neural and muscle development.

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Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, Center for Integrative Genomics, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3200, USA.


We have performed an expression cloning screen in Xenopus laevis with the aim of isolating novel gene activities from the neural plate. Of 8,064 clones screened, we isolated 61 clones that affected either neural plate patterning or tadpole morphology. Of these, 20 clones encoded RNA binding proteins, and the majority of these are heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs) or SR-proteins, which are associated with alternative splicing. All of these genes are expressed in the nervous system, and in several cases specific to neural tissue. Injecting mRNA encoding these proteins results in neural plate mispatterning and abnormal muscle segmentation. To initiate characterization of these proteins, we selected Rbmx as a candidate for deeper analysis. Using morpholino mediated knockdown, we show that Rbmx is necessary for normal anterior neural plate patterning, neurogenesis, neural crest development, and muscle segmentation.

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