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Development. 1989 Jul;106(3):611-7.

Expression of an engrailed-related protein is induced in the anterior neural ectoderm of early Xenopus embryos.

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


We have used a monoclonal antibody directed against the C-terminus of the Drosophila invected homeodomain to detect a nuclear protein in brain cells of Xenopus laevis embryos. We refer to this antigen as the Xenopus EN protein. The EN protein is localized at midneurula stage to a band of cells in the anterior portion of the neural plate, on each side of the neural groove. Later in development, the expression coincides with the boundary of the midbrain and hindbrain, and persists at least to the swimming tadpole stage. These properties make the EN protein an excellent molecular marker for anterior neural structures. In embryos where inductive interactions between mesodermal and ectodermal tissues have been perturbed, the expression of the EN protein is altered; in embryos that have been anterodorsalized by LiCl treatment, the region that expresses the EN protein is expanded, but still well organized. In ventralized UV-irradiated embryos, the absence of the protein is correlated with the absence of anterior neural structures. In extreme exogastrulae, where the contacts between head mesoderm and prospective neurectoderm are lost, the EN protein is not expressed.

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