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Dev Biol. 1993 Jan;155(1):46-57.

Overlapping expression of Xwnt-3A and Xwnt-1 in neural tissue of Xenopus laevis embryos.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98195.


Xwnt-3A is a member of the Xenopus-Wnt gene family, a class of secreted, cysteine-rich proteins implicated in intercellular signaling during early development. Here we describe the full-length coding sequence of Xwnt-3A, as well as the spatial expression pattern of this Xwnt gene as determined by whole-mount in situ hybridization analysis. While Xwnt-3A shares considerable amino acid identity with both Wnt-3 (87%) and Wnt-3A (85%), its spatial expression pattern is most like that of Wnt-3A. Xwnt-3A, which is first detected at the neurula stage of development, is expressed exclusively along the dorsal midline of the developing brain and neural tube and along the dorsal surface of the otic vesicle. While the expression of Xwnt-1 extensively overlaps that of Xwnt-3A, Xwnt-1 is uniquely expressed along the midbrain/hindbrain boundary and is absent from the otic vesicle. The expression of Xwnt-3A in neural ectoderm is dependent upon neural induction as determined by experiments with recombined ectoderm and mesoderm tissue. These results suggest that Xwnt-3A may participate in patterning the central nervous system during early Xenopus development. Last, the ectopic expression of Xwnt-3A induces the formation of a secondary axis at the anterior end of the embryo.

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