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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 1995 Dec;7(6):856-61.

Mesoderm-inducing factors and mesodermal patterning.

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Division of Developmental Biology, National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK.


Identification of the signalling molecules involved in mesoderm formation in amphibian embryos still presents problems. None of the original candidates, such as activin, have been definitively ruled out, and new factors, such as the nodal-related genes, have come on to the scene. Of the original candidates, activin has been definitively shown to act as a morphogen, whereas bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-4 has emerged as a ventral inducer and an inhibitor of neural differentiation. The effects of BMP-4 are antagonized by chordin, a molecule related to the product of the Drosophila gene short gastrulation.

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