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Cell. 1996 Dec 13;87(6):989-1000.

Eomesodermin, a key early gene in Xenopus mesoderm differentiation.

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Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, England.


Eomesodermin (Eomes) is a novel Xenopus T-domain gene. In normal development, it is expressed in mesodermal cells in a ventral-to-dorsal gradient of increasing concentration. It reaches its peak expression 1-2 hr before any other known panmesodermal gene. It is strongly inducible by normal vegetal cells and by mesoderm-inducing factors. Ectopic expression of Eomes in animal caps induces the transcription of nearly all mesodermal genes in a concentration-dependent way. Overexpression of Eomes dorsalizes ventral mesoderm, inducing gsc and changing cell fate to muscle and notochord. Blocking the function of Eomes causes gastrulation arrest and defective mesoderm-dependent gene activation. We propose that Eomes fulfills an essential function in initiating mesoderm differentiation and in determining mesodermal cell fate.

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