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Development. 1998 Jul;125(14):2677-85.

Mutant Vg1 ligands disrupt endoderm and mesoderm formation in Xenopus embryos.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


The Xenopus Vg1 gene, a TGFbeta superfamily member, is expressed as a maternal mRNA localized to prospective endoderm, and mature Vg1 protein can induce both endodermal and mesodermal markers in embryonic cells. Most previous work on embryonic inducers, including activin, BMPs and Vg1, has relied on ectopic expression to assay for gene function. Here we employ a mutant ligand approach to block Vg1 signaling in developing embryos. The results indicate that Vg1 expression is essential for normal endodermal development and the induction of dorsal mesoderm in vivo.

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