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Mech Dev. 1998 Jul;75(1-2):43-51.

Xenopus Zic family and its role in neural and neural crest development.

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Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Tsukuba Life Science Center and Brain Science Institute, Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0074, Japan.


We characterized two new members of the Zic family, Xenopus Zic1 and Zic2. They are very similar to mouse Zic1 and Zic2 in the protein coding region including the zinc finger domain. In early gastrula, Zic1 expression was restricted to the prospective neural plate region whereas Zic2 was expressed widely in the ectoderm. We observed enhanced neural and neural crest-derived tissue formation in the Zic1 or Zic2 overexpressed embryos and neural and neural crest marker induction in the Zic1 or Zic2 overexpressed animal cap explants. Our findings suggest that Zic1 and Zic2 have essentially the same properties as Zic3 and that the Xenopus Zic family may act cooperatively in the initial phase of neural and neural crest development.

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