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Mech Dev. 1998 Jul;75(1-2):167-70.

Characterization of CMIX, a chicken homeobox gene related to the Xenopus gene mix.1.

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Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Members of the TGFbeta, Wnt and FGF families act in concert to induce and pattern the mesoderm of gastrulating embryos. Downstream effectors for these growth factors include homeobox proteins, which also feed back to activate and repress upstream signaling pathways (e.g. Fainsod, A., Steinbeisser, H., De Robertis, E.M. 1994. On the function of BMP-4 in patterning the marginal zone of the Xenopus embryo. EMBO J. 13, 5015-5025; Carnac, G., Kodjabachian, L., Gurdon, J.B., Lemaire, P. 1996. The homeobox gene Siamois is a target of the Wnt dorsalization pathway and triggers organizer activity in the absence of mesoderm. Development 122, 3055-3065). As well as having interwoven upstream and downstream regulatory pathways Mix.1, siamois and goosecoid, all paired-type homeobox genes, may physically interact with each other as heterodimers to regulate dorsal-ventral polarity (Mead, P.E., Brivanlou, I.H., Kelley, C.M., Zon, L.I. 1996. BMP-4 responsive regulation of dorsal-ventral patterning by the homeobox protein Mix.1. Nature 382, 357-360). We report here a chicken paired-type homeobox gene, CMIX, with a homeodomain having 72% aa identity to its nearest homolog, Xenopus Mix.1. CMIX is expressed in the epiblast of the posterior marginal zone of early chick embryos, and later along the entire anterior-posterior axis of the primitive streak in cells of the medial ectoderm, in nascent mesoderm, but not in endoderm. Coincident with formation of prechordal mesoderm, CMIX mRNA levels rapidly decline throughout the embryo.

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