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(1/333) Establishment and maintenance of the border of the neural plate in the chick: involvement of FGF and BMP activity.

We have investigated the cell interactions and signalling molecules involved in setting up and maintaining the border between the neural plate and the adjacent non-neural ectoderm in the chick embryo at primitive streak stages. msx-1, a target of BMP signalling, is expressed in this border at a very early stage. It is induced by FGF and by signals from the organizer, Hensen's node. The node also induces a ring of BMP-4, some distance away. By the early neurula stage, the edge of the neural plate is the only major site of BMP-4 and msx-1 expression, and is also the only site that responds to BMP inhibition or overexpression. At this time, the neural plate appears to have a low level of BMP antagonist activity. Using in vivo grafts and in vitro assays, we show that the position of the border is further maintained by interactions between non-neural and neural ectoderm. We conclude that the border develops by integration of signals from the organizer, the developing neural plate, the paraxial mesoderm and the non-neural epiblast, involving FGFs, BMPs and their inhibitors. We suggest that BMPs act in an autocrine way to maintain the border state.  (+info)

(2/333) XCtBP is a XTcf-3 co-repressor with roles throughout Xenopus development.

XTcf-3 is an HMG box transcription factor that mediates Xenopus dorsal-ventral axis formation. As a Wnt pathway effector, XTcf-3 interacts with beta-catenin and activates the expression of the dorsal organizing gene siamois, while in the absence of beta-catenin, XTcf-3 functions as a transcriptional repressor. We show that XTcf-3 contains amino- and carboxy-terminal repressor domains and have identified a Xenopus member of the C-terminal Binding Protein family of transcriptional co-repressors (XCtBP) as the C-terminal co-repressor. We show that two XCtBP binding sites near the XTcf-3 carboxy-terminus are required for the interaction of XTcf-3 and XCtBP and for the transcriptional repression mediated by the XTcf-3 carboxy-terminal domain. By fusing the GAL4 activation domain to XCtBP we have generated an antimorphic protein, XCtBP/G4A, that activates siamois transcription through an interaction with endogenous XTcf-3. Ectopic expression of XCtBP/G4A demonstrates that XCtBP functions in the regulation of head and notochord development. Our data support a role for XCtBP as a co-repressor throughout Xenopus development and indicate that XCtBP/G4A will be a useful tool in determining how XCtBP functions in various developmental processes.  (+info)

(3/333) Beta- and gamma-catenin mutations, but not E-cadherin inactivation, underlie T-cell factor/lymphoid enhancer factor transcriptional deregulation in gastric and pancreatic cancer.

Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) mutations are present in >70% of colon cancers. The APC protein binds to beta-catenin (beta-cat), a protein first identified because of its role in E-cadherin (E-cad) cell adhesion. In some colon cancers lacking APC defects, mutations in presumptive glycogen synthase kinase 3beta phosphorylation sites near the beta-cat NH2 terminus appear to render beta-cat resistant to regulation by APC and glycogen synthase kinase 3beta. In cells with APC or beta-cat defects, beta-cat is stabilized and, in turn, binds to and activates T-cell factor (Tcf)/lymphoid enhancer factor (Lef) transcription factors. To further explore the role of APC, beta-cat, Tcf, and E-cad defects in gastrointestinal cancers, we assessed gastric and pancreatic cancers for constitutive Tcf transcriptional activity (CTTA). Two of four gastric and two of eight pancreatic cancer lines showed CTTA. One gastric and one pancreatic cancer had mutations in the NH2-terminal phosphorylation sites of beta-cat. The other gastric cancer with CTTA had a missense mutation at serine 28 of gamma-cat, a potential phosphorylation site in this beta-cat-related protein. Although E-cad is an important binding partner for beta-cat and gamma-cat, E-cad inactivation did not result in CTTA. The beta-cat and gamma-cat mutant proteins identified in our studies strongly activated Tcf transcription in vitro, whereas beta-cat mutant proteins with large NH2-terminal deletions had only modest effects on Tcf. Our results suggest a role for Tcf deregulation in gastric and pancreatic cancer, resulting from beta-cat and gamma-cat mutations in some cases and, in others, from yet to be defined defects. Furthermore, these data imply that the consequences of APC and beta-cat mutations are distinct from the effects of E-cad inactivation.  (+info)

(4/333) The gene for the embryonic stem cell coactivator UTF1 carries a regulatory element which selectively interacts with a complex composed of Oct-3/4 and Sox-2.

UTF1 is a transcriptional coactivator which has recently been isolated and found to be expressed mainly in pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells (A. Okuda, A. Fukushima, M. Nishimoto, et al., EMBO J. 17:2019-2032, 1998). To gain insight into the regulatory network of gene expression in ES cells, we have characterized the regulatory elements governing UTF1 gene expression. The results indicate that the UTF1 gene is one of the target genes of an embryonic octamer binding transcription factor, Oct-3/4. UTF1 expression is, like the FGF-4 gene, regulated by the synergistic action of Oct-3/4 and another embryonic factor, Sox-2, implying that the requirement for Sox-2 by Oct-3/4 is not limited to the FGF-4 enhancer but is rather a general mechanism of activation for Oct-3/4. Our biochemical analyses, however, also reveal one distinct difference between these two regulatory elements: unlike the FGF-4 enhancer, the UTF1 regulatory element can, by its one-base difference from the canonical octamer-binding sequence, selectively recruit the complex comprising Oct-3/4 and Sox-2 and preclude the binding of the transcriptionally inactive complex containing Oct-1 or Oct-6. Furthermore, our analyses reveal that these properties are dictated by the unique ability of the Oct-3/4 POU-homeodomain that recognizes a variant of the Octamer motif in the UTF1 regulatory element.  (+info)

(5/333) Maternal and embryonic expression of zebrafish lef1.

Transcription factors of the TCF/LEF family interact with the Wnt signaling pathway to control transcription of downstream genes (Clevers, H., van de Wetering, M., 1997. TCF/LEF factor earn their wings. Trends Genet. 13, 485-489). We were interested in cloning family members which were expressed in zebrafish neural crest, because Wnt signaling modulates specification of neural crest fate (Dorsky, R.I., Moon, R.T., Raible, D.W., 1998. Control of neural crest cell fate by the Wnt signalling pathway. Nature 396, 370-373). We cloned a zebrafish homolog of lef1 and localized its chromosomal position by radiation hybrid mapping. lef1 is expressed in the neural crest as well as the tailbud and developing mesoderm, and is maternally expressed in zebrafish, unlike mouse and Xenopus homologs. In addition, we cloned two tcf3 genes and a homolog of tcf4, neither of which were strongly expressed in premigratory neural crest.  (+info)

(6/333) Comparative expression of the mouse Sox1, Sox2 and Sox3 genes from pre-gastrulation to early somite stages.

Whole mount in situ hybridisation was used to study the embryonic expression of the mouse HMG box-containing genes Sox1, Sox2 and Sox3 between 6.5 and 9.0 days post coitum (dpc). Sox2 and Sox3 are expressed in the epiblast and extraembryonic ectoderm of the egg cylinder, becoming restricted to the prospective neural plate and chorion at the onset of gastrulation. Sox3 is upregulated in the posterior ectoderm during late streak and neural plate stages and is concomitantly downregulated in the chorion. Sox1 transcripts are first detected in the neural fold ectoderm at the headfold stage. During early somitogenesis, all three genes are expressed in the neuroectoderm, and Sox2 and Sox3 are also expressed in the primitive streak ectoderm, gut endoderm and prospective sensory placodes.  (+info)

(7/333) Two distinct subgroups of Group B Sox genes for transcriptional activators and repressors: their expression during embryonic organogenesis of the chicken.

Group B Sox genes, Sox1, -2 and -3 are known to activate crystallin genes and to be involved in differentiation of lens and neural tissues. Screening of chicken genomic sequences for more Group B Sox genes identified two additional genes, Sox14 and Sox21. Proteins encoded by Sox14 and Sox21 genes are similar to each other but distinct from those coded by Sox1-3 (subgroup B1) except for the HMG domain and Group B homology immediately C-proximal of the HMG domain. C-terminal domains of SOX21 and SOX14 proteins function as strong and weak repression domains, respectively, when linked to the GAL4 DNA binding domain. These SOX proteins strongly (SOX21) or moderately (SOX14) inhibited activation of delta1-crystallin DC5 enhancer by SOX1 or SOX2, establishing that Sox14 and Sox21 are repressing subgroup (B2) of Group B Sox genes. This provides the first evidence for the occurrence of repressor SOX proteins. Activating (B1) and repressing (B2) subgroups of Group B Sox genes display interesting overlaps of expression domains in developing tissues (e.g. optic tectum, spinal cord, inner ear, alimentary tract, branchial arches). Within each subgroup, most expression domains of Sox1 and -3 are included in those of Sox2 (e.g. CNS, PNS, inner ear), while co-expression of Sox14 and Sox21 occurs in highly restricted sites of the CNS, with the likely temporal order of Sox21 preceding Sox14 (e.g. interneurons of the spinal cord). These expression patterns suggest that target genes of Group B SOX proteins are finely regulated by the counterbalance of activating and repressing SOX proteins.  (+info)

(8/333) Direct regulation of the Xenopus engrailed-2 promoter by the Wnt signaling pathway, and a molecular screen for Wnt-responsive genes, confirm a role for Wnt signaling during neural patterning in Xenopus.

The co-activation of Wnt signaling and concomitant inhibition of BMP signaling has previously been implicated in vertebrate neural patterning, as evidenced by the combinatorial induction of engrailed-2 and krox-20 in Xenopus. However, screens have not previously been conducted to identify additional potential target genes. Using a PCR-based screening method we determined that XA-1, xCRISP, UVS.2, two UVS.2-related genes, and xONR1 are induced in response to Xwnt-3a and a BMP-antagonist, noggin. Two additional genes, connexin 30 and retinoic acid receptor gamma were induced by Xwnt-3a alone. To determine whether any of the induced genes are direct targets of Wnt signaling, we focussed on engrailed-2. In the present study we show that the Xenopus engrailed-2 promoter contains three consensus binding sites for LEF/TCF, which are HMG box transcription factors which bind to beta-catenin in response to activation of the Wnt- 1 signaling pathway. An engrailed-2 promoter luciferase reporter construct containing these LEF/TCF sites is induced in embryo explant assays by the combination of Xwnt-3a or beta-catenin and noggin. These LEF/TCF sites are required for expression of engrailed-2, as a dominant negative Xtcf-3 blocks expression of endogenous engrailed-2 as well as expression of the reporter construct. Moreover, mutation of these three LEF/TCF sites abrogates expression of the reporter construct in response to noggin and Xwnt-3a or beta-catenin. We conclude that the engrailed-2 gene is a direct target of the Wnt signaling pathway, and that Wnt signaling works with BMP antagonists to regulate gene expression during patterning of the developing nervous system of Xenopus.  (+info)