Boundaries and functional domains in the animal/vegetal axis of Xenopus gastrula mesoderm

Gaku Kumano, Carin Ezal, William C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Patterning of the Xenopus gastrula marginal zone in the axis running equatorially from the Spemann organizer - The so-called "dorsal/ventral axis" - has been extensively studied. It is now evident that patterning in the animal/vegetal axis also needs to be taken into consideration. We have shown that an animal/vegetal pattern is apparent in the marginal zone by midgastrulation in the polarized expression domains of Xenopus brachyury (Xbra) and Xenopus nodal-related factor 2 (Xnr2). In this report, we have followed cells expressing Xbra in the presumptive trunk and tail at the gastrula stage, and find that they fate to presumptive somite, but not to ventrolateral mesoderm of the tailbud embryo. From this, we speculate that the boundary between the Xbra- and Xnr2-expressing cells at gastrula corresponds to a future tissue boundary. In further experiments, we show that the level of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation is polarized along the animal/vegetal axis, with the Xnr2-expressing cells in the vegetal marginal zone having no detectable activated MAPK. We show that inhibition of MAPK activation in Xenopus animal caps results in the conversion of Xnr2 from a dorsal mesoderm inducer to a ventral mesoderm inducer, supporting a role for Xnr2 in induction of ventral mesoderm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-477
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Aug 15
Externally publishedYes


  • Brachyury
  • FGF signaling
  • Mesoderm
  • Nodal
  • Xenopus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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