The Wnt/beta-catenin pathway posteriorizes neural tissue in Xenopus by an indirect mechanism requiring FGF signalling

P M Domingos, N Itasaki, C M Jones, S Mercurio, M G Sargent, J C Smith, R Krumlauf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)
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In order to identify factors involved in posteriorization of the central nervous system, we undertook a functional screen in Xenopus animal cap explants which involved coinjecting noggin RNA together with pools of RNA from a chick somite cDNA library. In the course of this screen, we isolated a clone encoding a truncated form of β-catenin, which induced posterior neural and dorsal mesodermal markers when coinjected with noggin in animal caps. Similar results were obtained with Xwnt-8 and Xwnt-3a, suggesting that these effects are a consequence of activating the canonical Wnt signalling pathway. To investigate whether the activation of posterior neural markers requires mesoderm induction, we performed experiments using a chimeric inducible form of β-catenin. Activation of this protein during blastula stages resulted in the induction of both posterior neural and mesodermal markers, while activation during gastrula stages induced only posterior neural markers. We show that this posteriorizing activity occurs by an indirect and noncell-autonomous mechanism requiring FGF signalling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-160
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2001


  • Animals
  • Biological Markers
  • Blotting, Western
  • Body Patterning
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mesoderm
  • Nervous System
  • Neurons
  • Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trans-Activators
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • beta Catenin


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