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Morphogens are secreted signalling molecules that act in a graded manner to control the pattern of cellular differentiation in developing tissues. An example is Sonic hedgehog (Shh), which acts in several developing vertebrate tissues, including the central nervous system, to provide positional information during embryonic patterning. Here we address how(More)
The neural fate is generally considered to be the intrinsic direction of embryonic stem (ES) cell differentiation. However, little is known about the intracellular mechanism that leads undifferentiated cells to adopt the neural fate in the absence of extrinsic inductive signals. Here we show that the zinc-finger nuclear protein Zfp521 is essential and(More)
The secreted ligand Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) organizes the pattern of cellular differentiation in the ventral neural tube. For the five neuronal subtypes, increasing levels and durations of Shh signaling direct progenitors to progressively more ventral identities. Here we demonstrate that this mode of action is not applicable to the generation of the most(More)
Secreted signals, known as morphogens, provide the positional information that organizes gene expression and cellular differentiation in many developing tissues. In the vertebrate neural tube, Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) acts as a morphogen to control the pattern of neuronal subtype specification. Using an in vivo reporter of Shh signaling, mouse genetics, and(More)
A relatively small number of signals are responsible for the variety and pattern of cell types generated in developing embryos. In part this is achieved by exploiting differences in the concentration or duration of signaling to increase cellular diversity. In addition, however, changes in cellular competence-temporal shifts in the response of cells to a(More)
From early stages of development, Sox2-class transcription factors (Sox1, Sox2 and Sox3) are expressed in neural tissues and sensory epithelia. In this report, we show that Sox2 function is required for neural differentiation of early Xenopus ectoderm. Microinjection of dominant-negative forms of Sox2 (dnSox2) mRNA inhibits neural differentiation of animal(More)
We have isolated a novel secreted dorsalizing factor of the neural tube, Xenopus Tiarin, which belongs to the olfactomedin-related family. Tiarin expression starts at the late gastrula stage in the nonneural ectoderm adjacent to the anterior neural plate. Overexpression of Tiarin in the embryo causes expansion of dorsal neural markers and suppression of(More)
The Olfactomedin family is a relatively new class of extracellular proteins. Two family members have been shown to play roles in the early development of ectodermal tissues: Noelin enhances neural crest generation in chick and Tiarin promotes dorsal neural specification in Xenopus. In this study, we introduce a novel member of the Olfactomedin family, ONT1.(More)
Although Rho-GTPases are well-known regulators of cytoskeletal reorganization, their in vivo distribution and physiological functions have remained elusive. In this study, we found marked apical accumulation of Rho in developing chick embryos undergoing folding of the neural plate during neural tube formation, with similar accumulation of activated myosin(More)
Hedgehog (Hh) signaling regulates embryonic development and adult tissue homeostasis through the GPCR-like protein Smoothened (Smo), but how vertebrate Smo is activated remains poorly understood. In Drosophila, Hh dependent phosphorylation activates Smo. Whether this is also the case in vertebrates is unclear, owing to the marked sequence divergence between(More)