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Bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP-4) is thought to play an important role in early Xenopus development by acting as a "ventralizing factor' and as an epidermal determinant: local inhibition of BMP-4 function in whole embryos causes the formation of an additional dorsal axis, and inhibition of BMP-4 function in isolated ectodermal cells causes the formation(More)
We have examined the role of two RSRF/MEF2 proteins in the onset of skeletal and cardiac muscle differentiation in early Xenopus embryos. In normal development, zygotic expression of SL1 (MEF2D) precedes that of SL2 (MEF2A) by several hours, but neither gene is expressed prior to the accumulation of MyoD and Myf5 transcripts in the somitic mesoderm. Ectopic(More)
BACKGROUND The developing mouse limb is widely used as a model system for studying tissue patterning. Despite this, few references are available that can be used for the correct identification of developing limb structures, such as muscles and tendons. Existing textual references consist of two-dimensional (2D) illustrations of the adult rat or mouse limb(More)
The presomitic mesoderm of vertebrates undergoes a process of segmentation in which cell-cell interactions mediated by the Notch family of receptors and their associated ligands are involved. The vertebrate homologues of Drosophila &Dgr ; are expressed in a dynamic, segmental pattern within the presomitic mesoderm, and alterations in the function of these(More)
Xenopus cerberus (Xcer) is a cytokine expressed in anterior mesendoderm overlapping and surrounding Spemann's gastrula organiser. When misexpressed in blastomeres, Xcer can induce ectopic heads with well-defined brain, cement gland, olfactory placodes, cyclopic eye, and occasionally liver and heart. We report here the identification of mCer-1, a murine gene(More)
We describe a technique suitable for routine three-dimensional (3-D) analysis of mouse embryos that is based on episcopic fluorescence images captured during serial sectioning of wax-embedded specimens. We have used this procedure to describe the cardiac phenotype and associated blood vessels of trisomic 16 (Ts16) and Cited2-null mutant mice, as well as the(More)
Phagocytic myeloid cells provide the principle line of immune defence during early embryogenesis in lower vertebrates. They may also have important functions during normal embryo morphogenesis, not least through the phagocytic clearance of cell corpses arising from apoptosis. We have identified two cDNAs that provide sensitive molecular markers of embryonic(More)
The earliest step in heart formation in vertebrates occurs during gastrulation, when cardiac tissue is specified. Dorsoanterior endoderm is thought to provide a signal that induces adjacent mesodermal cells to adopt a cardiac fate. However, the nature of this signalling and the precise role of endoderm are unknown because of the close proximity and(More)
Now that transgenic strains of Xenopus laevis and X. tropicalis can be generated efficiently and with genomic sequence resources available for X. tropicalis, early amphibian development can be studied using integrated biochemical and genetic approaches. However, housing large numbers of animals generated during genetic screens or produced as novel(More)
Muscle gene expression is induced a few hours after vegetal cells of a Xenopus blastula are placed in contact with animal cells that normally develop into epidermis and nerve cells. We have used a muscle-specific actin gene probe to determine the timing of gene activation in animal-vegetal conjugates. Muscle actin RNA is first transcribed in a minority of(More)