[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hox transcription factors provide positional information during patterning of the anteroposterior axis. Hox transcription factors can co-operatively bind with PBC-class co-factors, enhancing specificity and affinity for their appropriate binding sites. The nuclear localisation of these co-factors is regulated by the Meis-class of homeodomain proteins. During development of the zebrafish hindbrain, Meis3 has previously been shown to synergise with Hoxb1 in the autoregulation of Hoxb1. In Xenopus XMeis3 posteriorises the embryo upon ectopic expression. Recently, an early temporally collinear expression sequence of Hox genes was detected in Xenopus gastrula mesoderm (see intro. P3). There is evidence that this sequence sets up the embryo's later axial Hox expression pattern by time-space translation. We investigated whether XMeis3 is involved in regulation of this early mesodermal Hox gene expression. Here, we present evidence that XMeis3 is necessary for expression of Hoxd1, Hoxb4 and Hoxc6 in mesoderm during gastrulation. In addition, we show that XMeis3 function is necessary for the progression of gastrulation. Finally, we present evidence for synergy between XMeis3 and Hoxd1 in Hoxd1 autoregulation in mesoderm during gastrulation.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(3):e18010. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hox transcription factors play an essential role in patterning the anteroposterior axis during embryogenesis and exhibit a complex array of spatial and temporal patterns of expression. Their earliest onset of expression in vertebrates is during gastrulation in a temporally collinear sequence in the presomitic/ventrolateral mesoderm, and it is not clear which upstream signal transduction events initiate this expression. Using Xenopus, we present evidence that Xwnt8 is necessary for initiation of this collinear sequence by activating Hox-1 expression in three Hox clusters: hoxd, hoxa, and hoxb. All three labial genes appear to be direct targets of canonical Wnt signaling through Tcf/Lef. In addition, Xwnt8 loss- and gain-of-function leads to indirect regulation of other Hox genes: Hoxb4, Hoxd4, Hoxa7, Hoxc6, and Hoxc8. These findings shed new light on the early role of Wnt8 as well as of a proposed WNT gradient in patterning the Xenopus central nervous system (Kiecker and Niehrs  Development 128:4189-4201).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: slug gene expression is associated with the specification and migration of neural crest cells in the African clawed frog Xenopus laevis. We provide evidence that the protein Ying-Yang 1 (YY1) regulates the slug gene expression both indirectly and directly, via a YY1 cis-element in the slug promoter, during Xenopus development. The ability of the YY1 to bind this YY1 cis-element was confirmed by electromobility shift assays and reporter assays. YY1 was detected in the nuclei of ectodermal cells contemporaneously with the process of neural crest specification. The injection of anti-YY1 morpholino, which targeted both YY1alpha and YY1beta gene products, depleted YY1 expression below 20% and was lethal at gastrulation. Sublethal depletion of YY1 reduced the length of the anterior-posterior axis and severely inhibited the expression of the neural marker Nrp1 and of the slug gene. Overexpression of YY1 or mutation of the YY1 cis-element reduced the restricted spatial expression of the slug reporter gene in the neural ectoderm border and provoked its expression in the nonneural ectoderm. Chromatin immunoprecipitation indicated that endogenous YY1 interacts directly with the YY1 cis-element of the endogenous slug gene and with the slug gene reporter sequence injected into embryos. The results suggest that YY1 is essential for Xenopus development; is necessary for neural ectoderm differentiation, a prerequisite for neural crest specification; and restricts which cells can form neural crest mesenchyme through directly blocking slug gene activity.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2004; 279(45):46826-34. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlike the genetic code, the protein–DNA recognition modalities are degenerate in both directions. Consequently, how do transcription factors achieve their considerable specificity and selectivity in regulating the genetic programs that they ultimately influence? Here, we discuss the fact that different Hox gene-specific variants of retinoid response elements are not equivalent. Each particular variant occurs at a precise position along the vertebrate Hox clusters and this organization was present before the time when the ancestral vertebrate Hox cluster was duplicated.
Trends in Genetics 10/2003; 19(9):476-9. · 9.77 Impact Factor