The evolutionarily conserved BMP-binding protein Twisted gastrulation promotes BMP signalling

Nature. 2000 Jun 15;405(6788):757-63. doi: 10.1038/35015500.


Dorsal-ventral patterning in vertebrate and Drosophila embryos requires a conserved system of extracellular proteins to generate a positional information gradient. The components involved include bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP/Dpp), a BMP antagonist (Chordin/Short gastrulation; Chd/Sog) and a secreted metalloproteinase (Xolloid/Tolloid) that cleaves Chd/Sog. Here we describe Xenopus Twisted gastrulation (xTsg), another member of this signalling pathway. xTsg is expressed ventrally as part of the BMP-4 synexpression group and encodes a secreted BMP-binding protein that is a BMP signalling agonist. The data suggest a molecular mechanism by which xTsg dislodges latent BMPs bound to Chordin BMP-binding fragments generated by Xolloid cleavage, providing a permissive signal that allows high BMP signalling in the embryo. Drosophila Tsg also binds BMPs and is expressed dorsally, supporting the proposal that the dorsal-ventral axis was inverted in the course of animal evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Body Patterning / physiology
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Glycoproteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins


  • BMP4 protein, human
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Proteins
  • TSG protein, Drosophila
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • bmp4 protein, Xenopus
  • chordin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AA486291
  • GENBANK/AF245221
  • GENBANK/AW258143