Wilms' tumor 1-associating protein (WTAP) was previously identified as a protein associated with Wilms' tumor-1 (WT-1) protein that is essential for the development of the genitourinary system. Although WTAP has been suggested to function in alternative splicing, stabilization of mRNA, and cell growth, its in vivo function is still unclear. We generated Wtap mutant mice using a novel gene-trap approach and showed that Wtap mutant embryos exhibited defective egg-cylinder formation at the gastrulation stage and died by embryonic day 10.5. Although they could form extraembryonic tissues and anterior visceral endoderm, Wtap mutant embryos and embryonic stem cells failed to differentiate into endoderm and mesoderm. The chimera analysis showed that Wtap in extraembryonic tissues was required for the formation of mesoderm and endoderm in embryonic tissues. Taken together, our findings indicate that Wtap is indispensable for differentiation of mesoderm and endoderm in the mouse embryo.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.