Anterior-specific neural induction can be assayed by means of an antibody that recognizes the Xenopus homeobox-containing protein En-2. The En-2 antigen is an excellent early marker, since it is present as a discrete band in the anterior neural plate of neurula embryos. Regional induction was assayed by combining dorsal mesoderm with competent ectoderm. Anterior notochord from the early neurula induced En-2 frequently, while posterior notochord induced En-2 less frequently. Presumptive somitic mesoderm and presumptive head mesoderm, though they induced neural tissue, were not strong inducers of En-2. Thus, anterior notochord may be the primary mesodermal tissue responsible for the patterning of the anterior neural plate.