sox4 and sox11 function during Xenopus laevis eye development

PLoS One. 2013 Jul 18;8(7):e69372. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069372. Print 2013.


SoxC genes are involved in many developmental processes such as cardiac, lymphoid, and bone development. The SoxC gene family is represented by Sox4, Sox11, and Sox12. Loss of either Sox4 or Sox11 function is lethal during mouse embryogenesis. Here, we demonstrate that sox4 and sox11 are strongly expressed in the developing eye, heart as well as brain in Xenopus laevis. Morpholino oligonucleotide mediated knock-down approaches in anterior neural tissue revealed that interference with either Sox4 or Sox11 function affects eye development. A detailed analysis demonstrated strong effects on eye size and retinal lamination. Neural induction was unaffected upon Sox4 or Sox11 MO injection and early eye field differentiation and cell proliferation were only mildly affected. Depletion of both genes, however, led independently to a significant increase in cell apoptosis in the eye. In summary, Sox4 and Sox11 are required for Xenopus visual system development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Eye / embryology*
  • Eye / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Morpholinos / genetics
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • SOXC Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Xenopus Proteins / metabolism*
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*


  • Morpholinos
  • SOXC Transcription Factors
  • Sox11 protein, Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; SFB 497, TPA6 to MK) and (DFG HO1879 to TH). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.