In vivo T-box transcription factor profiling reveals joint regulation of embryonic neuromesodermal bipotency

Cell Rep. 2013 Sep 26;4(6):1185-96. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.08.012. Epub 2013 Sep 19.


The design of effective cell replacement therapies requires detailed knowledge of how embryonic stem cells form primary tissues, such as mesoderm or neurectoderm that later become skeletal muscle or nervous system. Members of the T-box transcription factor family are key in the formation of these primary tissues, but their underlying molecular activities are poorly understood. Here, we define in vivo genome-wide regulatory inputs of the T-box proteins Brachyury, Eomesodermin, and VegT, which together maintain neuromesodermal stem cells and determine their bipotential fates in frog embryos. These T-box proteins are all recruited to the same genomic recognition sites, from where they activate genes involved in stem cell maintenance and mesoderm formation while repressing neurogenic genes. Consequently, their loss causes embryos to form an oversized neural tube with no mesodermal derivatives. This collaboration between T-box family members thus ensures the continuous formation of correctly proportioned neural and mesodermal tissues in vertebrate embryos during axial elongation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Embryonic Development / physiology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Mesoderm / metabolism
  • Neural Tube / cytology
  • Neural Tube / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • T-Box Domain Proteins / genetics
  • T-Box Domain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Xenopus


  • T-Box Domain Proteins
  • DNA

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE48560
  • GEO/GSE48663