cnrip1 is a regulator of eye and neural development in Xenopus laevis

Genes Cells. 2015 Apr;20(4):324-39. doi: 10.1111/gtc.12225. Epub 2015 Feb 5.


Cannabinoid receptor interacting protein 1 (CNRIP1), which has been originally identified as the binding partner of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1), is evolutionarily conserved throughout vertebrates, but its physiological function has been unknown. Here, we identify a developmental role of CNRIP1 using Xenopus laevis embryos. During early embryogenesis, expression of Xenopus laevis cnrip1 is highly restricted to the animal region of gastrulae where neural and eye induction occur, and afterward it is seen in neural and other tissues with a temporally and spatially regulated pattern. Morpholino-mediated knockdown experiments indicate that cnrip1 has an essential role in early eye and neural development by regulating the onset of expression of key transcription factor genes, sox2, otx2, pax6 and rax. Also, over-expression experiments suggest that cnrip1 has a potential to expand sox2, otx2, pax6 and rax expression. These results suggest an instructive role of Xenopus laevis cnrip1 in early eye and neural development. Furthermore, Xenopus laevis cnr1 knockdown leads to eye defects, which are partly similar to, but milder than, those caused by cnrip1 knockdown, suggesting a possible functional similarity between CNRIP1 and CNR1. This study is the first characterization of an in vivo role of CNRIP1 in the context of whole organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Eye / embryology*
  • Eye / metabolism
  • Gastrula / metabolism*
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Xenopus Proteins / genetics
  • Xenopus Proteins / metabolism*
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*
  • Xenopus laevis / metabolism*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • cnrip1 protein, Xenopus laevis