Antagonizing the Spemann organizer: role of the homeobox gene Xvent-1

EMBO J. 1995 Dec 15;14(24):6268-79.


We have identified a novel homeobox gene, Xvent-1, that is differentially expressed in the ventral marginal zone of the early Xenopus gastrula. Evidence is presented from mRNA microinjection experiments for a role for this gene in dorsoventral patterning of mesoderm. First, Xvent-1 is induced by BMP-4, a gene known to be a key regulator of ventral mesoderm development. Second, Xvent-1 and the organizer-specific gene goosecoid are able to interact, directly or indirectly, in a cross-regulatory loop suppressing each other's expression, consistent with their mutually exclusive expression in the marginal zone. Third, microinjection of Xvent-1 mRNA ventralizes dorsal mesoderm. The results suggest that Xvent-1 functions in a ventral signaling pathway that maintains the ventral mesodermal state and antagonizes the Spemann organizer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Gastrula / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • Head / embryology
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mesoderm / metabolism
  • Microinjections
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Notochord / embryology
  • RNA, Messenger / administration & dosage
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Xenopus / embryology
  • Xenopus / genetics


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X92851