The C-terminal domain of Mad-like signal transducers is sufficient for biological activity in the Xenopus embryo and transcriptional activation

Mech Dev. 1997 Jan;61(1-2):127-40. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4773(96)00629-6.


We report the characterization of two vertebrate homologs of Drosophila mothers against dpp (Mad) isolated from the mouse and the Xenopus embryo, named MusMLP (mad-like protein) and XenMLP, respectively, together with a summary of their expression patterns in the embryo. Overexpression of XenMLP causes ventralization of Xenopus embryos and we demonstrate that the C-terminal domain is necessary and sufficient to confer this biological effect. This domain also has the potential for transcriptional activation, as shown in one-hybrid assays in mammalian cells. We further demonstrate that MLPs are multidomain proteins by showing a cis-negative effect of the N-terminal domain on the transactivation by the C-terminal domain and that the proline-rich, middle domain maximizes the activity of the C-terminal domain. We also mapped the MusMLP gene to a region on mouse chromosome 13 that corresponds to a region on human chromosome 5q that contains cancer-related genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Morphogenesis
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Smad Proteins
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Trans-Activators*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*
  • Xenopus laevis / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Smad Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U77638
  • GENBANK/U77639