The T (Brachyury) gene, which encodes a transcription factor, is involved in the formation of posterior mesoderm. Although studies in Xenopus have shown that T gene expression is responsive to mesoderm inducing factors and furthermore suggest the existence of an autoregulatory loop involving T itself, eFGF, and the FGF receptor, little is known about the regulation of T expression in the mouse. We report here that in the mouse the expression of fgf-4, the putative homologue of Xenopus efgf, is not dependent on the presence of T protein during the first 48 hr of gastrulation. Furthermore, we address the question of autoregulation using a chimeric approach. Introduction of a T promoter-lacZ construct into T/T ES cells results in T promoter activity in the primitive streak and tail bud in the absence of functional T protein. Therefore, we suggest that a direct FGF and T autoregulatory loop is unlikely to operate during gastrulation and axis elongation in the mouse.
Copyright 1997 Academic Press.