Neural patterning occurs soon after neural induction during early development. In Xenopus, several caudalizing factors transform anterior neural to posterior neural tissue at the open neural plate stages, while other factors are responsible for setting up mediolateral polarity which becomes the dorsoventral (D-V) axis after neural tube closure. Many Wnt ligands are expressed in the neural tube in distinct anteroposterior (A-P) and D-V domains, implying a function in neural patterning. Here we report the cloning of a full-length Xenopus Wnt7B gene. Xwnt7B induces neural crest markers Xslug and Xtwist in ectodermal explants coinjected with neural inducer noggin and in ectodermal cells neuralized by dissociation. In vivo, Xwnt7B expands the Xtwist expression domain when injected in the animal pole. Our results suggest that Wnt members are involved in dorsoventral patterning of the neural tube.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.