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Genomic analysis of Xenopus organizer function

DOI: 10.1186/1471-213x-6-27

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To this end, we ectopically overexpress Noggin and Dkk-1, inhibitors of the BMP and Wnt pathways, respectively, within ventral tissues. After isolating embryonic ventral halves at early and late gastrulation, we analyze the transcriptional response to these molecules within the generated ectopic organizers using oligonucleotide microarrays. An efficient statistical analysis scheme, combined with a new Gene Ontology biological process annotation of the Xenopus genome, allows reliable and faithful clustering of molecules based upon their roles during gastrulation. From this data, we identify new organizer-related expression patterns for 19 genes. Moreover, our data sub-divides organizer genes into separate head and trunk organizing groups, which each show distinct responses to Noggin and Dkk-1 activity during gastrulation.Our data provides a genomic view of the cohorts of genes that respond to Noggin and Dkk-1 activity, allowing us to separate the role of each in organizer function. These patterns demonstrate a model where BMP inhibition plays a largely inductive role during early developmental stages, thereby initiating the suites of genes needed to pattern dorsal tissues. Meanwhile, Wnt inhibition acts later during gastrulation, and is essential for maintenance of organizer gene expression throughout gastrulation, a role which may depend on its ability to block the expression of a host of ventral, posterior, and lateral fate-specifying factors.The organizer is the primary patterning center during early vertebrate gastrulation. As might be expected for a tissue with such capabilities, the organizer is complex. Studies in multiple species, including frogs and mice, have shown that the organizer has distinct regions that induce head and trunk, and these abilities decisively change as development proceeds. At the molecular level, the organizer's inductive properties are mediated by factors that inhibit the BMP, Wnt, and Nodal signaling pathways. BMP inhibitors, includin


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