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Keywords:

  • T-box;
  • tbx6;
  • pMesogenin1/Mespo;
  • bHLH;
  • body wall muscle;
  • segmentation

Abstract

T-box transcription factor tbx6 and basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factor pMesogenin1 are reported to be involved in paraxial mesodermal differentiation. To clarify the relationship between these genes in Xenopus laevis, we isolated pMesogenin2, which showed high homology with pMesogenin1. Both pMesogenin1 and 2 appeared to be transcriptional activators and were induced by a hormone-inducible version of Xtbx6 without secondary protein synthesis in animal cap assays. The pMesogenin2 promoter contained three potential T-box binding sites with which Xtbx6 protein was shown to interact, and a reporter gene construct containing these sites was activated by Xtbx6. Xtbx6 knockdown reduced pMesogenin1 and 2 expressions, but not vice versa. Xtbx6 and pMesogenin1 and 2 knockdowns caused similar phenotypic abnormalities including somite malformation and ventral body wall muscle hypoplasia, suggesting that Xtbx6 is a direct regulator of pMesogenin1 and 2, which are both involved in somitogenesis and myogenesis including that of body wall muscle in Xenopus laevis. Developmental Dynamics 237:3749–3761, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.