• Open Access

Xmc mediates Xctr1-independent morphogenesis in Xenopus laevis


  • This article was accepted for inclusion in Developmental Dynamics 238#6 — Special Focus on Xenopus.


In the frog, Xenopus laevis, fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling is required for both mesoderm formation and the morphogenetic movements that drive the elongation of the notochord, a dorsal mesodermal derivative; the coordination of these distinct roles is mediated by the Xenopus Ctr1 (Xctr1) protein: maternal Xctr1 is required for mesodermal differentiation, while the subsequent loss of Xctr1 promotes morphogenesis. The signaling cascade activated by FGF in the presence of Ctr1 has been well characterized; however, the Xctr1-independent, FGF-responsive network remains poorly defined. We have identified Xenopus Marginal Coil (Xmc) as a gene whose expression is highly enriched following Xctr1 knockdown. Zygotic initiation of Xmc expression in vivo coincides with a decrease in maternal Xctr1 transcripts; moreover, Xmc loss-of-function inhibits Xctr1 knockdown-mediated elongation of FGF-treated animal cap explants, implicating Xmc as a key effector of Xctr1-independent gastrular morphogenesis. Developmental Dynamics 238:2382–2400, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.