The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 51: 27 - 36 (2007)

Vol 51, Issue 1

XSu(H)2 is an essential factor for gene expression and morphogenesis of the Xenopus gastrula embryo

Original Article | Published: 30 November -0001

Motoaki Ito, Tomohisa Katada, Seiji Miyatani and Tsutomu Kinoshita*

Department of Bioscience, School of Science and Technology, Kwansei Gakuin University, Hyogo, Japan


The CSL (CBF-1, Suppressor of Hairless, Lag-1) transcriptional factor is an important mediator of Notch signal transduction. It plays a key role in cell fate determination by cell-cell interaction. CSL functions as a transcriptional repressor before the activation of Notch signaling. However, once Notch signaling is activated, CSL is converted into a transcriptional activator. It remains unclear if CSL has any function during early development before neurogenesis, while transcriptional products exist from the maternal stage. Here, we analyzed the function of Xenopus Suppressor of Hairless (XSu(H)) using morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (MO), which interfere with the translation of transcripts. In Xenopus embryos, maternal transcripts of both XSu(H)1 and XSu(H)2 were ubiquitously observed until the blastula stage and thereafter only XSu(H)1 was zygotically transcribed. Knockdown experiments with MO demonstrated that XSu(H)2 depletion caused a decrease in the expression of the Xbrachyury, MyoD and JNK1 genes. Morphological and histological examinations indicated that XSu(H)2 depletion caused abnormal gastrulation, which resulted in severe defects of the notochord and somitic mesoderm. The effect of XSu(H)2-MO was completely rescued by co-injection of XSu(H)2 mRNAs, but not by XSu(H)1 mRNAs. XESR-1, a Notch signaling target gene, inhibited Xbrachyury expression. However, expression of the XESR-1 gene was not induced by depletion of XSu(H)2. Co-injection of the dominant-negative form of XESR-1 could not rescue the suppression of Xbrachyury expression in the XSu(H)2-depleted embryo. These results suggest that XSu(H)2 is involved in mesoderm formation and the cell movement of gastrula embryos in a different manner from the XESR-1-mediated Notch signaling pathway.


Suppressor of Hairless, notch signaling, gastrulation, Xbrachyury, XESR-1

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