The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 51: 183 - 190 (2007)

Vol 51, Issue 3

Xenopus glucose transporter 1 (xGLUT1) is required for gastrulation movement in Xenopus laevis

Open Access | Original Article | Published: 1 April 2007

Keiko Suzawa1, Akira Yukita2, Tadayoshi Hayata3,6, Toshiyasu Goto4, Hiroki Danno2, Tatsuo Michiue2,5, Ken W. Cho3 and Makoto Asashima*,1,2,4,5

1Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Sciences and 2Department of Life Sciences (Biology), Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, Japan, 3Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, University of California, Irvine, USA, 4ICORP project, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Saitama, Japan 5Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Ibaraki, Japan and 6 Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Medical Research Institute, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan


Glucose transporters (GLUTs) are transmembrane proteins that play an essential role in sugar uptake and energy supply. Thirteen GLUT genes have been described and GLUT1 is the most abundantly expressed member of the family in animal tissues. Deficiencies in human GLUT1 are associated with many diseases, such as metabolic abnormalities, congenital brain defects and oncogenesis. It was suggested recently that Xenopus GLUT1 (xGLUT1) is upregulated by Activin/Nodal signaling, although the developmental role of xGLUT1 remains unclear. Here, we investigated the expression pattern and function of xGLUT1 during Xenopus development. Whole-mount in situ hybridization analysis showed expression of xGLUT1 in the mesodermal region of Xenopus embryos, especially in the dorsal blastopore lip at the gastrula stage. From the neurula stage, it was expressed in the neural plate, eye field, cement gland and somites. Loss-of-function analyses using morpholino antisense oligonucleotides against xGLUT1 (xGLUT1MO) caused microcephaly and axis elongation error. This elongation defect of activin-treated animal caps occurred without downregulation of early mesodermal markers. Moreover, dorsal-marginal explant analysis revealed that cell movement was suppressed in dorsal marginal zones injected with xGLUT1MO. These findings implicate xGLUT1 as an important player during gastrulation cell movement in Xenopus.


Xenopus, glucose transporter, gastrulation, cell movement

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