The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 56: 393 - 402 (2012)

Vol 56, Issue 5

Identification and characterization of Xenopus kctd15, an ectodermal gene repressed by the FGF pathway

Developmental Expression Pattern | Published: 15 June 2012

Chika Takahashi1, Toshiyasu Suzuki1, Eisuke Nishida1,2 and Morioh Kusakabe*,1,2

1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan and 2JST, CREST, Tokyo, Japan


The FGF pathway regulates a variety of developmental processes in animals through activation and/or repression of numerous target genes. Here we have identified a Xenopus homolog of potassium channel tetramerization domain containing 15 (KCTD15) as an FGF-repressed gene. Kctd15 expression is first detected at the gastrula stage and gradually increases until the tadpole stage. Whole-mount in situ hybridization reveals that the spatial expression of kctd15 is tightly regulated during early embryogenesis. While kctd15 is uniformly expressed throughout the presumptive ectoderm at the early gastrula stage, its expression becomes restricted to the non-neural ectoderm and is excluded from the neural plate at the early neurula stage. At the mid-neurula stage, kctd15 shows a more restricted distribution pattern in regions that are located at the anterior, lateral or medial edge of the neural fold, including the preplacodal ectoderm, the craniofacial neural crest and the prospective roof plate. At the tailbud stage, kctd15 expression is mainly detected in neural crest- or placode-derived tissues that are located around the eye, including the mandibular arch, trigeminal ganglia and the olfactory placode. FGF represses kctd15 expression in ectodermal explants, and the inhibition of FGF receptor with a chemical compound dramatically expands the region expressing kctd15 in whole embryos. Dorsal depletion of kctd15 in Xenopus embryos leads to bent axes with reduced head structures, defective eyes and abnormal somites, while ventral depletion causes defects in ventral and caudal morphologies. These results suggest that kctd15 is an FGF-repressed ectodermal gene required for both dorsal and ventral development.


kctd15, Xenopus, FGF, ectoderm

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