The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 65: 227 - 233 (2021)

Vol 65, Issue 4-5-6

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in Ibero-America - Part 2

Establishing embryonic territories in the context of Wnt signaling

Published: 27 August 2020

Ian Velloso1, Lorena A. Maia1,2, Nathalia G. Amado2, Alice H. Reis1, Xi He2 and Jose G. Abreu*,1

1Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Center of Health Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil and 2F. M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA


This review highlights the work that my research group has been developing, together with international collaborators, during the last decade. Since we were able to establish the Xenopus laevis experimental model in Brazil, we have been focused on understanding early embryonic patterns regarding neural induction and axes establishment. In this context, the Wnt pathway appears as a major player and has been much explored by us and other research groups. Here, we chose to review three published works which we consider to be landmarks within the course of our research and also within the history of modern findings regarding neural induction and patterning. We intend to show how our series of discoveries, when painted together, tells a story that covers crucial developmental windows of early differentiation paths of anterior neural tissue: 1. establishing the head organizer in contrast to the trunk organizer in the early gastrula; 2. deciding between neural ectoderm and epidermis ectoderm at the blastula/gastrula stages, and 3. the gathering of prechordal unique properties in the late gastrula/early neurula.


Xenopus laevis, β-catenin, neural induction, prechordal plate, Tiki, Notum

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