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A role for the phosphatidylinositol (PI) cycle signal transduction pathway in Xenopus mesoderm induction has been revealed by observations of PI cycle activation coincident with this process, combined with the demonstration that Li+ (a PI cycle inhibitor) blocks this response and hyperdorsalizes mesoderm induction in intact embryos or augments growth factor-mediated induction in animal caps. It has been suggested that spatially restricted PI cycle activity in the marginal zone might modulate (but not, itself, activate) mesoderm induction. To better characterize the ability of PI cycle activity to modulate the pattern of mesoderm-specific gene expression elicited by mesoderm-inducing growth factors we have expressed in the embryo exogenous 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors that activate the PI cycle. In embryos, ventral expression and activation of these receptors during mesoderm induction are without obvious effect, whereas dorsal expression and activation yield dorsoanterior-deficient tadpoles. In animal caps induced with activin, simultaneous activation of exogenous 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors inhibits both convergent extension movements associated with dorsal mesoderm induction and the expression of goosecoid, a dorsal-specific gene, but is without effect on expression of a 149 generic mesodermal marker, Xbra. All of these effects of a 149 PI cycle-stimulating receptor are the opposites of those previously reported for the PI cycle inhibitor, Li+. PI cycle activity thus proves able to modulate the dorsal/ventral character of early mesodermal gene expression elicited by growth factor, suggesting a model for mesodermal patterning.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2033 - 2041


Activins, Animals, Base Sequence, Cell Lineage, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Inhibins, Mesoderm, Models, Biological, Molecular Sequence Data, Phenotype, Phosphatidylinositols, Polymerase Chain Reaction, RNA, Messenger, RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase, Receptors, Serotonin, Signal Transduction, Xenopus