XASH-3, a novel Xenopus achaete-scute homolog, provides an early marker of planar neural induction and position along the mediolateral axis of the neural plate. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • We have isolated a novel Xenopus homolog of the Drosophila achaete-scute genes, called XASH-3. XASH-3 expression is neural specific and is detected as early as stage 11 1/2, making it one of the earliest markers of neural induction so far described. Moreover, XASH-3 expression within the neural plate is regionally restricted. Transverse bands of XASH-3 mRNA mark discrete positions along the anteroposterior axis, while longitudinal bands mark a discrete position along the mediolateral axis. This latter site of XASH-3 expression appears to demarcate the prospective sulcus limitans, a boundary zone that later separates the functionally distinct dorsal (alar) and ventral (basal) regions of the spinal cord. In sandwich explants lacking any underlying mesoderm, XASH-3 is expressed in longitudinal stripes located lateral to the midline. This provides the first indication that planar or midline-derived inductive signals are sufficient to establish at least some aspects of positional identity along the mediolateral axis of the neural plate. By contrast, the transverse stripes of XASH-3 expression are not detected, suggesting that this aspect of anteroposterior neural pattern is lost or delayed in the absence of vertically passed signals. The restricted mediolateral expression of XASH-3 suggests that mediolateral patterning of the neural plate is an early event, and that this regionalization can be achieved in the absence of inducing signals derived from underlying mesoderm.

publication date

  • September 1993