Organizer Activities Mediated by Retinoic Acid Signaling

  • Yonglong Chen
  • Thomas Hollemann
  • Tomas Pieler


Recent studies on two key enzymes in retinoic acid (RA) metabolism, namely CYP26A1, a RA-degrading hydroxylase, and RALDH2, a RA-generating dehydrogenase, provide novel insights regarding RA signaling during early vertebrate embryogenesis. Whole-mount in situ hybridization analysis with Xenopus embryos reveals that both enzymes start to be expressed at the onset of gastrulation in complementary domains along the anteroposterior axis of gastrula and neurula stage embryos including the organizer region, suggesting that the two enzymes might give rise to a dynamic RA concentration gradient in the early embryo. Both loss-of-function and gain-of-function studies via molecular and genetic approaches provide strong evidence for such a scenario. The data obtained reveal the essential role of RA signaling in anteroposterior (AP) axis patterning.


Retinoic Acid Xenopus Embryo Retinoic Acid Signaling Null Mutant Mouse Lateral Plate Mesoderm 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yonglong Chen
    • 1
  • Thomas Hollemann
    • 1
  • Tomas Pieler
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Biochemie und Molekulare ZellbiologieGeorg-August-Universität GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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