Negative control of Xenopus GATA-2 by activin and noggin with eventual expression in precursors of the ventral blood islands

Maggie E. Walmsley, Matthew J. Guille, David Bertwistle, James Thompson Smith, John A. Pizzey, Roger K. Patient

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To increase our understanding of haematopoiesis during early vertebrate development, we have studied the expression pattern of the transcription factor GATA-2 in Xenopus embryos, and asked how this is regulated. We show that the blood island precursors of the ventral mesoderm express GATA-2 RNA at neural tube stages, some 5 hours before globin RNA is detected in their derivatives. Prior to this however, GATA-2 is expressed much more widely within the embryo. Maternal transcripts are uniformly distributed, and zygotic transcription is activated during gastrulation throughout ventral and lateral regions of the embryo, with expression highest in the sensorial ectoderm and only weak in the ventral mesoderm. The domain of GATA-2 expression in neurulae outlines the region of the neural plate and suggests a possible wider role in dorsoventral patterning. To identify the signals involved in regulating this pattern of expression, we performed experiments with embryo explants. GATA-2 is activated autonomously in isolated animal caps and this activation is suppressed by the mesoderm-inducing factor activin, but not by FGF. Thus, the down-regulation of GATA-2 observed in the region of the Spemann organiser may be a response to an activin-like signal emanating from the dorsal-vegetal region or Nieuwkoop centre. GATA-2 activation in animal caps and ventral marginal zones was suppressed by co-culturing with dorsal marginal zones, suggesting that a signal from the Spemann organiser is involved in suppression of GATA-2 in the dorsal region of the embryo. Expression of a candidate for this signal, noggin, had the same effect. Taken together, the observations presented here suggest that GATA-2 activation occurs by default in the absence of signals, that the restriction of its expression within the early embryo is controlled by negative signals emanating from the Nieuwkoop centre and the organiser, and that noggin and activin-like molecules play a role in these signalling pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2519-29
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1994


  • Activins
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • GATA2 Transcription Factor
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Growth Substances
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Inhibins
  • Mesoderm
  • Morphogenesis
  • Proteins
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors
  • Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins


Dive into the research topics of 'Negative control of Xenopus GATA-2 by activin and noggin with eventual expression in precursors of the ventral blood islands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this