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The tetraspanin family of four-pass transmembrane proteins has been implicated in fundamental biological processes, including cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation. Tetraspanins interact with various transmembrane proteins, establishing a network of large multimolecular complexes that allows specific lateral secondary interactions. Here we report the identification and functional characterization of Xenopus Tetraspanin-1 (xTspan-1). At gastrula and neurula, xTspan-1 is expressed in the dorsal ectoderm and neural plate, respectively, and in the hatching gland, cement gland, and posterior neural tube at tailbud stages. The expression of xTspan-1 in the early embryo is negatively regulated by bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and stimulated by Notch signals. Microinjection of xTspan-1 mRNA interfered with gastrulation movements and reduced ectodermal cell adhesion in a cadherin-dependent manner. Morpholino knock-down of endogenous xTspan-1 protein revealed a requirement of xTspan-1 for gastrulation movements and primary neurogenesis. Our data suggest that xTspan-1 could act as a molecular link between BMP signalling and the regulation of cellular interactions that are required for gastrulation movements and neural differentiation in the early Xenopus embryo.


Yukiyo Yamamoto, Kristina Grubisic, Michael Oelgeschläger. Xenopus Tetraspanin-1 regulates gastrulation movements and neural differentiation in the early Xenopus embryo. Differentiation; research in biological diversity. 2007 Mar;75(3):235-45

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PMID: 17359299

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