Induction of mesoderm in Xenopus laevis embryos by translation initiation factor 4E

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Science  05 Aug 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5173, pp. 803-806
DOI: 10.1126/science.8047887


The microinjection of messenger RNA encoding the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF-4E) into early embryos of Xenopus laevis leads to the induction of mesoderm in ectodermal explants. This induction occurs without a stimulation of overall protein synthesis and is blocked by the co-expression of a dominant negative mutant of the proto-oncogene ras or a truncated activin type II receptor. Although other translation factors have been studied in vertebrate and invertebrate embryos, none have been shown to play a direct role in development. The results here suggest a mechanism for relaying and amplifying signals for mesoderm induction.