During vertebrate embryogenesis, precise regulation of gene expression is crucial for proper cell fate determination. Much of what we know about vertebrate development has been gleaned from experiments performed on embryos of the amphibian Xenopus laevis
; this review will focus primarily on studies of this model organism. An early critical step during vertebrate development is the formation of the three primary germ layers—ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm—which emerge during the process of gastrulation. While much attention has been focused on the induction of mesoderm and endoderm, it has become clear that differentiation of the ectoderm involves more than the simple absence of inductive cues; rather, it additionally requires the inhibition of mesendoderm-promoting genes. This review aims to summarize our current understanding of the various inhibitors of inappropriate gene expression in the presumptive ectoderm.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited