Momoi, A., Yoda, H., Steinbeisser, H., Fagotto, F., Kondoh, H., Kudo, A., Driever, W., and Furutani-Seiki, M. (2003) Analysis of Wnt8 for neural posteriorizing factor by identifying Frizzled 8c and Frizzled 9 as functional receptors for Wnt8. Mechanisms of Development. 120(4):477-489.
The dorsal ectoderm of vertebrate gastrula is first specified into anterior fate by an activation signal and posteriorized by a graded transforming signal, leading to the formation of forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain and spinal cord along the anteroposterior (A-P) axis. Transplanted non-axial mesoderm rather than axial mesoderm has an ability to transform prospective anterior neural tissue into more posterior fates in zebrafish. Wnt8 is a secreted factor that is expressed in non-axial mesoderm. To investigate whether Wnt8 is the neural posteriorizing factor that acts upon neuroectoderm, we first assigned Frizzled 8c and Frizzled 9 to be functional receptors for Wnt8. We then, transplanted non-axial mesoderm into the embryos in which Wnt8 signaling is cell-autonomously blocked by the dominant-negative form of Wnt8 receptors. Non-axial mesodermal transplants in embryos in which Wnt8 signaling is cell-autonomously blocked induced the posterior neural markers as efficiently as in wild-type embryos, suggesting that Wnt8 signaling is not required in neuroectoderm for posteriorization by non-axial mesoderm. Furthermore, Wnt8 signaling, detected by nuclear localization of beta-catenin, was not activated in the posterior neuroectoderm but confined in marginal non-axial mesoderm. Finally, ubiquitous over-expression of Wnt8 does not expand neural ectoderm of posterior character in the absence of mesoderm or Nodal-dependent co-factors. We thus conclude that other factors from non-axial mesoderm may be required for patterning neuroectoderm along the A-P axis.