A mutation in the Gsk3-binding domain of zebrafish Masterblind/Axin1 leads to a fate transformation of telencephalon and eyes to diencephalon
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Zebrafish embryos homozygous for the masterblind (mb1) mutation exhibit a striking phenotype in which the eyes and telencephalon are reduced or absent and diencephalic fates expand to the front of the brain. Here we show that mb1(-/-) embryos carry an amino-acid change at a conserved site in the Wnt pathway scaffolding protein, Axin1. The amino-acid substitution present in the mbl allele abolishes the binding of Axin to Gsk3 and affects Tcf-dependent transcription. Therefore, Gsk3 activity may be decreased in mbl(-/-) embryos and in support of this possibility, overexpression of either wild-type Axin1 or Gsk3 beta can restore eye and telencephalic fates to mb1(-/-) embryos. Our data reveal a crucial role for Axin1-dependent inhibition of the Wnt pathway in the early regional subdivision of the anterior neural plate into telencephalic, diencephalic, and eye-forming territories.
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GENES & DEVELOPMENT, 2001, 15 pp. 1427 - 1434