Int. J. Dev. Biol. 44: 141 - 144 (2000)
© UPV/EHU Press

Expression pattern of BXR suggests a role for benzoate ligand-mediated signalling in hatching gland function.

L A Heath, E A Jones and R W Old

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT The Xenopus laevis nuclear receptor BXR has recently been shown to be activated by a class of endogenous benzoate metabolites, indicating the presence of a novel and unsuspected benzoate ligand-dependent signalling pathway. The receptor is expressed ubiquitously in blastula and gastrula stage embryos, and its expression declines during neurula stages. In order to examine further this novel vertebrate signalling system, we have examined the expression of the BXR gene in tailbud stage embryos and adults. We show here that in Xenopus tailbud stage embryos expression is restricted to the hatching gland, suggesting a role in hatching gland function. Neither BXR nor a BXR-VP16 fusion is sufficient to specify hatching gland in neurally-induced tissue. In adults, BXR expression is abundant in the brain and gonads. This expression pattern in adults is distinct from any of the putative mammalian homologues. A nuclear receptor that mediates benzoate signalling has yet to be found in mammals.