FoxH1 (FAST) is a transcription factor that mediates signaling by transforming growth factor-β, Activin, and Nodal. The role of FoxH1 in development has now been investigated by the generation and analysis of FoxH1-deficient (FoxH1-/-) mice. The FoxH1-/- embryos showed various patterning defects that recapitulate most of the defects induced by the loss of Nodal signaling. A substantial proportion of FoxH1-/- embryos failed to orient the anterior-posterior (A-P) axis correctly, as do mice lacking Cripto, a coreceptor for Nodal. In less severely affected FoxH1-/- embryos, A-P polarity was established, but the primitive streak failed to elongate, resulting in the lack of a definitive node and its derivatives. Heterozygosity for nodal renders the FoxH1-/- phenotype more severe, indicative of a genetic interaction between FoxH1 and nodal. The expression of FoxH1 in the primitive endoderm rescued the A-P patterning defects, but not the midline defects, of FoxH1-/- mice. These results indicate that a Nodal. FoxH1 signaling pathway plays a central role in A-P patterning and node formation in the mouse.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology