Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) is homologous to the product of the Drosophila gene shaggy (zeste-white 3), which is required for signalling by wingless during Drosophila development. To test whether GSK-3 is also involved in vertebrate pattern formation, its role was investigated during early Xenopus development. It was found that dominant-negative GSK-3 mutants induced dorsal differentiation, whereas wild-type GSK-3 induced ventralization. These results indicate that GSK-3 is required for ventral differentiation, and suggest that dorsal differentiation may involve the suppression of GSK-3 activity by a wingless/wnt-related signal.
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