Smad2 signaling in extraembryonic tissues determines anterior-posterior polarity of the early mouse embryo.
Smad proteins transmit TGFbeta signals from the cell surface to the nucleus. Here we analyze Smad2 mutant embryos created using ES cell technology. Smad2 function is not required for mesoderm production per se, but, rather unexpectedly, in the absence of Smad2 the entire epiblast adopts a mesodermal fate giving rise to a normal yolk sac and fetal blood cells. In contrast, Smad2 mutants entirely lack tissues of the embryonic germ layers. Smad2 signals serve to restrict the site of primitive st...Expand abstract
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