Syndecan-1 regulates BMP signaling and dorso-ventral patterning of the ectoderm during early Xenopus development

Gonzalo H. Olivares, Héctor Carrasco, Francisco Aroca, Loreto Carvallo, Fabián Segovia, Juan Larraín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Extracellular regulation of growth factor signaling is a key event for embryonic patterning. Heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) are among the molecules that regulate this signaling during embryonic development. Here we study the function of syndecan1 (Syn1), a cell-surface HSPG expressed in the non-neural ectoderm during early development of Xenopus embryos. Overexpression of Xenopus Syn1 (xSyn1) mRNA is sufficient to reduce BMP signaling, induce chordin expression and rescue dorso-ventral patterning in ventralized embryos. Experiments using chordin morpholinos established that xSyn1 mRNA can inhibit BMP signaling in the absence of chordin. Knockdown of xSyn1 resulted in a reduction of BMP signaling and expansion of the neural plate with the concomitant reduction of the non-neural ectoderm. Overexpression of xSyn1 mRNA in xSyn1 morphant embryos resulted in a biphasic effect, with BMP being inhibited at high concentrations and activated at low concentrations of xSyn1. Interestingly, the function of xSyn1 on dorso-ventral patterning and BMP signaling is specific for this HSPG. In summary, we report that xSyn1 regulates dorso-ventral patterning of the ectoderm through modulation of BMP signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-349
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 2009


  • BMP signaling
  • Chordin
  • Dorso-ventral patterning
  • Ectoderm
  • HSPG
  • Syndecan1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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