Role of Thyroid Hormone Receptor in Amphibian Development
The amphibian Xenopus laevis has long been used as a model for studying vertebrate cell and developmental biology largely due to the easiness to manipulate this system in vivo and in vitro. While most of the developmental studies have been on Xenopus embryogenesis, considerable efforts have been made to understand its metamorphosis, a process mimicking postembryonic development in mammals when many organs mature into their adult forms in the presence of high levels of thyroid hormone (T3). Amphibian metamorphosis is totally dependent on T3 and offers a number of advantages for experimental analyses compared to the late stage, uterus-enclosed mammalian embryos. Earlier studies on metamorphosis in Xenopus laevis have revealed dual functions of T3 receptors (TR) during premetamorphic development and metamorphosis as well as important roles of TR-interacting corepressors and coactivators during these two periods, respectively. The development of gene-editing technologies that functions in amphibians in recent years has made possible for the first time to study function of endogenous TRs, especially in the highly related diploid anuran species Xenopus tropicalis. Here, we first review the current mechanistic understanding of the regulation of metamorphosis by T3 and TR, and then describe a detailed method to use TALEN to knock out TRα for studying its role in gene regulation by T3 in vivo and Xenopus development.
Key wordsXenopus laevis Xenopus tropicalis Metamorphosis Gene-editing Thyroid hormone receptor Postembryonic development TALEN
This work in the laboratory was supported by the Intramural Research Program of National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health.
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