The T-box transcription factor Eomesodermin is essential for AVE induction in the mouse embryo.
Nowotschin S., Costello I., Piliszek A., Kwon GS., Mao C-A., Klein WH., Robertson EJ., Hadjantonakis A-K.
Reciprocal inductive interactions between the embryonic and extraembryonic tissues establish the anterior-posterior (AP) axis of the early mouse embryo. The anterior visceral endoderm (AVE) signaling center emerges at the distal tip of the embryo at embryonic day 5.5 and translocates to the prospective anterior side of the embryo. The process of AVE induction and migration are poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that the T-box gene Eomesodermin (Eomes) plays an essential role in AVE recruitment, in part by directly activating the homeobox transcription factor Lhx1. Thus, Eomes function in the visceral endoderm (VE) initiates an instructive transcriptional program controlling AP identity.