The dorsalizing and neural inducing gene follistatin is an antagonist of BMP-4

Abraham Fainsod*, Kirsten Deißler, Ronit Yelin, Karen Marom, Michal Epstein, Graciela Pillemer, Herbert Steinbeisser, Martin Blum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

314 Scopus citations


Specific signaling molecules play a pivotal role in the induction and specification of tissues during early vertebrate embryogenesis. BMP-4 specifies ventral mesoderm differentiation and inhibits neural induction in Xenopus,whereas three molecules secreted from the organizer, noggin, follistatin and chordin dorsalize mesoderm and promote neural induction. Here we report that follistatin antagonizes the activities of BMP-4 in frog embryos and mouse teratocarcinoma cells. In Xenopus embryos follistatin blocks the ventralizing effect of BMP-4. In mouse P19 cells follistatin promotes neural differentiation. BMP-4 antagonizes the action of follistatin and prevents neural differentiation. In addition we show that the follistatin and BMP-4 proteins can interact directly in vitro. These data provide evidence that follistatin might play a role in modulating BMP-4 activity in vivo.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalMechanisms of Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank E. De Robertis and Y. Sasai for the follistatin clone, D. Melton for the BMP receptor clones, K. Masuhara for the BMP-4 antibody and Genetics Institute for recombinant human BMP-4 protein. We also thank J. Yisraeli and E. Shapira for advice. This work was supported in part by the Council for Tobacco Research, USA to A.F.


  • BMP-4
  • Embryonic development
  • Follistatin
  • Mouse
  • Spemann's organizer
  • Xenopus


Dive into the research topics of 'The dorsalizing and neural inducing gene follistatin is an antagonist of BMP-4'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this