Nodal morphogens.

Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology

PubMedID: 20066122

Schier AF. Nodal morphogens. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2009;1(5):a003459.
Nodal signals belong to the TGF-beta superfamily and are essential for the induction of mesoderm and endoderm and the determination of the left-right axis. Nodal signals can act as morphogens-they have concentration-dependent effects and can act at a distance from their source of production. Nodal and its feedback inhibitor Lefty form an activator/inhibitor pair that behaves similarly to postulated reaction-diffusion models of tissue patterning. Nodal morphogen activity is also regulated by microRNAs, convertases, TGF-beta signals, coreceptors, and trafficking factors. This article describes how Nodal morphogens pattern embryonic fields and discusses how Nodal morphogen signaling is modulated.