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Here we describe a novel gene trap protocol to screen for target genes that are regulated during inductive events in undifferentiated and differentiated mouse embryonic stem cells. This approach integrates several features that allows in vitro screening of large numbers of gene trap clones prior to generating lines of mutant mice. Moreover, targets of spatially and temporally restricted signaling pathways can be analyzed by screening undifferentiated ES cells versus ES cells differentiated into embryoid bodies. We employed this protocol to screen 1920 gene trap lines to identify targets and mediators of signaling through three growth factors of the TGFbeta superfamily--BMP2, activin and nodal. We identified two genes that are induced by BMP2 in a differentiation-dependent manner. One of the genes encodes for Chondroitin-4-sulfotransferase and displays a highly specific temporal and spatial expression pattern during mouse embryogenesis. These results demonstrate the feasibility of a high-throughput gene trap approach as a means to identify mediators and targets of multiple growth factor signaling pathways that function during different stages of development.


Journal article


Mech Dev

Publication Date





77 - 89


Animals, Blotting, Northern, Blotting, Southern, Cell Differentiation, Embryo, Mammalian, Genetic Techniques, Growth Substances, In Situ Hybridization, Lac Operon, Mice, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Signal Transduction, Stem Cells, Sulfotransferases, Time Factors, beta-Galactosidase