Gautier Lab:Xenopus resources

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Gautier Lab, Columbia University


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Xenopus resources

In our laboratory, we use Xenopus laevis, commonly known as the African clawed frog (learn more on wikipedia).

Xenopus laevis is a great model system for dissecting the molecular pathways in DNA replication and the maintenance of genomic stability. Cell-free extracts made from Xenopus eggs contain all the proteins necessary to undergo 12 rounds of cell-cycle regulated, semi-conservative DNA replication in the absence of transcription. Events in these extracts are highly synchronous, allowing the analysis of short-lived intermediates and the dissection of signal transduction cascades. Particularly, the function of essential proteins can be addressed by immunodepletion or neutralization of these proteins, coupled to rescue with recombinant proteins.

Xenopus cell-free extracts are generated by centrifuging unfertilized Xenopus eggs and isolating the cytoplasmic layer. Female Xenopus can be induced to lay an abundance of eggs after hormone injection. In fact, Xenopus laevis were used as a pregnancy testing method because the injection of urine from pregnant women induced these frogs to lay eggs. The hormone in the urine that induces egg-laying is human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and is now used widely in laboratories.

In addition to being used to generate cell-free extracts, Xenopus oocytes and eggs can also be studying directly. Xenopus eggs are macroscopic and can be easily manipulated for microinjection, etc. and studied for embryonic development.

For links to Xenopus techniques developed in the Gautier lab, visit

For a list of helpful website, visit



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