3 years ago

Advances in the use of Xenopus for successful drug screening

Ian Velloso, Jose G. Abreu, Lorena A. Maia

Introduction: Understanding embryogenesis currently relies largely on the control of gene expression via several signaling pathways. Many of the embryonic signaling pathways guiding embryological events are implicated in diseases that lack effective cure or treatment. Because of the large number and size of the eggs, the rapid development of the embryos and the fact they are amenable to pharmacological, surgical and genetic techniques, Xenopus laevis has been successfully used in searching for compounds that target embryonic signaling pathways.

Areas covered: Here, the authors address the use of amphibian eggs/embryos in successful chemical screenings; egg extracts as well as embryo phenotypes have been assayed to reveal drug toxicology effects and novel compounds acting in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. They do not discuss the use of Xenopus oocyte two-electrode voltage clamps or genome editing tools as approaches for drug discovery because they have been discussed elsewhere.

Expert opinion: While high-throughput screening is commonly performed in egg extracts, the embryo axes perturbation system is more suited to the refinement and/or the validation of drug discovery targeting embryonic signaling (particularly the Wnt/β-catenin pathway). In addition, Xenopus has also been used in FETAX (frog embryo teratogenesis assay: Xenopus) to address chemical toxic/teratogenic effects. However, further studies are necessary.

Publisher URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17460441.2017.1367281

DOI: 10.1080/17460441.2017.1367281

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