Accumulated evidence indicates that the activating transcription factor 4 (atf4
) is a developmentally relevant gene. Here, we report on the characterization of atf4
embryos, which is differentially expressed in the central nervous system, eyes, blood, and the pronephros, as well as in developing endodermal organs such as the stomach, duodenum, liver, and pancreas. Ectopic expression of atf4
in the animal hemisphere of Xenopus
embryos had no obvious effects on the induction of neural progenitors, but suppressed neurogenesis and eye formation without promoting apoptosis. Our data suggest that tightly controlled atf4
activities may be crucial for normal neurogenesis and early eye patterning.