We have analyzed two gene products expressed in the early endoderm of Xenopus laevis: Xlhbox-8, a pancreas-specific transcription factor and intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP), a marker of small intestinal epithelium. Expression of the pancreas marker relies on cell signaling mediated by both the TGF-beta and FGF classes of secreted peptide growth factors, whereas, expression of the more posterior small intestinal marker does not. Endodermal explants devoid of mesoderm express both markers in a regionalized manner. Cortical rotation is required for the expression of the more anterior marker, Xlhbox-8, but not for the small intestinal marker, IFABP. These findings suggest that endodermal patterning is dependent, in part, on the same events and signals known to play important roles in mesodermal development. Furthermore, inhibition of TGF-beta signaling in the endoderm leads to ectopic expression of both mesodermal and ectodermal markers, suggesting the TGF-beta signaling may play a general role in the segregation of the three embryonic germ layers.