Signals that instruct somite and myotome formation persist in Xenopus laevis early tailbud stage embryos.
ABSTRACT Somite formation is a lengthy process that begins at gastrulation and continues through tailbud stages to form approximately 50 pairs of somites in the frog, Xenopus laevis. In Xenopus, the somite primarily gives rise to myotome. We sought to determine whether the formation of somites and myotome requires a transient signal active during gastrulation or a constitutive signal active throughout development to instruct dorsal mesodermal cells to form the posterior somites. Previous work from our lab revealed that cells from the neural ectoderm are capable of responding to mesoderm-inducing signals [Domingo and Keller: Dev Biol 2000;225:226-240]. Thus, to test for the presence of somite-inducing signals, we performed a series of grafting experiments in which we used gastrula cells from the anterior neural ectoderm (ANE). Fluorescently labeled ANE cells were grafted to the posterior paraxial mesoderm of progressively older host embryos between stages 11 (mid gastrula) and 23 (early tailbud). Our results showed that signals within the paraxial mesoderm can instruct prospective ANE cells, which normally give rise to head structures, to instead differentiate into myotome cells. We found that the grafted cells adopted the local paraxial mesoderm cell behaviors, which consists of mediolateral intercalation, segmentation, somite cell rotation, and differentiation to myotome. In addition, we show that the grafted ANE cells that adopt a myotome morphology also express the muscle-specific marker, 12/101. Through a series of heterochronic grafts, we determined that the duration of somite-inducing signals extends from the early gastrula (stage 11) through the early tailbud (stage 23) stage embryos. These results demonstrate that somite induction is not a transient event that occurs during gastrulation, but that it is instead a continuous event that can occur as new somites are added to the posterior axis.
- SourceAvailable from: biologists.org[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We make use of a novel system of explant culture and high resolution video-film recording to analyse for the first time the cell behaviour underlying convergent extension and segmentation in the somitic mesoderm of Xenopus. We find that a sequence of activities sweeps through the somitic mesoderm from anterior to posterior during gastrulation and neurulation, beginning with radial cell intercalation or thinning, continuing with mediolateral intercalation and cell elongation, and culminating in segmentation and somite rotation. Radial intercalation at the posterior tip lengthens the tissue, while mediolateral intercalation farther anterior converges it toward the midline. This extension of the somitic mesoderm helps to elongate the dorsal side of intact neurulae. By separating tissues, we demonstrate that cell rearrangement is independent of the notochord, but radial intercalation - and thus the bulk of extension - requires the presence of an epithelium, either endodermal or ectodermal. Segmentation, on the other hand, can proceed in somitic mesoderm isolated at the end of gastrulation. Finally, we discuss the relationship between cell rearrangement and segmentation.Development 02/1989; 105(1):155-66. · 6.21 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We describe the cloning, cDNA sequence and embryonic expression of a Xenopus homologue of MyoD, a mouse gene encoding a DNA-binding protein that can activate muscle gene expression in cultured cells. The predicted Xenopus MyoD protein sequence is remarkably similar to mouse MyoD. Zygotic expression of MyoD begins in early gastrulae, but there is a low level of unlocalized maternal message. Northern blot analysis of dissected embryos and in situ hybridization show that MyoD RNA is restricted to the gastrula mesoderm and to the somites of neurulae and tailbud embryos. The time and place of MyoD expression are consistent with a role for MyoD in the activation of other muscle genes in the somites of the frog embryo. However, MyoD is skeletal muscle-specific and is not expressed even in the early embryonic heart, which co-expresses cardiac and skeletal actin isoforms. Striated muscle genes can therefore be activated in some embryonic tissues in the absence of MyoD. The concentration of MyoD in the somites falls once they have formed, suggesting that MyoD may act there transiently to establish muscle gene expression. MyoD transcription is activated following mesoderm induction, and is the earliest muscle-specific response to mesoderm-inducing factors so far described.The EMBO Journal 12/1989; 8(11):3409-17. · 9.82 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In this note simple methods for the synthesis of several new fluorescent cell lineage tracers are described. These are fluorescent dextrans with average molecular weights of approximately 11 × 103, and with one or more fluorophore molecules covalently coupled to each dextran chain. These fluorescent dextrans are brighter than commercially obtainable products, and can be microinjected using either air-pressure injection or iontophoresis. They are long-lasting and have a uniform distribution in the cytoplasm of embryonic cells, clearly revealing very fine cell extensions such as cilia, axons, and filipodia. A method is also described for covalently attaching free amino groups to fluorescent dextran to make the tracers cofixable with cellular constituents by aldehyde treatment. Fluorescent dextran-amine tracers allow embryonic cell lineages to be studied in fixed, permeabilized, or sectioned embryos.Developmental Biology 07/1985; · 3.87 Impact Factor