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Int J Dev Biol. 1991 Dec;35(4):407-14.

Dose and time-dependent mesoderm induction and outgrowth formation by activin A in Xenopus laevis.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Yokohama City University, Japan.


We examined the quality of mesoderm induced by the action of activin A on the Xenopus presumptive ectoderm when various concentrations and treatment times were employed. The minimum concentration of activin A to induce mesodermal tissues was inversely proportional to its treatment time. The explants differentiated into different types of mesodermal tissues, from ventral-type to dorsal-type depending on the concentration of activin A and its treatment time. To confirm whether activin A has a role in establishing axial organization, activin A was injected into the blastocoel of late blastulae. About 70% of the injected embryos formed secondary tail-shaped outgrowths in which muscle and neural tube differentiated. The amount of activin A to form secondary outgrowths was 0.5-2.5 pg, roughly consistent with the amount estimated from in vitro experiments. As we have detected almost the same amount of activin homologue in the early embryos (Asashima et al., 1991a), we speculate that activin A may be the natural mesodermal inducer, and that it is responsible for establishing axial organization in the Xenopus embryo.

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