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Histochemistry. 1994 Jul;101(6):391-6.

Adult precursor cells in the tail epidermis of Xenopus tadpoles.

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  • 1Department of Biology, School of Dental Medicine, Tsurumi University, Yokohama, Japan.


Polyclonal antibodies were raised against Xenopus larva-specific 58 kDa keratin (PAK58) and adult-specific 63 kDa keratin (PAK63), in order to examine the origin of 63 kDa-keratin-producing cells in the tail skin. By immunofluorescent staining of the tail skin, the 58 kDa keratin was recognized in almost all of the larval epidermal cells, although a small number of PAK58-negative cells were detected at stage 64. In contrast, 63 kDa keratin was immunohistochemically recognized at stage 58, but the signal was very weak. The number of epidermal layers in the tail epidermis increased during a period from stage 58 to stage 64. At stage 64, a small number of PAK63-positive cells was clearly identified in the multilayered tail epidermis. Comparative analysis of successive sections showed that PAK63-positive cells are derived from a cell group differing from PAK58-positive cells. Immunohistochemical studies using cultured epidermal cells demonstrated that 58 kDa keratin is localized in the cytoskeletal bundles of skein cells, whereas 63 kDa keratin is produced not by skein cells but by basal cells and their descendants. These results suggest that basal cells are the adult precursor cells within the larval epidermis even in the tail area.

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