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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Dec 20;91(26):12639-43.

Increased internal Ca2+ mediates neural induction in the amphibian embryo.

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  • 1Centre de Biologie du Développement, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.


The molecular mechanism of neural induction is still unknown and the identity of the natural inducer remains elusive. It has been suggested that both the protein kinase C and cAMP signal transduction pathways may be involved in mediating its action. Here we provide evidence that Ca2+ is implicated in the process of transduction of the neuralizing signal. We find that an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration [Ca2+]i occurs during neural induction provoked in vitro by the lectin Con A in Pleurodeles waltl embryo. We demonstrate that specific L-type Ca2+ channel agonists also trigger neural induction. Conversely, noninducing lectins do not raise [Ca2+]i. Ryanodine and caffeine trigger neural induction. An increase in [Ca2+]i was also observed after treatment with the phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, which has been reported to be inductive. The [Ca2+]i increase triggered by phorbol ester and Con A was abolished by staurosporine and by L-type Ca2+ channel antagonists. Our findings demonstrate that the [Ca2+]i increase occurs via L-type Ca2+ channels. We suggest an amplification of this increase by a Ca(2+)-induced Ca2+ release mechanism which involves intracellular ryanodine-sensitive stores. We propose that Ca(2+)-dependent processes controlled by protein kinase C are implicated in the regulation of gene expression in response to neural induction.

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