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Dev Growth Differ. 1999 Aug;41(4):391-400.

Endoderm differentiation and inductive effect of activin-treated ectoderm in Xenopus.

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Department of Life Science (Biology), The University of Tokyo, Meguro, Japan.


When presumptive ectoderm is treated with high concentrations of activin A, it mainly differentiates into axial mesoderm (notochord, muscle) in Xenopus and into yolk-rich endodermal cells in newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster). Xenopus ectoderm consists of multiple layers, different from the single layer of Cynops ectoderm. This multilayer structure of Xenopus ectoderm may prevent complete treatment of activin A and subsequent whole differentiation into endoderm. In the present study, therefore, Xenopus ectoderm was separated into an outer layer and an inner layer, which were individually treated with a high concentration of activin A (100 ng/mL). Then the differentiation and inductive activity of these ectodermal cells were examined in explantation and transplantation experiments. In isolation culture, ectoderm treated with activin A formed endoderm. Ectodermal and mesodermal tissues were seldom found in these explants. The activin-treated ectoderm induced axial mesoderm and neural tissues, and differentiated into endoderm when it was sandwiched between two sheets of ectoderm or was transplanted into the ventral marginal zone of other blastulae. These findings suggest that Xenopus ectoderm treated with a high concentration of activin A forms endoderm and mimics the properties of the organizer as in Cynops.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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