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Dev Biol. 2000 Feb 15;218(2):125-36.

Plasticity of retrovirus-labelled myotubes in the newt limb regeneration blastema.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.


Two important indices of myogenic differentiation are the formation of syncytial myotubes and the postmitotic arrest from the cell cycle, both of which occur after fusion of mononucleate cells. We show here that these indices are reversed in the environment of the urodele limb regeneration blastema. In order to introduce an integrated (genetic) marker into newt myotubes, we infected mononucleate cells in culture with a pseudotyped retrovirus expressing human placental alkaline phosphatase (AP). After fusion the myotubes expressed AP and could be purified by sieving and micromanipulation so as to remove all mononucleate cells. When such purified retrovirus-labelled myotubes were implanted into a limb blastema they gave rise to mononucleate progeny with high efficiency. Purified myotubes labelled with fluorescent lipophilic cell tracker dye also gave rise to mononucleate cells; myotubes which were double labelled with the tracker dye and a nuclear stain gave rise to double-labelled mononucleate progeny. Nuclei within retrovirus-labelled myotubes entered S phase as evidenced by widespread labelling after injection of implanted newts with BrdU. The relation between the two aspects of plasticity is a critical further question.

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