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Development. 2002 Aug;129(16):3873-85.

Persistent myogenic capacity of the dermomyotome dorsomedial lip and restriction of myogenic competence.

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Department of Anatomy and Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


The dorsomedial lip (DML) of the somite dermomyotome is the source of cells for the early growth and morphogenesis of the epaxial primary myotome and the overlying dermomyotome epithelium. We have used quail-chick transplantation to investigate the mechanistic basis for DML activity. The ablated DML of chick wing-level somites was replaced with tissue fragments from various mesoderm regions of quail embryos and their capacity to form myotomal tissue assessed by confocal microscopy. Transplanted fragments from the epithelial sheet region of the dermomyotome exhibited full DML growth and morphogenetic capacity. Ventral somite fragments (sclerotome), head paraxial mesoderm or non-paraxial (lateral plate) mesoderm tested in this assay were each able to expand mitotically in concert with the surrounding paraxial mesoderm, although no myogenic potential was evident. When ablated DMLs were replaced with fragments of the dermomyotome ventrolateral lip of wing-level somites or pre-somitic mesoderm (segmental plate), myotome development was evident but was delayed or otherwise limited in some cases. Timed DML ablation-replacement experiments demonstrate that DML activity is progressive throughout the embryonic period (to at least E7) and its continued presence is necessary for the complete patterning of each myotome segment. The results of serial transplantation and BrdU pulse-chase experiments are most consistent with the conclusion that the DML consists of a self-renewing population of progenitor cells that are the primary source of cells driving the growth and morphogenesis of the myotome and dermomyotome in the epaxial domain of the body.

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