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Dev Dyn. 2004 Mar;229(3):600-6.

Ventral tail bud mesenchyme is a signaling center for tail paraxial mesoderm induction.

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Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, NCI, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


A large body of evidence from several systems indicates that formation of the vertebrate tail is morphogenetically continuous with gastrulation, including neural inducing activity in descendants of the gastrula organizer. However, the signaling centers and molecular events regulating tail mesoderm induction and its organized elongation remain poorly defined. In mammals, the ventral ectoderm ridge (VER) is essential to maintain ongoing formation of paraxial mesoderm and somitogenesis in cultures of intact tail. Avian tail buds contain a similar VER structure. Here, we report that the chick ventral tail bud operates as a signaling center for paraxial mesoderm induction. By using "organizer" style grafting assays to early host embryos, we found that ventral tail bud was able to induce elongated paraxial mesodermal extensions and that the ventral tail bud mesenchyme underlying the VER is both necessary and sufficient for the induction in this assay system. Our observations combined with those of others suggest that interplay between several different signaling centers in the amniote tail bud regulates the coordinate induction and elongation of axial and paraxial structures in the developing tail.

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