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Dev Biol. 1991 Sep;147(1):73-82.

Homeogenetic neural induction in Xenopus.

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Department of Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22901.


Neural induction is known to involve an interaction of ectoderm with dorsal mesoderm during gastrulation, but several kinds of studies have argued that competent ectoderm can also be neutralized via an interaction with previously neuralized tissue, a process termed homeogenetic neural induction. Although homeogenetic neural induction has been proposed to play an important role in the normal induction of neural tissue, this process has not been subjected to detailed study using tissue recombinants and molecular markers. We have examined the question of homeogenetic neural induction in Xenopus embryos, both in transplant and recombinant experiments, using the expression of two neural antigens to assay the response. When ectoderm that is competent to be neuralized is transplanted to the region adjacent to the neural plate of early neurula embryos, it forms neural tissue, as assayed by staining with antibodies against the neural cell adhesion molecule, N-CAM. Transplants to the ventral region, far from the neural plate, do not express N-CAM, indicating that neuralization is not occurring as a result of the transplantation procedure itself. Because this response might be occurring as a result of interactions of ectoderm with either adjacent neural plate tissue, or with underlying dorsolateral mesoderm, recombinant experiments were performed to determine the source of the neuralizing signal. Ectoderm cultured in combination with neural plate tissue alone expresses neural markers, while ectoderm cultured in combination with dorsolateral mesoderm does not. We conclude that neural tissue can homeogenetically induce competent ectoderm to form neural tissue and argue that this induction occurs via planar signaling within the ectoderm, a mechanism that, in normal development, may be involved in interactions within presumptive neural ectoderm or in specifying structures that lie near the neural plate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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