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Dev Biol. 1989 Jun;133(2):569-75.

Embryonic salivary gland epithelial branching activity is experimentally independent of epithelial expansion activity.

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Division of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506.


Embryonic mouse submandibular salivary gland rudiments undergo morphogenesis in organ culture, characterized by extensive epithelial growth and expansion and repetitive branching activity. Tunicamycin, at a concentration of 25 ng/ml culture medium, decreases the degree of net protein accumulation by 83% and the degree of epithelial expansion by 70% compared to controls, over a 48-hr culture tenure. These decreases correlate with reduced incorporation of [3H]thymidine into DNA. Nevertheless, epithelial branching activity is uncompromised, undergoing an approximately 10-fold increase in lobe numbers, in both controls and tunicamycin-treated rudiments, during the same 48-hr period. The effect is most striking during the 24- to 48-hr culture interval, when controls and tunicamycin-treated rudiments each triple their lobe numbers and controls approximately double epithelial area, while tunicamycin virtually stops all epithelial expansion.

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