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Cell. 1986 Jan 31;44(2):345-55.

Development of the ectoderm in Xenopus: tissue specification and the role of cell association and division.


When do ectodermal cells become specified to form epidermis, that is, become committed to form epidermis when isolated? Animal pole explants of Xenopus cultured in saline from the 8-cell stage onwards express a specific epidermal antigen, whereas vegetal explants do not. The isolated outer layer of ectoderm formed by stage 7 is almost completely specified, the inner layer is only partially so. When are cell associations and cell divisions necessary for epidermal differentiation? Embryos that were either disaggregated or incubated in cytochalasin B after the midblastula stage do not require cell interactions, Ca2+, or cell divisions for epidermal differentiation to occur. Inhibition of mRNA transcription with actinomycin D shows that the epidermal antigen is certainly transcribed by the late gastrula stage (stage 12).

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