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Dev Biol. 1984 Feb;101(2):318-25.

Cell interactions in the developing epidermis of the leech Helobdella triserialis.


In embryonic development of the leech Helobdella triserialis, each of the four paired ectodermal teloblasts contributes some progeny to a characteristic dorsal or ventral territory of the epidermis. To ascertain the relative roles of cell lineage and cell interactions in generating the highly regular epidermal distribution pattern of the various ectodermal cell lines, a series of experiments was carried out in which the ablation of particular teloblasts was combined with the intracellular injection of cell lineage tracers. The results showed that, after the ablation of an OP proteloblast, or of an O, P, or Q teloblast, the epidermal progeny of the remaining ipsilateral and contralateral teloblasts spread into the territory normally occupied by the epidermal progeny of the ablated teloblast. In this spreading process, cells may cross the ventral midline but not the dorsal midline. The spread of epidermal progeny of one teloblast in response to ablation of another teloblast is contrasted with the failure of the neuronal progeny of one teloblast to replace any missing neural tissue. It appears, therefore, that all epidermal cell lines are of equal developmental potential, regardless of their teloblast of origin, with the eventual location of any epidermal cell in the body wall being governed by interactions between cells within the developing epidermis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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