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Dev Biol. 1983 Oct;99(2):382-94.

Cell lineage analysis in ascidian embryos by intracellular injection of a tracer enzyme. I. Up to the eight-cell stage.


Cell lineages during development of ascidian embryos were analyzed by injection of horseradish peroxidase as a tracer enzyme into identified cells at the one-, two-, four-, and eight-cell stages of the ascidians, Halocynthia roretzi, Ciona intestinalis, and Ascidia ahodori. Identical results were obtained with eggs of the three different species examined. The first cleavage furrow coincided with the bilateral symmetry plane of the embryo. The second furrow did not always divided the embryo into anterior and posterior halves as each of the anterior and posterior cell pairs gave rise to different tissues according to their destinies, which became more definitive in the cell pairs at the eight-cell stage. Of the blastomeres constituting the eight-cell stage embryo, the a4.2 pair (the anterior animal blastomeres) differentiated into epidermis, brain, and presumably sense organ and palps. Every descendant cell of the b4.2 pair (the posterior animal blastomeres) has been thought to become epidermis; however, the horseradish peroxidase injection probe revealed that the b4.2 pair gave rise to not only epidermis but also muscle cells at the caudal tip region of the developing tailbud-stage embryos. The A4.1 pair (the anterior vegetal blastomeres) developed into endoderm, notochord, brain stem, spinal cord, and also muscle cells next the caudal tip muscle cells. From the B4.1 pair (the posterior vegetal blastomeres) originated muscle cells of the anterior and middle parts of the tail, mesenchyme, endoderm, endodermal strand, and also notochord at the caudal tip region. These results clearly demonstrate that muscle cells are derived not only from the B4.1 pair, as has hitherto been believed, but also from both the b4.2 and A4.1 pairs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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