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Dev Biol. 1984 Jul;104(1):65-85.

Embryonic origins of cells in the leech Helobdella triserialis.


To ascertain the embryonic origins of the cells in various tissues of the leech Helobdella triserialis, horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was injected as a cell lineage tracer into all identified blastomeres of the early embryo in turn, except for a few of the micromeres, and the resulting distribution of HRP-labeled cells was then examined in the late embryo. In this way it was found that in every body segment a topographically characteristic set of neurons in the ganglion and body wall and a characteristic territory of the epidermis is derived from each of the four paired ectodermal teloblasts N, O/P, O/P, and Q, whereas the muscles, nephridia, and connective tissue, as well as a few presumptive neurons in each segmental ganglion, are derived from the paired mesodermal teloblast, M. Each topographically characteristic, segmentally iterated set of neurons descended from a given teloblast is designated as a kinship group. However, the prostomial (nonsegmental) epidermis and the neurons of the supraesophageal ganglion were found to be derived from the a, b, c, and d micromere quartet to which the A, B, C, and D blastomeres give rise at the dorsal pole of the embryo. The superficial epithelium of the provisional integument, which covers the surface of the embryo midway through development and is sloughed off at the time of body closure, was found to be derived from the a, b, c, and d micromere quartet, as well as from other micromeres produced in the course of teloblast formation. The contractile fibers of the provisional integument were found to be derived from the paired M teloblast. These results demonstrate that development of the leech embryo proceeds according to a highly stereotyped pattern, in the sense that a particular identifiable blastomere of the early embryo regularly gives rise to a particular set of cells of the adult (or provisional embryonic) tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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