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J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1978 Feb;43:289-313.

Localization and synthesis of alphafoetoprotein in post-implantation mouse embryos.


The localization and synthesis of alphafoetoprotein (AFP) during mouse embryogenesis were studied by immunoperoxidase and by immunoprecipitation after radioactive labelling, using an antiserum prepared against AFP. AFP is first detectable in embryos on the 7th day of gestation (7th day embryos). In 7th and 8th day embryos AFP is confined to visceral (proximal) endoderm cells around the embryonic region of the egg cylinder. Visceral extra-embryonic and parietal (distal) endoderm cells do not contain AFP. By the 9th day of gestation AFP is also present in the extra-embryonic ectoderm, mesoderm and embryonic ectoderm cells around the three cavities of the embryo. These tissues do not synthesize AFP when cultured in isolation, but can adsorb AFP when it is added to the medium. On the 12th day of gestation AFP synthesis is confined to the endoderm layer of the visceral yolk sac. It is concluded that the ability to synthesize AFP is a property which is restricted to the visceral endoderm during early post-implantation development. The presence of AFP in other tissues of the embryo appears to be due to adsorption.

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