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Free Content Sequential gene expression during pronephric tubule formation in vitro in Xenopus ectoderm

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The kidney has been used as a model organ to analyze organogenesis. In in vitro experiments using Xenopus blastula ectoderm, the development of pronephric tubules (the prototype of the kidney) may be induced by treatment with activin A and retinoic acid (RA). The present study examined whether pronephric tubules induced in ectodermal explants exhibited similar characteristics to those of normal embryos at the molecular level. The experimental conditions required for high frequency induction (100%) of pronephric tubule formation from presumptive ectoderm without the development of muscle and notochord were determined. The developmental expression of the pronephros marker genes Xlim-1 and Xlcaax-1 was examined in induced pronephric tubules. After treatment with 10 ng/mL activin A and 10−4 mol/L RA, only pronephric tubules were induced at a high frequency. Induced pronephric tubules showed the same timing and patterns of expression for the marker genes Xlim-1 and Xlcaax-1 as normal embryos. These results suggest that the in vitro development of pronephric tubules induced in the presumptive ectoderm by activin A and RA parallels normal development at the molecular level.

Keywords: Xenopus laevis; activin A; kidney; mesoderm induction; retinoic acid

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Life Sciences (Biology), The University of Tokyo, 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153, Japan.

Publication date: 1996-12-01

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