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Dev Genet 1997;20(2):145-51

Expression pattern of an axolotl floor plate-specific fork head gene reflects early developmental differences between frogs and salamanders.

Whiteley M, Mathers PH, Jamrich M


Gastrulation is one of the most important stages of animal development and, as such, tends to be remarkably conserved. Therefore it is interesting to see that the two amphibian species, Xenopus laevis (frog) and Ambystoma mexicanum (axolotl), are different in the arrangement of cell types just before and during gastrulation. In Xenopus, the cells that will form dorsal mesoderm are located deep in the dorsal marginal zone, while in the axolotl, these are on the surface of the embryo. In this study we investigated whether homologous genes known to be involved in the formation of dorsal structures show a different pattern of expression in these two species. For this purpose, we isolated a fork head gene (AxFKH 1) from the axolotl, which is likely to be the homologue of the Xenopus fork head gene, XFKH 1 (Pintallavis, XFD-1). We find that AxFKH 1 and XFH 1 have a similar pattern of expression, but there are some important differences. In early gastrulae, transcripts are detected in the organizer region of both species. In late gastrulae, the transcripts in Xenopus are located in both the superficial and deep layers, but they are only found in the superficial layer of axolotl embryos. During neurulation, XFKH 1 is expressed in notochord and neural floor plate, whereas AxFKH 1 is expressed in the neural floor plate only. We propose that the differences in expression pattern of these two genes are due to a difference in formation of dorsal structures between these two species. Furthermore, the expression pattern of these two genes early in gastrulation is consistent with the idea that at least some of the neural floor plate cells are already determined at this time.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #9144925 DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6408(1997)20:2<145::AID-DVG7>3.0.CO;2-7
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2012-12-26