Surface mesoderm in Xenopus: a revision of the stage 10 fate map
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We have used two complementary cell labeling techniques to investigate dorsal mesoderm formation in Xenopus laevis and Hymenochirus boettgeri. Epithelial grafts from fluorescently labeled donors into unlabeled hosts demonstrate that in Xenopus, as previously shown for Hymenochirus, superficial cells of the dorsal marginal zone have the ability to invade the notochord and somite and participate in their normal morphogenesis, in a stage-specific and region-specific manner. A new method for superficial fate mapping using cell surface biotinylation confirms this result for Hymenochirus and demonstrates that in Xenopus as well, even in normal development in the absence of surgical disruption, notochord and the most posterior somitic mesoderm originate partly in the superficial epithelial layer. This finding is contrary to the widespread belief that Xenopus mesoderm originates solely in the deep mesenchymal layer. In Xenopus (but not in Hymenochirus), the amount of superficial contribution to mesoderm varies, such that in some spawnings it appears not to be present, while in others it is evident in all or most embryos.
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