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Asymmetries in Cell Division, Cell Size, and Furrowing in the Xenopus laevis Embryo

  • Jean-Pierre TassanEmail author
  • Martin Wühr
  • Guillaume Hatte
  • Jacek Kubiak
Chapter
Part of the Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation book series (RESULTS, volume 61)

Abstract

Asymmetric cell divisions produce two daughter cells with distinct fate. During embryogenesis, this mechanism is fundamental to build tissues and organs because it generates cell diversity. In adults, it remains crucial to maintain stem cells. The enthusiasm for asymmetric cell division is not only motivated by the beauty of the mechanism and the fundamental questions it raises, but has also very pragmatic reasons. Indeed, misregulation of asymmetric cell divisions is believed to have dramatic consequences potentially leading to pathogenesis such as cancers. In diverse model organisms, asymmetric cell divisions result in two daughter cells, which differ not only by their fate but also in size. This is the case for the early Xenopus laevis embryo, in which the two first embryonic divisions are perpendicular to each other and generate two pairs of blastomeres, which usually differ in size: one pair of blastomeres is smaller than the other. Small blastomeres will produce embryonic dorsal structures, whereas the larger pair will evolve into ventral structures. Here, we present a speculative model on the origin of the asymmetry of this cell division in the Xenopus embryo. We also discuss the apparently coincident asymmetric distribution of cell fate determinants and cell-size asymmetry of the 4-cell stage embryo. Finally, we discuss the asymmetric furrowing during epithelial cell cytokinesis occurring later during Xenopus laevis embryo development.

Keywords

Xenopus Embryo Asymmetric Cell Division Division Plane Cleavage Furrow Vegetal Pole 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Michael V. Danilchik (Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, OR, USA) and Malgorzata Kloc (the Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston TX, USA) for helpful discussion and comments on the manuscript. We also thank the Microscopy Rennes Imaging Center (MRic, BIOSIT, IBiSA). Work in our lab was supported by le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and l’Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR, KinBioFRET). G.H. was supported by the MENESR and partly by a grant from the Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer. MW was supported by Princeton University start-up funding.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Pierre Tassan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Martin Wühr
    • 3
  • Guillaume Hatte
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jacek Kubiak
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.RennesFrance
  2. 2.Université de Rennes 1, Institut de Génétique et Développement de RennesRennesFrance
  3. 3.Department of Molecular Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative GenomicsPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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