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Development 1992 Aug 01;1154:1165-73.
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Ventrolateral regionalization of Xenopus laevis mesoderm is characterized by the expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin.

Saint-Jeannet JP , Levi G , Girault JM , Koteliansky V , Thiery JP .

Mesodermal patterning in the amphibian embryo has been extensively studied in its dorsal aspects, whereas little is known regarding its ventrolateral regionalization due to a lack of specific molecular markers for derivatives of this type of mesoderm. Since smooth muscles (SM) are thought to arise from lateral plate mesoderm, we have analyzed the expression of an alpha-actin isoform specific for SM with regard to mesoderm patterning. Using an antibody directed against alpha-SM actin that recognized specifically this actin isoform in Xenopus, we have found that the expression of alpha-SM actin is restricted to visceral and vascular SM with a transient expression in the heart. The overall expression of the alpha-SM actin appears restricted to the ventral aspects of the differentiating embryo. alpha-SM actin expression appears to be activated following mesoderm induction in animal cap derivatives. Moreover, at the gastrula stage, SM precursor cells are regionalized since they will only differentiate from ventrolateral marginal zone explants. Using the animal cap assay, we have found that alpha-SM actin expression is specifically induced in treated animal cap with bFGF or a low concentration of XTC-MIF, which induce ventral structures, but not with a high concentration of XTC-MIF, which induces dorsal structures. Altogether, these results establish that alpha-SM actin is a reliable marker for ventrolateral mesoderm. We discuss the importance of this novel marker in studying mesoderm regionalization.

PubMed ID: 1451663

Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: acta2 acta4 actc1 actl6a amh fgf2 mif
Antibodies: Acta2 Ab1

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