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INTRODUCTION Following a series of rapid cell divisions, the amphibian

Following a series of rapid cell divisions, the amphibian
embryo increases in complexity by a number of cell-cell
interactions or inductions. The first known induction leads
to the formation and patterning of the mesoderm in the
equatorial region of the embryo at the blastula and gastrula
stages (reviewed by Nieuwkoop, 1973). Although the
behavior of signalling and responding cells was well-estab-
lished over 60 years ago (reviewed by Hamburger, 1988),
the molecular nature of the signals responsible for this
induction has only recently been discovered. Several mem-
bers of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family and the
transforming growth factor- (TGF-) family are now
implicated in this process (reviewed by Kimelman et al.,
1992). Members of both families induce mesoderm in
epithelial cells of animal cap blastomeres of Xenopus
embryos (Kimelman and Kirschner, 1987; Rosa et al., 1988;
Smith et al., 1990; Thomsen et al., 1990). The mRNAs that
encode members of the FGF family (bFGF and XeFGF)
and the TGF- family (Vg1, Activin B, and BMP-4) are


Source: Amaya, Enrique - Healing Foundation Centre & Developmental Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester


Collections: Biology and Medicine