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Induction of a second neural axis by the mouse node


, : Induction of a second neural axis by the mouse node. Development 120(3): 613-620

The anterior aspect of the mouse primitive streak resembles the organizer of Xenopus and chick in terms of its developmental fate, ability to alter pattern in the chick limb bud and with respect to the repertoire of genes that its constituent cells express. However, until now there has been no direct evidence that the mouse node organizes pattern during gastrulation, nor that the exceptionally small mouse embryonic egg cylinder can be induced to form a second axis. Grafts of transgenically marked midgastrulation mouse node, or node labelled with DiI, to a posterolateral location in a host embryo of the same developmental stage results in the induction of a second neural axis and the formation of ectopic somites. The graft gives rise predominantly to notochord and endoderm tissue whereas the neuroectoderm and somites are mainly of host origin. The ectopic notochord formed is derived solely from the donor node which suggests that the node can serve as a 'stem cell' source of axial mesoderm. This is corroborated by the observation that labelling in situ the population of cells on the outer surface of the mid-gastrulation node with DiI results in continuous labelling of the notochord. DiI-labelled cells are present throughout the notochord from a rostral boundary in the cranial region to its most caudal extreme and the node itself always remains labelled.

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PMID: 8162859


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