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Genesis October 1, 2012; 50 (10): 728-40.
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Defining progressive stages in the commitment process leading to embryonic lens formation.

Jin H , Fisher M , Grainger RM .

The commitment of regions of the embryo to form particular tissues or organs is a central concept in development, but the mechanisms controlling this process remain elusive. The well-studied model of lens induction is ideal for dissecting key phases of the commitment process. We find in Xenopus tropicalis, at the time of specification of the lens, i.e., when presumptive lens ectoderm (PLE) can be isolated, cultured, and will differentiate into a lens that the PLE is not yet irreversibly committed, or determined, to form a lens. When transplanted into the posterior of a host embryo lens development is prevented at this stage, while ~ 3 h later, using the same assay, determination is complete. Interestingly, we find that specified lens ectoderm, when cultured, acquires the ability to become determined without further tissue interactions. Furthermore, we show that specified PLE has a different gene expression pattern than determined PLE, and that determined PLE can maintain expression of essential regulatory genes (e.g., foxe3, mafB) in an ectopic environment, while specified PLE cannot. These observations set the stage for a detailed mechanistic study of the genes and signals controlling tissue commitment.

PubMed ID: 22566346
PMC ID: PMC3870160
Article link: Genesis
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus tropicalis
Genes referenced: foxe3 maf mafb nrl pax6 sox2 sox3

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Auda-Boucher, Staging of the commitment of murine cardiac cell progenitors. 2000, Pubmed