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XB-ART-60576
J Morphol 2024 Feb 01;2852:e21664. doi: 10.1002/jmor.21664.
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Epichordal vertebral column formation in Xenopus laevis.

Takahashi Y , Wakabayashi R , Kitajima S , Uchiyama H .


Abstract
Although Xenopus Laevis is the most widely used model amphibian, skeletal development of its vertebral column has not been well illustrated so far. The mode of vertebral column development in anurans has been classified into two modes: perichordal and epichordal. Xenopus vertebral column formation is believed to follow the epichordal mode, but this aspect has been underemphasized, and illustrative examples are currently unavailable to the scientific community. This study documents the entire process of vertebral column formation in X. laevis, from the initial neural arch formation to the completion of metamorphosis. These images reveal that the neural arch arises from the dorsal lamina and lateral pedicle primordia, with no strict adherence to an anteroposterior sequence. Unlike other species, Xenopus centrum primordia exclusively form at the expanded ventral margins of neural arches, rather than from the cartilaginous layer surrounding the notochord. These paired centrum primordia then fuse at the ventral midline, dorsal to the notochord, and subsequently the notochord degenerates. This mode of centrum formation differs from the traditional epichordal mode, indicating that Xenopus might have lost the ability to form a cartilaginous layer around the notochord. Instead, the neural arch's ventral margin appears to have evolved to incorporate centrum precursor cells at its base, thereby forming a centrum-like structure compensating for the absence of a true centrum. It is widely accepted that postsacral vertebrae lack centra, only possessing neural arches, and eventually fuse with the hypochord to form the urostyle. However, we have shown that the paired ventral ends of the postsacral vertebrae also fuse at the midline to form a centrum-like structure. This process might extend to the trunk region during centrum formation. In addition to these findings, we offer evolutionary insights into the reasons why Xenopus retains centrum primordia at the base of neural arches.

PubMed ID: 38361270
Article link: J Morphol


Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: fubp1
GO keywords: embryo development


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