Cell interactions in the sea urchin embryo studied by fluorescence photoablation

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Science  01 Jun 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4959, pp. 1115-1118
DOI: 10.1126/science.2188366


In many organisms, interactions between cells play a critical role in the specification of cell fates. In the sea urchin embryo, primary mesenchyme cells (PMCs) regulate the developmental program of a subpopulation of secondary mesenchyme cells (SMCs). The timing of this cell interaction was analyzed by means of a fluorescence photoablation technique, which was used to specifically ablate PMCs at various stages of development. In addition, the PMCs were microinjected into PMC-depleted recipient embryos at different developmental stages and their effect on SMC fate was examined. The critical interaction between PMCs and SMCs was brief and took place late in gastrulation. Before that time, SMCs were insensitive to the suppressive signals transmitted by the PMCs.

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