Research Articles

Conversion of Ectoderm to Mesoderm by Cytoplasmic Extrusion in Leech Embryos

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Science  12 Jul 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5018, pp. 435-438
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5018.435


The role of cytoplasmic domains in the determination of the fates of ectodermal and mesodermal cells has been investigated in leech embryos. When yolk-deficient cytoplasm (teloplasm) was extruded from the animal pole of the zygote, the ectodermal precursor blastomere was converted to a mesodermal fate. This change of fate can be prevented by replacement of the extruded animal teloplasm with teloplasm from the vegetal pole. The fate of the mesodermal precursor blastomere was unaffected by teloplasm extrusion or rearrangement. These results demonstrate that ectodermal and mesodermal determination offate involves a binary decision dependent on the position of teloplasm along the animal-vegetal axis.

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