Int. J. Dev. Biol. 46: 793 - 800 (2002)
© UPV/EHU Press

Establishment of the organizing activity of the lower endodermal half of the dorsal marginal zone is a primary and necessary event for dorsal axis formation in Cynops pyrrhogaster.

Koji Sakaguchi, Teruo Kaneda, Miwako Matsumoto, Hiroshi Imoh and Akio S Suzuki

Department of Environmental Science, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kumamoto University, Japan.

ABSTRACT The formation of the head and trunk-tail organizers in the dorsal marginal zone (DMZ) of an amphibian embryo is thought to require spatial and temporal interactions between the Nieuwkoop center and the DMZ. Recent studies of the Xenopus embryo suggested that intra-DMZ interaction is also needed to establish the regional specificity of the DMZ. However, it is not yet clarified when and how the final pattern of the head and trunk-tail organizers is established. To analyze the intra-DMZ interactions, we injected suramin into the blastocoel of the mid-blastula of the urodele, Cynops pyrrhogaster, at 6 h prior to the onset of gastrulation. The pigmented blastopore formed normally, but the convergent extension and involution of the DMZ and dorsal axis formation of the embryo were completely inhibited. Expression of gsc, chd and Lim-1 were not maintained, but noggin was unaffected in the suramin-treated embryos. Dorsal axis formation and the expression of these genes of the suramin-treated embryos were rescued by replacing the lower endodermal half of the DMZ (LDMZ) with normal LDMZ. The present results of embryological and molecular examinations indicate that organizing activity of the early Cynops gastrula DMZ is restricted to the LDMZ, and that the organizing activity of the LDMZ is established during the late blastula stages. The results also indicate that LDMZ triggers the sequential interaction within the DMZ that establishes the final pattern of the regional specificity of the DMZ, and that the formation of the LDMZ is a primary and necessary event for dorsal axis formation.