Int. J. Dev. Biol. 38: 709 - 716 (1994)
© UPV/EHU Press

The emergence of an adult muscle phenotype in urodelan amphibians: an immunohistochemical study.

A M Salles-Mourlan, M Guyot-Lenfant, A Saadi, C L Gallien and G Butler-Browne

Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement, URA 1188, CNRS, Université René Descartes, Paris, France.

ABSTRACT Electrophoretic techniques adapted for the analysis of muscles of lower invertebrates reveal four myosin heavy chain isoforms in the dorsalis trunci of Pleurodeles waltlii: two fast (MHC-IIA, MHC-IIB), and one slow (MHC-I) in the adult and one isoform (MHC-La) in the larvae. Polyclonal antibodies were prepared against the larval (anti-MHC-La) and one of the fast myosin (MHC-IIA) isoforms and their specificity was confirmed by western blot analysis. An immunohistochemical analysis was then carried out on frozen sections of the dorsalis trunci of P. waltlii at different stages of development. From stage 44 it was possible to demonstrate the presence of MHC-IIA in the small diameter fibers at the periphery of the muscle; the number and diameter of these fibers increased from stage 44 to stage 56 when anatomical metamorphosis had finished. By stage 56 these fibers could also be readily identified using standard histochemical techniques as type IIA fibers. We conclude that fast IIA myosin is expressed well before the final adult muscle phenotype has been established and its expression is therefore independent of thyroid hormone.