The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 43: 329 - 334 (1999)

Vol 43, Issue 4

Evidence that platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) action is required for mesoderm patterning in early amphibian (Xenopus laevis) embryogenesis

Published: 1 July 1999

J S Ghil and H M Chung

Department of Biology Education, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea.


Mesoderm induction is one of the major events of early vertebrate embryonic patterning. It appears to be controlled by sequential and combinatorial actions of several kinds of peptide growth factors. These include activin, fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), among others. In the present study, the function of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) in early Xenopus laevis embryogenesis was investigated. In the animal-cap assay, PDGF caused pre-ectodermal tissue to develop a mesoderm specific morphology (elongation) and to express the mesoderm marker genes, MyoD family and alpha-cardiac actin. In addition, two other genes were expressed -related serum response factor SL1 (a dorsal mesodermal marker) and myosin light chain (MLC2-heart marker). A role for PDGF in normal (in vivo) mesoderm induction is implicated because injection of PDGF receptor alpha antisense RNA into 2-cell embryos erased the animal cap's mesoderm marker expression. Those injected embryos also exhibited morphological abnormalities including incomplete gastrulation, failure of neural fold closing, and abnormal somitogenesis.

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