The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 37: 615 - 618 (1993)

Vol 37, Issue 4

An appraisal of the developmental importance of polyamine changes in early Xenopus embryos

Published: 30 November -0001

H B Osborne, P Cormier, O Lorillon, D Maniey and R Bellé

Département de Biologie et Génétique du Développement, URA CNRS 256, Université de Rennes I, France.


The biological importance of the various changes in polyamine metabolism that occur during early Xenopus development have been investigated. Incubation of embryos in high salt medium was observed to cause a precocious fall in ornithine decarboxylase activity without affecting development. Similarly, inhibiting ornithine decarboxylase activity with specific inhibitors did not affect development. Injecting spermidine, within physiologically relevant limits, caused a dose-dependent inhibition of mitotic divisions in the injected blastomere. Increasing the intracellular putrescine did not affect cell division or development. Co-injection of both spermidine and putrescine, so that the original molar ratio of these two polyamines was conserved, abrogated the inhibition of cell division observed when spermidine was injected alone. Therefore, in Xenopus embryos the intracellular spermidine concentration must be retained within certain limits relative to that of putrescine to allow normal development.

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