Endophyll orients and organizes the early head region of the avian embryo

Eur J Morphol. 1999 Feb;37(1):37-52. doi: 10.1076/ejom.


By placing endophyll on the caudal area marginalis situated behind Rauber's sickle of avian unincubated blastoderms, we observed after using the quail-chick chimera system and culture the development of a (pre)neural plate or a miniature embryo, head-oriented towards this endophyll. A Rauber's sickle fragment placed in the same conditions gives no reaction. If we place endophyll close to Hensen's node (stage 4 Vakaet, 1962) on an isolated anti-sickle region of an avian unincubated blastoderm in vitro, a similar endophyll-oriented development takes place after culture. Under the same conditions, but in the absence of endophyll, a Hensen's node provokes a thickening of the upper layer in the immediate neighbourhood, eventually with formation of a neural axis, oriented according to the original caudocranial direction of the graft. Our study indicates that avian endophyll (from unincubated blastoderms) can induce in the upper layer a (pre)neural plate, with or without neural folds. By interaction with sickle endoblast coming from Rauber's sickle (the early gastrulation organizer: Callebaut and Van Nueten, 1994), or from Hensen's node (a later avian organizer: Waddington, 1932), it can orient or re-orient the head region and the caudocranial direction of an induced miniature embryo. The conclusions from our embryological experiments are in agreement with the results obtained by recent molecular biology studies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Birds / embryology*
  • Chick Embryo / physiology
  • Chimera
  • Coturnix / embryology
  • Head / embryology*