The fate of isolated blastomeres with respect to germ cell formation in the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis

Dev Biol. 2005 Jan 15;277(2):387-402. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2004.09.030.


Germ cells may be specified through the localization of germ line determinants to specific cells in early embryogenesis, or by inductive signals from neighboring cells to germ cell precursors in later embryogenesis. Such determinants can be produced and localized during or after oogenesis, either autonomously by oocytes or by associated nutritive cells. In Drosophila, each oocyte is connected to nurse cells by cytoplasmic bridges, and determinants synthesized in nurse cells are transported through these bridges to the oocyte. However, the Drosophila model may not be applicable to all arthropods, since in many species of all four extant arthropod classes, gametogenesis functions without nurse cells. In this paper, I use immunodetection of Vasa protein to study germ cell development in the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis, a species whose ovaries lack nurse cells and whose eggs lack obvious polarity. Previous cell lineage analyses have shown that all three germ layers and the germ line are exclusively specified by third cleavage. In the present study, I use a molecular marker to follow germ cell development during P. hawaiensis embryogenesis. I determine the capacity of individual blastomeres to form germ cells by isolating blastomeres at early cleavage stages and provide experimental evidence for localized germ cell determinants at the two-cell stage in P. hawaiensis. These experiments indicate that many aspects of early amphipod development, including timing and symmetry of cell division, the transition from holoblastic to superficial cleavage, and possibly some gastrulation movements, are cell autonomous following first cleavage.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amphipoda / embryology*
  • Animals
  • Blastomeres / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Fluorescence
  • Germ Cells / cytology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy
  • RNA Helicases / metabolism*


  • RNA Helicases