Development of the left-right axis in amphibians

Ciba Found Symp. 1991;162:165-76; discussion 176-81. doi: 10.1002/9780470514160.ch10.

Abstract

The heart and viscera of vertebrates are formed from primordia that are apparently bilaterally symmetrical. This symmetry is broken during development, yielding organs that develop characteristic asymmetries along the left-right axis. Results from three lines of experimentation on embryos of the amphibian Xenopus laevis indicate that left-right asymmetries are established early in development and that cellular interactions transmit left-right information from one primordium to another. First, a cytoplasmic rearrangement that occurs during the first cell cycle after fertilization may establish left-right asymmetry in some regions of the embryo. Second, a variety of experimental results indicate that embryonic ectoderm or its basal extracellular matrix may transmit left-right axial information to cardiac mesoderm and visceral endoderm. Third, inhibition of proteoglycan synthesis during a narrow period of development, concurrent with the migration of the cardiac primordia to the ventral midline, prevents asymmetrical development of the heart.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amphibians / embryology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Endoderm
  • Gastrula
  • Heart / embryology
  • Mesoderm
  • Morphogenesis*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects