Allocation of epiblast cells to germ layer derivatives during mouse gastrulation as studied with a retroviral vector

Dev Genet. 1995;17(1):29-37. doi: 10.1002/dvg.1020170105.


The embryonic ectoderm, or epiblast, is the source of the three primary germ layers that form during gastrulation in the mouse embryo. Previous studies have investigated the fate of epiblast cells in early gastrulation stages using clonal analysis of cell lineage and in late gastrulation stages using transplantation of labeled grafts. In this study, we studied the fate of late gastrulation stage epiblast using a clonal analysis based on a retroviral vector encoding the Escherichia coli lacZ gene. We found that by reducing the volume of viral suspension injected into each embryo, it was possible to achieve single infectious events. Our analysis of 20 embryos singly infected at the late streak stage and 21 at the head fold stage revealed clonal descendants in only a single germ layer in each embryo. These results indicate that allocation of epiblast progenitors to a single germ layer fate has occurred by late gastrulation in mouse embryos.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Ectoderm / cytology*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Female
  • Gastrula / cytology*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Gestational Age
  • Lac Operon
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Pregnancy
  • Retroviridae / genetics
  • Tissue Distribution