• germ line cells;
  • immunoblotting;
  • immunocytology;
  • somatic cells;
  • Xenopus vasa homolog

In order to know when the protein of Xenopus vasa homolog (Xenopus vasa-like gene 1, XVLG1) first appears in germ line cells and whether the protein is also present in somatic cells as is vasa protein in Drosophila, the spatio-temporal distribution of the protein in Xenopus embryos was carefully investigated by fluorescent microscopy. Part of the observation was performed by whole-mount immunocytochemistry and immunoblotting. A distinct fluorescence of XVLG1 protein was first recognized in a juxta-nuclear location of germ line cells or presumptive primordial germ cells (pPGC) at stage 12 (late gastrula) and remained associated with the pPGC or primordial germ cells (PGC) throughout the following stages until stage 46 (feeding tadpole). In contrast, weak fluorescence was seen in the animal hemisphere rather than in the vegetal hemisphere of cleaving embryos and in the perinuclear region of somatic cells at stages 10–42 (early gastrula to young tadpole), respectively. Nearly the same pattern as revealed by fluorescence was seen by whole-mount immunocytochemistry, except that a small amount of XVLG1 protein seemed to be present in the germ plasm and pPGC of embryos earlier than stage 12. The presence of the protein in the somatic cells and the PGC was also shown by immunoblotting.