Visualization of the initiation and sequential expansion of the metamorphic conversion of anuran larval skin into the precursor of adult type

Authors

  • Tomoko Tamakoshi,

    1. Department of Biological Science, Hiroshima University, 1-3-1, Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima 739.
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  • Ken Oofusa,

    1. Department of Biological Science, Hiroshima University, 1-3-1, Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima 739.
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  • Katsutoshi Yoshizato

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biological Science, Hiroshima University, 1-3-1, Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima 739.
    2. Laboratory for Amphibian Biology, Faculty of Science, Hiroshima University, 1-3-1, Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima 739.
    3. Yoshizato MorphoMatrix Project, Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology, Japan Science and Technology Corporation, Hiroshima Techno-Plaza, 3-13-26, Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima 739, Japan.
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* Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.

Abstract

A tadpole of bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana, is originally covered with the larval skin over its entire body. Drastic changes arise in both the epidermis and the subcutaneous connective tissue at an early developmental stage, producing the precursor of adult type skin (pre-adult skin). It was found that calcium is a useful probe to detect the region where the precursor formation has occurred because its deposition in the upper part of subcutaneous collagen bundles coincides with the appearance of the pre-adult skin. Whole-mount in situ staining of tadpoles with alizarin red S revealed the initiation site of the premetamorphic transformation of the larval skin into the adult precursor and its ensuing region-dependent expansion. The pre-adult skin first emerged at TK II to III (TK, Taylor and Kollros staging) t lateral sides of the body, which led us to postulate that ‘the center for premetamorphic skin transformation’ is formed at the specific site in this region. This center moved dorsally and then ventrally, then reached to the most proximal region of the tail, yielding a unique sequential conversion pattern by around TK V when the conversion was completed in the trunk. The present study also visualized the process of the hindlimb skin transformation.

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