Use of Hybrids between Xenopus laevis and Xenopus borealis in Chimera Formation: Dorsalization of Ventral Cells

(cell lineage/chimera/hybrid/Xenopus/dorsalization)



The combination of Xenopus borealis and X. laevis provides an excellent cell marking system. The potential availability of this system for chimera formation has also been suggested. However, eggs and early embryos of these species differ in size and the fusion of blastomeres of different sizez results in some disturbance in arrangement of blastomeres of a chimera. This disturbance was avoided by use of embryos from X. laevis eggs fertilized with X. borealis sperm, instead of X. borealis embryos. The cells of these hybrids could also be distinguished from the cells of X. laevis.

The fate of animal ventral cells placed in the dorsal region was followed by making a chimera by fusing a right lateral half of an 8-cell X. laevis embryo with that of an 8-cell hybrid embryo. The animal ventral cells in the “dorsal” region were found to become “dorsalized”, giving rise to a lateral half of dorsal axial structures. This observation explains a previous finding that the replacement of dorsal cells by ventral ones had no effect on embryogenesis in a composite embryo.