Deep cytoplasmic rearrangements in ventralized Xenopus embryos

E. E. Brown, J. M. Denegre, M. V. Danilchik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Following fertilization in Xenopus, dramatic rearrangements of the egg cytoplasm relocalize maternally synthesized egg components. During the first cell cycle the vegetal yolk mass rotates relative to the egg surface, toward the sperm entry point (SEP) (J. P. Vincent, G. F. Oster, and J. C. Gerhart, 1986, Dev. Biol. 113, 484-500), while concomitant deep cytoplasmic rearrangements occur in the animal hemisphere (M. V. Danilchik and J. M. Denegre, 1991, Development 111, 845-856). In this paper we examine the role of vegetal yolk mass rotation in producing the animal cytoplasmic rearrangements. We inhibited rotation by uv-irradiating embryos during the first cell cycle, a treatment that yields an extremely ventralized phenotype. Both uv-irradiated embryos and unirradiated control embryos show cytoplasmic rearrangements in the animal hemisphere during the first cell cycle. Cytoplasmic rearrangements on the SEP side of the embryo associated with the path of the sperm pronucleus, plus a swirl on the anti-SEP (dorsal) side, are seen, whether or not yolk mass rotation has occurred. This result suggests a role for the expanding sperm aster in directing animal hemisphere cytoplasmic movements. In unirradiated control embryos the anti-SEP (dorsal) swirl is larger than that in uv-irradiated embryos and often extends into the vegetal hemisphere, consistent with the animal cytoplasm having been pulled dorsally and vegetally by the sliding vegetal yolk mass. Thus the yolk mass rotation may normally enhance the dorsalward cytoplasmic movement, begun by the sperm aster, enough to induce normal axis formation. We extended our observations of unirradiated control and uv-irradiated embryos through early cleavages. The vegetal extent of the anti-SEP (dorsal) swirl pattern seen in control embryos persists through the early cleavage period, such that labeled animal cytoplasm extends deep into dorsal third-tier blastomeres at the 32-cell stage. Significantly, in uv-irradiated embryos, which have not undergone vegetal rotation, most of this labeled material remains more equatorial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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