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1 August 2005 Developmental Potential of Small Micromeres in Sea Urchin Embryos
Haruko Kurihara, Shonan Amemiya
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The large micromeres (IMics) of echinoid embryos are reported to have distinct potentials with regard to inducing endo-mesoderm and autonomous differentiation into skeletogenic cells. However, the developmental potential of small micromeres (sMics), the sibling of IMics, has not been clearly demonstrated. In this study we produced chimeric embryos from an animal cap recombined with various numbers of sMics, in order to investigate the developmental potential of sMics in the sea urchin Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus and the sand dollar Scaphechinus mirabilis. We found that sMics of H. pulcherrimus had weak potential for inducing presumptive ectoderm cells to form endo-mesoderm structures. The inducing potential of ten sMics was almost equivalent to that of one IMic. The sMics also had the potential to differentiate autonomously into skeletogenic cells. Conversely, the sMics of S. mirabilis did not show either inductive or skeletogenic differentiation potential. The sMics of both species had the potential to induce oral-aboral axis establishment. These results suggest that the potential for sMics to differentiate into skel-etogenic cells and for inducing the presumptive ectoderm to differentiate into endomesoderm differs across species, while the potential of sMics to induce the oral-aboral axis is conserved among species.

Haruko Kurihara and Shonan Amemiya "Developmental Potential of Small Micromeres in Sea Urchin Embryos," Zoological Science 22(8), 845-852, (1 August 2005).
Received: 25 February 2005; Accepted: 1 July 2005; Published: 1 August 2005
developmental potential
recombinant embryo
small micromere
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