Comparative gene expression analysis and fate mapping studies suggest an early segregation of cardiogenic lineages in Xenopus laevis

Developmental Biology
Susanne Gessert, Michael Kühl


Retrospective clonal analysis in mice suggested that the vertebrate heart develops from two sources of cells called first and second lineages, respectively. Cells of the first lineage enter the linear heart tube and initiate terminal differentiation earlier than cells of the second lineage. It is thought that both heart lineages arise from a common progenitor cell population prior to the cardiac crescent stage (E7.5 of mouse development). The timing of segregation of different lineages as well as the molecular mechanisms underlying this process is not yet known. Furthermore, gene expression data for those lineages are very limited. Here we provide the first comparative study of cardiac marker gene expression during Xenopus laevis embryogenesis complemented by single cell RT-PCR analysis. In addition we provide fate mapping data of cardiac progenitor cells at different stages of development. Our analysis indicates an early segregation of cardiac lineages and a fairly complex heterogeneity of gene expression in the cardiac progenitor cells. Furthermore, this study sets a reference for all further studies analyzing cardiac development in X. laevis.


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