A study of xlcaax-1: Patterns of localization, possible function and usefulness as a developmental marker

Judith Ann Cornish, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Morphogenesis is the process by which the 3-dimensional structure of the developing embryo takes shape. We are studying xlcaax-1, a gene whose product can be used as a molecular marker for several morphogenetic events. We report here the cellular and subcellular localization of the xlcaax-1 protein during development of Xenopus laevis. Whole mount immunocytochemistry and immunoperoxidase staining of tissue sections showed that during development the xlcaax-1 protein accumulation was coincident with the differentiation of the epidermis, pronephros and mesonephros. In the pronephros and mesonephros the xlcaax-1 protein was localized to the basolateral membrane of differentiated tubule epithelial cells. Thus, the xlcaax-1 protein served as a marker for tubule formation and polarization during Xenopus kidney development. Xlcaax-1 may also be used as a marker for the functional differentiation of the epidermis and the epidermally derived portions of the lens and some cranial nerves. The xlcaax-1 protein was most abundant in kidney and immunogold EM analysis showed that the xlcaax-1 protein was highly enriched in the basal infoldings of the basolateral membrane of the epithelial cells in adult kidney distal tubules. The xlcaax-1 protein was also localized in other ion transporting epithelia. The localization pattern and preliminary functional assays of xlcaax-1 suggest that the protein may function in association with an ion transport channel or pump. Cell migration and cell-cell interactions play important roles in numerous processes during morphogenesis. One of these is the formation of the pronephric (wolffian) duct (PD), which connects the pronephros to the cloaca. It is currently accepted that in most amphibians the pronephric duct is formed by active migration of the pronephric duct rudiment (PDR) cells along a pre-determined pathway. However, there is evidence that in Xenopus, the PD may be formed entirely by in situ segregation of cells out of the lateral mesoderm. In this study, we showed, using PDR ablation and X. laevis - X. borealis chimeras, that PD elongation in Xenopus required both active cell migration and an induced recruitment of cells from the posterior lateral plate mesoderm. We also showed that PDR cell migration was limited to only a few stages during development and that this temporal control is due, at least in part, to changes in the competence of the PD pathway to support cell migration. In addition, our data suggested that an alkaline phosphatase (APase) adhesion gradient may be involved in determining this competence.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Biology

Recommended Citation

Cornish, Judith Ann, "A study of xlcaax-1: Patterns of localization, possible function and usefulness as a developmental marker" (1992). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9238497.