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Frog axis handout - Zoo 470 Axial Patterning in Amphibians...

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Zoo 470 - Axial Patterning in Amphibians Introduction Much of what we know about the establishment of the dorsal-ventral (D-V) axis in vertebrates comes from studies in amphibians, going back to the classic experimetns of Spemann and colleagues at the turn of the 20th century. The modern molecular story regarding the D-V axis is complicated, and often confusing. This handout summarizes major events in amphibian axis specification in an attempt to simplify some of this complexity. The establishment of the D-V axis involves several steps: Step 1: Fertilization induces cortical rotation. Cortical rotation is driven by microtubules, which in part ar formed via nucleation from the sperm aster. The sperm enters 180° away from the future dorsal side of the embryo. In some species, this creates a lighter area on the surface known as the gray crescent. Step 2: Cortical activates dorsal development, possibly through Dishevelled. This leads to more β -catenin on the dorsal side of the zygote.
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