Imaging morphogenesis, in Xenopus with Quantum Dot nanocrystals
Skourides, Paris A.
SourceMechanisms of development
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Mesoderm migration is a well studied morphogenetic movement that takes place during Xenopus gastrulation. The study of mesoderm migration and other morphogenetic movements has been primarily based on in vitro assays due to the inability to image deep tissue movements in the opaque embryo. We are the first to report the use of Near Infra Red Quantum Dots (NIR QD's) to image mesoderm migration in vivo with single cell resolution and provide quantitative in vivo data regarding migration rates. In addition we use QD's to address the function of the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in this movement. Inhibition of FAK blocks mesoderm spreading and migration both in vitro and in vivo without affecting convergent extension highlighting the molecular differences between the two movements. These results provide new insights about the role of FAK and of focal adhesions during gastrulation and provide a new tool for the study of morphogenesis in vivo. © 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.