Segregation During Ascidian Embryogenesis of Egg Cytoplasmic Information for Tissue-Specific Enzyme Development
Cleavage-arrested embryos of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis were able to differentiate two tissue-specific enzymes-muscle acetylcholinesterase (EC 126.96.36.199) and brain pigment cell tyrosinase (EC 188.8.131.52). Cytochalasin B, colchicine, Colcemid, and podophyllotoxin were used as cleavage inhibitors at early embryonic stages up to the 64-cell stage. Only certain cells in the cleavage-arrested embryos developed these histochemically detectable enzymes, and this ability followed the cell lineage patterns for the two tissues. This result implies the presence of specific positional information in the egg cytoplasm that is differentially segregated during cleavage. There were distinct and separate puromycin and actinomycin D sensitivity periods for the occurrence of each enzyme during development of both normal and cleavage-arrested embryos. The segregated information is apparently neither the enzyme proteins nor RNA templates for enzyme synthesis, but is probably concerned with activation of appropriate genes.