Key words Globin genes
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Transition of hemoglobin (Hb) from larval to adult types during the metamorphosis in a salamander Hynobius retardatus has been reported to occur almost independently of thyroid activity, in contrast to the case with many amphibians. In order to obtain further information on the mechanism of the transition in H. retardatus, larval and adult globin cDNAs were cloned, and the globin gene expression was analyzed in normally developing and metamorphosis-arrested animals. Northern hybridization and RT-PCR revealed that larval globin genes were initially expressed 5 days before hatching, and unexpectedly remained expressed even in juveniles 2 years old. The adult globin gene was expressed 19 days after hatching, much earlier than the initiation of morphological metamorphosis. Furthermore, the pattern of globin gene expression in metamorphosis-arrested larvae was almost identical to that in normal controls, suggesting that the transition occurs independently of thyroid hormones. In larvae recovering from anemia, precocious Hb transition, which occurs in Xenopus laevis and Rana catesbeiana, did not occur in H. retardatus. In situ hybridization convincingly demonstrated that the erythropoietic sites are the ventral blood island and the dorsolateral plate at the prehatching stage. During the ontogeny they changed to the liver, kidney, and spleen and were finally restricted to the spleen. Single erythroid cells expressed concurrently larval and adult globin genes, as demonstrated by double in situ hybridization. Thus the transition occurred within a single erythroid cell population, a unique characteristic of H. retardatus.
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