Collaborative Resources for
Learning Developmental Biology
Collaborative Resources for Learning Developmental Biology
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Chicken Gastrulation EMT
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Guojun Sheng

Additional Author(s): Yukiko Nakaya

Published on SDB CoRe: Feb 5 2013

Organisms: Model Organisms; Vertebrates
Tools & Techniques: Visualizing Genes/ Proteins; Embryo Manipulation; Microscopy
Morphogenic Movements: Gastrulation
Morphogenesis: Cell Movements; Cell Shape Changes; Cell/Tissue Polarity
Organism: Chick
Stage of Development: Embryo

Object Description

The video contains two parts: an introduction and the time-lapse movie played twice.  During chicken gastrulation, mesodermal precursor cells, which lie in the epiblast layer of the embryo, undergo an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT).  That is, they detach from the epiblast layer, a tightly packed sheet of cells, and migrate away from the midline.  In this movie, a chick embryo was electroprated with a GFP-expressing DNA construct, cultured for several hours using the “New Culture” method—a technique for growing chick embryos outside of the egg in a dish so they can be manipulated, and then flipped dorsal side up for imaging. Labeled cells (mesoderm precursors) move toward the primitive streak, ingress (undergo EMT), and migrate away from the primitive streak. The movie (spanning 4-hour culture) was taken with a Nikon AZ-C1 Macro confocal microscope.


Nakaya, Y., Sukowati, E.W., Wu, Y., Sheng, G. RhoA and microtubule dynamics control cell-basement membrane interaction in EMT during gastrulation. Nat Cell Biol., 2008, 10:765-775.

Nakaya, Y., Sheng, G. Epithelial to mesenchymal transition during gastrulation: an embryological view. Dev Growth Differ., 2008, 50:755-766.

Nakaya., Y, Sheng, G. An amicable separation: Chick's way of doing EMT. Cell Adh Migr., 2009, 3:160-163.

Arechaga, J. Technique as the basis of experiment in developmental biology. An interview with Denis A.T. New. Int. J. Dev. Biol., 1997, 41:139 - 152.

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