Medical College of Wisconsin
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Development of the avian iris and ciliary body: the role of activin and follistatin in coordination of the smooth-to-striated muscle transition. Dev Biol 1998 Jul 15;199(2):226-34



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-0032528456   17 Citations


Although general principles have been established in the regulation of vetebrate organogenesis, the specific molecules responsible for such signaling are just being identified. We have studied differentiation in the avian iris and ciliary body which undergoes a transition from smooth to striated muscle. Using heterochronic cocultures, we have found that striated muscle differentiation in pretransition (E8) cells is induced by midtransition (E11) cells through a secreted and soluble activity. In addition, contact-mediated mechanisms among pretransition cells prevented precocious striated muscle differentiation. We have tested the role of activin and its antagonist follistatin, as candidate regulators of this muscle transition. Activin induced smooth muscle differentiation while repressing striated muscle development. Conversely, follistatin promoted the emergence of striated muscle, while inhibiting smooth muscle differentiation. Significantly, secreted follistatin activity was found to increase during the smooth-to-striated muscle transition. Moreover, the striated muscle inducing activity from midtransition iris and ciliary body cell conditioned medium was depleted with an activin-affinity column which binds follistatin. These results suggest that activin and follistatin coordinate differentiation in the avian iris and ciliary body.

Author List

Link BA, Nishi R


Brian A. Link PhD Professor in the Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Cell Adhesion
Cell Differentiation
Cells, Cultured
Chick Embryo
Ciliary Body
Culture Media, Conditioned
Muscle, Skeletal
Muscle, Smooth
jenkins-FCD Prod-486 e3098984f26de787f5ecab75090d0a28e7f4f7c0