In Xenopus an early morphological marker of mesodermal induction is the elongation of the mesoderm at the early gastrula stage (Symes and Smith, 1987). We show here that the elongation of equatorial (marginal) tissue is dependent on protein synthesis in a mid blastula, but has become independent of it by the late blastula stage. In animal caps induced to become mesoderm, the time when protein synthesis is required for subsequent elongation immediately follows the time of induction, and is not related to developmental stage. For elongation, intercellular communication during the blastula stage is of primary importance.
Current experiments involving cell transplantation indicate a need for further celhcell interactions during gastrulation, and therefore after the vegetal-animal induction during blastula stages. These secondary cell interactions are believed to take place among cells that have already received a vegetal induction, and may facilitate some of the later intracellular events known to accompany muscle gene activation.