OESTROGEN-DEPENDENT synthesis of vitellogenin, the precursor of the major yolk proteins, in the liver of egg-laying vertebrates is an attractive model for investigating regulatory mechanisms of gene expression. Induction of vitellogenin synthesis by oestrogen occurs not only in the liver of females but also in males which normally do not produce this protein, thus showing that responsiveness to oestrogen is not linked to sex (for review see ref. 1). However, Follet and Redshaw2 reported that liver of Xenopus laevis larvae is refractory to oestrogen, becoming responsive shortly after completion of metamorphosis. As amphibian metamorphosis is known to be obligatorily dependent on thyroid hormones (for review see ref. 3), the question arises as to whether acquisition of competence to respond to oestrogen by the Xenopus liver cells is part of the hormonally regulated metamorphic changes or merely reflects age-dependent maturation. Here we present evidence that during normal development of Xenopus laevis the liver cells become responsive to oestrogen during metamorphosis and before vitellogenin synthesis has been initiated by endogeneous oestrogens. Moreover, we demonstrate that responsiveness to oestrogen fails to appear when metamorphosis is suppressed, but readily appears after induction of metamorphosis by thyroxine, suggesting that acquisition of competence to respond to oestrogen by the Xenopus liver cells is controlled by thyroid hormones.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Ryffel, G. U. Molec. Cell Endocr. 12, 237–246 (1978).
Follet, B. K. & Redshaw, M. R. in Physiology of the Amphibia Vol. 2 (ed. Lofts, B.) 219–308 (Academic, New York, 1974).
Frieden, E. & Just, J. J. in Mechanisms of Hormone Action Vol. 1 (ed. Litwack, G.) 1–52 (Academic, New York, 1970).
Gallien, L. Bull. France Belg., 90, 163–183 (1956).
Weeke, B. A Manual of Qualitative Immunoelectrophoresis. Methods and Applications. (eds Axelsen, N. H., Krøll, J. & Weeke, B.) 37–46 (Universitets-forlaget, Oslo, 1973).
Nieuwkoop, P. D. & Faber, J. A normal table of Xenopus laevis Daudin (North Holland, Amsterdam, 1956).
New, D. A. T. The Culture of the Vertebrate Embryo (Logos-Academic, London, 1966).
Gasche, P. Experientia 2, 24–26 (1946).
Yamamoto, K. R. & Alberts, B. M. A. Rev. Biochem. 45, 721–746 (1976).
Westley, B. & Knowland, J. Cell 15, 367–374 (1978).
Knowland, J. Differentiation 12, 47–51 (1978).
About this article
Cite this article
HUBER, S., RYFFEL, G. & WEBER, R. Thyroid hormone induces competence for oestrogen-dependent vitelogenin synthesis in developing Xenopus laevis liver. Nature 278, 65–67 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1038/278065a0
Rudolf Weber (1922–2015): a driving force in the transition of developmental biology into a molecular and cellular science
Development Genes and Evolution (2016)
General and Comparative Endocrinology (2011)
Thyroid hormone directly induces hepatocyte competence for estrogen-dependent vitellogenin synthesis during the metamorphosis of Xenopus laevis
Developmental Biology (1989)
General and Comparative Endocrinology (1989)