Xenopus ectodermal cells have previously been shown to respond to acidic and basic FGF by differentiating into mesodermal tissue. In the present study, ectodermal explants from Xenopus blastulae were shown to have high affinity binding sites for 125I-aFGF (Kd = 1.4 X 10(−10) M). The total number of sites, determined by Scatchard analysis, was 3 X 10(8) per explant (surface area of approximately 1 mm2). Two putative receptors of relative molecular mass 130,000 and 140,000 were identified by chemical crosslinking to 125I-aFGF. Both acidic and basic FGF, but not TGF beta 2, could compete for affinity labelling of these bands. The receptor density at the cell surface parallels the developmental competence of Xenopus animal pole cells to respond to FGF. Receptors are present at highest density in the marginal zone but are not restricted to cells in this region.

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