We injected circular forms of several different DNAs into fertilized eggs of Xenopus laevis, and studied the persistence and expression of the injected DNAs during early embryonic development. When we injected plasmids which contained Drosophila amylase genes, the copy number of the injected DNA increased only slightly during cleavage, started to decrease at the blastula stage, then became very small at the tadpole stage. In such embryos, Drosophila amylase activity was detected at and after the gastrula stage. When we injected other kinds of circular DNAs (pX1r101A, cDm2055, pII25.1, pBR322, and pSP-64-L14), their copy number did not increase throughout the early stages. When circular plasmids that contained bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) genes were injected, their copy number usually did not increase, but sometimes, for unknown reasons, it increased extensively throughout the blastula to gastrula stages. In both cases, CAT enzyme activity started to be expressed during the blastula to gastrula stages and disappeared at the 2 day-old tadpole stage. The level of CAT enzyme activity was roughly pro-portional to the amount of CAT mRNA formed, and also to the copy number of injected genes. From these results, we concluded that in Xenopus embryos, exogenously-injected circular DNAs are preserved for the most part as circular DNAs, and that the increase in their copy number within the embryos is not prerequisite for the expression of their genetic information.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes