Consistent with the concept that specific pigment patterns of amphibians might result from the highly localized distribution of stimulators and inhibitors of pigment cell expression in the skin, the spot pattern of the leopard frog, Rana pipiens, was examined through the use of the Xenopus neural tube explant assay system (Fukuzawa and Ide, 1988). Media conditioned with pieces of skin from dorsal black spotted areas promoted melanization of neural crest cells at a significantly higher level than did media conditioned with dorsal interspot skin in the absence of extra tyrosine. All conditioned media contained exceedingly low concentrations of tyrosine. With the addition of supplemental tyrosine, the melanization capacity of conditioned media from the interspot areas was elevated to that of the spotted skin. Control media conditioned with ventral frog skin inhibited melanization, as usual, because of the presumed presence of melanization inhibiting factor (MIF). It is considered that dorsal skin contains a melanization stimulating factor (MSF) which is present in significantly higher levels in spotted skin than in interspot areas and that expression of the particular pigmentary pattern of this leopard frog is regulated by the relative distribution of MIF, MSF, and possibly other intrinsic substances present in the skin. © 1992 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
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