alphaSU2, an epithelial integrin that binds laminin in the sea urchin embryo. (1/2142)

At gastrulation in the sea urchin embryo dramatic cell adhesion changes contribute to primary mesenchyme cell ingression movements and to cell rearrangements during archenteron invagination. At ingression, quantitative adhesion assays demonstrated previously that primary mesenchyme cells (PMCs) change their affinity for neighboring cells, for a fibronectin-like substrate, and for the hyaline layer. To investigate the molecular basis for these and other differential cell affinities at gastrulation, we have identified an integrin that appears to be responsible for specific alterations in cell-substrate adhesion to laminin. During early cleavage stages blastomeres adhere poorly to laminin substrates. Around hatching there is a large increase in the ability of blastomeres to bind to laminin and this increase correlates temporally with the expression of an integrin on the basal surface all blastomeres. PMCs, after undergoing their epithelial-mesenchymal transition, have a strongly reduced affinity for laminin relative to ectoderm cells and, correspondingly, do not stain for the presence of the integrin. We identified the alpha integrin cDNA from Lytechinus variegatus by RT-PCR. Overlapping clones were obtained from a midgastrula cDNA library to provide a complete sequence for the integrin. The composite cDNA encoded a protein that was most similar to the alpha5 subgroup of vertebrate integrins, but there was not a definitive vertebrate integrin homolog. Northern blots and Western immunoblots showed that the sea urchin integrin, which we have named alphaSU2, is present in eggs and during all stages of development. Immunolocalization with specific polyclonal antibodies showed that alphaSU2 first appears on the basal cell surface of epithelia at the midblastula stage, at a time correlating with the increase in adhesive affinity for laminin. The protein remains at high levels on the basal surface of ectoderm cells but is temporarily reduced or eliminated from endoderm cells during their convergent-extension movements. To confirm integrin binding specificity, alphaSU2 was transfected into an alpha-integrin-deficient CHO cell line. alphaSU2-expressing CHO cells bound well to isolated sea urchin basal lamina and to purified laminin. The transfected cells bound weakly or not at all to fibronectin, type I collagen, and type IV collagen. This is consistent with the hypothesis that alphaSU2 integrin functions by binding epithelial cells to laminin in the basal lamina. In vivo, modulation of alphaSU2 integrin expression correlates with critical adhesive changes during cleavage and gastrulation. Thus, this protein appears to be an important contributor to the morphogenetic rearrangements that characterize gastrulation in the sea urchin embryo.  (+info)

Expression pattern of Brachyury and Not in the sea urchin: comparative implications for the origins of mesoderm in the basal deuterostomes. (2/2142)

This work concerns the expression of two transcription factors during the development of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus: SpNot, the orthologue of the vertebrate Not gene, and SpBra, the orthologue of the vertebrate Brachyury gene. SpNot transcripts are detected by in situ hybridization in the vegetal plate at the mesenchyme-blastula stage. Later the gene is expressed in the secondary mesenchyme, but expression is no longer detectable after gastrulation. SpNot is upregulated during larval development, in the invaginating vestibule of the adult rudiment. Transcripts are also found in several larva-specific tissues, including the epaulets, blastocoelar cells, and pigment cells. SpBra also displays a discontinuous pattern of expression. Much like SpNot, this gene is expressed during embryogenesis in the embryonic vegetal plate and secondary mesenchyme founder cells, and expression is then extinguished. The gene is upregulated over a week later in the feeding larva, in the vestibule of the adult rudiment. In contrast to SpNot, SpBra is also expressed in the mesoderm of both left and right hydrocoels, and it is not expressed in any larva-specific tissues. We compare the spatial expression profile determined in this study with that of the orthologous Brachyury gene in an indirectly developing enteropneust hemichordate, a representative of the sister group to the echinoderms within the deuterostomes. These observations illuminate the genetic basis underlying the process of maximal indirect development in basal deuterostomes. Finally, Brachyury appears to be an excellent marker for the progeny of the set-aside cells of the sea urchin embryo.  (+info)

Structure and anticoagulant activity of sulfated fucans. Comparison between the regular, repetitive, and linear fucans from echinoderms with the more heterogeneous and branched polymers from brown algae. (3/2142)

Sulfated fucans are among the most widely studied of all the sulfated polysaccharides of non-mammalian origin that exhibit biological activities in mammalian systems. Examples of these polysaccharides extracted from echinoderms have simple structures, composed of oligosaccharide repeating units within which the residues differ by specific patterns of sulfation among different species. In contrast the algal fucans may have some regular repeating structure but are clearly more heterogeneous when compared with the echinoderm fucans. The structures of the sulfated fucans from brown algae also vary from species to species. We compared the anticoagulant activity of the regular and repetitive fucans from echinoderms with that of the more heterogeneous fucans from three species of brown algae. Our results indicate that different structural features determine not only the anticoagulant potency of the sulfated fucans but also the mechanism by which they exert this activity. Thus, the branched fucans from brown algae are direct inhibitors of thrombin, whereas the linear fucans from echinoderms require the presence of antithrombin or heparin cofactor II for inhibition of thrombin, as reported for mammalian glycosaminoglycans. The linear sulfated fucans from echinoderms have an anticoagulant action resembling that of mammalian dermatan sulfate and a modest action through antithrombin. A single difference of one sulfate ester per tetrasaccharide repeating unit modifies the anticoagulant activity of the polysaccharide markedly. Possibly the spatial arrangements of sulfate esters in the repeating tetrasaccharide unit of the echinoderm fucan mimics the site in dermatan sulfate with high affinity for heparin cofactor II.  (+info)

LvNotch signaling mediates secondary mesenchyme specification in the sea urchin embryo. (4/2142)

Cell-cell interactions are thought to regulate the differential specification of secondary mesenchyme cells (SMCs) and endoderm in the sea urchin embryo. The molecular bases of these interactions, however, are unknown. We have previously shown that the sea urchin homologue of the LIN-12/Notch receptor, LvNotch, displays dynamic patterns of expression within both the presumptive SMCs and endoderm during the blastula stage, the time at which these two cell types are thought to be differentially specified (Sherwood, D. R. and McClay, D. R. (1997) Development 124, 3363-3374). The LIN-12/Notch signaling pathway has been shown to mediate the segregation of numerous cell types in both invertebrate and vertebrate embryos. To directly examine whether LvNotch signaling has a role in the differential specification of SMCs and endoderm, we have overexpressed activated and dominant negative forms of LvNotch during early sea urchin development. We show that activation of LvNotch signaling increases SMC specification, while loss or reduction of LvNotch signaling eliminates or significantly decreases SMC specification. Furthermore, results from a mosaic analysis of LvNotch function as well as endogenous LvNotch expression strongly suggest that LvNotch signaling acts autonomously within the presumptive SMCs to mediate SMC specification. Finally, we demonstrate that the expansion of SMCs seen with activation of LvNotch signaling comes at the expense of presumptive endoderm cells, while loss of SMC specification results in the endoderm expanding into territory where SMCs usually arise. Taken together, these results offer compelling evidence that LvNotch signaling directly specifies the SMC fate, and that this signaling is critical for the differential specification of SMCs and endoderm in the sea urchin embryo.  (+info)

Spatially regulated SpEts4 transcription factor activity along the sea urchin embryo animal-vegetal axis. (5/2142)

Because the transcription of the SpHE gene is regulated cell-autonomously and asymmetrically along the maternally determined animal-vegetal axis of the very early sea urchin embryo, its regulators provide an excellent entry point for investigating the mechanism(s) that establishes this initial polarity. Previous studies support a model in which spatial regulation of SpHE transcription relies on multiple nonvegetal positive transcription factor activities (Wei, Z., Angerer, L. M. and Angerer, R. C. (1997) Dev. Biol. 187, 71-78) and a yeast one-hybrid screen has identified one, SpEts4, which binds with high specificity to a cis element in the SpHE regulatory region and confers positive activation of SpHE promoter transgenes (Wei, Z., Angerer, R. C. and Angerer, L. M. (1999) Mol. Cell. Biol. 19, 1271-1278). Here we demonstrate that SpEts4 can bind to the regulatory region of the endogenous SpHE gene because a dominant repressor, created by fusing SpEts4 DNA binding and Drosophila engrailed repression domains, suppresses its transcription. The pattern of expression of the SpEts4 gene is consistent with a role in regulating SpHE transcription in the nonvegetal region of the embryo during late cleavage/early blastula stages. Although maternal transcripts are uniformly distributed in the egg and early cleaving embryo, they rapidly turn over and are replaced by zygotic transcripts that accumulate in a pattern congruent with SpHE transcription. In addition, in vivo functional tests show that the SpEts4 cis element confers nonvegetal transcription of a beta-galactosidase reporter gene containing the SpHE basal promoter, and provide strong evidence that the activity of this transcription factor is an integral component of the nonvegetal transcriptional regulatory apparatus, which is proximal to, or part of, the mechanism that establishes the animal-vegetal axis of the sea urchin embryo.  (+info)

Nucleo-cytoplasmic interactions that control nuclear envelope breakdown and entry into mitosis in the sea urchin zygote. (6/2142)

In sea urchin zygotes and mammalian cells nuclear envelope breakdown (NEB) is not driven simply by a rise in cytoplasmic cyclin dependent kinase 1-cyclin B (Cdk1-B) activity; the checkpoint monitoring DNA synthesis can prevent NEB in the face of mitotic levels of Cdk1-B. Using sea urchin zygotes we investigated whether this checkpoint prevents NEB by restricting import of regulatory proteins into the nucleus. We find that cyclin B1-GFP accumulates in nuclei that cannot complete DNA synthesis and do not break down. Thus, this checkpoint limits NEB downstream of both the cytoplasmic activation and nuclear accumulation of Cdk1-B1. In separate experiments we fertilize sea urchin eggs with sperm whose DNA has been covalently cross-linked to inhibit replication. When the pronuclei fuse, the resulting zygote nucleus does not break down for >180 minutes (equivalent to three cell cycles), even though Cdk1-B activity rises to greater than mitotic levels. If pronuclear fusion is prevented, then the female pronucleus breaks down at the normal time (average 68 minutes) and the male pronucleus with cross-linked DNA breaks down 16 minutes later. This male pronucleus has a functional checkpoint because it does not break down for >120 minutes if the female pronucleus is removed just prior to NEB. These results reveal the existence of an activity released by the female pronucleus upon its breakdown, that overrides the checkpoint in the male pronucleus and induces NEB. Microinjecting wheat germ agglutinin into binucleate zygotes reveals that this activity involves molecules that must be actively translocated into the male pronucleus.  (+info)

HpEts, an ets-related transcription factor implicated in primary mesenchyme cell differentiation in the sea urchin embryo. (7/2142)

The mechanism of micromere specification is one of the central issues in sea urchin development. In this study we have identified a sea urchin homologue of ets 1 + 2. HpEts, which is maternally expressed ubiquitously during the cleavage stage and which expression becomes restricted to the skeletogenic primary mesenchyme cells (PMC) after the hatching blastula stage. The overexpression of HpEts by mRNA injection into fertilized eggs alters the cell fate of non-PMC to migratory PMC. HpEts induces the expression of a PMC-specific spicule matrix protein, SM50, but suppresses of aboral ectoderm-specific arylsulfatase and endoderm-specific HpEndo16. The overexpression of dominant negative delta HpEts which lacks the N terminal domain, in contrast, specifically represses SM50 expression and development of the spicule. In the upstream region of the SM50 gene there exists an ets binding site that functions as a positive cis-regulatory element. The results suggest that HpEts plays a key role in the differentiation of PMCs in sea urchin embryogenesis.  (+info)

A novel ontogenetic pathway in hybrid embryos between species with different modes of development. (8/2142)

To investigate the bases for evolutionary changes in developmental mode, we fertilized eggs of a direct-developing sea urchin, Heliocidaris erythrogramma, with sperm from a closely related species, H. tuberculata, that undergoes indirect development via a feeding larva. The resulting hybrids completed development to form juvenile adult sea urchins. Hybrids exhibited restoration of feeding larval structures and paternal gene expression that have been lost in the evolution of the direct-developing maternal species. However, the developmental outcome of the hybrids was not a simple reversion to the paternal pluteus larval form. An unexpected result was that the ontogeny of the hybrids was distinct from either parental species. Early hybrid larvae exhibited a novel morphology similar to that of the dipleurula-type larva typical of other classes of echinoderms and considered to represent the ancestral echinoderm larval form. In the hybrid developmental program, therefore, both recent and ancient ancestral features were restored. That is, the hybrids exhibited features of the pluteus larval form that is present in both the paternal species and in the immediate common ancestor of the two species, but they also exhibited general developmental features of very distantly related echinoderms. Thus in the hybrids, the interaction of two genomes that normally encode two disparate developmental modes produces a novel but harmonious ontongeny.  (+info)