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PLoS One 2013 Jan 01;811:e80693. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080693.
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Differential regulation of disheveled in a novel vegetal cortical domain in sea urchin eggs and embryos: implications for the localized activation of canonical Wnt signaling.

Peng CJ , Wikramanayake AH .

Pattern formation along the animal-vegetal (AV) axis in sea urchin embryos is initiated when canonical Wnt (cWnt) signaling is activated in vegetal blastomeres. The mechanisms that restrict cWnt signaling to vegetal blastomeres are not well understood, but there is increasing evidence that the egg''s vegetal cortex plays a critical role in this process by mediating localized "activation" of Disheveled (Dsh). To investigate how Dsh activity is regulated along the AV axis, sea urchin-specific Dsh antibodies were used to examine expression, subcellular localization, and post-translational modification of Dsh during development. Dsh is broadly expressed during early sea urchin development, but immunolocalization studies revealed that this protein is enriched in a punctate pattern in a novel vegetal cortical domain (VCD) in the egg. Vegetal blastomeres inherit this VCD during embryogenesis, and at the 60-cell stage Dsh puncta are seen in all cells that display nuclear β-catenin. Analysis of Dsh post-translational modification using two-dimensional Western blot analysis revealed that compared to Dsh pools in the bulk cytoplasm, this protein is differentially modified in the VCD and in the 16-cell stage micromeres that partially inherit this domain. Dsh localization to the VCD is not directly affected by disruption of microfilaments and microtubules, but unexpectedly, microfilament disruption led to degradation of all the Dsh pools in unfertilized eggs over a period of incubation suggesting that microfilament integrity is required for maintaining Dsh stability. These results demonstrate that a pool of differentially modified Dsh in the VCD is selectively inherited by the vegetal blastomeres that activate cWnt signaling in early embryos, and suggests that this domain functions as a scaffold for localized Dsh activation. Localized cWnt activation regulates AV axis patterning in many metazoan embryos. Hence, it is possible that the VCD is an evolutionarily conserved cytoarchitectural domain that specifies the AV axis in metazoan ova.

PubMed ID: 24236196
PMC ID: PMC3827468
Article link: PLoS One

Species referenced: Echinodermata
Genes referenced: LOC100887844 LOC115919910 LOC115925415 LOC584189 LOC590297 LOC594353 pole tubgcp2
Antibodies: LOC373238 Ab2 LOC584189 Ab1 LOC584189 Ab2 LOC584189 Ab3 tubb1 Ab1

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References [+] :
Angerer, The evolution of nervous system patterning: insights from sea urchin development. 2011, Pubmed, Echinobase