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Dev Biol 2021 Jul 01;475:131-144. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2020.12.012.
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Coup-TF: A maternal factor essential for differentiation along the embryonic axes in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus.

Tsironis I , Paganos P , Gouvi G , Tsimpos P , Stamopoulou A , Arnone MI , Flytzanis CN .

Coup-TF, a member of the nuclear receptor super-family, is present in the pool of maternal mRNAs and proteins in the sea urchin egg. The presence of this protein seems to be essential for the execution of the early developmental program, leading to all three embryonic layers. Our results demonstrate that Pl-Coup-TF morphants, i.e. Pl-Coup-TF morpholino knockdown embryos, resemble blastulae that lack archenteron at 24 hpf (hours post fertilization), a stage at which normal embryos reach the end of gastrulation in Paracentrotus lividus. At 48 hpf, when normal embryos reach the pluteus larva stage, the morphants are seemingly underdeveloped and lack the characteristic skeletal rods. Nevertheless, the morphant embryos express vegetal endomesodermal marker genes, such as Pl-Blimp1, Pl-Endo16, Pl-Alx1 and Pl-Tbr as judged by in situ hybridization experiments. The anterior neuroectoderm genes, Pl-FoxQ2, Pl-Six3 and Pl-Pax6, are also expressed in the morphant embryos, but Pl-Hbn and Pl-Fez mRNAs, which encode proteins significant for the differentiation of serotonergic neurons, are not detected. Consequently, Pl-Coup-TF morphants at 48 hpf lack serotonergic neurons, whereas normal 48 hpf plutei exhibit the formation of two bilateral pairs of such neurons in the apical organ. Furthermore, genes indicative of the ciliary band formation, Pl-Hnf6, Pl-Dri, Pl-FoxG and Pl-Otx, are not expressed in Pl-Coup-TF morphants, suggesting the disruption of this neurogenic territory as well. In addition, the Pl-SynB gene, a marker of differentiated neurons, is silent leading to the hypothesis that Pl-Coup-TF morphants might lack all types of neurons. On the contrary, the genes expressing signaling molecules, which establish the ventral/dorsal axis, Pl-Nodal and Pl-Lefty show the characteristic ventral lateral expression pattern, Pl-Bmp2/4, which activates the dorsal ectoderm GRN is down-regulated and Pl-Chordin is aberrantly over-expressed in the entire ectoderm. The identity of ectodermal cells in Pl-Coup-TF morphant embryos, was probed for expression of the ventral marker Pl-Gsc which was over-expressed and dorsal markers, Pl-IrxA and Pl-Hox7, which were silent. Therefore, we propose that maternal Pl-Coup-TF is essential for correct dissemination of the early embryonic signaling along both animal/vegetal and ventral/dorsal axes. Limiting Pl-Coup-TF''s quantity, results in an embryo without digestive and nervous systems, skeleton and ciliary band that cannot survive past the initial 48 h of development.

PubMed ID: 33484706
Article link: Dev Biol

Genes referenced: alx1 arid3a bmp2 chrd endo16 foxe3l foxg1 gscl hbn hnf6 hoxal irx4 lefty1 LOC100887844 LOC115926321 LOC575170 nodall onecut2 otx2 pax6 prdm1 six6 tbr1
Morpholinos: bmp2 MO3 hoxal MO1 irx4 MO1 nr2f2 MO1