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Development 2011 Oct 01;13819:4233-43. doi: 10.1242/dev.069856.
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Fez function is required to maintain the size of the animal plate in the sea urchin embryo.

Yaguchi S , Yaguchi J , Wei Z , Jin Y , Angerer LM , Inaba K .

Partitioning ectoderm precisely into neurogenic and non-neurogenic regions is an essential step for neurogenesis of almost all bilaterian embryos. Although it is widely accepted that antagonism between BMP and its inhibitors primarily sets up the border between these two types of ectoderm, it is unclear how such extracellular, diffusible molecules create a sharp and precise border at the single-cell level. Here, we show that Fez, a zinc finger protein, functions as an intracellular factor attenuating BMP signaling specifically within the neurogenic region at the anterior end of sea urchin embryos, termed the animal plate. When Fez function is blocked, the size of this neurogenic ectoderm becomes smaller than normal. However, this reduction is rescued in Fez morphants simply by blocking BMP2/4 translation, indicating that Fez maintains the size of the animal plate by attenuating BMP2/4 function. Consistent with this, the gradient of BMP activity along the aboral side of the animal plate, as measured by pSmad1/5/8 levels, drops significantly in cells expressing Fez and this steep decline requires Fez function. Our data reveal that this neurogenic ectoderm produces an intrinsic system that attenuates BMP signaling to ensure the establishment of a stable, well-defined neural territory, the animal plate.

PubMed ID: 21852402
PMC ID: PMC3171223
Article link: Development
Grant support: [+]

Genes referenced: bmp2 LOC100887844 LOC105442660 LOC115919910 LOC579909

References [+] :
Alexandrova, Smurf1 regulates neural patterning and folding in Xenopus embryos by antagonizing the BMP/Smad1 pathway. 2007, Pubmed