Polar axis fixation in Fucus zygotes: components of the cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix.
Polar axis formation and polar axis stabilization (or fixation) can be separated and analyzed in synchronously developing zygotes of the brown alga Fucus. Extensive experimental evidence points to a role for both the cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the process of axis fixation in Fucus. A structural complex composed of the cytoskeleton and the ECM has been postulated to stabilize membrane asymmetries generated as a result of axis-forming vectors. This axis stabilizing complex (ASC) may take the form of transmembrane connections between the cytoskeleton on the cytoplasmic face and the ECM on the external side of the plasma membrane, similar to focal contacts in animal cells. At present we know of two components in the proposed ASC of Fucus: an adhesive sulfated glycoprotein which is localized in the ECM, and an actin network which is localized on the adjoining cytoplasmic face. This preliminary report describes evidence for the presence of molecules in two-celled Fucus embryos that are similar to those found in focal contacts in animal cells, i.e. vinculin, integrin and vitronectin. However, their localization and interaction with each other relative to the polar axis has yet to be determined. These initial observations will provide the basis to pursue further an analysis of these components in the process of polar axis fixation.
Quatrano, RS; Brian, L; Aldridge, J; Schultz, T
Development (Cambridge, England). Supplement
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