Frizzled1/2/7 signaling directs β-catenin nuclearisation and initiates endoderm specification in macromeres during sea urchin embryogenesis.
In sea urchins, the nuclear accumulation of β-catenin in micromeres and macromeres at 4th and 5th cleavage activates the developmental gene regulatory circuits that specify all of the vegetal tissues (i.e. skeletogenic mesoderm, endoderm and non-skeletogenic mesoderm). Here, through the analysis of maternal Frizzled receptors as potential contributors to these processes, we found that, in Paracentrotus lividus, the receptor Frizzled1/2/7 is required by 5th cleavage for β-catenin nuclearisation selectively in macromere daughter cells. Perturbation analyses established further that Frizzled1/2/7 signaling is required subsequently for the specification of the endomesoderm and then the endoderm but not for that of the non-skeletogenic mesoderm, even though this cell type also originates from the endomesoderm lineage. Complementary analyses on Wnt6 showed that this maternal ligand is similarly required at 5th cleavage for the nuclear accumulation of β-catenin exclusively in the macromeres and for endoderm but not for non-skeletogenic mesoderm specification. In addition, Wnt6 misexpression reverses Frizzled1/2/7 downregulation-induced phenotypes. Thus, the results indicate that Wnt6 and Frizzled1/2/7 are likely to behave as the ligand-receptor pair responsible for initiating β-catenin nuclearisation in macromeres at 5th cleavage and that event is necessary for endoderm specification. They show also that β-catenin nuclearisation in micromeres and macromeres takes place through a different mechanism, and that non-skeletogenic mesoderm specification occurs independently of the nuclear accumulation of β-catenin in macromeres at the 5th cleavage. Evolutionarily, this analysis outlines further the conserved involvement of the Frizzled1/2/7 subfamily, but not of specific Wnts, in the activation of canonical Wnt signaling during early animal development.
Lhomond, G; McClay, DR; Gache, C; Croce, JC
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