Inhibitors of metalloendoproteases block spiculogenesis in sea urchin primary mesenchyme cells.
Metalloendoproteases have been implicated in a variety of fusion processes including plasma membrane fusion and exocytosis. As a prerequisite to skeleton formation in the sea urchin embryo, primary mesenchyme cells undergo fusion via filopodia to form syncytia. The spicule is formed within the syncytial cable by matrix and mineral deposition. To investigate the potential involvement of a metalloendoprotease in spiculogenesis, the effect of inhibitors of this enzyme on skeleton formation was studied. Experiments with primary mesenchyme cells in vitro and in normal embryos revealed that skeleton formation was blocked by these inhibitors. These findings implicate a metalloendoprotease in spiculogenesis; such an enzyme has been demonstrated in homogenates of primary mesenchyme cells. The most likely site of action of the metalloendoprotease is at the cell membrane fusion stage and/or at subsequent events requiring membrane fusion.
Roe, JL; Park, HR; Strittmatter, WJ; Lennarz, WJ
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