An early global role for Axin is required for correct patterning of the anterior-posterior axis in the sea urchin embryo

Hongyan Sun, Chieh Fu Jeff Peng, Lingyu Wang, Honglin Feng, Athula H. Wikramanayake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Activation of Wnt/β-catenin (cWnt) signaling at the future posterior end of early bilaterian embryos is a highly conserved mechanism for establishing the anterior-posterior (AP) axis. Moreover, inhibition of cWnt at the anterior end is required for development of anterior structures in many deuterostome taxa. This phenomenon, which occurs around the time of gastrulation, has been fairly well characterized, but the significance of intracellular inhibition of cWnt signaling in cleavage-stage deuterostome embryos for normal AP patterning is less well understood. To investigate this process in an invertebrate deuterostome, we defined Axin function in early sea urchin embryos. Axin is ubiquitously expressed at relatively high levels in early embryos and functional analysis revealed that Axin suppresses posterior cell fates in anterior blastomeres by blocking ectopic cWnt activation in these cells. Structure-function analysis of sea urchin Axin demonstrated that only its GSK-3β-binding domain is required for cWnt inhibition. These observations and results in other deuterostomes suggest that Axin plays a crucial conserved role in embryonic AP patterning by preventing cWnt activation in multipotent early blastomeres, thus protecting them from assuming ectopic cell fates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdev191197
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Volume148
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Animal-vegetal axis
  • Anterior-posterior axis
  • Axin
  • Endomesoderm
  • Sea urchin
  • Wnt signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'An early global role for Axin is required for correct patterning of the anterior-posterior axis in the sea urchin embryo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this