Differential regulation of disheveled in a novel vegetal cortical domain in sea urchin eggs and embryos: Implications for the localized activation of canonical Wnt signaling

Chieh Fu Jeff Peng, Athula H. Wikramanayake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pattern formation along the animal-vegetal (AV) axis in sea urchin embryos is initiated when canonical Wnt (cWnt) signaling is activated in vegetal blastomeres. The mechanisms that restrict cWnt signaling to vegetal blastomeres are not well understood, but there is increasing evidence that the egg's vegetal cortex plays a critical role in this process by mediating localized "activation" of Disheveled (Dsh). To investigate how Dsh activity is regulated along the AV axis, sea urchin-specific Dsh antibodies were used to examine expression, subcellular localization, and posttranslational modification of Dsh during development. Dsh is broadly expressed during early sea urchin development, but immunolocalization studies revealed that this protein is enriched in a punctate pattern in a novel vegetal cortical domain (VCD) in the egg. Vegetal blastomeres inherit this VCD during embryogenesis, and at the 60-cell stage Dsh puncta are seen in all cells that display nuclear â-catenin. Analysis of Dsh post-translational modification using two-dimensional Western blot analysis revealed that compared to Dsh pools in the bulk cytoplasm, this protein is differentially modified in the VCD and in the 16-cell stage micromeres that partially inherit this domain. Dsh localization to the VCD is not directly affected by disruption of microfilaments and microtubules, but unexpectedly, microfilament disruption led to degradation of all the Dsh pools in unfertilized eggs over a period of incubation suggesting that microfilament integrity is required for maintaining Dsh stability. These results demonstrate that a pool of differentially modified Dsh in the VCD is selectively inherited by the vegetal blastomeres that activate cWnt signaling in early embryos, and suggests that this domain functions as a scaffold for localized Dsh activation. Localized cWnt activation regulates AV axis patterning in many metazoan embryos. Hence, it is possible that the VCD is an evolutionarily conserved cytoarchitectural domain that specifies the AV axis in metazoan ova. Copyright:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere80693
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 13 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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