Involvement of Tcf/Lef in establishing cell types along the animal-vegetal axis of sea urchins

Ling Huang, Xiaotao Li, Heithem M. El-Hodiri, Sandeep Dayal, Athula H. Wikramanayake, William H. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Members of the Tcf/Lef family interact with β-catenin to activate programs of gene expression during development. Recently β-catenin was shown to be essential for establishing cell fate along the animal-vegetal axis of the sea urchin embryo. To examine the role of Tcf/Lef in sea urchins we cloned a Strongylocentrotus purpuratus Tcf/Lef homolog. Expression of SpTcf/Lef was maximal when β-catenin became localized to nuclei of vegetal blastomeres, consistent with its acting in combination with β-catenin to specify vegetal cell fates. Expression of a dominant-negative SpTcf/Lef inhibited primary and secondary mesenchyma, endoderm, and aboral ectoderm formation in a manner similar to that observed when nuclear accumulation of β-catenin was prevented. Our results suggest that SpTcf/Lef functions by interacting with β-catenin to specify cell fates along the sea urchin animal-vegetal axis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment Genes and Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • β-Catenin
  • Cell fate determination
  • Sea urchins embryos
  • Tcf/Lef

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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