Specificity of cell-cell interactions in sea urchin embryos. Appearance of new cell-surface determinants at gastrulation

David R. McClay, Ann F. Chambers, Robert H. Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Studies on normal and hybrid sea urchin embryos show that, beginning at gastrulation, hybrid cells express cell-surface antigens specific to both species. The appearance of these antigens is shown to be correlated with a change in the adhesive specificity of hybrid cells: Beginning at gastrulation, hybrid cells recognize and adhere to embryonic cells of both normal genotypes. Prior to gastrulation, hybrid cells adhere to cells of the maternal genotype only. Two adhesion assays demonstrate these adhesive preferences. (i) When cell aggregates are placed together in a dish, Lytechnius aggregates fuse together, and Tripneustes aggregates fuse together, but aggregates of the two species do not fuse with each other. Hybrid cell aggregates, if they are past the beginning of gastrulation, fuse to both Tripneustes and Lytechinus aggregates. (ii) In a collection assay, midgastrula cells of the hybrid embryos are collected at a high rate to aggregates of either species. Pregastrula hybrid cells collect at a high rate to aggregates of the maternal species only. This change in adhesive preference is temporally correlated with the appearance of new cell surface antigens. Antiserum was prepared in rabbits against membranes from Lytechinus gastrulae. Indirect immunofluorescence tests show that hybrid cells of the cross (T♀ × L♂) express Lytechinus-specific antigens at the cell surface beginning at gastrulation. Furthermore, an apparent relationship between the new cell-surface antigens and adhesion exists in that Lytechinus cell adhesion is inhibited specifically after binding Fab fragments of the Lytechinus antiserum. The antiserum has no effect on Tripneustes adhesion. The Lytechinus adhesion-inhibiting activity can be removed by absorption of the antiserum with Lytechinus cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-355
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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