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Development. 2001 Feb;128(3):365-75.

SpKrl: a direct target of beta-catenin regulation required for endoderm differentiation in sea urchin embryos.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA.


Localization of nuclear beta-catenin initiates specification of vegetal fates in sea urchin embryos. We have identified SpKrl, a gene that is activated upon nuclear entry of beta-catenin. SpKrl is upregulated when nuclear beta-catenin activity is increased with LiCl and downregulated in embryos injected with molecules that inhibit beta-catenin nuclear function. LiCl-mediated SpKrl activation is independent of protein synthesis, indicating that SpKrl is a direct target of beat-catenin and TCF. Embryos in which SpKrl translation is inhibited with morpholino antisense oligonucleotides lack endoderm. Conversely, SpKrl mRNA injection rescues some vegetal structures in beta-catenin-deficient embryos. SpKrl negatively regulates expression of the animalizing transcription factor, SpSoxB1. We propose that SpKrl functions in patterning the vegetal domain by suppressing animal regulatory activities.

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