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Development. 2006 Feb;133(3):547-57. Epub 2006 Jan 5.

Frizzled5/8 is required in secondary mesenchyme cells to initiate archenteron invagination during sea urchin development.

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  • 1Unité de Biologie du Développement, UMR 7009, CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Observatoire Océanologique, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France.


Wnt signaling pathways play key roles in numerous developmental processes both in vertebrates and invertebrates. Their signals are transduced by Frizzled proteins, the cognate receptors of the Wnt ligands. This study focuses on the role of a member of the Frizzled family, Fz5/8, during sea urchin embryogenesis. During development, Fz5/8 displays restricted expression, beginning at the 60-cell stage in the animal domain and then from mesenchyme blastula stage, in both the animal domain and a subset of secondary mesenchyme cells (SMCs). Loss-of-function analyses in whole embryos and chimeras reveal that Fz5/8 is not involved in the specification of the main embryonic territories. Rather, it appears to be required in SMCs for primary invagination of the archenteron, maintenance of endodermal marker expression and apical localization of Notch receptors in endodermal cells. Furthermore, among the three known Wnt pathways, Fz5/8 appears to signal via the planar cell polarity pathway. Taken together, the results suggest that Fz5/8 plays a crucial role specifically in SMCs to control primary invagination during sea urchin gastrulation.

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