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Dev Genes Evol. 2000 Feb;210(2):73-81.

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

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Members of the Tcf/Lef family interact with beta-catenin to activate programs of gene expression during development. Recently beta-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 beta-catenin became localized to nuclei of vegetal blastomeres, consistent with its acting in combination with beta-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 beta-catenin was prevented. Our results suggest that SpTcf/Lef functions by interacting with beta-catenin to specify cell fates along the sea urchin animal-vegetal axis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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