Send to

Choose Destination
Int Rev Cytol. 2002;213:183-232.

Molecular patterning along the sea urchin animal-vegetal axis.

Author information

Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.


The molecular regulatory mechanisms underlying primary axis formation during sea urchin development have recently been identified. Two opposing maternally inherited systems, one animalizing and one vegetalizing, set up the animal-vegetal (A-V) axis. The vegetal system relies in part on the Wnt-beta-catenin-Tcf/Lef signaling pathway and the animal system is based on a cohort of animalizing transcription factors that includes members of the Ets and Sox classes. The two systems autonomously define three zones of cell-type specification along the A-V axis. The vegetalmost zone gives rise to the skeletogenic mesenchyme lineage; the animalmost zone gives rise to ectoderm; and the zone in which the two systems overlap generates endoderm, secondary mesenchyme, and ectoderm. Patterning along the A-V also depends on cellular interactions involving Wnt, Notch, and BMP signaling. We discuss how these systems impact the formation of the second axis, the oral-aboral axis; how they connect to later developmental events; and how they lead to cell-type-specific gene expression via cis-regulatory networks associated with transcriptional control regions. We also discuss how these systems may confer on the embryo its spectacular regulatory capacity to replace missing parts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center