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Dev Biol. 2006 Dec 1;300(1):252-66. Epub 2006 Aug 7.

The echinoderm adhesome.

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Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Although the development of sea urchin embryos has been studied extensively and clearly involves both cell adhesion and cell migration, rather little is known about the adhesion receptors and extracellular matrix molecules involved. The completion of the genome of Strongylocentrotus purpuratus allows a comprehensive survey of the complement of cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion molecules in this organism. Furthermore, the phylogenetic position of echinoderms offers the opportunity to compare the complement of adhesion proteins between protostome and deuterostome invertebrates and between invertebrate and vertebrate deuterostomes. Many aspects of development and cell interactions differ among these different taxa and it is likely that analysis of the spectrum of adhesion receptors and extracellular matrix proteins can open up new insights into which molecules have evolved to suit particular developmental processes. In this paper, we report the results of an initial analysis along these lines. The echinoderm adhesome (complement of adhesion-related genes/proteins) is similar overall to that of other invertebrates although there are significant deuterostome-specific innovations and some interesting features previously thought to be chordate or vertebrate specific.

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