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Dev Biol. 1991 Apr;144(2):327-34.

Tissue-specific, temporal changes in cell adhesion to echinonectin in the sea urchin embryo.

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Department of Zoology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27706.


Echinonectin is a dimeric, glycoprotein found in the hyaline layer of the developing sea urchin embryo. It was found that echinonectin supports adhesion of embryonic cells in vitro. Previous studies have shown that the protein hyalin also supports adhesion. The purpose of this study was to examine the specificity of cell-echinonectin interactions during sea urchin development. Primary mesenchyme cells (PMCs) ingress into the blastocoel during gastrulation. In the process the PMCs lose contact with the hyaline layer. It was found experimentally that differentiating PMCs decreased their adhesion to hyalin at the time of ingression. It was of interest, therefore, to determine whether there was a coordinate loss of adhesion to echinonectin at ingression as well. When cell-echinonectin interactions were quantified using a centrifugal force-based adhesion assay, it was shown that micromeres adhered well to echinonectin. At the time of ingression, PMCs displayed reduced adhesion to echinonectin just as had been found when hyalin was tested as a substrate. There was no change in adhesion of presumptive ectoderm or endoderm to echinonectin over the same time period. Early in gastrulation presumptive ectoderm and endoderm adhered to echinonectin only half as strongly as to equimolar concentrations of hyalin. After gastrulation endoderm cells were observed to retain the same relative affinity to hyalin and echinonectin, while ectoderm cells became equally adhesive for both hyalin and echinonectin. Quantitatively, this represents an overall increase in the affinity of ectodermal cells for echinonectin. Adhesion to combined substrata of echinonectin and hyalin was reduced but not abolished by monoclonal antibodies specific for echinonectin. The antibodies did not cross-react with hyalin. We conclude that both echinonectin and hyalin independently act as adhesive substrata for the developing sea urchin embryo. PMCs lose an affinity for echinonectin and ectodermal cells later increase their affinity for this substrate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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