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Development. 2019 Oct 11;146(20). pii: dev174623. doi: 10.1242/dev.174623.

A cadherin switch marks germ layer formation in the diploblastic sea anemone Nematostella vectensis.

Author information

1
Department for Molecular Evolution and Development, Centre of Organismal Systems Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.
2
Department of Evolutionary Biology, Biological Faculty, Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory 1/12, 119991 Moscow, Russia.
3
Department for Molecular Evolution and Development, Centre of Organismal Systems Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria ulrich.technau@univie.ac.at.

Abstract

Morphogenesis is a shape-building process during development of multicellular organisms. During this process, the establishment and modulation of cell-cell contacts play an important role. Cadherins, the major cell adhesion molecules, form adherens junctions connecting epithelial cells. Numerous studies of Bilateria have shown that cadherins are associated with the regulation of cell differentiation, cell shape changes, cell migration and tissue morphogenesis. To date, the role of cadherins in non-bilaterians is unknown. Here, we study the expression and function of two paralogous classical cadherins, Cadherin 1 and Cadherin 3, in a diploblastic animal, the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis We show that a cadherin switch accompanies the formation of germ layers. Using specific antibodies, we show that both cadherins are localized to adherens junctions at apical and basal positions in ectoderm and endoderm. During gastrulation, partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of endodermal cells is marked by stepwise downregulation of Cadherin 3 and upregulation of Cadherin 1. Knockdown experiments show that both cadherins are required for maintenance of tissue integrity and tissue morphogenesis. Thus, both sea anemones and bilaterians use independently duplicated cadherins combinatorially for tissue morphogenesis and germ layer differentiation.

KEYWORDS:

Cadherin; Cell adhesion; Cnidaria; Germ layers; Morphogenesis; Nematostella

PMID:
31540916
DOI:
10.1242/dev.174623
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Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare no competing or financial interests.

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