β-catenin-driven binary fate specification segregates germ layers in ascidian embryos

Clare Hudson, Narudo Kawai, Takefumi Negishi, Hitoyoshi Yasuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

β-catenin is a transcriptional cofactor mediating the "canonical" Wnt signaling pathway, which activates target genes in a complex with TCF (LEF) transcription factors [1]. In many metazoans, embryos are first subdivided during early cleavage stages into nuclear β-catenin- positive and -negative domains, with β-catenin specifying endoderm or mesendoderm fate. This process has been demonstrated in a wide range of phyla including cnidarians, nemerteans, and invertebrate deuterostomes (echinoderms, hemichordates, and ascidians), implying that β-catenin-dependent (mes)endoderm specification is evolutionarily ancient [2-10]. However, the mechanisms leading to the segregation of mesoderm and endoderm fates from a transient mesendodermal state are less well defined. We show that subdivision of the ascidian embryo into the three germ layers involves differential nuclear β-catenin activity coupled with the first two animal-vegetal (A-V)-oriented cell divisions. We reveal that each of these A-V divisions operates as a binary fate choice: the first between ectoderm and mesendoderm and the second between margin (notochord and neural) and endoderm, such that a β-catenin activation sequence of ON-to-ON specifies endoderm, OFF-to-OFF ectoderm, and ON-to-OFF margin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-495
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Mar 18
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Urochordata
Germ Layers
Catenins
Ascidiacea
Endoderm
embryo (animal)
Embryonic Structures
Specifications
Cnidaria
Echinodermata
TCF Transcription Factors
cell division
animals
Ectoderm
Wnt Signaling Pathway
transcription factors
invertebrates
Lymphoid Enhancer-Binding Factor 1
Animals
Notochord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

β-catenin-driven binary fate specification segregates germ layers in ascidian embryos. / Hudson, Clare; Kawai, Narudo; Negishi, Takefumi; Yasuo, Hitoyoshi.

In: Current Biology, Vol. 23, No. 6, 18.03.2013, p. 491-495.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hudson, Clare ; Kawai, Narudo ; Negishi, Takefumi ; Yasuo, Hitoyoshi. / β-catenin-driven binary fate specification segregates germ layers in ascidian embryos. In: Current Biology. 2013 ; Vol. 23, No. 6. pp. 491-495.
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