Gene regulatory network subcircuit controlling a dynamic spatial pattern of signaling in the sea urchin embryo.

Division of Biology 156-29, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 01/2009; 105(51):20089-94. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0806442105
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We dissect the transcriptional regulatory relationships coordinating the dynamic expression patterns of two signaling genes, wnt8 and delta, which are central to specification of the sea urchin embryo endomesoderm. cis-Regulatory analysis shows that transcription of the gene encoding the Notch ligand Delta is activated by the widely expressed Runx transcription factor, but spatially restricted by HesC-mediated repression through a site in the delta 5'UTR. Spatial transcription of the hesC gene, however, is controlled by Blimp1 repression. Blimp1 thus represses the repressor of delta, thereby permitting its transcription. The blimp1 gene is itself linked into a feedback circuit that includes the wnt8 signaling ligand gene, and we showed earlier that this circuit generates an expanding torus of blimp1 and wnt8 expression. The finding that delta expression is also controlled at the cis-regulatory level by the blimp1-wnt8 torus-generating subcircuit now explains the progression of Notch signaling from the mesoderm to the endoderm of the developing embryo. Thus the specific cis-regulatory linkages of the gene regulatory network encode the coordinated spatial expression of Wnt and Notch signaling as they sweep outward across the vegetal plate of the embryo.

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