[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe the structure and function of the toposome, a modified calcium-binding, iron-less transferrin, the first member of a new class of cell adhesion proteins. In addition to the amino acid sequence of the precursor, we determined by Edman degradation the N-terminal amino acid sequences of the mature hexameric glycoprotein present in the egg as well as that of its derived proteolytically modified fragments necessary for development beyond the blastula stage. The approximate C-termini of the fragments were determined by a combination of mass spectrometry and migration in reducing gels before and after deglycosylation. This new member of the transferrin family shows special features which explain its evolutionary adaptation to development and adhesive function in sea urchin embryos: (i) a protease-inhibiting WAP domain, (ii) a 280 amino acid cysteine-less insertion in the C-terminal lobe, and (iii) a 240 residue C-terminal extension with a modified cystine knot motif found in multisubunit external cell surface glycoproteins. Proteolytic removal of the N-terminal WAP domain generates the mature toposome present in the oocyte. The modified cystine knot motif stabilizes cell-bound trimers upon Ca-dependent dissociation of hexamer-linked cells. We determined the positions of the developmentally regulated cuts in the cysteine-less insertion, which produce the fragments observed previously. These fragments remain bound to the hexameric 22S particle in vivo and are released only after treatment of the purified toposome with reducing agents. In addition, some soluble smaller fragments with possible signal function are produced. Sequence comparison of five sea urchin species reveals the location of the cell-cell contact site targeted by the species-specific embryo dissociating antibodies. The evolutionary tree of 2-, 1-, and 0-ferric transferrins implies their evolution from a basic cation-activated allosteric design modified to serve multiple functions.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2007 · Developmental Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PaxB from Tripedalia cystophora, a cubomedusan jellyfish possessing complex eyes (ocelli), was characterized. PaxB, the only Pax gene found in this cnidarian, is expressed in the larva, retina, lens, and statocyst. PaxB contains a Pax2/5/8-type paired domain and octapeptide, but a Pax6 prd-type homeodomain. Pax2/5/8-like properties of PaxB include a DNA binding specificity of the paired domain, activation and inhibitory domains, and the ability to rescue spa(pol), a Drosophila Pax2 eye mutant. Like Pax6, PaxB activates jellyfish crystallin and Drosophila rhodopsin rh6 promoters and induces small ectopic eyes in Drosophila. Pax6 has been considered a "master" control gene for eye development. Our data suggest that the ancestor of jellyfish PaxB, a PaxB-like protein, was the primordial Pax protein in eye evolution and that Pax6-like genes evolved in triploblasts after separation from Cnidaria, raising the possibility that cnidarian and sophisticated triploblastic eyes arose independently.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2003 · Developmental Cell
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The two Pax6 gene homologs eyeless and twin of eyeless play decisive early roles in Drosophila eye development. Strong mutants of twin of eyeless or of eyeless are headless, which suggests that they are required for the development of all structures derived from eye-antennal discs. The activity of these genes is crucial at the very beginning of eye-antennal development in the primordia of eye-antennal discs when eyeless is first activated by the twin of eyeless gene product. This activation does not strictly depend on the Twin of eyeless protein, but is temperature-dependent in its absence. Twin of eyeless acts also in parallel to the eyeless gene and exerts functions that are partially redundant with those of Eyeless, while Eyeless is mainly required to prevent early cell death and promote eye development in eye-antennal discs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ectopic expression of transcription factors in eye-antennal discs of Drosophila strongly interferes with their developmental program. Early ectopic expression in embryonic discs interferes with the developmental pathway primed by Eyeless and generates headless flies, which suggests that Eyeless is necessary for initiating cell proliferation and development of both the eye and antennal disc. Interference occurs through a block in the cell cycle that for some ectopic transcription factors is overcome by D-CycE or D-Myc. Late ectopic expression in cone cell precursors interferes with their differentiation. We propose that this developmental pathway interference is a general surveillance mechanism that eliminates most aberrations in the genetic program during development and evolution, and thus seriously restricts the pathways that evolution may take.