A Caltech Library Service

Rare maternal mRNAs code for regulatory proteins that control lineage-specific gene expression in the sea urchin embryo

Cutting, Ann E. and Höög, Christer and Calzone, Frank J. and Britten, Roy J. and Davidson, Eric H. (1990) Rare maternal mRNAs code for regulatory proteins that control lineage-specific gene expression in the sea urchin embryo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 87 (20). pp. 7953-7957. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC54870.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The prevalence of mRNAs coding for the sea urchin embryo regulatory factors P3A1 and P3A2 was measured by single-strand probe excess solution hybridization. P3A1 and P3A2 are not homologous proteins, though they both bind specifically to a particular cis-regulatory sequence. Interaction at this target site is known to be required for lineage-specific expression of an aboral ectoderm-specific gene and probably for several other genes as well. Genome blot hybridizations show that both factors are encoded by single-copy genes. Maternal mRNAs for both factors are present at less than 10^3 molecules per egg, which places them in the rare mRNA class. During development to the mesenchyme blastula stage, the amount of P3A1 mRNA (per embryo) increases severalfold while that of P3A2 remains approximately constant. Specification of the aboral ectoderm founder cells and of their initial patterns of gene expression must occur during early to mid-cleavage stage. Therefore, the regulatory proteins needed for this process must be produced by this stage. We show that the quantities of the P3A proteins that can be synthesized from the numbers of mRNA molecules present in the large blastomeres of the early embryo are sufficient to be functional, because these proteins will be accumulated in the nuclei. Thus maternal P3A1 or P3A2 proteins are not required, nor were these detected in earlier studies. Furthermore, differential spatial (as well as temporal) distribution of both of these newly synthesized factor species could result from the unequal cleavage pattern utilized in the sea urchin egg.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Cutting, Ann E.0000-0001-9721-4811
Additional Information:© 1990 by the National Academy of Sciences. Contributed by Eric H. Davidson, July 13, 1990. We are pleased to acknowledge the critical and helpful reviews of Drs. Barbara Hough-Evans and Paul Sternberg. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant HD05753. The initial phase of this research was supported by a Developmental Biology grant from the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust. C.H. was supported by a European Molecular Biology Organization fellowship. The publication costs of this article were defrayed in part by page charge payment. This article must therefore be hereby marked "advertisement" in accordance with 18 U.S.C. §1734 solely to indicate this fact.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Lucille P. Markey Charitable TrustUNSPECIFIED
European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:cleavage; mRNA prevalence; Strongylocentrotus purpuratus
Issue or Number:20
PubMed Central ID:PMC54870
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:CUTpnas90
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8854
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:21 Sep 2007
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

Repository Staff Only: item control page