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Published March 11, 2014 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Encoding regulatory state boundaries in the pregastrular oral ectoderm of the sea urchin embryo


By gastrulation the ectodermal territories of the sea urchin embryo have developed an unexpectedly complex spatial pattern of sharply bounded regulatory states, organized orthogonally with respect to the animal/vegetal and oral/aboral axes of the embryo. Although much is known of the gene regulatory network (GRN) linkages that generate these regulatory states, the principles by which the boundaries between them are positioned and maintained have remained undiscovered. Here we determine the encoded genomic logic responsible for the boundaries of the oral aspect of the embryo that separate endoderm from ectoderm and ectoderm from neurogenic apical plate and that delineate the several further subdivisions into which the oral ectoderm per se is partitioned. Comprehensive regulatory state maps, including all spatially expressed oral ectoderm regulatory genes, were established. The circuitry at each boundary deploys specific repressors of regulatory states across the boundary, identified in this work, plus activation by broadly expressed positive regulators. These network linkages are integrated with previously established interactions on the oral/aboral axis to generate a GRN model encompassing the 2D organization of the regulatory state pattern in the pregastrular oral ectoderm of the embryo.

Additional Information

© 2014 National Academy of Sciences. Contributed by Eric H. Davidson, January 27, 2014 (sent for review January 1, 2014); Published ahead of print February 20, 2014. We thank Prof. Robert Burke (University of Victoria) and Prof. Richard Harland (University of California, Berkeley) for their very helpful critical reviews of this paper. Research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant HD-037105 and by the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust. Author contributions: E.L., M.C., I.S.P., and E.H.D. designed research; E.L. and M.C. performed research; E.L., M.C., I.S.P., and E.H.D. analyzed data; and E.L., M.C., I.S.P., and E.H.D. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Attached Files

Published - PNAS-2014-Li-E906-13.pdf

Supplemental Material - PNAS-2014-Li-1323105111.pdf


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