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Silencing of Smed-βcatenin1 generates radial-like hypercephalized planarians

AuthorsIglesias, Marta ; Gómez-Skarmeta, José Luis ; Saló, Emili; Adell, Teresa
Anteroposterior axis
Issue Date20-Feb-2008
PublisherCompany of Biologists
CitationDevelopment 135(7): 1215-1221 (2008)
AbstractLittle is known about the molecular mechanisms responsible for axis establishment during non-embryonic processes such as regeneration and homeostasis. To address this issue, we set out to analyze the role of the canonical Wnt pathway in planarians, flatworms renowned for their extraordinary morphological plasticity. Canonical Wnt signalling is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism to confer polarity during embryonic development, specifying the anteroposterior (AP) axis in most bilaterians and the dorsoventral (DV) axis in early vertebrate embryos. β-Catenin is a key element in this pathway, although it is a bifunctional protein that is also involved in cell-cell adhesion. Here, we report the characterization of two β-catenin homologs from Schmidtea mediterranea (Smed-βcatenin1/2). Loss of function of Smed-βcatenin1, but not Smed-βcatenin2, in both regenerating and intact planarians, generates radial-like hypercephalized planarians in which the AP axis disappears but the DV axis remains unaffected, representing a unique example of a striking body symmetry transformation. The radial-like hypercephalized phenotype demonstrates the requirement for Smed-βcatenin1 in AP axis re-establishment and maintenance, and supports a conserved role for canonical Wnt signalling in AP axis specification, whereas the role of β-catenin in DV axis establishment would be a vertebrate innovation. When considered alongside the protein domains present in each S. mediterranea β-catenin and the results of functional assays in Xenopus embryos demonstrating nuclear accumulation and axis induction with Smed-βcatenin1, but not Smed-βcatenin2, these data suggest that S. mediterraneaβ -catenins could be functionally specialized and that only Smed-βcatenin1 is involved in Wnt signalling.
Description7 páginas, 4 figuras. Supplementary material for this article is available at http://dev.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/135/7/1215/DC1
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.020289
Appears in Collections:(CABD) Artículos
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