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Review
, 46 (4), 309-26

Gastrulation in the Sea Urchin Embryo: A Model System for Analyzing the Morphogenesis of a Monolayered Epithelium

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Review

Gastrulation in the Sea Urchin Embryo: A Model System for Analyzing the Morphogenesis of a Monolayered Epithelium

Tetsuya Kominami et al. Dev Growth Differ.

Abstract

Processes of gastrulation in the sea urchin embryo have been intensively studied to reveal the mechanisms involved in the invagination of a monolayered epithelium. It is widely accepted that the invagination proceeds in two steps (primary and secondary invagination) until the archenteron reaches the apical plate, and that the constituent cells of the resulting archenteron are exclusively derived from the veg2 tier of blastomeres formed at the 60-cell stage. However, recent studies have shown that the recruitment of the archenteron cells lasts as late as the late prism stage, and some descendants of veg1 blastomeres are also recruited into the archenteron. In this review, we first illustrate the current outline of sea urchin gastrulation. Second, several factors, such as cytoskeletons, cell contact and extracellular matrix, will be discussed in relation to the cellular and mechanical basis of gastrulation. Third, differences in the manner of gastrulation among sea urchin species will be described; in some species, the archenteron does not elongate stepwise but continuously. In those embryos, bottle cells are scarcely observed, and the archenteron cells are not rearranged during invagination unlike in typical sea urchins. Attention will be also paid to some other factors, such as the turgor pressure of blastocoele and the force generated by blastocoele wall. These factors, in spite of their significance, have been neglected in the analysis of sea urchin gastrulation. Lastly, we will discuss how behavior of pigment cells defines the manner of gastrulation, because pigment cells recently turned out to be the bottle cells that trigger the initial inward bending of the vegetal plate.

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