Expression of an embryonic spicule matrix gene in calcified tissues of adult sea urchins

Dev Biol. 1989 Mar;132(1):266-9. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(89)90222-4.


The sea urchin spicule is composed of CaCO3 associated with an organic matrix containing at least 10 proteins. We have previously shown that one of these proteins, a 50-kDa glycoprotein (SM 50), is encoded by a gene which is only transcribed in cells of the micromere-mesenchyme lineage. In this report we examined RNA from five adult tissues: ovary, coelomocytes, intestine, tube feet, and spine for the presence of SM 50 transcripts and protein. Only RNA from cells of spine and tube feet hybridized to a SM 50-specific probe on Northern blots. These same two tissues undergo biomineralization and contain a protein which is immunologically related to the SM 50 protein. The restricted accumulation of SM 50 transcripts and protein suggests that the differentiation of biomineralizing mesenchyme cells in embryonic and adult tissue may utilize the same genetic program.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes
  • Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Sea Urchins / genetics*
  • Sea Urchins / physiology
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • SM50 protein, sea urchin