Signals from primary mesenchyme cells regulate endoderm differentiation in the sea urchin embryo

Mayuko Hamada, Masato Kiyomoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Primary mesenchyme cells (PMC), the skeletogenic cells derived from the micromeres of the sea urchin embryo, are involved in the differentiation of the gut. When PMC were deleted from the mesenchyme blastula, both formation of the constrictions in the gut and expression of endoderm-specific alkaline phosphatase were significantly delayed. Therefore, the correct timing of gut differentiation depends on the existence of PMC, probably via a type of promotive signal. To date, the only role of PMC in other tissue differentiation has been a suppressive signal for the conversion of secondary mesenchyme cells (SMC) into skeletogenic cells. The present experiments using PMC ablation and transplantation showed that both signaling processes occurred in the same short period during gastrulation, but the embryos kept their competence for gut differentiation until a later stage. Further investigations indicated that conversion of SMC did not cause delay in gut differentiation and that SMC did not mediate the PMC signal to the endoderm. Therefore, the effect of PMC on gut differentiation could be a new role that is independent of the suppressive effect for SMC conversion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-350
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment Growth and Differentiation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Endoderm differentiation
  • Gut
  • Primary mesenchyme cell
  • Sea urchin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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