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Review

Symmetry Breaking and Establishment of Dorsal/Ventral Polarity in the Early Sea Urchin Embryo

1
Department of Biological, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies (STEBICEF), University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze Edificio 16, Palermo 90128, Italy
2
Mediterranean Center for Human Health Advanced Biotechnologies (CHAB), University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze Edificio 16, Palermo 90128, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sergei Odintsov
Symmetry 2015, 7(4), 1721-1733; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym7041721
Received: 27 July 2015 / Revised: 28 August 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2015 / Published: 28 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry and Asymmetry in Biology)
The mechanisms imposing the Dorsal/Ventral (DV) polarity of the early sea urchin embryo consist of a combination of inherited maternal information and inductive interactions among blastomeres. Old and recent studies suggest that a key molecular landmark of DV polarization is the expression of nodal on the future ventral side, in apparent contrast with other metazoan embryos, where nodal is expressed dorsally. A subtle maternally-inherited redox anisotropy, plus some maternal factors such as SoxB1, Univin, and p38-MAPK have been identified as inputs driving the spatially asymmetric transcription of nodal. However, all the mentioned factors are broadly distributed in the embryo as early as nodal transcription occurs, suggesting that repression of the gene in non-ventral territories depends upon negative regulators. Among these, the Hbox12 homeodomain-containing repressor is expressed by prospective dorsal cells, where it acts as a dorsal-specific negative modulator of the p38-MAPK activity. This review provides an overview of the molecular mechanisms governing the establishment of DV polarity in sea urchins, focusing on events taking place in the early embryo. Altogether, these findings provide a framework for future studies aimed to unravel the inceptive mechanisms involved in the DV symmetry breaking. View Full-Text
Keywords: dorsal/ventral axis; redox gradient; hypoxia; symmetry breaking; organizing centre; Nodal; Hbox12 transcription repressor; p38 MAPK; Wnt; sea urchin embryo dorsal/ventral axis; redox gradient; hypoxia; symmetry breaking; organizing centre; Nodal; Hbox12 transcription repressor; p38 MAPK; Wnt; sea urchin embryo
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cavalieri, V.; Spinelli, G. Symmetry Breaking and Establishment of Dorsal/Ventral Polarity in the Early Sea Urchin Embryo. Symmetry 2015, 7, 1721-1733. https://doi.org/10.3390/sym7041721

AMA Style

Cavalieri V, Spinelli G. Symmetry Breaking and Establishment of Dorsal/Ventral Polarity in the Early Sea Urchin Embryo. Symmetry. 2015; 7(4):1721-1733. https://doi.org/10.3390/sym7041721

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cavalieri, Vincenzo, and Giovanni Spinelli. 2015. "Symmetry Breaking and Establishment of Dorsal/Ventral Polarity in the Early Sea Urchin Embryo" Symmetry 7, no. 4: 1721-1733. https://doi.org/10.3390/sym7041721

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