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Cell migration that orients the dorsoventral axis is coordinated with anteroposterior patterning mediated by Hedgehog signaling in the early spider embryo
Yasuko Akiyama-Oda, Hiroki Oda


The early embryo of the spider Achaearanea tepidariorum is emerging as a model for the simultaneous study of cell migration and pattern formation. A cell cluster internalized at the center of the radially symmetric germ disc expresses the evolutionarily conserved dorsal signal Decapentaplegic. This cell cluster migrates away from the germ disc center along the basal side of the epithelium to the germ disc rim. This cell migration is thought to be the symmetry-breaking event that establishes the orientation of the dorsoventral axis. In this study, knockdown of a patched homolog, At-ptc, that encodes a putative negative regulator of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling, prevented initiation of the symmetry-breaking cell migration. Knockdown of a smoothened homolog, At-smo, showed that Hh signaling inactivation also arrested the cells at the germ disc center, whereas moderate inactivation resulted in sporadic failure of cell migration termination at the germ disc rim. hh transcript expression patterns indicated that the rim and outside of the germ disc were the source of the Hh ligand. Analyses of patterning events suggested that in the germ disc, short-range Hh signal promotes anterior specification and long-range Hh signal represses caudal specification. Moreover, negative regulation of Hh signaling by At-ptc appears to be required for progressive derepression of caudal specification from the germ disc center. Cell migration defects caused by At-ptc and At-smo knockdown correlated with patterning defects in the germ disc epithelium. We propose that the cell migration crucial for dorsoventral axis orientation in Achaearanea is coordinated with anteroposterior patterning mediated by Hh signaling.

  • Accepted February 3, 2010.
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