Unusual pattern of accumulation of mRNA encoding EGF-related protein in sea urchin embryos

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  10 Nov 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4931, pp. 806-808
DOI: 10.1126/science.2814501


A sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) messenger RNA encoding a protein (SpEGF2) related to epidermal growth factor (EGF) was identified. The full-length complementary DNA sequence predicts a protein with an unusually simple structure, including four tandem EGF-like repeats and a hydrophobic leader, but lacking a potential transmembrane domain. Sequence similarities suggest that the peptides are homologous to two peptides from a different sea urchin species, which cause a classic developmental defect, exogastrulation, when added to the seawater outside of embryos. The SpEGF2 messenger RNA begins to accumulate at blastula stage, and in pluteus larvae it is distributed in discrete regions of ectoderm that are not congruent with known histological borders. One region corresponds to that expressing the homeodomain-containing protein, SpHbox1. The structure of the SpEGF2 protein and the pattern of accumulation of its messenger RNA suggest that it may have important functions as a secreted factor during development of sea urchin embryos.

Stay Connected to Science