Comparative analysis of fibrillar and basement membrane collagen expression in embryos of the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus
Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
The time of appearance and location of three distinct collagen gene transcripts termed 1 alpha, 2 alpha, and 3 alpha, were monitored in the developing S. purpuratus embryo by in situ hybridization. The 1 alpha and 2 alpha transcripts of fibrillar collagens were detected simultaneously in the primary (PMC) and secondary (SMC) mesenchyme cells of the late gastrula stage and subsequently expressed in the spicules and gut associated cells of the pluteus stage. The 3 alpha transcripts of the basement membrane collagen appeared earlier than 1 alpha and 2 alpha, and were first detected in the presumptive PMC at the vegetal plate of the late blastula stage. The PMC exhibited high expression of 3 alpha at the mesenchyme blastula stage, but during gastrulation the level of expression was reduced differentially among the PMC. In the late gastrula and pluteus stages, both PMC and SMC expressed 3 alpha mRNA, and thus at these stages all three collagen genes displayed an identical expression pattern by coincidence. This study thus provides the first survey of onset and localization of multiple collagen transcripts in a single sea urchin species.