Asymmetric distribution of hypoxia-inducible factor α regulates dorsoventral axis establishment in the early sea urchin embryo

Wei-Lun Chang, Yi-Cheng Chang, Kuan-Ting Lin, Han-Ru Li, Chih-Yu Pai, Jen-Hao Chen, Yi-Hsien Su
2017 Development  
Hypoxia signaling is an ancient pathway by which animals can respond to low oxygen. Malfunction of this pathway disturbs hypoxic acclimation and can result in various diseases, including cancers. The role of hypoxia signaling in early embryogenesis remains unclear. Here, we show that in the blastula of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, hypoxia-inducible factor α (HIFα), the downstream transcription factor of the hypoxia pathway, is localized and transcriptionally active on the
more » ... active on the future dorsal side. This asymmetric distribution is attributable to its oxygen-sensing ability. Manipulations of the HIFα level entrained the dorsoventral axis, as the side with the higher level of HIFα tends to develop into the dorsal side. Gene expression analyses revealed that HIFα restricts the expression of nodal to the ventral side and activates several genes encoding transcription factors on the dorsal side. We also observed that intrinsic hypoxic signals in the early embryos formed a gradient, which was disrupted under hypoxic conditions. Our results reveal an unprecedented role of the hypoxia pathway in animal development.
doi:10.1242/dev.145052 pmid:28705895 fatcat:wizas4idwvgo3ihroavxvgzide