Induction of canonical Wnt signaling by alsterpaullone is sufficient for oral tissue fate during regeneration and embryogenesis in Nematostella vectensis



Although regeneration is widespread among metazoa, the molecular mechanisms have been studied in only a handful of taxa. Of these taxa, fewer still are amenable to studies of embryogenesis. Our understanding of the evolution of regeneration, and its relation to embryogenesis, therefore remains limited. Using β-catenin as a marker, we investigated the role of canonical Wnt signaling during both regeneration and embryogenesis in the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis. The canonical Wnt signaling pathway is known to play a conserved role in primary axis patterning in triploblasts. Induction of Wnt signaling with alsterpaullone results in ectopic oral tissue during both regeneration and embryogenesis by specifically upregulating β-catenin expression, as measured by qRTPCR. Our data indicate that canonical Wnt signaling is sufficient for oral patterning during Nematostella regeneration and embryogenesis. These data also contribute to a growing body of literature indicating a conserved role for patterning mechanisms across various developmental modes of metazoans. Developmental Dynamics 240:2673–2679, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.