Activator of G-protein signaling in asymmetric cell divisions of the sea urchin embryo

Ekaterina Voronina, Gary M. Wessel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


An asymmetric fourth cell division in the sea urchin embryo results in formation of daughter cells, macromeres and micromeres, with distinct sizes and fates. Several lines of functional evidence presented here, including pharmacological interference and dominant negative protein expression, indicate that heterotrimeric G protein Gi and its interaction partner, activator of G-protein signaling (AGS), are necessary for this asymmetric cell division. Inhibition of Gi signaling by pertussis toxin interferes with micromere formation and leads to defects in embryogenesis. AGS was isolated in a yeast two-hybrid screen with Gαi as bait and was expressed in embryos localized to the cell cortex at the time of asymmetric divisions. Introduction of exogenous dominant-negative AGS protein, containing only G-protein regulatory (GPR) domains, selectively prevented the asymmetric division in normal micromere formation. These results support the growing evidence that AGS is a universal regulator of asymmetric cell divisions in embryos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-557
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment Growth and Differentiation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Asymmetric cell division
  • Embryo
  • Heterotrimeric G-protein
  • Micromere
  • Sea urchin


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