Cilia play a role in breaking left-right symmetry of the sea urchin embryo

Ayumi Takemoto, Tatsuo Miyamoto, Fumie Simono, Nao Kurogi, Maki Shirae-Kurabayashi, Akinori Awazu, Ken-Ichi T Suzuki, Takashi Yamamoto, Naoaki Sakamoto (Coresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Left-right asymmetry of bilaterian animals is established during early development. In mice, frogs and fishes, the ciliated left-right organizer plays an essential role in establishing bilateral asymmetry, and leftward flow of extracellular fluid generated by ciliary motion results in Nodal activity on the left side. However, H(+) /K(+) -ATPase activity is also involved in the determination of left-right asymmetry in a variety of animals, and it has been thought to be an ancestral mechanism in deuterostomes. In sea urchin, the determination of the left-right asymmetry based on H(+) /K(+) -ATPase activity was already clarified, but it remains to be uncovered whether ciliary motion is involved in the left-right asymmetry of the embryo. Here, we show evidence that ciliary motion is involved in the establishment of left-right asymmetry of sea urchin embryo. Furthermore, we show that the initial cilia generated on small micromeres during the early stage of embryogenesis may be involved in this process. These results suggest that the cilia-mediated mechanism for the determination of left-right asymmetry may be acquired at the base of the deuterostomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-578
Number of pages11
JournalGenes to Cells
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Cilia
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Embryonic Development
  • Nodal Signaling Ligands/metabolism
  • Sea Urchins/embryology

Field of Science*

  • 1.6 Biological sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.3. Anonymously reviewed scientific article published in a journal with an international editorial board and is available in another indexed database


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