A zebrafish maternal effect mutation, in the gene hecate, results in embryos that have defects in the formation of dorsoanterior structures and altered calcium release. hecate mutant embryos lack nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and have reduced expression of genes specific to the dorsal organizer. We found that hecate mutant embryos exhibit a nearly 10-fold increase in the frequency of intracellular Ca2+ transients normally present in the enveloping layer during the blastula stages. Inhibition of Ca 2+ release leads to ectopic expression of dorsal genes in mutant embryos suggesting that Ca2+ transients are important in mediating dorsal gene expression. Inhibition of Ca2+ release also results in the expression of dorsal-specific genes in the enveloping layer in a β-catenin-independent manner, which suggests an additional function for the Ca2+ transients in this cellular layer. The mutant phenotype can be reversed by the expression of factors that activate Wnt/β-catenin signaling, suggesting that the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, at least as activated by an exogenous Wnt ligand, is intact in hec mutant embryos. Our results are consistent with a role for the hecate gene in the regulation of Ca2+ release during the cleavage stages, which in turn influences dorsal gene expression in both marginal cells along the dorsoventral axis and in the enveloping layer. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lyman Gingerich, J., Westfall, T. A., Slusarski, D. C., & Pelegri, F. (2005). hecate, a zebrafish maternal effect gene, affects dorsal organizer induction and intracellular calcium transient frequency. Developmental Biology, 286(2), 427–439. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.07.031