Daggett, D.F., Boyd, C.A,. Gautier, P., Bryson-Richardson, R.J., Thisse, C., Thisse, B., Amacher, S.L., and Currie, P.D. (2004) Developmentally restricted actin-regulatory molecules control morphogenetic cell movements in the zebrafish gastrula. Current biology : CB. 14(18):632-638.
Although our understanding of the regulation of cellular actin and its control during the development of invertebrates is increasing, the question as to how such actin dynamics are regulated differentially across the vertebrate embryo to effect its relatively complex morphogenetic cell movements remains poorly understood. Intercellular signaling that provides spatial and temporal cues to modulate the subcellular localization and activity of actin regulatory molecules represents one important mechanism. Here we explore whether the localized gene expression of specific actin regulatory molecules represents another developmental mechanism. We have identified a cap1 homolog and a novel guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), quattro (quo), that share a restricted gene expression domain in the anterior mesendoderm of the zebrafish gastrula. Each gene is required for specific cellular behaviors during the anterior migration of this tissue; furthermore, cap1 regulates cortical actin distribution specifically in these cells. Finally, although cap1 and quo are autonomously required for the normal behaviors of these cells, they are also nonautonomously required for convergence and extension movements of posterior tissues. Our results provide direct evidence for the deployment of developmentally restricted actin-regulatory molecules in the control of morphogenetic cell movements during vertebrate development.