Mizoguchi, T., Verkade, H., Heath, J.K., Kuroiwa, A., and Kikuchi, Y. (2008) Sdf1/Cxcr4 signaling controls the dorsal migration of endodermal cells during zebrafish gastrulation. Development (Cambridge, England). 135(15):2521-2529.
During vertebrate gastrulation, both mesodermal and endodermal cells internalize through the blastopore beneath the ectoderm. In zebrafish, the internalized mesodermal cells move towards the dorsal side of the gastrula and, at the same time, they extend anteriorly by convergence and extension (C&E) movements. Endodermal cells showing characteristic filopodia then migrate into the inner layer within the hypoblast next to the yolk syncytial layer (YSL). However, little is known about how the movement of endodermal cells is regulated during gastrulation. Here we show that sdf1a- and sdf1b-expressing mesodermal cells control the movements of the cxcr4a-expressing endodermal cells. The directional migration of endodermal cells during gastrulation is inhibited by knockdown of either cxcr4a or sdf1a/sdf1b (sdf1). We also show that misexpressed Sdf1 acts as a chemoattractant for cxcr4a-expressing endodermal cells. We further found, using the endoderm-specific transgenic line Tg(sox17:EGFP), that Sdf1/Cxcr4 signaling regulates both the formation and orientation of filopodial processes in endodermal cells. Moreover, the accumulation of phosphoinositide 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3), which is known to occur at the leading edge of migrating cells, is not observed at the filopodia of endodermal cells. Based on our results, we propose that sdf1-expressing mesodermal cells, which overlie the endodermal layer, guide the cxcr4a-expressing endodermal cells to the dorsal side of the embryo during gastrulation, possibly through a PIP3-independent pathway.