The nanos genes play important roles in the development of primordial germ cells in animal species. In the sea urchin, Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus, small micromere descendants specifically express HpNanos mRNA and this expression continues in the left coelomic pouch, which produces the major component of the adult rudiment. In this study, we showed that morpholino knockdown of HpNanos resulted in a delay of primary mesenchyme cell ingression and a decrease in the number of cells comprising the left coelomic pouch. Knockdown analysis in chimeras and whole embryos revealed the disappearance of small micromere descendants from the archenteron tip. Furthermore, the expression of HpNanos mRNA was induced in other cell lineages in the HpNanos-knockdown and micromere-deleted embryos. Taken together, our results suggest that HpNanos is involved in the inductive interaction of small micromere descendants with other cell lineages, and that HpNanos is required for the survival of small micromere descendants.
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