PNAS Paper


Ekaterina Pukhlyakova published a paper in PNAS about β-catenin mechanotransduction

Besides genetic regulation, mechanical forces have been iden-tified as important cues in numerous developmental processes.Mechanical forces can activate biochemical cascades in a processcalled mechanotransduction. Recent studies in vertebratesand flies elucidated the role of mechanical forces for mesodermalgene expression. However, it remains unclear whethermechanotransduction is a universal regulatory mechanismthroughout Metazoa. Here, we show in the sea anemoneNematostella vectensis that mechanical pressure can ectopicallyactivate or restore brachyury expression. This mechanotransductionis dependent on β-catenin, similar to vertebrates.We propose that a regulatory feedback loop between geneticand mechanical gene activation exists during gastrulation andthe β-catenin–dependent mechanotransduction is an ancientregulatory mechanism, which was present in the common ancestorof cnidarians and bilaterians.

(link to publication will follow)

Researcher Ekaterina Pukhlyakova (PhD student)