Developmental biology

H(+)/K(+) ATPase activity is required for biomineralization in sea urchin embryos.

PMID 26282894


The bioelectrical signatures associated with regeneration, wound healing, development, and cancer are changes in the polarization state of the cell that persist over long durations, and are mediated by ion channel activity. To identify physiologically relevant bioelectrical changes that occur during normal development of the sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus, we tested a range of ion channel inhibitors, and thereby identified SCH28080, a chemical inhibitor of the H(+)/K(+) ATPase (HKA), as an inhibitor of skeletogenesis. In sea urchin embryos, the primary mesodermal lineage, the PMCs, produce biomineral in response to signals from the ectoderm. However, in SCH28080-treated embryos, aside from randomization of the left-right axis, the ectoderm is normally specified and differentiated, indicating that the block to skeletogenesis observed in SCH28080-treated embryos is PMC-specific. HKA inhibition did not interfere with PMC specification, and was sufficient to block continuing biomineralization when embryos were treated with SCH28080 after the initiation of skeletogenesis, indicating that HKA activity is continuously required during biomineralization. Ion concentrations and voltage potential were abnormal in the PMCs in SCH28080-treated embryos, suggesting that these bioelectrical abnormalities prevent biomineralization. Our results indicate that this effect is due to the inhibition of amorphous calcium carbonate precipitation within PMC vesicles.