Stem cells and development

Geminin is required for epithelial to mesenchymal transition at gastrulation.

PMID 22335560


Geminin is a multifunctional protein previously suggested to both maintain the bone morphogenetic protein inhibition required for neural induction and to control cell-cycle progression and cell fate in the early embryo. Since Geminin is required in the blastocyst on E3.5, we employed shRNA to examine its role during postimplantation development. Geminin knockdown inhibited the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) required at gastrulation and neural crest delamination, resulting in anterior-posterior axis and patterning defects, while overexpression promoted EMT at both locations. Geminin was negatively correlated with expression of E-cadherin, which is critically involved in controlling epithelial architecture. In addition, Geminin expression level was correlated with Wnt signaling and expression of the Wnt target gene Axin2 and with Msx2, and negatively correlated with the expression of Bmp4 and Neurog1 in quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis of RNAs from individual embryos. These results suggest that in addition to patterning the early embryo, Geminin plays a previously unrecognized role in EMT via its ability to affect Wnt signaling and E-cadherin expression.