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Development 2017 Aug 01;14415:2764-2770. doi: 10.1242/dev.149831.
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Acetylcholinesterase plays a non-neuronal, non-esterase role in organogenesis.

Pickett MA , Dush MK , Nascone-Yoder NM .

Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is crucial for degrading acetylcholine at cholinergic synapses. In vitro studies suggest that, in addition to its role in nervous system signaling, AChE can also modulate non-neuronal cell properties, although it remains controversial whether AChE functions in this capacity in vivo Here, we show that AChE plays an essential non-classical role in vertebrate gut morphogenesis. Exposure of Xenopus embryos to AChE-inhibiting chemicals results in severe defects in intestinal development. Tissue-targeted loss-of-function assays (via microinjection of antisense morpholino or CRISPR-Cas9) confirm that AChE is specifically required in the gut endoderm tissue, a non-neuronal cell population, where it mediates adhesion to fibronectin and regulates cell rearrangement events that drive gut lengthening and digestive epithelial morphogenesis. Notably, the classical esterase activity of AChE is dispensable for this activity. As AChE is deeply conserved, widely expressed outside of the nervous system, and the target of many environmental chemicals, these results have wide-reaching implications for development and toxicology.

PubMed ID: 28684626
PMC ID: PMC5560043
Article link: Development
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: ache cdh1 ces2.4 ctnnb1 fabp2 fn1 foxf1 itgb1 lama1 prkci prkcz tuba4b
GO keywords: acetylcholinesterase activity [+]
Antibodies: Ache Ab2 Casp3 Ab1 Cdh1 Ab1 Ctnnb1 Ab2 GFP Ab13 H3f3a Ab9 Itgb1 Ab1 Lama1 Ab1 Myc Ab5 Prkcz Ab1 Tuba4b Ab2
Morpholinos: ache MO1

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Anderson, Morphoregulation by acetylcholinesterase in fibroblasts and astrocytes. 2008, Pubmed