TRPM7 regulates gastrulation during vertebrate embryogenesis

Wei Liu, Li Ting Su, Deepak K. Khadka, Courtney Mezzacappa, Yuko Komiya, Akira Sato, Raymond Habas, Loren W. Runnels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)


During gastrulation, cells in the dorsal marginal zone polarize, elongate, align and intercalate to establish the physical body axis of the developing embryo. Here we demonstrate that the bifunctional channel-kinase TRPM7 is specifically required for vertebrate gastrulation. TRPM7 is temporally expressed maternally and throughout development, and is spatially enriched in tissues undergoing convergent extension during gastrulation. Functional studies reveal that TRPM7's ion channel, but not its kinase domain, specifically affects cell polarity and convergent extension movements during gastrulation, independent of mesodermal specification. During gastrulation, the non-canonical Wnt pathway via Dishevelled (Dvl) orchestrates the activities of the GTPases Rho and Rac to control convergent extension movements. We find that TRPM7 functions synergistically with non-canonical Wnt signaling to regulate Rac activity. The phenotype caused by depletion of the Ca2+- and Mg2+-permeant TRPM7 is suppressed by expression of a dominant negative form of Rac, as well as by Mg2+ supplementation or by expression of the Mg2+ transporter SLC41A2. Together, these studies demonstrate an essential role for the ion channel TRPM7 and Mg2+ in Rac-dependent polarized cell movements during vertebrate gastrulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-357
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • Gastrulation
  • Ion channel
  • Kinase
  • Magnesium
  • Rac
  • TRPM7

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Liu, W., Su, L. T., Khadka, D. K., Mezzacappa, C., Komiya, Y., Sato, A., Habas, R., & Runnels, L. W. (2011). TRPM7 regulates gastrulation during vertebrate embryogenesis. Developmental Biology, 350(2), 348-357.