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Mattias Hogvall, Graham E Budd, Ralf Janssen
Background: Morphogen signalling represents a key mechanism of developmental processes during animal development. Previously, several evolutionary conserved morphogen signalling pathways have been identified, and their players such as the morphogen receptors, morphogen modulating factors (MMFs) and the morphogens themselves have been studied. MMFs are factors that regulate morphogen distribution and activity. The interactions of MMFs with different morphogen signalling pathways such as Wnt signalling, Hedgehog (Hh) signalling and Decapentaplegic (Dpp) signalling are complex because some of the MMFs have been shown to interact with more than one signalling pathway, and depending on genetic context, to have different, biphasic or even opposing function...
2018: EvoDevo
Frank W Smith, Mandy Cumming, Bob Goldstein
Background: Both euarthropods and vertebrates have tripartite brains. Several orthologous genes are expressed in similar regionalized patterns during brain development in both vertebrates and euarthropods. These similarities have been used to support direct homology of the tripartite brains of vertebrates and euarthropods. If the tripartite brains of vertebrates and euarthropods are homologous, then one would expect other taxa to share this structure. More generally, examination of other taxa can help in tracing the evolutionary history of brain structures...
2018: EvoDevo
Elijah K Lowe, Alberto Stolfi
Background: The larval nervous system of the solitary tunicate Ciona is a simple model for the study of chordate neurodevelopment. The development and connectivity of the Ciona motor ganglion have been studied in fine detail, but how this important structure develops in other tunicates is not well known. Methods and Results: By comparing gene expression patterns in the developing MG of the distantly related tunicate Molgula occidentalis, we found that its patterning is highly conserved compared to the Ciona MG...
2018: EvoDevo
Sandra Treffkorn, Laura Kahnke, Lars Hering, Georg Mayer
Background: Understanding the evolution and development of morphological traits of the last common bilaterian ancestor is a major goal of the evo-devo discipline. The reconstruction of this "urbilaterian" is mainly based on comparative studies of common molecular patterning mechanisms in recent model organisms. The NK homeobox genes are key players in many of these molecular pathways, including processes regulating mesoderm, heart and neural development. Shared features seen in the expression patterns of NK genes have been used to determine the ancestral bilaterian characters...
2018: EvoDevo
Nicholas D Holland
Background: For early larvae of amphioxus, Kaji et al. (Zool Lett 2:2, 2016) proposed that mesoderm cells are added to the rim of the forming mouth, giving it the quality of a coelomoduct without homology to the oral openings of other animals. They depended in part on non-serial transmission electron microscopic (TEM) sections and could not readily put fine structural details into a broader context. The present study of amphioxus larvae is based largely on serial blockface scanning electron microscopy (SBSEM), a technique revealing TEM-level details within an extensive anatomical volume that can be reconstructed in three dimensions...
2018: EvoDevo
Kaoru Usui, Masayoshi Tokita
Mammals (class Mammalia) have evolved diverse craniofacial morphology to adapt to a wide range of ecological niches. However, the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying the diversification of mammalian craniofacial morphology remain largely unknown. In this paper, we focus on the facial length and orofacial clefts of mammals and deduce potential mechanisms that produced diversity in mammalian facial morphology. Small-scale changes in facial morphology from the common ancestor, such as slight changes in facial length and the evolution of the midline cleft in some lineages of bats, could be attributed to heterochrony in facial bone ossification...
2018: EvoDevo
Radim Žídek, Ondřej Machoň, Zbyněk Kozmik
Background: Wnt/β-catenin (or canonical) signalling pathway activity is necessary and used independently several times for specification of vegetal fate and endoderm, gut differentiation, maintenance of epithelium in adult intestine and the development of gut-derived organs in various vertebrate and non-vertebrate organisms. However, its conservation in later stages of digestive tract development still remains questionable due to the lack of detailed data, mainly from Spiralia. Results: Here we characterize the Pdu - Tcf gene, a Tcf/LEF orthologue and a component of Wnt/β-catenin pathway from Platynereis dumerilii, a spiralian, marine annelid worm...
2018: EvoDevo
Christian Hodar, Verónica Cambiazo
Background: In the last few years, accumulated information has indicated that the evolution of an extra-embryonic membrane in dipterans was accompanied by changes in the gene regulatory network controlled by the BMP/Dpp pathway, which is responsible for dorsal patterning in these insects. However, only comparative analysis of gene expression levels between distant species with two extra-embryonic membranes, like A. gambiae or C. albipunctata , and D. melanogaster, has been conducted...
2018: EvoDevo
Yoshinori Kawabe, Takahiro Morio, Yoshimasa Tanaka, Pauline Schaap
Background: Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) regulates many cell fate decisions in animal development. In multicellular structures of the group 4 dictyostelid Dictyostelium discoideum , GSK3 promotes spore over stalk-like differentiation. We investigated whether, similar to other sporulation-inducing genes such as cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), this role of GSK3 is derived from an ancestral role in encystation of unicellular amoebas. Results: We deleted GSK3 in Polysphondylium pallidum , a group 2 dictyostelid which has retained encystation as an alternative survival strategy...
2018: EvoDevo
Shumpei Yamakawa, Yoshiaki Morino, Masanao Honda, Hiroshi Wada
Background: Although retinoic acid (RA) signaling plays a crucial role in the body patterning of chordates, its function in non-chordate invertebrates, other than its mediation of environmental cues triggering metamorphosis in cnidarians, is largely unknown. We investigated the role of RA signaling in the metamorphosis of starfish (Echinodermata). Results: We found that exogenous RA treatment induced metamorphosis in starfish larvae. In contrast, inhibitors of RA synthesis and RA receptors suppressed metamorphosis triggered by attachment to a substrate...
2018: EvoDevo
Fernanda Langellotto, Maria Fiorentino, Elena De Felice, Luigi Caputi, Valeria Nittoli, Jean M P Joss, Paolo Sordino
Background: The concerted activity of Meis and Hoxa11 transcription factors is essential for the subdivision of tetrapod limbs into proximo-distal (PD) domains; however, little is know about the evolution of this patterning mechanism. Here, we aim to study the expression of meis and hoxa11 orthologues in the median and paired rayed fins of zebrafish and in the lobed fins of the Australian lungfish. Results: First, a late phase of expression of meis1.1 and hoxa11b in zebrafish dorsal and anal fins relates with segmentation of endochondral elements in proximal and distal radials...
2018: EvoDevo
José Lorente-Sorolla, Marta Truchado-Garcia, Kimberly J Perry, Jonathan Q Henry, Cristina Grande
Background: Sall (Spalt-like) proteins are zinc-finger transcription factors involved in a number of biological processes. They have only been studied in a few model organisms, such as Drosophila melanogaster , Caenorhabditis elegans , Schmidtea mediterranea and some vertebrates. Further taxon sampling is critical to understand the evolution and diversification of this protein and its functional roles in animals. Results: Using genome and transcriptome mining, we confirmed the presence of sall genes in a range of additional animal taxa, for which their presence had not yet been described...
2018: EvoDevo
E Perea-Atienza, S G Sprecher, P Martínez
Background: The basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) family of transcription factors is one of the largest superfamilies of regulatory transcription factors and is widely used in eukaryotic organisms. They play an essential role in a range of metabolic, physiological, and developmental processes, including the development of the nervous system (NS). These transcription factors have been studied in many metazoans, especially in vertebrates but also in early branching metazoan clades such as the cnidarians and sponges...
2018: EvoDevo
Yui Uchida, Masahiro Uesaka, Takayoshi Yamamoto, Hiroyuki Takeda, Naoki Irie
Background: Understanding the general trends in developmental changes during animal evolution, which are often associated with morphological diversification, has long been a central issue in evolutionary developmental biology. Recent comparative transcriptomic studies revealed that gene expression profiles of mid-embryonic period tend to be more evolutionarily conserved than those in earlier or later periods. While the hourglass-like divergence of developmental processes has been demonstrated in a variety of animal groups such as vertebrates, arthropods, and nematodes, the exact mechanism leading to this mid-embryonic conservation remains to be clarified...
2018: EvoDevo
Thurston Lacalli
The axonal projection from the retina to the optic tectum maps visual information isomorphically from one to the other and serves as a model for the development of sensory maps more generally in the vertebrate brain. How or why this connection evolved is not known, nor why the midbrain is so important to the processing of visual information. Amphioxus is potentially informative here because its eye homolog, the frontal eye, also has a neural connection to a region of the brain now known to be homologous with the caudal diencephalon and midbrain...
2018: EvoDevo
Evgeniya Anishchenko, Maria Ina Arnone, Salvatore D'Aniello
Background: Current studies in evolutionary developmental biology are focused on the reconstruction of gene regulatory networks in target animal species. From decades, the scientific interest on genetic mechanisms orchestrating embryos development has been increasing in consequence to the fact that common features shared by evolutionarily distant phyla are being clarified. In 2011, a study across eumetazoan species showed for the first time the existence of a highly conserved non-coding element controlling the SoxB2 gene, which is involved in the early specification of the nervous system...
2018: EvoDevo
Stanislav Kremnyov, Kristine Henningfeld, Christoph Viebahn, Nikoloz Tsikolia
Background: The notochord has organizer properties and is required for floor plate induction and dorsoventral patterning of the neural tube. This activity has been attributed to sonic hedgehog (shh) signaling, which originates in the notochord, forms a gradient, and autoinduces shh expression in the floor plate. However, reported data are inconsistent and the spatiotemporal development of the relevant shh expression domains has not been studied in detail. We therefore studied the expression dynamics of shh in rabbit, chicken and Xenopus laevis embryos (as well as indian hedgehog and desert hedgehog as possible alternative functional candidates in the chicken)...
2018: EvoDevo
Christopher J Percival, Rebecca Green, Charles C Roseman, Daniel M Gatti, Judith L Morgan, Stephen A Murray, Leah Rae Donahue, Jessica M Mayeux, K Michael Pollard, Kunjie Hua, Daniel Pomp, Ralph Marcucio, Benedikt Hallgrímsson
Background: Previous analysis suggested that the relative contribution of individual bones to regional skull lengths differ between inbred mouse strains. If the negative correlation of adjacent bone lengths is associated with genetic variation in a heterogeneous population, it would be an example of negative pleiotropy, which occurs when a genetic factor leads to opposite effects in two phenotypes. Confirming negative pleiotropy and determining its basis may reveal important information about the maintenance of overall skull integration and developmental constraint on skull morphology...
2018: EvoDevo
Amy H Royall, Ignacio Maeso, Thomas L Dunwell, Peter W H Holland
Background: ETCHbox genes are eutherian-specific homeobox genes expressed during preimplantation development at a time when the first cell lineage decisions are being made. The mouse has an unusual repertoire of ETCHbox genes with several gene families lost in evolution and the remaining two, Crxos and Obox , greatly divergent in sequence and number. Each has undergone duplication to give a double homeodomain Crxos locus and a large cluster of over 60 Obox loci. The gene content differences between species raise important questions about how evolution can tolerate loss of genes implicated in key developmental events...
2018: EvoDevo
Anita Khadka, Marina Martínez-Bartolomé, Stephanie D Burr, Ryan C Range
The anterior neuroectoderm (ANE) in many deuterostome embryos (echinoderms, hemichordates, urochordates, cephalochordates, and vertebrates) is progressively restricted along the anterior-posterior axis to a domain around the anterior pole. In the sea urchin embryo, three integrated Wnt signaling branches (Wnt/β-catenin, Wnt/JNK, and Wnt/PKC) govern this progressive restriction process, which begins around the 32- to 60-cell stage and terminates by the early gastrula stage. We previously have established that several secreted Wnt modulators of the Dickkopf and secreted Frizzled-related protein families (Dkk1, Dkk3, and sFRP-1/5) are expressed within the ANE and play important roles in modulating the Wnt signaling network during this process...
2018: EvoDevo
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