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Sample records for bilaterian symsagittifera roscoffensis

  1. Myogenesis in the basal bilaterian Symsagittifera roscoffensis (Acoela

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    Wanninger Andreas

    2008-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background In order to increase the weak database concerning the organogenesis of Acoela – a clade regarded by many as the earliest extant offshoot of Bilateria and thus of particular interest for studies concerning the evolution of animal bodyplans – we analyzed the development of the musculature of Symsagittifera roscoffensis using F-actin labelling, confocal laserscanning microscopy, and 3D reconstruction software. Results At 40% of development between egg deposition and hatching short subepidermal fibres form. Muscle fibre development in the anterior body half precedes myogenesis in the posterior half. At 42% of development a grid of outer circular and inner longitudinal muscles is present in the bodywall. New circular muscles either branch off from present fibres or form adjacent to existing ones. The number of circular muscles is higher than that of the longitudinal muscles throughout all life cycle stages. Diagonal, circular and longitudinal muscles are initially rare but their number increases with time. The ventral side bears U-shaped muscles around the mouth, which in addition is surrounded by a sphincter muscle. With the exception of the region of the statocyst, dorsoventral muscles are present along the entire body of juveniles and adults, while adults additionally exhibit radially oriented internal muscles in the anterior tip. Outer diagonal muscles are present at the dorsal anterior tip of the adult. In adult animals, the male gonopore with its associated sexual organs expresses distinct muscles. No specific statocyst muscles were found. The muscle mantles of the needle-shaped sagittocysts are situated along the lateral edges of the animal and in the posterior end close to the male gonopore. In both juveniles and adults, non-muscular filaments, which stain positively for F-actin, are associated with certain sensory cells outside the bodywall musculature. Conclusion Compared to the myoanatomy of other acoel taxa

  2. The phylogenetic position of Acoela as revealed by the complete mitochondrial genome of Symsagittifera roscoffensis

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    Littlewood D Timothy J

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Acoels are simply organized unsegmented worms, lacking hindgut and anus. Several publications over recent years challenge the long-held view that acoels are early offshoots of the flatworms. Instead a basal position as sister group to all other bilaterian animals was suggested, mainly based on molecular evidence. This led to the view that features of acoels might reflect those of the last common ancestor of Bilateria, and resulted in several evo-devo studies trying to interpret bilaterian evolution using acoels as a proxy model for the "Urbilateria". Results We describe the first complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a member of the Acoela, Symsagittifera roscoffensis. Gene content and circular organization of the mitochondrial genome does not significantly differ from other bilaterian animals. However, gene order shows no similarity to any other mitochondrial genome within the Metazoa. Phylogenetic analyses of concatenated alignments of amino acid sequences from protein coding genes support a position of Acoela and Nemertodermatida as the sister group to all other Bilateria. Our data provided no support for a sister group relationship between Xenoturbellida and Acoela or Acoelomorpha. The phylogenetic position of Xenoturbella bocki as sister group to or part of the deuterostomes was also unstable. Conclusions Our phylogenetic analysis supports the view that acoels and nemertodermatids are the earliest divergent extant lineage of Bilateria. As such they remain a valid source for seeking primitive characters present in the last common ancestor of Bilateria. Gene order of mitochondrial genomes seems to be very variable among Acoela and Nemertodermatida and the groundplan for the metazoan mitochondrial genome remains elusive. More data are needed to interpret mitochondrial genome evolution at the base of Bilateria.

  3. The chimerical and multifaceted marine acoel Symsagittifera roscoffensis: from photosymbiosis to brain regeneration

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    Bailly, Xavier; Laguerre, Laurent; Correc, Gaëlle; Dupont, Sam; Kurth, Thomas; Pfannkuchen, Anja; Entzeroth, Rolf; Probert, Ian; Vinogradov, Serge; Lechauve, Christophe; Garet-Delmas, Marie-José; Reichert, Heinrich; Hartenstein, Volker

    2014-01-01

    A remarkable example of biological engineering is the capability of some marine animals to take advantage of photosynthesis by hosting symbiotic algae. This capacity, referred to as photosymbiosis, is based on structural and functional complexes that involve two distantly unrelated organisms. These stable photosymbiotic associations between metazoans and photosynthetic protists play fundamental roles in marine ecology as exemplified by reef communities and their vulnerability to global changes threats. Here we introduce a photosymbiotic tidal acoel flatworm, Symsagittifera roscoffensis, and its obligatory green algal photosymbiont, Tetraselmis convolutae (Lack of the algal partner invariably results in acoel lethality emphasizing the mandatory nature of the photosymbiotic algae for the animal's survival). Together they form a composite photosymbiotic unit, which can be reared in controlled conditions that provide easy access to key life-cycle events ranging from early embryogenesis through the induction of photosymbiosis in aposymbiotic juveniles to the emergence of a functional “solar-powered” mature stage. Since it is possible to grow both algae and host under precisely controlled culture conditions, it is now possible to design a range of new experimental protocols that address the mechanisms and evolution of photosymbiosis. S. roscoffensis thus represents an emerging model system with experimental advantages that complement those of other photosymbiotic species, in particular corals. The basal taxonomic position of S. roscoffensis (and acoels in general) also makes it a relevant model for evolutionary studies of development, stem cell biology and regeneration. Finally, it's autotrophic lifestyle and lack of calcification make S. roscoffensis a favorable system to study the role of symbiosis in the response of marine organisms to climate change (e.g., ocean warming and acidification). In this article we summarize the state of knowledge of the biology of S

  4. Myogenesis in the basal bilaterian Symsagittifera roscoffensis (Acoela)

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    Semmler, Henrike; Bailly, Xavier; Wanninger, Andreas

    2008-01-01

    all life cycle stages. Diagonal, circular and longitudinal muscles are initially rare but their number increases with time. The ventral side bears U-shaped muscles around the mouth, which in addition is surrounded by a sphincter muscle. With the exception of the region of the statocyst, dorsoventral...... muscles are present along the entire body of juveniles and adults, while adults additionally exhibit radially oriented internal muscles in the anterior tip. Outer diagonal muscles are present at the dorsal anterior tip of the adult. In adult animals, the male gonopore with its associated sexual organs...

  5. Stable photosymbiotic relationship under CO₂-induced acidification in the acoel worm Symsagittifera roscoffensis.

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    Sam Dupont

    Full Text Available As a consequence of anthropogenic CO₂ emissions, oceans are becoming more acidic, a phenomenon known as ocean acidification. Many marine species predicted to be sensitive to this stressor are photosymbiotic, including corals and foraminifera. However, the direct impact of ocean acidification on the relationship between the photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic organism remains unclear and is complicated by other physiological processes known to be sensitive to ocean acidification (e.g. calcification and feeding. We have studied the impact of extreme pH decrease/pCO₂ increase on the complete life cycle of the photosymbiotic, non-calcifying and pure autotrophic acoel worm, Symsagittifera roscoffensis. Our results show that this species is resistant to high pCO₂ with no negative or even positive effects on fitness (survival, growth, fertility and/or photosymbiotic relationship till pCO₂ up to 54 K µatm. Some sub-lethal bleaching is only observed at pCO₂ up to 270 K µatm when seawater is saturated by CO₂. This indicates that photosymbiosis can be resistant to high pCO₂. If such a finding would be confirmed in other photosymbiotic species, we could then hypothesize that negative impact of high pCO₂ observed on other photosymbiotic species such as corals and foraminifera could occur through indirect impacts at other levels (calcification, feeding.

  6. The dawn of bilaterian animals: the case of acoelomorph flatworms.

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    Baguñà, Jaume; Riutort, Marta

    2004-10-01

    The origin of the bilaterian metazoans from radial ancestors is one of the biggest puzzles in animal evolution. A way to solve it is to identify the nature and main features of the last common ancestor of the bilaterians (LCB). Recent progress in molecular phylogeny has shown that many platyhelminth flatworms, regarded for a long time as basal bilaterians, now belong to the lophotrochozoan protostomates. In contrast, the LCB is now considered a complex organism bearing several features of modern bilaterians. Here we discuss an alternative view, in which acoelomorph (Acoela + Nemertodermatida) flatworms, which do not belong to the Platyhelminthes, represent the earliest extant bilaterian clade. Sequences from ribosomal and other nuclear genes, Hox cluster genes, and reinterpretation of some morphological features strongly support the basal position of acoelomorphs arguing against a complex LCB. This reconstruction backs the old planuloid-acoeloid hypothesis and may help our understanding of the evolution of body axes, Hox genes and the Cambrian explosion.

  7. Simulating CO₂ leakages from CCS to determine Zn toxicity using the marine microalgae Pleurochrysis roscoffensis.

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    Bautista-Chamizo, Esther; De Orte, Manoela Romanó; DelValls, Tomás Ángel; Riba, Inmaculada

    2016-02-01

    Due to the current climate change and ocean acidification, a new technology for CO2 mitigation has been proposed, the Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS). However, there is an ecological risk associated with potential CO2 leakages from the sub-seabed storages sites. To evaluate the effects related to CO2 leakages, laboratory-scales experiments were performed using the marine microalgae Pleurochrysis roscoffensis. Five Zn concentrations were tested at different pHs to study Zn toxicity under acidified conditions. Seawater was collected and submitted to acidification by means of CO2 injection and by HCl addition. Results showed differences between both acidification techniques: while microalgae growth was enhanced by CO2 supply, reaching the optimal growth at pH 6.5 and full inhibition at pH 5.5, HCl acidification growth was inhibited at pH 6.5. Although small concentrations of Zn were positive for P. roscoffensis growth, Zn toxicity increased at lower pHs, and more severely on samples acidified with HCl. The conclusions obtained in this work are useful to address the potential effects on the marine ecosystem related to changes in metal bioavailability during CO2 leakages scenarios.

  8. Evo-devo of non-bilaterian animals

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    Emilio Lanna

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The non-bilaterian animals comprise organisms in the phyla Porifera, Cnidaria, Ctenophora and Placozoa. These early-diverging phyla are pivotal to understanding the evolution of bilaterian animals. After the exponential increase in research in evolutionary development (evo-devo in the last two decades, these organisms are again in the spotlight of evolutionary biology. In this work, I briefly review some aspects of the developmental biology of nonbilaterians that contribute to understanding the evolution of development and of the metazoans. The evolution of the developmental genetic toolkit, embryonic polarization, the origin of gastrulation and mesodermal cells, and the origin of neural cells are discussed. The possibility that germline and stem cell lineages have the same origin is also examined. Although a considerable number of non-bilaterian species are already being investigated, the use of species belonging to different branches of non-bilaterian lineages and functional experimentation with gene manipulation in the majority of the non-bilaterian lineages will be necessary for further progress in this field.

  9. Plated Cambrian bilaterians reveal the earliest stages of echinoderm evolution.

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    Samuel Zamora

    Full Text Available Echinoderms are unique in being pentaradiate, having diverged from the ancestral bilaterian body plan more radically than any other animal phylum. This transformation arises during ontogeny, as echinoderm larvae are initially bilateral, then pass through an asymmetric phase, before giving rise to the pentaradiate adult. Many fossil echinoderms are radial and a few are asymmetric, but until now none have been described that show the original bilaterian stage in echinoderm evolution. Here we report new fossils from the early middle Cambrian of southern Europe that are the first echinoderms with a fully bilaterian body plan as adults. Morphologically they are intermediate between two of the most basal classes, the Ctenocystoidea and Cincta. This provides a root for all echinoderms and confirms that the earliest members were deposit feeders not suspension feeders.

  10. Insights into bilaterian evolution from three spiralian genomes

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    Simakov, Oleg; Marletaz, Ferdinand; Cho, Sung-Jin; Edsinger-Gonzales, Eric; Havlak, Paul; Hellsten, Uffe; Kuo, Dian-Han; Larsson, Tomas; Lv, Jie; Arendt, Detlev; Savage, Robert; Osoegawa, Kazutoyo; de Jong, Pieter; Grimwood, Jane; Chapman, Jarrod A.; Shapiro, Harris; Otillar, Robert P.; Terry, Astrid Y.; Boore, Jeffrey L.; Grigoriev, Igor V.; Lindberg, David R.; Seaver, Elaine C.; Weisblat, David A.; Putnam, Nicholas H.; Rokhsar, Daniel S.; Aerts, Andrea

    2012-01-07

    Current genomic perspectives on animal diversity neglect two prominent phyla, the molluscs and annelids, that together account for nearly one-third of known marine species and are important both ecologically and as experimental systems in classical embryology1, 2, 3. Here we describe the draft genomes of the owl limpet (Lottia gigantea), a marine polychaete (Capitella teleta) and a freshwater leech (Helobdella robusta), and compare them with other animal genomes to investigate the origin and diversification of bilaterians from a genomic perspective. We find that the genome organization, gene structure and functional content of these species are more similar to those of some invertebrate deuterostome genomes (for example, amphioxus and sea urchin) than those of other protostomes that have been sequenced to date (flies, nematodes and flatworms). The conservation of these genomic features enables us to expand the inventory of genes present in the last common bilaterian ancestor, establish the tripartite diversification of bilaterians using multiple genomic characteristics and identify ancient conserved long- and short-range genetic linkages across metazoans. Superimposed on this broadly conserved pan-bilaterian background we find examples of lineage-specific genome evolution, including varying rates of rearrangement, intron gain and loss, expansions and contractions of gene families, and the evolution of clade-specific genes that produce the unique content of each genome.

  11. Phylogenetic distribution of microRNAs supports the basal position of acoel flatworms and the polyphyly of Platyhelminthes.

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    Sempere, Lorenzo F; Martinez, Pedro; Cole, Charles; Baguñà, Jaume; Peterson, Kevin J

    2007-01-01

    Phylogenetic analyses based on gene sequences suggest that acoel flatworms are not members of the phylum Platyhelminthes, but instead are the most basal branch of triploblastic bilaterians. Nonetheless, this result has been called into question. An alternative test is to use qualitative molecular markers that should, in principle, exclude the possibility of convergent (homoplastic) evolution in unrelated groups. microRNAs (miRNAs), noncoding regulatory RNA molecules that are under intense stabilizing selection, are a newly discovered set of phylogenetic markers that can resolve such taxonomic disputes. The acoel Childia sp. has recently been shown to possess a subset of the conserved core of miRNAs found across deuterostomes and protostomes, whereas a polyclad flatworm-in addition to this core subset-possesses miRNAs restricted to just protostomes. Here, we examine another acoel, Symsagittifera roscoffensis, and three other platyhelminths. Our results show that the distribution of miRNAs in S. roscoffensis parallels that of Childia. In addition, two of 13 new miRNAs cloned from a triclad flatworm are also found in other lophotrochozoan protostomes, but not in ecdysozoans, deuterostomes, or in basal metazoans including acoels. The limited set of miRNAs found in acoels, intermediate between the even more reduced set in cnidarians and the larger and expanding set in the rest of bilaterians, is compelling evidence for the basal position of acoel flatworms and the polyphyly of Platyhelminthes.

  12. A comprehensive analysis of bilaterian mitochondrial genomes and phylogeny.

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    Bernt, Matthias; Bleidorn, Christoph; Braband, Anke; Dambach, Johannes; Donath, Alexander; Fritzsch, Guido; Golombek, Anja; Hadrys, Heike; Jühling, Frank; Meusemann, Karen; Middendorf, Martin; Misof, Bernhard; Perseke, Marleen; Podsiadlowski, Lars; von Reumont, Björn; Schierwater, Bernd; Schlegel, Martin; Schrödl, Michael; Simon, Sabrina; Stadler, Peter F; Stöger, Isabella; Struck, Torsten H

    2013-11-01

    About 2800 mitochondrial genomes of Metazoa are present in NCBI RefSeq today, two thirds belonging to vertebrates. Metazoan phylogeny was recently challenged by large scale EST approaches (phylogenomics), stabilizing classical nodes while simultaneously supporting new sister group hypotheses. The use of mitochondrial data in deep phylogeny analyses was often criticized because of high substitution rates on nucleotides, large differences in amino acid substitution rate between taxa, and biases in nucleotide frequencies. Nevertheless, mitochondrial genome data might still be promising as it allows for a larger taxon sampling, while presenting a smaller amount of sequence information. We present the most comprehensive analysis of bilaterian relationships based on mitochondrial genome data. The analyzed data set comprises more than 650 mitochondrial genomes that have been chosen to represent a profound sample of the phylogenetic as well as sequence diversity. The results are based on high quality amino acid alignments obtained from a complete reannotation of the mitogenomic sequences from NCBI RefSeq database. However, the results failed to give support for many otherwise undisputed high-ranking taxa, like Mollusca, Hexapoda, Arthropoda, and suffer from extreme long branches of Nematoda, Platyhelminthes, and some other taxa. In order to identify the sources of misleading phylogenetic signals, we discuss several problems associated with mitochondrial genome data sets, e.g. the nucleotide and amino acid landscapes and a strong correlation of gene rearrangements with long branches.

  13. The Hox gene complement of acoel flatworms, a basal bilaterian clade.

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    Cook, Charles E; Jiménez, Eva; Akam, Michael; Saló, Emili

    2004-01-01

    Several molecular data sets suggest that acoelomorph flatworms are not members of the phylum Platyhelminthes but form a separate branch of the Metazoa that diverged from all other bilaterian animals before the separation of protostomes and deuterostomes. Here we examine the Hox gene complement of the acoel flatworms. In two distantly related acoel taxa, we identify only three distinct classes of Hox gene: an anterior gene, a posterior gene, and a central class gene most similar to genes of Hox classes 4 and 5 in other Bilateria. Phylogenetic analysis of these genes, together with the acoel caudal homologue, supports the basal position of the acoels. The similar gene sets found in two distantly related acoels suggest that this reduced gene complement may be ancestral in the acoels and that the acoels may have diverged from other bilaterians before elaboration of the 8- to 10-gene Hox cluster that characterizes most bilaterians.

  14. Dicyema Pax6 and Zic: tool-kit genes in a highly simplified bilaterian

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    Kamiya Akiko

    2007-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Dicyemid mesozoans (Phylum Dicyemida are simple (8–40-cell cephalopod endoparasites. They have neither body cavities nor differentiated organs, such as nervous and gastrointestinal systems. Whether dicyemids are intermediate between Protozoa and Metazoa (as represented by their "Mesozoa" classification or degenerate species of more complex metazoans is controversial. Recent molecular phylogenetic studies suggested that they are simplified bilaterians belonging to the Lophotrochozoa. We cloned two genes developmentally critical in bilaterian animals (Pax6 and Zic, together with housekeeping genes (actin, fructose-bisphosphate aldolase, and ATP synthase beta subunit from a dicyemid to reveal whether their molecular phylogeny supported the "simplification" hypothesis, and to clarify evolutionary changes in dicyemid gene structure and expression profiles. Results Genomic/cDNA sequence analysis showed that 1 the Pax6 molecular phylogeny and Zic intron positions supported the idea of dicyemids as reduced bilaterians; 2 the aa sequences deduced from the five genes were highly divergent; and 3 Dicyema genes contained very short introns of uniform length. In situ hybridization analyses revealed that Zic genes were expressed in hermaphroditic gonads, and Pax6 was expressed weakly throughout the developmental stages of the 2 types of embryo and in the hermaphroditic gonads. Conclusion The accelerated evolutionary rates and very short and uniform intron may represent a part of Dicyema genomic features. The presence and expression of the two tool-kit genes (Pax6 and Zic in Dicyema suggests that they can be very versatile genes even required for the highly reduced bilaterian like Dicyema. Dicyemids may be useful models of evolutionary body plan simplification.

  15. Towering sponges in an Early Cambrian Lagerstätte: Disparity between nonbilaterian and bilaterian epifaunal tierers at the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian transition

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    Yuan, Xunlai; Xiao, Shuhai; Parsley, Ronald L.; Zhou, Chuanming; Chen, Zhe; Hu, Jie

    2002-04-01

    Epifaunal, suspension-feeding bilaterian animals in the Cambrian lived close to the sediment-water interface, and hence their ecological tiering levels were low (Burgess Shale, and Sinsk biotas. These data are consistent with medium- to high-tiering levels in Neoproterozoic-Cambrian epifaunal communities, but suggest that nonbilaterians achieved such tiering levels long before bilaterian suspension feeders did so in the Early Ordovician. The disparity between bilaterian and nonbilaterian tierers during the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian transition and the delayed appearance of high-tiering bilaterians demand phylogenetic and ecological explanations. The Cambrian substrate revolution may have triggered a cascade of ecological evolution, including the rise of bilaterian animals in high-tiering levels during the Ordovician radiation of the Paleozoic fauna.

  16. Distinguishing geology from biology in the Ediacaran Doushantuo biota relaxes constraints on the timing of the origin of bilaterians.

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    Cunningham, John A; Thomas, Ceri-Wyn; Bengtson, Stefan; Kearns, Stuart L; Xiao, Shuhai; Marone, Federica; Stampanoni, Marco; Donoghue, Philip C J

    2012-06-22

    The Ediacaran Doushantuo biota has yielded fossils that include the oldest widely accepted record of the animal evolutionary lineage, as well as specimens with alleged bilaterian affinity. However, these systematic interpretations are contingent on the presence of key biological structures that have been reinterpreted by some workers as artefacts of diagenetic mineralization. On the basis of chemistry and crystallographic fabric, we characterize and discriminate phases of mineralization that reflect: (i) replication of original biological structure, and (ii) void-filling diagenetic mineralization. The results indicate that all fossils from the Doushantuo assemblage preserve a complex mélange of mineral phases, even where subcellular anatomy appears to be preserved. The findings allow these phases to be distinguished in more controversial fossils, facilitating a critical re-evaluation of the Doushantuo fossil assemblage and its implications as an archive of Ediacaran animal diversity. We find that putative subcellular structures exhibit fabrics consistent with preservation of original morphology. Cells in later developmental stages are not in original configuration and are therefore uninformative concerning gastrulation. Key structures used to identify Doushantuo bilaterians can be dismissed as late diagenetic artefacts. Therefore, when diagenetic mineralization is considered, there is no convincing evidence for bilaterians in the Doushantuo assemblage.

  17. Bilaterian Giant Ankyrins Have a Common Evolutionary Origin and Play a Conserved Role in Patterning the Axon Initial Segment

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    Jegla, Timothy; Nguyen, Michelle M.; Feng, Chengye; Goetschius, Daniel J.; van Rossum, Damian B.; Pisupati, Aditya; Milner, Elliott S.

    2016-01-01

    In vertebrate neurons, the axon initial segment (AIS) is specialized for action potential initiation. It is organized by a giant 480 Kd variant of ankyrin G (AnkG) that serves as an anchor for ion channels and is required for a plasma membrane diffusion barrier that excludes somatodendritic proteins from the axon. An unusually long exon required to encode this 480Kd variant is thought to have been inserted only recently during vertebrate evolution, so the giant ankyrin-based AIS scaffold has been viewed as a vertebrate adaptation for fast, precise signaling. We re-examined AIS evolution through phylogenomic analysis of ankyrins and by testing the role of ankyrins in proximal axon organization in a model multipolar Drosophila neuron (ddaE). We find giant isoforms of ankyrin in all major bilaterian phyla, and present evidence in favor of a single common origin for giant ankyrins and the corresponding long exon in a bilaterian ancestor. This finding raises the question of whether giant ankyrin isoforms play a conserved role in AIS organization throughout the Bilateria. We examined this possibility by looking for conserved ankyrin-dependent AIS features in Drosophila ddaE neurons via live imaging. We found that ddaE neurons have an axonal diffusion barrier proximal to the cell body that requires a giant isoform of the neuronal ankyrin Ank2. Furthermore, the potassium channel shal concentrates in the proximal axon in an Ank2-dependent manner. Our results indicate that the giant ankyrin-based cytoskeleton of the AIS may have evolved prior to the radiation of extant bilaterian lineages, much earlier than previously thought. PMID:27911898

  18. Phylogenetic analysis and expression patterns of Pax genes in the onychophoran Euperipatoides rowelli reveal a novel bilaterian Pax subfamily.

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    Franke, Franziska Anni; Schumann, Isabell; Hering, Lars; Mayer, Georg

    2015-01-01

    Pax family genes encode a class of transcription factors that regulate various developmental processes. To shed light on the evolutionary history of these genes in Panarthropoda (Onychophora + Tardigrada + Arthropoda), we analyzed the Pax repertoire in the embryonic and adult transcriptomes of the onychophoran Euperipatoides rowelli. Our data revealed homologs of all five major bilaterian Pax subfamilies in this species, including Pax2/5/8, Pax4/6, Pox-neuro, Pax1/9/Pox-meso, and Pax3/7. In addition, we identified a new Pax member, pax-α, which does not fall into any other known Pax subfamily but instead clusters in the heterogenic Pax-α/β clade containing deuterostome, ecdysozoan, and lophotrochozoan gene sequences. These findings suggest that the last common bilaterian ancestor possessed six rather than five Pax genes, which have been retained in the panarthropod lineage. The expression data of Pax orthologs in the onychophoran embryo revealed distinctive patterns, some of which might be related to their ancestral roles in the last common panarthropod ancestor, whereas others might be specific to the onychophoran lineage. The derived roles include, for example, an involvement of pax2/5/8, pox-neuro, and pax3/7 in onychophoran nephridiogenesis, and an additional function of pax2/5/8 in the formation of the ventral and preventral organs. Furthermore, our transcriptomic analyses suggest that at least some Pax genes, including pax6 and pax-α, are expressed in the adult onychophoran head, although the corresponding functions remain to be clarified. The remarkable diversity of the Pax expression patterns highlights the functional and evolutionary plasticity of these genes in panarthropods.

  19. Social behaviour and collective motion in plant-animal worms

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    Franks, N. R.; Worley, A.; Grant, K. A. G.; A. R. Gorman; Vizard, V.; Plackett, H.; Doran, C.; Gamble, M. L.; Stumpe, M.; Sendova-Franks, A. B.

    2016-01-01

    Social behaviour may enable organisms to occupy ecological niches that would otherwise be unavailable to them. Here we test this major evolutionary principle by demonstrating self-organizing social behaviour in the plant-animal, Symsagittifera roscoffensis. These marine aceol flat worms rely for all of their nutrition on the algae within their bodies: hence their common name. We show that individual worms interact with one another to co-ordinate their movements so that even at low densities t...

  20. A new look at the ventral nerve centre of Sagitta: implications for the phylogenetic position of Chaetognatha (arrow worms and the evolution of the bilaterian nervous system

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    Müller Carsten HG

    2007-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The Chaetognatha (arrow worms are a group of marine carnivores whose phylogenetic relationships are still vigorously debated. Molecular studies have as yet failed to come up with a stable hypothesis on their phylogenetic position. In a wide range of metazoans, the nervous system has proven to provide a wealth of characters for analysing phylogenetic relationships (neurophylogeny. Therefore, in the present study we explored the structure of the ventral nerve centre ("ventral ganglion" in Sagitta setosa with a set of histochemical and immunohistochemical markers. Results In specimens that were immunolabeled for acetylated-alpha tubulin the ventral nerve centre appeared to be a condensed continuation of the peripheral intraepidermal nerve plexus. Yet, synapsin immunolocalization showed that the ventral nerve centre is organized into a highly ordered array of ca. 80 serially arranged microcompartments. Immunohistochemistry against RFamide revealed a set of serially arranged individually identifiable neurons in the ventral nerve centre that we charted in detail. Conclusion The new information on the structure of the chaetognath nervous system is compared to previous descriptions of the ventral nerve centre which are critically evaluated. Our findings are discussed with regard to the debate on nervous system organisation in the last common bilaterian ancestor and with regard to the phylogenetic affinities of this Chaetognatha. We suggest to place the Chaetognatha within the Protostomia and argue against hypotheses which propose a deuterostome affinity of Chaetognatha or a sister-group relationship to all other Bilateria.

  1. From gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone to SIFamides: are echinoderm SALMFamides the "missing link" in a bilaterian family of neuropeptides that regulate reproductive processes?

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    Elphick, Maurice R

    2013-11-01

    Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) belongs to a family of vertebrate neuropeptides with a C-terminal PxRFamide motif, which exert effects by activating the G-protein coupled receptors NPFF1 and/or NPFF2. Comparative analysis of genome sequence data has revealed that orthologs of NPFF1/NPFF2-type receptors occur throughout the Bilateria and the neuropeptide ligand that activates the Drosophila NPFF1/NPFF2-type receptor has been identified as AYRKPPFNGSIFamide ("SIFamide"). Therefore, SIFamide-type neuropeptides, which occur throughout protostomian invertebrates, probably share a common evolutionary origin with vertebrate PxRFamide-type neuropeptides. Based on structural similarities, here SALMFamide neuropeptides are identified as candidate ligand components of this ancient bilaterian peptide-receptor signaling system in a deuterostomian invertebrate phylum, the echinoderms (e.g., starfish, sea urchins). Furthermore, functional studies provide evidence that PxRFamide/SALMFamide/SIFamide-type neuropeptides have evolutionarily conserved roles in regulation (typically inhibitory) of reproductive processes.

  2. Expression of the Lhx genes apterous and lim1 in an errant polychaete: implications for bilaterian appendage evolution, neural development, and muscle diversification

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    Winchell Christopher J

    2013-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Arthropod and vertebrate appendages appear to have evolved via parallel co-option of a plesiomorphic gene regulatory network. Our previous work implies that annelids evolved unrelated appendage-forming mechanisms; we therefore found no support for homology of parapodia and arthropodia at the level of the whole appendage. We expand on that study here by asking whether expression of the LIM homeobox (Lhx genes apterous and lim1 in the annelid Neanthes arenaceodentata supports homology of the dorsal branches as well as the proximodistal axes of parapodia and arthropodia. In addition, we explore whether the neural expression of apterous and lim1 in Neanthes supports the putative ancestral function of the Lhx gene family in regulating the differentiation and maintenance of neuronal subtypes. Results Both genes exhibit continuous expression in specific portions of the developing central nervous system, from hatching to at least the 13-chaetiger stage. For example, nerve cord expression occurs in segmentally iterated patterns consisting of diffuse sets of many lim1-positive cells and comparatively fewer, clustered pairs of apterous-positive cells. Additionally, continuous apterous expression is observed in presumed neurosecretory ganglia of the posterior brain, while lim1 is continuously expressed in stomatogastric ganglia of the anterior brain. apterous is also expressed in the jaw sacs, dorsal parapodial muscles, and a presumed pair of cephalic sensory organs, whereas lim1 is expressed in multiple pharyngeal ganglia, the segmental peripheral nervous system, neuropodial chaetal sac muscles, and parapodial ligules. Conclusions The early and persistent nervous system expression of apterous and lim1 in Neanthes juveniles supports conservation of Lhx function in bilaterian neural differentiation and maintenance. Our results also suggest that diversification of parapodial muscle precursors involves a complementary LIM code similar to

  3. Social behaviour and collective motion in plant-animal worms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Franks, Nigel R; Worley, Alan; Grant, Katherine A J; Gorman, Alice R; Vizard, Victoria; Plackett, Harriet; Doran, Carolina; Gamble, Margaret L; Stumpe, Martin C; Sendova-Franks, Ana B

    2016-02-24

    Social behaviour may enable organisms to occupy ecological niches that would otherwise be unavailable to them. Here, we test this major evolutionary principle by demonstrating self-organizing social behaviour in the plant-animal, Symsagittifera roscoffensis. These marine aceol flat worms rely for all of their nutrition on the algae within their bodies: hence their common name. We show that individual worms interact with one another to coordinate their movements so that even at low densities they begin to swim in small polarized groups and at increasing densities such flotillas turn into circular mills. We use computer simulations to: (i) determine if real worms interact socially by comparing them with virtual worms that do not interact and (ii) show that the social phase transitions of the real worms can occur based only on local interactions between and among them. We hypothesize that such social behaviour helps the worms to form the dense biofilms or mats observed on certain sun-exposed sandy beaches in the upper intertidal of the East Atlantic and to become in effect a super-organismic seaweed in a habitat where macro-algal seaweeds cannot anchor themselves. Symsagittifera roscoffensis, a model organism in many other areas in biology (including stem cell regeneration), also seems to be an ideal model for understanding how individual behaviours can lead, through collective movement, to social assemblages.

  4. Dendrogramma, new genus, with two new non-bilaterian species from the marine bathyal of southeastern Australia (Animalia, Metazoa incertae sedis--with similarities to some medusoids from the Precambrian Ediacara.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jean Just

    Full Text Available A new genus, Dendrogramma, with two new species of multicellular, non-bilaterian, mesogleal animals with some bilateral aspects, D. enigmatica and D. discoides, are described from the south-east Australian bathyal (400 and 1000 metres depth. A new family, Dendrogrammatidae, is established for Dendrogramma. These mushroom-shaped organisms cannot be referred to either of the two phyla Ctenophora or Cnidaria at present, because they lack any specialised characters of these taxa. Resolving the phylogenetic position of Dendrogramma depends much on how the basal metazoan lineages (Ctenophora, Porifera, Placozoa, Cnidaria, and Bilateria are related to each other, a question still under debate. At least Dendrogramma must have branched off before Bilateria and is possibly related to Ctenophora and/or Cnidaria. Dendrogramma, therefore, is referred to Metazoa incertae sedis. The specimens were fixed in neutral formaldehyde and stored in 80% ethanol and are not suitable for molecular analysis. We recommend, therefore, that attempts be made to secure new material for further study. Finally similarities between Dendrogramma and a group of Ediacaran (Vendian medusoids are discussed.

  5. Mox homeobox expression in muscle lineage of the gastropod Haliotis asinina: evidence for a conserved role in bilaterian myogenesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hinman, V F; Degnan, B M

    2002-04-01

    Mox homeobox genes are expressed during early vertebrate somitogenesis. Here we describe the expression of Has-Mox, a Mox gene from the gastropod Haliotis asinina. Has-Moxis expressed in the trochophore larva in paraxial mesodermal bands. During larval development, Has-Mox expression remains restricted to mesodermal cells destined to form adult muscle in the foot. This restricted expression of Has-Mox in Haliotis is similar to that observed for vertebrate Mox genes, suggesting a conserved role in myogenesis in deuterostomes and lophotrochozoans. In contrast, Mox is not expressed in muscle lineages in the ecdysozoan representatives Caenorhabditis elegans or Drosophila; the C. elegansgenome has lost Mox altogether. Electronic supplementary material to this paper can be obtained by using the Springer Link server located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00427-002-0223-6.

  6. Dendrogramma, new genus, with two new non-bilaterian species from the marine bathyal of southeastern Australia (Animalia, Metazoa incertae sedis) – with similarities to some medusoids from the Precambrian Ediacara

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Just, Jean; Kristensen, Reinhardt Møbjerg; Olesen, Jørgen

    2014-01-01

    for Dendrogramma. These mushroom-shaped organisms cannot be referred to either of the two phyla Ctenophora or Cnidaria at present, because they lack any specialised characters of these taxa. Resolving the phylogenetic position of Dendrogramma depends much on how the basal metazoan lineages (Ctenophora, Porifera...

  7. In vivo imaging of Nematostella vectensis embryogenesis and late development using fluorescent probes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    DuBuc, T.Q.; Dattoli, A.A.; Babonis, L.S.; Salinas-Saavedra, M.; Röttinger, E.; Martindale, M.Q.; Postma, M.

    2014-01-01

    Background: Cnidarians are the closest living relatives to bilaterians and have been instrumental to studying the evolution of bilaterian properties. The cnidarian model, Nematostella vectensis, is a unique system in which embryology and regeneration are both studied, making it an ideal candidate to

  8. Developmental diversity in free-living flatworms

    OpenAIRE

    Martín-Durán José; Egger Bernhard

    2012-01-01

    Abstract Flatworm embryology has attracted attention since the early beginnings of comparative evolutionary biology. Considered for a long time the most basal bilaterians, the Platyhelminthes (excluding Acoelomorpha) are now robustly placed within the Spiralia. Despite having lost their relevance to explain the transition from radially to bilaterally symmetrical animals, the study of flatworm embryology is still of great importance to understand the diversification of bilaterians and of devel...

  9. THE URBILATERIAN BRAIN REVISITED: NOVEL INSIGHTS INTO OLD QUESTIONS FROM NEW FLATWORM CLADES

    OpenAIRE

    Bailly, Xavier; Reichert, Heinrich; Hartenstein, Volker

    2012-01-01

    Flatworms are classically considered to represent the simplest organizational form of all living bilaterians with a true central nervous system. Based on their simple body plans, all flatworms have been traditionally grouped together in a single phylum at the base of the bilaterians. Current molecular phylogenomic studies now split the flatworms into two widely separated clades, the acoelomorph flatworms and the platyhelminth flatworms, such that the last common ancestor of both clades corres...

  10. Functional Characterization of Cnidarian HCN Channels Points to an Early Evolution of Ih.

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    Emma C Baker

    Full Text Available HCN channels play a unique role in bilaterian physiology as the only hyperpolarization-gated cation channels. Their voltage-gating is regulated by cyclic nucleotides and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2. Activation of HCN channels provides the depolarizing current in response to hyperpolarization that is critical for intrinsic rhythmicity in neurons and the sinoatrial node. Additionally, HCN channels regulate dendritic excitability in a wide variety of neurons. Little is known about the early functional evolution of HCN channels, but the presence of HCN sequences in basal metazoan phyla and choanoflagellates, a protozoan sister group to the metazoans, indicate that the gene family predates metazoan emergence. We functionally characterized two HCN channel orthologs from Nematostella vectensis (Cnidaria, Anthozoa to determine which properties of HCN channels were established prior to the emergence of bilaterians. We find Nematostella HCN channels share all the major functional features of bilaterian HCNs, including reversed voltage-dependence, activation by cAMP and PIP2, and block by extracellular Cs+. Thus bilaterian-like HCN channels were already present in the common parahoxozoan ancestor of bilaterians and cnidarians, at a time when the functional diversity of voltage-gated K+ channels was rapidly expanding. NvHCN1 and NvHCN2 are expressed broadly in planulae and in both the endoderm and ectoderm of juvenile polyps.

  11. Troponin-I is present as an essential component of muscles in echinoderm larvae

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yaguchi, Shunsuke; Yaguchi, Junko; Tanaka, Hiroyuki

    2017-01-01

    The troponin complex, composed of Troponin-I, Troponin-T and Troponin-C, is an essential mediator of the contraction of striated muscle downstream of calcium signaling in almost all bilaterians. However, in echinoderms and hemichordates, collectively termed Ambulacraria, the components of the troponin complex have never been isolated, thus suggesting that these organisms lost the troponin system during evolution. Here, by analyzing genomic information from sea urchins, we identify the troponin-I gene and isolate its complete mRNA sequence. Using this information, we reveal that the larval muscles express this gene and its translated product and that the protein is definitely a functional molecule expressed in sea urchin larvae by showing that Troponin-I morphants are unable to swallow algae. We conclude that muscular contraction in all bilaterians universally depends on a regulatory system mediated by Troponin-I, which emerged in the common ancestor of bilaterians. PMID:28272398

  12. The urbilaterian brain revisited: novel insights into old questions from new flatworm clades.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bailly, Xavier; Reichert, Heinrich; Hartenstein, Volker

    2013-05-01

    Flatworms are classically considered to represent the simplest organizational form of all living bilaterians with a true central nervous system. Based on their simple body plans, all flatworms have been traditionally grouped together in a single phylum at the base of the bilaterians. Current molecular phylogenomic studies now split the flatworms into two widely separated clades, the acoelomorph flatworms and the platyhelminth flatworms, such that the last common ancestor of both clades corresponds to the urbilaterian ancestor of all bilaterian animals. Remarkably, recent comparative neuroanatomical analyses of acoelomorphs and platyhelminths show that both of these flatworm groups have complex anterior brains with surprisingly similar basic neuroarchitectures. Taken together, these findings imply that fundamental neuroanatomical features of the brain in the two separate flatworm groups are likely to be primitive and derived from the urbilaterian brain.

  13. Nuclear receptor complement of the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis: phylogenetic relationships and developmental expression patterns

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    Tarrant Ann M

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Nuclear receptors are a superfamily of metazoan transcription factors that regulate diverse developmental and physiological processes. Sequenced genomes from an increasing number of bilaterians have provided a more complete picture of duplication and loss of nuclear receptors in protostomes and deuterostomes but have left open the question of which nuclear receptors were present in the cnidarian-bilaterian ancestor. In addition, nuclear receptor expression and function are largely uncharacterized within cnidarians, preventing determination of conserved and novel nuclear receptor functions in the context of animal evolution. Results Here we report the first complete set of nuclear receptors from a cnidarian, the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. Genomic searches using conserved DNA- and ligand-binding domains revealed seventeen nuclear receptors in N. vectensis. Phylogenetic analyses support N. vectensis orthologs of bilaterian nuclear receptors in four nuclear receptor subfamilies within nuclear receptor family 2 (COUP-TF, TLL, HNF4, TR2/4 and one putative ortholog of GCNF (nuclear receptor family 6. Other N. vectensis genes grouped well with nuclear receptor family 2 but represented lineage-specific duplications somewhere within the cnidarian lineage and were not clear orthologs of bilaterian genes. Three nuclear receptors were not well-supported within any particular nuclear receptor family. The seventeen nuclear receptors exhibited distinct developmental expression patterns, with expression of several nuclear receptors limited to a subset of developmental stages. Conclusion N. vectensis contains a diverse complement of nuclear receptors including orthologs of several bilaterian nuclear receptors. Novel nuclear receptors in N. vectensis may be ancient genes lost from triploblastic lineages or may represent cnidarian-specific radiations. Nuclear receptors exhibited distinct developmental expression patterns, which

  14. Conservation of miRNA-mediated silencing mechanisms across 600 million years of animal evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mauri, Marta; Kirchner, Marieluise; Aharoni, Reuven; Ciolli Mattioli, Camilla; van den Bruck, David; Gutkovitch, Nadya; Modepalli, Vengamanaidu; Selbach, Matthias; Moran, Yehu; Chekulaeva, Marina

    2017-01-01

    Our current knowledge about the mechanisms of miRNA silencing is restricted to few lineages such as vertebrates, arthropods, nematodes and land plants. miRNA-mediated silencing in bilaterian animals is dependent on the proteins of the GW182 family. Here, we dissect the function of GW182 protein in the cnidarian Nematostella, separated by 600 million years from other Metazoa. Using cultured human cells, we show that Nematostella GW182 recruits the CCR4-NOT deadenylation complexes via its tryptophan-containing motifs, thereby inhibiting translation and promoting mRNA decay. Further, similarly to bilaterians, GW182 in Nematostella is recruited to the miRNA repression complex via interaction with Argonaute proteins, and functions downstream to repress mRNA. Thus, our work suggests that this mechanism of miRNA-mediated silencing was already active in the last common ancestor of Cnidaria and Bilateria. PMID:27604873

  15. Evolution of invertebrate nervous systems: the Chaetognatha as a case study

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Harzsch, S.; Wanninger, Andreas Wilhelm Georg

    2010-01-01

    Harzsch, S. and Wanninger, A. 2010. Evolution of invertebrate nervous systems: the Chaetognatha as a case study. —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 91: 35–43 Although recent molecular studies indicate that Chaetognatha may be one of the earliest Bilaterian offshoots, the phylogenetic position of this ta......Harzsch, S. and Wanninger, A. 2010. Evolution of invertebrate nervous systems: the Chaetognatha as a case study. —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 91: 35–43 Although recent molecular studies indicate that Chaetognatha may be one of the earliest Bilaterian offshoots, the phylogenetic position...... understanding of nervous system evolution in Bilateria. We review recent evidence from this field and suggest that Urbilateria already was equipped with the genetic toolkit required to build a complex, concentrated central nervous system (CNS), although this was not expressed phenotypically so that Urbilateria...

  16. Novel origin of lamin-derived cytoplasmic intermediate filaments in tardigrades.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hering, Lars; Bouameur, Jamal-Eddine; Reichelt, Julian; Magin, Thomas M; Mayer, Georg

    2016-02-03

    Intermediate filament (IF) proteins, including nuclear lamins and cytoplasmic IF proteins, are essential cytoskeletal components of bilaterian cells. Despite their important role in protecting tissues against mechanical force, no cytoplasmic IF proteins have been convincingly identified in arthropods. Here we show that the ancestral cytoplasmic IF protein gene was lost in the entire panarthropod (onychophoran + tardigrade + arthropod) rather than arthropod lineage and that nuclear, lamin-derived proteins instead acquired new cytoplasmic roles at least three times independently in collembolans, copepods, and tardigrades. Transcriptomic and genomic data revealed three IF protein genes in the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini, one of which (cytotardin) occurs exclusively in the cytoplasm of epidermal and foregut epithelia, where it forms belt-like filaments around each epithelial cell. These results suggest that a lamin derivative has been co-opted to enhance tissue stability in tardigrades, a function otherwise served by cytoplasmic IF proteins in all other bilaterians.

  17. RNA interference in marine and freshwater sponges: actin knockdown in Tethya wilhelma and Ephydatia muelleri by ingested dsRNA expressing bacteria

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    Wörheide Gert

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The marine sponge Tethya wilhelma and the freshwater sponge Ephydatia muelleri are emerging model organisms to study evolution, gene regulation, development, and physiology in non-bilaterian animal systems. Thus far, functional methods (i.e., loss or gain of function for these organisms have not been available. Results We show that soaking developing freshwater sponges in double-stranded RNA and/or feeding marine and freshwater sponges bacteria expressing double-stranded RNA can lead to RNA interference and reduction of targeted transcript levels. These methods, first utilized in C. elegans, have been adapted for the development and feeding style of easily cultured marine and freshwater poriferans. We demonstrate phenotypic changes result from 'knocking down' expression of the actin gene. Conclusion This technique provides an easy, efficient loss-of-function manipulation for developmental and gene regulatory studies in these important non-bilaterian animals.

  18. Evolutionary conservation of the mature oocyte proteome

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    Tamar Lotan

    2014-06-01

    Significance: The current study provides the first proteomic profile of an oocyte of a cnidarian organism the starlet sea anemone N. vectensis and gives new insights on the ancient origin of an oocyte proteome template. The comparative analysis with a chordate oocyte suggests that the oocyte proteome predates the divergence of the cnidarian and bilaterian lineages. In addition, the data generated in the study will serve as a valuable resource for further developmental and evolutional studies.

  19. Unusual Gene Order and Organization of the Sea Urchin Hox Cluster

    OpenAIRE

    Richardson, Paul M.; Lucas, Susan; Cameron, R. Andrew; Rowen, Lee; Nesbitt, Ryan; Bloom, Scott; Rast, Jonathan P.; Berney, Kevin; Arenas-Mena, Cesar; Martinez, Pedro; Davidson, Eric H.; Peterson, Kevin J.; Hood, Leroy

    2005-01-01

    The highly consistent gene order and axial colinear expression patterns found in vertebrate hox gene clusters are less well conserved across the rest of bilaterians. We report the first deuterostome instance of an intact hox cluster with a unique gene order where the paralog groups are not expressed in a sequential manner. The finished sequence from BAC clones from the genome of the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, reveals a gene order wherein the anterior genes (Hox1, Hox2 and...

  20. Expression and phylogenetic analysis of the zic gene family in the evolution and development of metazoans

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    Layden Michael J

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background zic genes are members of the gli/glis/nkl/zic super-family of C2H2 zinc finger (ZF transcription factors. Homologs of the zic family have been implicated in patterning neural and mesodermal tissues in bilaterians. Prior to this study, the origin of the metazoan zic gene family was unknown and expression of zic gene homologs during the development of early branching metazoans had not been investigated. Results Phylogenetic analyses of novel zic candidate genes identified a definitive zic homolog in the placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens, two gli/glis/nkl-like genes in the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi, confirmed the presence of three gli/glis/nkl-like genes in Porifera, and confirmed the five previously identified zic genes in the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis. In the cnidarian N. vectensis, zic homologs are expressed in ectoderm and the gastrodermis (a bifunctional endomesoderm, in presumptive and developing tentacles, and in oral and sensory apical tuft ectoderm. The Capitella teleta zic homolog (Ct-zic is detectable in a subset of the developing nervous system, the foregut, and the mesoderm associated with the segmentally repeated chaetae. Lastly, expression of gli and glis homologs in Mnemiopsis. leidyi is detected exclusively in neural cells in floor of the apical organ. Conclusions Based on our analyses, we propose that the zic gene family arose in the common ancestor of the Placozoa, Cnidaria and Bilateria from a gli/glis/nkl-like gene and that both ZOC and ZF-NC domains evolved prior to cnidarian-bilaterian divergence. We also conclude that zic expression in neural ectoderm and developing neurons is pervasive throughout the Metazoa and likely evolved from neural expression of an ancestral gli/glis/nkl/zic gene. zic expression in bilaterian mesoderm may be related to the expression in the gastrodermis of a cnidarian-bilaterian common ancestor.

  1. Calcisponges have a ParaHox gene and dynamic expression of dispersed NK homeobox genes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fortunato, Sofia A V; Adamski, Marcin; Ramos, Olivia Mendivil; Leininger, Sven; Liu, Jing; Ferrier, David E K; Adamska, Maja

    2014-10-30

    Sponges are simple animals with few cell types, but their genomes paradoxically contain a wide variety of developmental transcription factors, including homeobox genes belonging to the Antennapedia (ANTP) class, which in bilaterians encompass Hox, ParaHox and NK genes. In the genome of the demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica, no Hox or ParaHox genes are present, but NK genes are linked in a tight cluster similar to the NK clusters of bilaterians. It has been proposed that Hox and ParaHox genes originated from NK cluster genes after divergence of sponges from the lineage leading to cnidarians and bilaterians. On the other hand, synteny analysis lends support to the notion that the absence of Hox and ParaHox genes in Amphimedon is a result of secondary loss (the ghost locus hypothesis). Here we analysed complete suites of ANTP-class homeoboxes in two calcareous sponges, Sycon ciliatum and Leucosolenia complicata. Our phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that these calcisponges possess orthologues of bilaterian NK genes (Hex, Hmx and Msx), a varying number of additional NK genes and one ParaHox gene, Cdx. Despite the generation of scaffolds spanning multiple genes, we find no evidence of clustering of Sycon NK genes. All Sycon ANTP-class genes are developmentally expressed, with patterns suggesting their involvement in cell type specification in embryos and adults, metamorphosis and body plan patterning. These results demonstrate that ParaHox genes predate the origin of sponges, thus confirming the ghost locus hypothesis, and highlight the need to analyse the genomes of multiple sponge lineages to obtain a complete picture of the ancestral composition of the first animal genome.

  2. Ecological innovations in the Cambrian and the origins of the crown group phyla

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    Simulation studies of the early origins of the modern phyla in the fossil record, and the rapid diversification that led to them, show that these are inevitable outcomes of rapid and long-lasting radiations. Recent advances in Cambrian stratigraphy have revealed a more precise picture of the early bilaterian radiation taking place during the earliest Terreneuvian Series, although several ambiguities remain. The early period is dominated by various tubes and a moderately diverse trace fossil r...

  3. Are Hox genes ancestrally involved in axial patterning? Evidence from the hydrozoan Clytia hemisphaerica (Cnidaria.

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    Roxane Chiori

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The early evolution and diversification of Hox-related genes in eumetazoans has been the subject of conflicting hypotheses concerning the evolutionary conservation of their role in axial patterning and the pre-bilaterian origin of the Hox and ParaHox clusters. The diversification of Hox/ParaHox genes clearly predates the origin of bilaterians. However, the existence of a "Hox code" predating the cnidarian-bilaterian ancestor and supporting the deep homology of axes is more controversial. This assumption was mainly based on the interpretation of Hox expression data from the sea anemone, but growing evidence from other cnidarian taxa puts into question this hypothesis. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Hox, ParaHox and Hox-related genes have been investigated here by phylogenetic analysis and in situ hybridisation in Clytia hemisphaerica, an hydrozoan species with medusa and polyp stages alternating in the life cycle. Our phylogenetic analyses do not support an origin of ParaHox and Hox genes by duplication of an ancestral ProtoHox cluster, and reveal a diversification of the cnidarian HOX9-14 genes into three groups called A, B, C. Among the 7 examined genes, only those belonging to the HOX9-14 and the CDX groups exhibit a restricted expression along the oral-aboral axis during development and in the planula larva, while the others are expressed in very specialised areas at the medusa stage. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Cross species comparison reveals a strong variability of gene expression along the oral-aboral axis and during the life cycle among cnidarian lineages. The most parsimonious interpretation is that the Hox code, collinearity and conservative role along the antero-posterior axis are bilaterian innovations.

  4. Origin and evolution of laminin gene family diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fahey, Bryony; Degnan, Bernard M

    2012-07-01

    Laminins are a family of multidomain glycoproteins that are important contributors to the structure of metazoan extracellular matrices. To investigate the origin and evolution of the laminin family, we characterized the full complement of laminin-related genes in the genome of the sponge, Amphimedon queenslandica. As a representative of the Demospongiae, a group consistently placed within the earliest diverging branch of animals by molecular phylogenies, Amphimedon is uniquely placed to provide insight into early steps in the evolution of metazoan gene families. Five Amphimedon laminin-related genes possess the conserved molecular features, and most of the domains found in bilaterian laminins, but all display domain architectures distinct from those of the canonical laminin chain types known from model bilaterians. This finding prompted us to perform a comparative genomic analysis of laminins and related genes from a choanoflagellate and diverse metazoans and to conduct phylogenetic analyses using the conserved Laminin N-terminal domain in order to explore the relationships between genes with distinct architectures. Laminin-like genes appear to have originated in the holozoan lineage (choanoflagellates + metazoans + several other unicellular opisthokont taxa), with several laminin domains originating later and appearing only in metazoan (animal) or eumetazoan (placozoans + ctenophores + cnidarians + bilaterians) laminins. Typical bilaterian α, β, and γ laminin chain forms arose in the eumetazoan stem and another chain type that is conserved in Amphimedon, the cnidarian, Nematostella vectensis, and the echinoderm, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, appears to have been lost independently from the placozoan, Trichoplax adhaerens, and from multiple bilaterians. Phylogenetic analysis did not clearly reconstruct relationships between the distinct laminin chain types (with the exception of the α chains) but did reveal how several members of the netrin family were

  5. ROCK inhibition abolishes the establishment of the aquiferous system in Ephydatia muelleri (Porifera, Demospongiae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schenkelaars, Quentin; Quintero, Omar; Hall, Chelsea; Fierro-Constain, Laura; Renard, Emmanuelle; Borchiellini, Carole; Hill, April L

    2016-04-15

    The Rho associated coiled-coil protein kinase (ROCK) plays crucial roles in development across bilaterian animals. The fact that the Rho/Rock pathway is required to initiate epithelial morphogenesis and thus to establish body plans in bilaterians makes this conserved signaling pathway key for studying the molecular mechanisms that may control early development of basally branching metazoans. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether or not the main components of this signaling pathway exist in sponges, and if present, to investigate the possible role of the regulatory network in an early branching non-bilaterian species by evaluating ROCK function during Ephydatia muelleri development. Molecular phylogenetic analyses and protein domain predictions revealed the existence of Rho/Rock components in all studied poriferan lineages. Binding assays revealed that both Y-27632 and GSK429286A are capable of inhibiting Em-ROCK activity in vitro. Treatment with both drugs leads to impairment of growth and formation of the basal pinacoderm layer in the developing sponge. Furthermore, inhibition of Em-Rock prevents the establishment of a functional aquiferous system, including the absence of an osculum. In contrast, no effect of ROCK inhibition was observed in juvenile sponges that already possess a fully developed and functional aquiferous system. Thus, the Rho/Rock pathway appears to be essential for the proper development of the freshwater sponge, and may play a role in various cell behaviors (e.g. cell proliferation, cell adhesion and cell motility). Taken together, these data are consistent with an ancestral function of Rho/Rock signaling in playing roles in early developmental processes and may provide a new framework to study the interaction between Wnt signaling and the Rho/Rock pathway.

  6. The cellular and molecular basis of cnidarian neurogenesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rentzsch, Fabian; Layden, Michael; Manuel, Michaël

    2017-01-01

    Neurogenesis initiates during early development and it continues through later developmental stages and in adult animals to enable expansion, remodeling, and homeostasis of the nervous system. The generation of nerve cells has been analyzed in detail in few bilaterian model organisms, leaving open many questions about the evolution of this process. As the sister group to bilaterians, cnidarians occupy an informative phylogenetic position to address the early evolution of cellular and molecular aspects of neurogenesis and to understand common principles of neural development. Here we review studies in several cnidarian model systems that have revealed significant similarities and interesting differences compared to neurogenesis in bilaterian species, and between different cnidarian taxa. Cnidarian neurogenesis is currently best understood in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, where it includes epithelial neural progenitor cells that express transcription factors of the soxB and atonal families. Notch signaling regulates the number of these neural progenitor cells, achaete-scute and dmrt genes are required for their further development and Wnt and BMP signaling appear to be involved in the patterning of the nervous system. In contrast to many vertebrates and Drosophila, cnidarians have a high capacity to generate neurons throughout their lifetime and during regeneration. Utilizing this feature of cnidarian biology will likely allow gaining new insights into the similarities and differences of embryonic and regenerative neurogenesis. The use of different cnidarian model systems and their expanding experimental toolkits will thus continue to provide a better understanding of evolutionary and developmental aspects of nervous system formation. WIREs Dev Biol 2017, 6:e257. doi: 10.1002/wdev.257 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

  7. Evidence for involvement of Wnt signalling in body polarities, cell proliferation, and the neuro-sensory system in an adult ctenophore.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Muriel Jager

    Full Text Available Signalling through the Wnt family of secreted proteins originated in a common metazoan ancestor and greatly influenced the evolution of animal body plans. In bilaterians, Wnt signalling plays multiple fundamental roles during embryonic development and in adult tissues, notably in axial patterning, neural development and stem cell regulation. Studies in various cnidarian species have particularly highlighted the evolutionarily conserved role of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in specification and patterning of the primary embryonic axis. However in another key non-bilaterian phylum, Ctenophora, Wnts are not involved in early establishment of the body axis during embryogenesis. We analysed the expression in the adult of the ctenophore Pleurobrachia pileus of 11 orthologues of Wnt signalling genes including all ctenophore Wnt ligands and Fz receptors and several members of the intracellular β-catenin pathway machinery. All genes are strongly expressed around the mouth margin at the oral pole, evoking the Wnt oral centre of cnidarians. This observation is consistent with primary axis polarisation by the Wnts being a universal metazoan feature, secondarily lost in ctenophores during early development but retained in the adult. In addition, local expression of Wnt signalling genes was seen in various anatomical structures of the body including in the locomotory comb rows, where their complex deployment suggests control by the Wnts of local comb polarity. Other important contexts of Wnt involvement which probably evolved before the ctenophore/cnidarian/bilaterian split include proliferating stem cells and progenitors irrespective of cell types, and developing as well as differentiated neuro-sensory structures.

  8. A New Platy-armored Worm from the Early Cambrian Chengjiang Lagerstatte, South China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2003-01-01

    The Lower Cambrian Chengjiang Lagerstatte provides a good window to explore the origin and radiation of early bilaterians. Here we describe a netted sclerite-bearing worm Tabelliscolex hexagonus gen. et sp. nov., and tentatively assign it to palaeoscolecidans of priapulids. The cuticle of the animal is covered with two kinds of platy sclerites which are constructed by hexagonally arranged tubercles. Similar structures of the sclerites can be seen on some Cambrian palaeoscolecidans and lobopods, so, this new species is critical for understanding the relationships between lobopods and palaeoscolecidans.

  9. Convergent evolution of neural systems in ctenophores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moroz, Leonid L

    2015-02-15

    Neurons are defined as polarized secretory cells specializing in directional propagation of electrical signals leading to the release of extracellular messengers - features that enable them to transmit information, primarily chemical in nature, beyond their immediate neighbors without affecting all intervening cells en route. Multiple origins of neurons and synapses from different classes of ancestral secretory cells might have occurred more than once during ~600 million years of animal evolution with independent events of nervous system centralization from a common bilaterian/cnidarian ancestor without the bona fide central nervous system. Ctenophores, or comb jellies, represent an example of extensive parallel evolution in neural systems. First, recent genome analyses place ctenophores as a sister group to other animals. Second, ctenophores have a smaller complement of pan-animal genes controlling canonical neurogenic, synaptic, muscle and immune systems, and developmental pathways than most other metazoans. However, comb jellies are carnivorous marine animals with a complex neuromuscular organization and sophisticated patterns of behavior. To sustain these functions, they have evolved a number of unique molecular innovations supporting the hypothesis of massive homoplasies in the organization of integrative and locomotory systems. Third, many bilaterian/cnidarian neuron-specific genes and 'classical' neurotransmitter pathways are either absent or, if present, not expressed in ctenophore neurons (e.g. the bilaterian/cnidarian neurotransmitter, γ-amino butyric acid or GABA, is localized in muscles and presumed bilaterian neuron-specific RNA-binding protein Elav is found in non-neuronal cells). Finally, metabolomic and pharmacological data failed to detect either the presence or any physiological action of serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, adrenaline, octopamine, acetylcholine or histamine - consistent with the hypothesis that ctenophore neural systems evolved

  10. Scenarios for the making of vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holland, Nicholas D; Holland, Linda Z; Holland, Peter W H

    2015-04-23

    Over the past 200 years, almost every invertebrate phylum has been proposed as a starting point for evolving vertebrates. Most of these scenarios are outdated, but several are still seriously considered. The short-range transition from ancestral invertebrate chordates (similar to amphioxus and tunicates) to vertebrates is well accepted. However, longer-range transitions leading up to the invertebrate chordates themselves are more controversial. Opinion is divided between the annelid and the enteropneust scenarios, predicting, respectively, a complex or a simple ancestor for bilaterian animals. Deciding between these ideas will be facilitated by further comparative studies of multicellular animals, including enigmatic taxa such as xenacoelomorphs.

  11. Larval nervous systems

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nielsen, Claus

    2015-01-01

    The apical organ of ciliated larvae of cnidarians and bilaterians is a true larval organ that disappears before or at metamorphosis. It appears to be sensory, probably involved in metamorphosis, but knowledge is scant. The ciliated protostome larvae show ganglia/nerve cords that are retained as t...... common ancestor of the deuterostomes was very similar to the latest common pelago-benthic ancestor of the protostomes as described by the trochaea theory, and that the neural tube of the chordates is morphologically ventral....

  12. Mitochondrial genome data support the basal position of Acoelomorpha and the polyphyly of the Platyhelminthes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruiz-Trillo, Iñaki; Riutort, Marta; Fourcade, H Matthew; Baguñà, Jaume; Boore, Jeffrey L

    2004-11-01

    We determined 9.7, 5.2, and 6.8 kb, respectively, of the mitochondrial genomes of the acoel Paratomella rubra, the nemertodermatid Nemertoderma westbladi, and the free-living rhabditophoran platyhelminth Microstomum lineare. The identified gene arrangements are unique among metazoans, including each other, sharing no more than one or two single gene boundaries with a few distantly related taxa. Phylogenetic analysis of the amino acid sequences inferred from the sequenced genes confirms that the acoelomorph flatworms (acoels+nemertodermatids) do not belong to the Platyhelminthes, but are, instead, the most basal extant bilaterian group. Therefore, the Platyhelminthes, as traditionally constituted, is a polyphyletic phylum.

  13. Mitochondrial genome data support the basal position of acoelomorpha and the polyphyly of the platyhelminthes

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ruiz-Trillo, Inaki; Riutort, Marta; Fourcade, H. Matthew; Baguna, Jaume; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2004-05-01

    We determined 9.7, 5.2, and 6.8 kb, respectively, of the mitochondrial genomes of the acoel Paratomella rubra, the nemertodermatid Nemertoderma westbladi and the free-living rhabditophoran platyhelminth Microstomum lineare. The identified gene arrangements are unique among metazoans, including each other, sharing no more than one or two single gene boundaries with a few distantly related taxa. Phylogenetic analysis of the amino acid sequences inferred from the sequenced genes confirms that the acoelomorph flatworms (acoels + nemertodermatids) do not belong to the Platyhelminthes, but are, instead, the most basal extant bilaterian group. Therefore, the Platyhelminthes, as traditionally constituted, is a polyphyletic phylum.

  14. Successive gain of insulator proteins in arthropod evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heger, Peter; George, Rebecca; Wiehe, Thomas

    2013-10-01

    Alteration of regulatory DNA elements or their binding proteins may have drastic consequences for morphological evolution. Chromatin insulators are one example of such proteins and play a fundamental role in organizing gene expression. While a single insulator protein, CTCF (CCCTC-binding factor), is known in vertebrates, Drosophila melanogaster utilizes six additional factors. We studied the evolution of these proteins and show here that-in contrast to the bilaterian-wide distribution of CTCF-all other D. melanogaster insulators are restricted to arthropods. The full set is present exclusively in the genus Drosophila whereas only two insulators, Su(Hw) and CTCF, existed at the base of the arthropod clade and all additional factors have been acquired successively at later stages. Secondary loss of factors in some lineages further led to the presence of different insulator subsets in arthropods. Thus, the evolution of insulator proteins within arthropods is an ongoing and dynamic process that reshapes and supplements the ancient CTCF-based system common to bilaterians. Expansion of insulator systems may therefore be a general strategy to increase an organism's gene regulatory repertoire and its potential for morphological plasticity.

  15. Sponge budding is a spatiotemporal morphological patterning process: Insights from synchrotron radiation-based x-ray microtomography into the asexual reproduction of Tethya wilhelma

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nickel Michael

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Primary agametic-asexual reproduction mechanisms such as budding and fission are present in all non-bilaterian and many bilaterian animal taxa and are likely to be metazoan ground pattern characters. Cnidarians display highly organized and regulated budding processes. In contrast, budding in poriferans was thought to be less specific and related to the general ability of this group to reorganize their tissues. Here we test the hypothesis of morphological pattern formation during sponge budding. Results We investigated the budding process in Tethya wilhelma (Demospongiae by applying 3D morphometrics to high resolution synchrotron radiation-based x-ray microtomography (SR-μCT image data. We followed the morphogenesis of characteristic body structures and identified distinct morphological states which indeed reveal characteristic spatiotemporal morphological patterns in sponge bud development. We discovered the distribution of skeletal elements, canal system and sponge tissue to be based on a sequential series of distinct morphological states. Based on morphometric data we defined four typical bud stages. Once they have reached the final stage buds are released as fully functional juvenile sponges which are morphologically and functionally equivalent to adult specimens. Conclusion Our results demonstrate that budding in demosponges is considerably more highly organized and regulated than previously assumed. Morphological pattern formation in asexual reproduction with underlying genetic regulation seems to have evolved early in metazoans and was likely part of the developmental program of the last common ancestor of all Metazoa (LCAM.

  16. Mesoderm patterning and morphogenesis in the polychaete Alitta virens (Spiralia, Annelida): Expression of mesodermal markers Twist, Mox, Evx and functional role for MAP kinase signaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kozin, Vitaly V; Filimonova, Daria A; Kupriashova, Ekaterina E; Kostyuchenko, Roman P

    2016-05-01

    Mesoderm represents the evolutionary youngest germ layer and forms numerous novel tissues in bilaterian animals. Despite the established conservation of the gene regulatory networks that drive mesoderm differentiation (e.g. myogenesis), mechanisms of mesoderm specification are highly variable in distant model species. Thus, broader phylogenetic sampling is required to reveal common features of mesoderm formation across bilaterians. Here we focus on a representative of Spiralia, the marine annelid Alitta virens, whose mesoderm development is still poorly investigated on the molecular level. We characterize three novel early mesodermal markers for A. virens - Twist, Mox, and Evx - which are differentially expressed within the mesodermal lineages. The Twist mRNA is ubiquitously distributed in the fertilized egg and exhibits specific expression in endomesodermal- and ectomesodermal-founder cells at gastrulation. Twist is expressed around the blastopore and later in a segmental metameric pattern. We consider this expression to be ancestral, and in support of the enterocoelic hypothesis of mesoderm evolution. We also revealed an early pattern of the MAPK activation in A. virens that is different from the previously reported pattern in spiralians. Inhibition of the MAPK pathway by U0126 disrupts the metameric Twist and Mox expression, indicating an early requirement of the MAPK cascade for proper morphogenesis of endomesodermal tissues.

  17. The complete mitochondrial genome of the onychophoran Epiperipatus biolleyi reveals a unique transfer RNA set and provides further support for the ecdysozoa hypothesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Podsiadlowski, Lars; Braband, Anke; Mayer, Georg

    2008-01-01

    Onychophora (velvet worms) play a crucial role in current discussions on position of arthropods. The ongoing Articulata/Ecdysozoa debate is in need of additional ground pattern characters for Panarthropoda (Arthropoda, Tardigrada, and Onychophora). Hence, Onychophora is an important outgroup taxon in resolving the relationships among arthropods, irrespective of whether morphological or molecular data are used. To date, there has been a noticeable lack of mitochondrial genome data from onychophorans. Here, we present the first complete mitochondrial genome sequence of an onychophoran, Epiperipatus biolleyi (Peripatidae), which shows several characteristic features. Specifically, the gene order is considerably different from that in other arthropods and other bilaterians. In addition, there is a lack of 9 tRNA genes usually present in bilaterian mitochondrial genomes. All these missing tRNAs have anticodon sequences corresponding to 4-fold degenerate codons, whereas the persisting 13 tRNAs all have anticodons pairing with 2-fold degenerate codons. Sequence-based phylogenetic analysis of the mitochondrial protein-coding genes provides a robust support for a clade consisting of Onychophora, Priapulida, and Arthropoda, which confirms the Ecdysozoa hypothesis. However, resolution of the internal ecdysozoan relationships suffers from a cluster of long-branching taxa (including Nematoda and Platyhelminthes) and a lack of data from Tardigrada and further nemathelminth taxa in addition to nematodes and priapulids.

  18. Precambrian animal life: probable developmental and adult cnidarian forms from Southwest China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Jun-Yuan; Oliveri, Paola; Gao, Feng; Dornbos, Stephen Q.; Li, Chia-Wei; Bottjer, David J.; Davidson, Eric H.

    2002-01-01

    The evolutionary divergence of cnidarian and bilaterian lineages from their remote metazoan ancestor occurred at an unknown depth in time before the Cambrian, since crown group representatives of each are found in Lower Cambrian fossil assemblages. We report here a variety of putative embryonic, larval, and adult microfossils deriving from Precambrian phosphorite deposits of Southwest China, which may predate the Cambrian radiation by 25-45 million years. These are most probably of cnidarian affinity. Large numbers of fossilized early planula-like larvae were observed under the microscope in sections. Though several forms are represented, the majority display remarkable conformity, which is inconsistent with the alternative that they are artifactual mineral inclusions. Some of these fossils are preserved in such high resolution that individual cells can be discerned. We confirm in detail an earlier report of the presence in the same deposits of tabulates, an extinct crown group anthozoan form. Other sections reveal structures that most closely resemble sections of basal modern corals. A large number of fossils similar to modern hydrozoan gastrulae were also observed. These again displayed great morphological consistency. Though only a single example is available, a microscopic animal remarkably similar to a modern adult hydrozoan is also presented. Taken together, the new observations reported in this paper indicate the existence of a diverse and already differentiated cnidarian fauna, long before the Cambrian evolutionary event. It follows that at least stem group bilaterians must also have been present at this time.

  19. Novel origin of lamin-derived cytoplasmic intermediate filaments in tardigrades

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hering, Lars; Bouameur, Jamal-Eddine; Reichelt, Julian; Magin, Thomas M; Mayer, Georg

    2016-01-01

    Intermediate filament (IF) proteins, including nuclear lamins and cytoplasmic IF proteins, are essential cytoskeletal components of bilaterian cells. Despite their important role in protecting tissues against mechanical force, no cytoplasmic IF proteins have been convincingly identified in arthropods. Here we show that the ancestral cytoplasmic IF protein gene was lost in the entire panarthropod (onychophoran + tardigrade + arthropod) rather than arthropod lineage and that nuclear, lamin-derived proteins instead acquired new cytoplasmic roles at least three times independently in collembolans, copepods, and tardigrades. Transcriptomic and genomic data revealed three IF protein genes in the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini, one of which (cytotardin) occurs exclusively in the cytoplasm of epidermal and foregut epithelia, where it forms belt-like filaments around each epithelial cell. These results suggest that a lamin derivative has been co-opted to enhance tissue stability in tardigrades, a function otherwise served by cytoplasmic IF proteins in all other bilaterians. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.11117.001 PMID:26840051

  20. To be or not to be a flatworm: the acoel controversy.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bernhard Egger

    Full Text Available Since first described, acoels were considered members of the flatworms (Platyhelminthes. However, no clear synapomorphies among the three large flatworm taxa -- the Catenulida, the Acoelomorpha and the Rhabditophora -- have been characterized to date. Molecular phylogenies, on the other hand, commonly positioned acoels separate from other flatworms. Accordingly, our own multi-locus phylogenetic analysis using 43 genes and 23 animal species places the acoel flatworm Isodiametra pulchra at the base of all Bilateria, distant from other flatworms. By contrast, novel data on the distribution and proliferation of stem cells and the specific mode of epidermal replacement constitute a strong synapomorphy for the Acoela plus the major group of flatworms, the Rhabditophora. The expression of a piwi-like gene not only in gonadal, but also in adult somatic stem cells is another unique feature among bilaterians. These two independent stem-cell-related characters put the Acoela into the Platyhelminthes-Lophotrochozoa clade and account for the most parsimonious evolutionary explanation of epidermal cell renewal in the Bilateria. Most available multigene analyses produce conflicting results regarding the position of the acoels in the tree of life. Given these phylogenomic conflicts and the contradiction of developmental and morphological data with phylogenomic results, the monophyly of the phylum Platyhelminthes and the position of the Acoela remain unresolved. By these data, both the inclusion of Acoela within Platyhelminthes, and their separation from flatworms as basal bilaterians are well-supported alternatives.

  1. Hidden diversity of Acoelomorpha revealed through metabarcoding

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arroyo, Alicia S.; López-Escardó, David; de Vargas, Colomban

    2016-01-01

    Animals with bilateral symmetry comprise the majority of the described species within Metazoa. However, the nature of the first bilaterian animal remains unknown. As most recent molecular phylogenies point to Xenacoelomorpha as the sister group to the rest of Bilateria, understanding their biology, ecology and diversity is key to reconstructing the nature of the last common bilaterian ancestor (Urbilateria). To date, sampling efforts have focused mainly on coastal areas, leaving potential gaps in our understanding of the full diversity of xenacoelomorphs. We therefore analysed 18S rDNA metabarcoding data from three marine projects covering benthic and pelagic habitats worldwide. Our results show that acoels have a greater richness in planktonic environments than previously described. Interestingly, we also identified a putative novel clade of acoels in the deep benthos that branches as sister group to the rest of Acoela, thus representing the earliest-branching acoel clade. Our data highlight deep-sea environments as an ideal habitat to sample acoels with key phylogenetic positions, which might be useful for reconstructing the early evolution of Bilateria. PMID:27677819

  2. Mesodermal gene expression in the acoel Isodiametra pulchra indicates a low number of mesodermal cell types and the endomesodermal origin of the gonads.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marta Chiodin

    Full Text Available Acoelomorphs are bilaterally symmetric small marine worms that lack a coelom and possess a digestive system with a single opening. Two alternative phylogenetic positions of this group within the animal tree are currently debated. In one view, Acoelomorpha is the sister group to all remaining Bilateria and as such, is a morphologically simple stepping stone in bilaterian evolution. In the other, the group is a lineage within the Deuterostomia, and therefore, has derived a simple morphology from a more complex ancestor. Acoels and the closely related Nemertodermatida and Xenoturbellida, which together form the Acoelomorpha, possess a very limited number of cell types. To further investigate the diversity and origin of mesodermal cell types we describe the expression pattern of 12 orthologs of bilaterian mesodermal markers including Six1/2, Twist, FoxC, GATA4/5/6, in the acoel Isodiametra pulchra. All the genes are expressed in stem cells (neoblasts, gonads, and at least subsets of the acoel musculature. Most are expressed in endomesodermal compartments of I. pulchra developing embryos similar to what has been described in cnidarians. Our molecular evidence indicates a very limited number of mesodermal cell types and suggests an endomesodermal origin of the gonads and the stem cell system. We discuss our results in light of the two prevailing phylogenetic positions of Acoelomorpha.

  3. Human developmental enhancers conserved between deuterostomes and protostomes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shoa L Clarke

    Full Text Available The identification of homologies, whether morphological, molecular, or genetic, is fundamental to our understanding of common biological principles. Homologies bridging the great divide between deuterostomes and protostomes have served as the basis for current models of animal evolution and development. It is now appreciated that these two clades share a common developmental toolkit consisting of conserved transcription factors and signaling pathways. These patterning genes sometimes show common expression patterns and genetic interactions, suggesting the existence of similar or even conserved regulatory apparatus. However, previous studies have found no regulatory sequence conserved between deuterostomes and protostomes. Here we describe the first such enhancers, which we call bilaterian conserved regulatory elements (Bicores. Bicores show conservation of sequence and gene synteny. Sequence conservation of Bicores reflects conserved patterns of transcription factor binding sites. We predict that Bicores act as response elements to signaling pathways, and we show that Bicores are developmental enhancers that drive expression of transcriptional repressors in the vertebrate central nervous system. Although the small number of identified Bicores suggests extensive rewiring of cis-regulation between the protostome and deuterostome clades, additional Bicores may be revealed as our understanding of cis-regulatory logic and sample of bilaterian genomes continue to grow.

  4. The evolution and variety of RFamide-type neuropeptides: insights from deuterostomian invertebrates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maurice Richard Elphick

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Five families of neuropeptides that have a C-terminal RFamide motif have been identified in vertebrates: 1. gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH, 2. neuropeptide FF (NPFF 3. pyroglutamylated RFamide peptide (QRFP, 4. prolactin-releasing peptide (PrRP and 5. Kisspeptin. Experimental demonstration of neuropeptide-receptor pairings combined with comprehensive analysis of genomic and/or transcriptomic sequence data indicate that, with the exception of the deuterostomian PrRP system, the evolutionary origins of these neuropeptides can be traced back to the common ancestor of bilaterians. Here we review the occurrence of homologs of vertebrate RFamide-type neuropeptides and their receptors in deuterostomian invertebrates - urochordates, cephalochordates, hemichordates and echinoderms. Extending analysis of the occurrence of the RFamide motif in other bilaterian neuropeptide families reveals RFamide-type peptides that have acquired modified C-terminal characteristics in the vertebrate lineage (e.g. NPY/NPF, neuropeptide families where the RFamide motif is unique to protostomian members (e.g. CCK/sulfakinins and RFamide-type peptides that have been lost in the vertebrate lineage (e.g. luqins. Furthermore, the RFamide motif is also a feature of neuropeptide families with a more restricted phylogenetic distribution (e.g. the prototypical FMRFamide-related neuropeptides in protostomes. Thus, the RFamide motif is both an ancient and a convergent feature of neuropeptides, with conservation, acquisition or loss of this motif occurring in different branches of the animal kingdom.

  5. Echinoderms have bilateral tendencies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ji, Chengcheng; Wu, Liang; Zhao, Wenchan; Wang, Sishuo; Lv, Jianhao

    2012-01-01

    Echinoderms take many forms of symmetry. Pentameral symmetry is the major form and the other forms are derived from it. However, the ancestors of echinoderms, which originated from Cambrian period, were believed to be bilaterians. Echinoderm larvae are bilateral during their early development. During embryonic development of starfish and sea urchins, the position and the developmental sequence of each arm are fixed, implying an auxological anterior/posterior axis. Starfish also possess the Hox gene cluster, which controls symmetrical development. Overall, echinoderms are thought to have a bilateral developmental mechanism and process. In this article, we focused on adult starfish behaviors to corroborate its bilateral tendency. We weighed their central disk and each arm to measure the position of the center of gravity. We then studied their turning-over behavior, crawling behavior and fleeing behavior statistically to obtain the center of frequency of each behavior. By joining the center of gravity and each center of frequency, we obtained three behavioral symmetric planes. These behavioral bilateral tendencies might be related to the A/P axis during the embryonic development of the starfish. It is very likely that the adult starfish is, to some extent, bilaterian because it displays some bilateral propensity and has a definite behavioral symmetric plane. The remainder of bilateral symmetry may have benefited echinoderms during their evolution from the Cambrian period to the present.

  6. Combined large and small subunit ribosomal RNA phylogenies support a basal position of the acoelomorph flatworms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Telford, Maximilian J; Lockyer, Anne E; Cartwright-Finch, Chloë; Littlewood, D Timothy J

    2003-05-22

    The phylogenetic position of the phylum Platyhelminthes has been re-evaluated in the past decade by analysis of diverse molecular datasets. The consensus is that the Rhabditophora + Catenulida, which includes most of the flatworm taxa, are not primitively simple basal bilaterians but are related to coelomate phyla such as molluscs. The status of two other groups of acoelomate worms, Acoela and Nemertodermatida, is less clear. Although many characteristics unite these two groups, initial molecular phylogenetic studies placed the Nemertodermatida within the Rhabditophora, but placed the Acoela at the base of the Bilateria, distant from other flatworms. This contradiction resulted in scepticism about the basal position of acoels and led to calls for further data. We have sequenced large subunit ribosomal RNA genes from 13 rhabditophorans + catenulids, three acoels and one nemertodermatid, tripling the available data. Our analyses strongly support a basal position of both acoels and nemertodermatids. Alternative hypotheses are significantly less well supported by the data. We conclude that the Nemertodermatida and Acoela are basal bilaterians and, owing to their unique body plan and embryogenesis, should be recognized as a separate phylum, the Acoelomorpha.

  7. De novo discovery of neuropeptides in the genomes of parasitic flatworms using a novel comparative approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koziol, Uriel; Koziol, Miguel; Preza, Matías; Costábile, Alicia; Brehm, Klaus; Castillo, Estela

    2016-10-01

    Neuropeptide mediated signalling is an ancient mechanism found in almost all animals and has been proposed as a promising target for the development of novel drugs against helminths. However, identification of neuropeptides from genomic data is challenging, and knowledge of the neuropeptide complement of parasitic flatworms is still fragmentary. In this work, we have developed an evolution-based strategy for the de novo discovery of neuropeptide precursors, based on the detection of localised sequence conservation between possible prohormone convertase cleavage sites. The method detected known neuropeptide precursors with good precision and specificity in the models Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. Furthermore, it identified novel putative neuropeptide precursors in nematodes, including the first description of allatotropin homologues in this phylum. Our search for neuropeptide precursors in the genomes of parasitic flatworms resulted in the description of 34 conserved neuropeptide precursor families, including 13 new ones, and of hundreds of new homologues of known neuropeptide precursor families. Most neuropeptide precursor families show a wide phylogenetic distribution among parasitic flatworms and show little similarity to neuropeptide precursors of other bilaterian animals. However, we could also find orthologs of some conserved bilaterian neuropeptides including pyrokinin, crustacean cardioactive peptide, myomodulin, neuropeptide-Y, neuropeptide KY and SIF-amide. Finally, we determined the expression patterns of seven putative neuropeptide precursor genes in the protoscolex of Echinococcus multilocularis. All genes were expressed in the nervous system with different patterns, indicating a hidden complexity of peptidergic signalling in cestodes.

  8. To be or not to be a flatworm: the acoel controversy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Egger, Bernhard; Steinke, Dirk; Tarui, Hiroshi; De Mulder, Katrien; Arendt, Detlev; Borgonie, Gaëtan; Funayama, Noriko; Gschwentner, Robert; Hartenstein, Volker; Hobmayer, Bert; Hooge, Matthew; Hrouda, Martina; Ishida, Sachiko; Kobayashi, Chiyoko; Kuales, Georg; Nishimura, Osamu; Pfister, Daniela; Rieger, Reinhard; Salvenmoser, Willi; Smith, Julian; Technau, Ulrich; Tyler, Seth; Agata, Kiyokazu; Salzburger, Walter; Ladurner, Peter

    2009-01-01

    Since first described, acoels were considered members of the flatworms (Platyhelminthes). However, no clear synapomorphies among the three large flatworm taxa -- the Catenulida, the Acoelomorpha and the Rhabditophora -- have been characterized to date. Molecular phylogenies, on the other hand, commonly positioned acoels separate from other flatworms. Accordingly, our own multi-locus phylogenetic analysis using 43 genes and 23 animal species places the acoel flatworm Isodiametra pulchra at the base of all Bilateria, distant from other flatworms. By contrast, novel data on the distribution and proliferation of stem cells and the specific mode of epidermal replacement constitute a strong synapomorphy for the Acoela plus the major group of flatworms, the Rhabditophora. The expression of a piwi-like gene not only in gonadal, but also in adult somatic stem cells is another unique feature among bilaterians. These two independent stem-cell-related characters put the Acoela into the Platyhelminthes-Lophotrochozoa clade and account for the most parsimonious evolutionary explanation of epidermal cell renewal in the Bilateria. Most available multigene analyses produce conflicting results regarding the position of the acoels in the tree of life. Given these phylogenomic conflicts and the contradiction of developmental and morphological data with phylogenomic results, the monophyly of the phylum Platyhelminthes and the position of the Acoela remain unresolved. By these data, both the inclusion of Acoela within Platyhelminthes, and their separation from flatworms as basal bilaterians are well-supported alternatives.

  9. The p53 tumor suppressor-like protein nvp63 mediates selective germ cell death in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandra Pankow

    Full Text Available Here we report the identification and molecular function of the p53 tumor suppressor-like protein nvp63 in a non-bilaterian animal, the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. So far, p53-like proteins had been found in bilaterians only. The evolutionary origin of p53-like proteins is highly disputed and primordial p53-like proteins are variably thought to protect somatic cells from genotoxic stress. Here we show that ultraviolet (UV irradiation at low levels selectively induces programmed cell death in early gametes but not somatic cells of adult N. vectensis polyps. We demonstrate with RNA interference that nvp63 mediates this cell death in vivo. Nvp63 is the most archaic member of three p53-like proteins found in N. vectensis and in congruence with all known p53-like proteins, nvp63 binds to the vertebrate p53 DNA recognition sequence and activates target gene transcription in vitro. A transactivation inhibitory domain at its C-terminus with high homology to the vertebrate p63 may regulate nvp63 on a molecular level. The genotoxic stress induced and nvp63 mediated apoptosis in N. vectensis gametes reveals an evolutionary ancient germ cell protective pathway which relies on p63-like proteins and is conserved from cnidarians to vertebrates.

  10. Molecular insights into the origin of the Hox-TALE patterning system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hudry, Bruno; Thomas-Chollier, Morgane; Volovik, Yael; Duffraisse, Marilyne; Dard, Amélie; Frank, Dale; Technau, Ulrich; Merabet, Samir

    2014-03-18

    Despite tremendous body form diversity in nature, bilaterian animals share common sets of developmental genes that display conserved expression patterns in the embryo. Among them are the Hox genes, which define different identities along the anterior-posterior axis. Hox proteins exert their function by interaction with TALE transcription factors. Hox and TALE members are also present in some but not all non-bilaterian phyla, raising the question of how Hox-TALE interactions evolved to provide positional information. By using proteins from unicellular and multicellular lineages, we showed that these networks emerged from an ancestral generic motif present in Hox and other related protein families. Interestingly, Hox-TALE networks experienced additional and extensive molecular innovations that were likely crucial for differentiating Hox functions along body plans. Together our results highlight how homeobox gene families evolved during eukaryote evolution to eventually constitute a major patterning system in Eumetazoans. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01939.001.

  11. Nuclear receptors from the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi lack a zinc-finger DNA-binding domain: lineage-specific loss or ancestral condition in the emergence of the nuclear receptor superfamily?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Reitzel Adam M

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Nuclear receptors (NRs are an ancient superfamily of metazoan transcription factors that play critical roles in regulation of reproduction, development, and energetic homeostasis. Although the evolutionary relationships among NRs are well-described in two prominent clades of animals (deuterostomes and protostomes, comparatively little information has been reported on the diversity of NRs in early diverging metazoans. Here, we identified NRs from the phylum Ctenophora and used a phylogenomic approach to explore the emergence of the NR superfamily in the animal kingdom. In addition, to gain insight into conserved or novel functions, we examined NR expression during ctenophore development. Results We report the first described NRs from the phylum Ctenophora: two from Mnemiopsis leidyi and one from Pleurobrachia pileus. All ctenophore NRs contained a ligand-binding domain and grouped with NRs from the subfamily NR2A (HNF4. Surprisingly, all the ctenophore NRs lacked the highly conserved DNA-binding domain (DBD. NRs from Mnemiopsis were expressed in different regions of developing ctenophores. One was broadly expressed in the endoderm during gastrulation. The second was initially expressed in the ectoderm during gastrulation, in regions corresponding to the future tentacles; subsequent expression was restricted to the apical organ. Phylogenetic analyses of NRs from ctenophores, sponges, cnidarians, and a placozoan support the hypothesis that expansion of the superfamily occurred in a step-wise fashion, with initial radiations in NR family 2, followed by representatives of NR families 3, 6, and 1/4 originating prior to the appearance of the bilaterian ancestor. Conclusions Our study provides the first description of NRs from ctenophores, including the full complement from Mnemiopsis. Ctenophores have the least diverse NR complement of any animal phylum with representatives that cluster with only one subfamily (NR2A. Ctenophores and

  12. Induction of segmentation in polyps of Aurelia aurita (Scyphozoa, Cnidaria) into medusae and formation of mirror-image medusa anlagen.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kroiher, M; Siefker, B; Berking, S

    2000-08-01

    Polyps of Aurelia aurita can transform into several medusae (jellyfish) in a process of sequential subdivision. During this transformation, two processes take place which are well known to play a key role in the formation of various higher metazoa: segmentation and metamorphosis. In order to compare these processes in bilaterians and cnidarians we studied the control and the kinetics of these processes in Aurelia aurita. Segmentation and metamorphosis visibly start at the polyp's head and proceed down the body column but do not reach the basal disc. The small piece of polyp which remains will develop into a new polyp. The commitment to the medusa stage moves down the body column and precedes the visible onset of segmentation by about one day. Segmentation and metamorphosis can start at the cut surface of transversely cut body columns, leading to a mirror-image pattern of sequentially developing medusae.

  13. Conserved functional antagonism of CELF and MBNL proteins controls stem cell-specific alternative splicing in planarians.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solana, Jordi; Irimia, Manuel; Ayoub, Salah; Orejuela, Marta Rodriguez; Zywitza, Vera; Jens, Marvin; Tapial, Javier; Ray, Debashish; Morris, Quaid; Hughes, Timothy R; Blencowe, Benjamin J; Rajewsky, Nikolaus

    2016-08-09

    In contrast to transcriptional regulation, the function of alternative splicing (AS) in stem cells is poorly understood. In mammals, MBNL proteins negatively regulate an exon program specific of embryonic stem cells; however, little is known about the in vivo significance of this regulation. We studied AS in a powerful in vivo model for stem cell biology, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. We discover a conserved AS program comprising hundreds of alternative exons, microexons and introns that is differentially regulated in planarian stem cells, and comprehensively identify its regulators. We show that functional antagonism between CELF and MBNL factors directly controls stem cell-specific AS in planarians, placing the origin of this regulatory mechanism at the base of Bilaterians. Knockdown of CELF or MBNL factors lead to abnormal regenerative capacities by affecting self-renewal and differentiation sets of genes, respectively. These results highlight the importance of AS interactions in stem cell regulation across metazoans.

  14. The evolutionary history of vertebrate cranial placodes--I: cell type evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patthey, Cedric; Schlosser, Gerhard; Shimeld, Sebastian M

    2014-05-01

    Vertebrate cranial placodes are crucial contributors to the vertebrate cranial sensory apparatus. Their evolutionary origin has attracted much attention from evolutionary and developmental biologists, yielding speculation and hypotheses concerning their putative homologues in other lineages and the developmental and genetic innovations that might have underlain their origin and diversification. In this article we first briefly review our current understanding of placode development and the cell types and structures they form. We next summarise previous hypotheses of placode evolution, discussing their strengths and caveats, before considering the evolutionary history of the various cell types that develop from placodes. In an accompanying review, we also further consider the evolution of ectodermal patterning. Drawing on data from vertebrates, tunicates, amphioxus, other bilaterians and cnidarians, we build these strands into a scenario of placode evolutionary history and of the genes, cells and developmental processes that underlie placode evolution and development.

  15. Molecular determinants of bat wing development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sears, K E

    2008-01-01

    The specialization of the forelimb into a wing allowed bats to become the only mammals to achieve powered flight. Recent studies in developmental biology have begun to elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind elements of this important morphological transformation. Specifically, researchers have identified molecular changes contributing to: the formation of the bat wing membrane, the elongation of skeletal elements of the bat wing and the reduction of the bat ulna. The general picture emerging from this research is that small changes in the expression of genes critical to many aspects of development have driven large changes in bat wing morphology. Thus, bats can be added to the growing list of groups in which expression changes in key developmental genes have been linked to the evolution of morphological innovations (e.g. early bilaterians, cetaceans, insects).

  16. Molybdenum evidence for expansive sulfidic water masses in ~ 750 Ma oceans

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dahl, Tais Wittchen; Canfield, Donald Eugene; Rosing, Minik Thorleif

    2011-01-01

    composition of ancient seawater. Further, we investigate the ~ 750 Ma Walcott Member of the Chuar Group, Grand Canyon, which accumulated in a rift basin with open connection to the ocean. Iron speciation data from upper Walcott shales indicate that local bottom waters were anoxic and sulfidic, consistent......The Ediacaran appearance of large animals, including motile bilaterians, is commonly hypothesized to reflect a physiologically enabling increase in atmospheric and oceanic oxygen abundances (pO2). To date, direct evidence for low oxygen in pre-Ediacaran oceans has focused on chemical signatures...... in the rock record that reflect conditions in local basins, but this approach is both biased to constrain only shallower basins and statistically limited when we seek to follow the evolution of mean ocean chemical state through time. Because the abundance and isotopic composition of molybdenum (Mo) in organic...

  17. Daily cycle in oxygen consumption by the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis Stephenson

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amy E. Maas

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available In bilaterian animals, the circadian clock is intimately involved in regulating energetic metabolism. Although cnidarians exhibit diel behavioral rhythms including cycles in locomotor activity, tentacle extension and spawning, daily cycles in cnidarian metabolism have not been described. To explore a possible circadian metabolic cycle, we maintained the anemone Nematostella vectensis in a 12 h light/dark cycle, a reversed light cycle, or in constant darkness. Oxygen consumption rates were measured at intervals using an optical oxygen meter. Respiration rates responded to entrainment with higher rates during light periods. During a second experiment with higher temporal resolution, respiration rates peaked late in the light period. The diel pattern could be detected after six days in constant darkness. Together, our results suggest that respiration rates in Nematostella exhibit a daily cycle that may be under circadian control and that the cycle in respiration rate is not driven by the previously described nocturnal increase in locomotor activity in this species.

  18. The innate immunity in the cnidarian Hydra vulgaris

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    B Altincicek

    2009-08-01

    Full Text Available Hydra vulgaris is currently receiving increased attention as a genetically tractable invertebrate model system for studying important processes of life such as the innate immune defense. Similar to complex animals, H. vulgaris polyps respond to injury by abrupt muscle contraction, by limited escape behavior, and by healing the damaged tissue. Simultaneously, cellular processes such as phagocytosis and programmed cell death as well as the massive production of antimicrobial peptides are induced. Recent studies identified several molecular pathways controlling these responses; however, the interdependence of innate immunity and, for example, regeneration and tissue remodeling is not well elucidated yet. H. vulgaris belongs to the Cnidaria representing the phylogenic sister group of bilaterian animals; hence, a better understanding of evolutionarily conserved as well as Hydra/Cnidaria-specific immune responses will provide deep insight into both origin and evolution of the animal innate immune system

  19. The first myriapod genome sequence reveals conservative arthropod gene content and genome organisation in the centipede Strigamia maritima

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Chipman, Ariel D.; Ferrier, David E.K.; Brena, Carlo;

    2014-01-01

    many genes in conserved macro-synteny contexts, and many small-scale examples of gene clustering. We describe several examples where S. maritima shows different solutions from insects to similar problems. The insect olfactory receptor gene family is absent from S. maritima, and olfaction in air......Myriapods (e.g., centipedes and millipedes) display a simple homonomous body plan relative to other arthropods. All members of the class are terrestrial, but they attained terrestriality independently of insects. Myriapoda is the only arthropod class not represented by a sequenced genome. We...... present an analysis of the genome of the centipede Strigamia maritima. It retains a compact genome that has undergone less gene loss and shuffling than previously sequenced arthropods, and many orthologues of genes conserved from the bilaterian ancestor that have been lost in insects. Our analysis locates...

  20. The Trichoplax Genome and the Nature of Placozoans

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Srivastava, Mansi; Begovic, Emina; Chapman, Jarrod; Putnam, Nicholas H.; Hellsten, Uffe; Kawashima, Takeshi; Kuo, Alan; Mitros, Therese; Salamov, Asaf; Carpenter, Meredith L.; Signorovitch, Ana Y.; Moreno, Maria A.; Kamm, Kai; Grimwood, Jane; Schmutz, Jeremy; Shapiro, Harris; Grigoriev, Igor V.; Buss, Leo W.; Schierwater, Bernd; Dellaporta, Stephen L.; Rokhsar, Daniel S.

    2008-08-01

    Placozoans are arguably the simplest free-living animals, possibly evoking an early stage in metazoan evolution, yet their biology is poorly understood. Here we report the sequencing and analysis of the {approx}98 million base pair nuclear genome of the placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens. Whole genome phylogenetic analysis suggests that placozoans belong to a 'eumetazoan' clade that includes cnidarians and bilaterians, with sponges as the earliest diverging animals. The compact genome exhibits conserved gene content, gene structure, and synteny relative to the human and other complex eumetazoan genomes. Despite the apparent cellular and organismal simplicity of Trichoplax, its genome encodes a rich array of transcription factor and signaling pathway genes that are typically associated with diverse cell types and developmental processes in eumetazoans, motivating further searches for cryptic cellular complexity and/or as yet unobserved life history stages.

  1. Comparative genomics explains the evolutionary success of reef-forming corals

    KAUST Repository

    Bhattacharya, Debashish

    2016-05-24

    Transcriptome and genome data from twenty stony coral species and a selection of reference bilaterians were studied to elucidate coral evolutionary history. We identified genes that encode the proteins responsible for the precipitation and aggregation of the aragonite skeleton on which the organisms live, and revealed a network of environmental sensors that coordinate responses of the host animals to temperature, light, and pH. Furthermore, we describe a variety of stress-related pathways, including apoptotic pathways that allow the host animals to detoxify reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that are generated by their intracellular photosynthetic symbionts, and determine the fate of corals under environmental stress. Some of these genes arose through horizontal gene transfer and comprise at least 0.2% of the animal gene inventory. Our analysis elucidates the evolutionary strategies that have allowed symbiotic corals to adapt and thrive for hundreds of millions of years.

  2. Back to the Basics: Cnidarians Start to Fire.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bosch, Thomas C G; Klimovich, Alexander; Domazet-Lošo, Tomislav; Gründer, Stefan; Holstein, Thomas W; Jékely, Gáspár; Miller, David J; Murillo-Rincon, Andrea P; Rentzsch, Fabian; Richards, Gemma S; Schröder, Katja; Technau, Ulrich; Yuste, Rafael

    2017-02-01

    The nervous systems of cnidarians, pre-bilaterian animals that diverged close to the base of the metazoan radiation, are structurally simple and thus have great potential to reveal fundamental principles of neural circuits. Unfortunately, cnidarians have thus far been relatively intractable to electrophysiological and genetic techniques and consequently have been largely passed over by neurobiologists. However, recent advances in molecular and imaging methods are fueling a renaissance of interest in and research into cnidarians nervous systems. Here, we review current knowledge on the nervous systems of cnidarian species and propose that researchers should seize this opportunity and undertake the study of members of this phylum as strategic experimental systems with great basic and translational relevance for neuroscience.

  3. The planarian flatworm: an in vivo model for stem cell biology and nervous system regeneration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luca Gentile

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Planarian flatworms are an exception among bilaterians in that they possess a large pool of adult stem cells that enables them to promptly regenerate any part of their body, including the brain. Although known for two centuries for their remarkable regenerative capabilities, planarians have only recently emerged as an attractive model for studying regeneration and stem cell biology. This revival is due in part to the availability of a sequenced genome and the development of new technologies, such as RNA interference and next-generation sequencing, which facilitate studies of planarian regeneration at the molecular level. Here, we highlight why planarians are an exciting tool in the study of regeneration and its underlying stem cell biology in vivo, and discuss the potential promises and current limitations of this model organism for stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

  4. Innexin gap junctions in nerve cells coordinate spontaneous contractile behavior in Hydra polyps

    KAUST Repository

    Takaku, Yasuharu

    2014-01-07

    Nerve cells and spontaneous coordinated behavior first appeared near the base of animal evolution in the common ancestor of cnidarians and bilaterians. Experiments on the cnidarian Hydra have demonstrated that nerve cells are essential for this behavior, although nerve cells in Hydra are organized in a diffuse network and do not form ganglia. Here we show that the gap junction protein innexin-2 is expressed in a small group of nerve cells in the lower body column of Hydra and that an anti-innexin-2 antibody binds to gap junctions in the same region. Treatment of live animals with innexin-2 antibody eliminates gap junction staining and reduces spontaneous body column contractions. We conclude that a small subset of nerve cells, connected by gap junctions and capable of synchronous firing, act as a pacemaker to coordinate the contraction of the body column in the absence of ganglia.

  5. An Adaptable Spectrin/Ankyrin-Based Mechanism for Long-Range Organization of Plasma Membranes in Vertebrate Tissues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, Vann; Lorenzo, Damaris N

    2016-01-01

    Ankyrins are membrane-associated proteins that together with their spectrin partners are responsible for micron-scale organization of vertebrate plasma membranes, including those of erythrocytes, excitable membranes of neurons and heart, lateral membrane domains of columnar epithelial cells, and striated muscle. Ankyrins coordinate functionally related membrane transporters and cell adhesion proteins (15 protein families identified so far) within plasma membrane compartments through independently evolved interactions of intrinsically disordered sequences with a highly conserved peptide-binding groove formed by the ANK repeat solenoid. Ankyrins are coupled to spectrins, which are elongated organelle-sized proteins that form mechanically resilient arrays through cross-linking by specialized actin filaments. In addition to protein interactions, cellular targeting and assembly of spectrin/ankyrin domains also critically depend on palmitoylation of ankyrin-G by aspartate-histidine-histidine-cysteine 5/8 palmitoyltransferases, as well as interaction of beta-2 spectrin with phosphoinositide lipids. These lipid-dependent spectrin/ankyrin domains are not static but are locally dynamic and determine membrane identity through opposing endocytosis of bulk lipids as well as specific proteins. A partnership between spectrin, ankyrin, and cell adhesion molecules first emerged in bilaterians over 500 million years ago. Ankyrin and spectrin may have been recruited to plasma membranes from more ancient roles in organelle transport. The basic bilaterian spectrin-ankyrin toolkit markedly expanded in vertebrates through gene duplications combined with variation in unstructured intramolecular regulatory sequences as well as independent evolution of ankyrin-binding activity by ion transporters involved in action potentials and calcium homeostasis. In addition, giant vertebrate ankyrins with specialized roles in axons acquired new coding sequences by exon shuffling. We speculate that

  6. Setting the pace: new insights into central pattern generator interactions in box jellyfish swimming.

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    Anna Lisa Stöckl

    Full Text Available Central Pattern Generators (CPGs produce rhythmic behaviour across all animal phyla. Cnidarians, which have a radially symmetric nervous system and pacemaker centres in multiples of four, provide an interesting comparison to bilaterian animals for studying the coordination between CPGs. The box jellyfish Tripedalia cystophora is remarkable among cnidarians due to its most elaborate visual system. Together with their ability to actively swim and steer, they use their visual system for multiple types of behaviour. The four swim CPGs are directly regulated by visual input. In this study, we addressed the question of how the four pacemaker centres of this radial symmetric cnidarian interact. We based our investigation on high speed camera observations of the timing of swim pulses of tethered animals (Tripedalia cystophora with one or four rhopalia, under different simple light regimes. Additionally, we developed a numerical model of pacemaker interactions based on the inter pulse interval distribution of animals with one rhopalium. We showed that the model with fully resetting coupling and hyperpolarization of the pacemaker potential below baseline fitted the experimental data best. Moreover, the model of four swim pacemakers alone underscored the proportion of long inter pulse intervals (IPIs considerably. Both in terms of the long IPIs as well as the overall swim pulse distribution, the simulation of two CPGs provided a better fit than that of four. We therefore suggest additional sources of pacemaker control than just visual input. We provide guidelines for future research on the physiological linkage of the cubozoan CPGs and show the insight from bilaterian CPG research, which show that pacemakers have to be studied in their bodily and nervous environment to capture all their functional features, are also manifest in cnidarians.

  7. Late Ediacaran redox stability and metazoan evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnston, D. T.; Poulton, S. W.; Goldberg, T.; Sergeev, V. N.; Podkovyrov, V.; Vorob'eva, N. G.; Bekker, A.; Knoll, A. H.

    2012-06-01

    The Neoproterozoic arrival of animals fundamentally changed Earth's biological and geochemical trajectory. Since the early description of Ediacaran and Cambrian animal fossils, a vigorous debate has emerged about the drivers underpinning their seemingly rapid radiation. Some argue for predation and ecology as central to diversification, whereas others point to a changing chemical environment as the trigger. In both cases, questions of timing and feedbacks remain unresolved. Through these debates, the last fifty years of work has largely converged on the concept that a change in atmospheric oxygen levels, perhaps manifested indirectly as an oxygenation of the deep ocean, was causally linked to the initial diversification of large animals. What has largely been absent, but is provided in this study, is a multi-proxy stratigraphic test of this hypothesis. Here, we describe a coupled geochemical and paleontological investigation of Neoproterozoic sedimentary rocks from northern Russia. In detail, we provide iron speciation data, carbon and sulfur isotope compositions, and major element abundances from a predominantly siliciclastic succession (spanning>1000 m) sampled by the Kel'tminskaya-1 drillcore. Our interpretation of these data is consistent with the hypothesis that the pO2 threshold required for diversification of animals with high metabolic oxygen demands was crossed prior to or during the Ediacaran Period. Redox stabilization of shallow marine environments was, however, also critical and only occurred about 560 million years ago (Ma), when large motile bilaterians first enter the regional stratigraphic record. In contrast, neither fossils nor geochemistry lend support to the hypothesis that ecological interactions altered the course of evolution in the absence of environmental change. Together, the geochemical and paleontological records suggest a coordinated transition from low oxygen oceans sometime before the Marinoan (˜635 Ma) ice age, through better

  8. Developmental diversity in free-living flatworms

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    Martín-Durán José

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Flatworm embryology has attracted attention since the early beginnings of comparative evolutionary biology. Considered for a long time the most basal bilaterians, the Platyhelminthes (excluding Acoelomorpha are now robustly placed within the Spiralia. Despite having lost their relevance to explain the transition from radially to bilaterally symmetrical animals, the study of flatworm embryology is still of great importance to understand the diversification of bilaterians and of developmental mechanisms. Flatworms are acoelomate organisms generally with a simple centralized nervous system, a blind gut, and lacking a circulatory organ, a skeleton and a respiratory system other than the epidermis. Regeneration and asexual reproduction, based on a totipotent neoblast stem cell system, are broadly present among different groups of flatworms. While some more basally branching groups - such as polyclad flatworms - retain the ancestral quartet spiral cleavage pattern, most flatworms have significantly diverged from this pattern and exhibit unique strategies to specify the common adult body plan. Most free-living flatworms (i.e. Platyhelminthes excluding the parasitic Neodermata are directly developing, whereas in polyclads, also indirect developers with an intermediate free-living larval stage and subsequent metamorphosis are found. A comparative study of developmental diversity may help understanding major questions in evolutionary biology, such as the evolution of cleavage patterns, gastrulation and axial specification, the evolution of larval types, and the diversification and specialization of organ systems. In this review, we present a thorough overview of the embryonic development of the different groups of free-living (turbellarian platyhelminths, including the Catenulida, Macrostomorpha, Polycladida, Lecithoepitheliata, Proseriata, Bothrioplanida, Rhabdocoela, Fecampiida, Prolecithophora and Tricladida, and discuss their main features

  9. Differential responses to Wnt and PCP disruption predict expression and developmental function of conserved and novel genes in a cnidarian.

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    Pascal Lapébie

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available We have used Digital Gene Expression analysis to identify, without bilaterian bias, regulators of cnidarian embryonic patterning. Transcriptome comparison between un-manipulated Clytia early gastrula embryos and ones in which the key polarity regulator Wnt3 was inhibited using morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (Wnt3-MO identified a set of significantly over and under-expressed transcripts. These code for candidate Wnt signaling modulators, orthologs of other transcription factors, secreted and transmembrane proteins known as developmental regulators in bilaterian models or previously uncharacterized, and also many cnidarian-restricted proteins. Comparisons between embryos injected with morpholinos targeting Wnt3 and its receptor Fz1 defined four transcript classes showing remarkable correlation with spatiotemporal expression profiles. Class 1 and 3 transcripts tended to show sustained expression at "oral" and "aboral" poles respectively of the developing planula larva, class 2 transcripts in cells ingressing into the endodermal region during gastrulation, while class 4 gene expression was repressed at the early gastrula stage. The preferential effect of Fz1-MO on expression of class 2 and 4 transcripts can be attributed to Planar Cell Polarity (PCP disruption, since it was closely matched by morpholino knockdown of the specific PCP protein Strabismus. We conclude that endoderm and post gastrula-specific gene expression is particularly sensitive to PCP disruption while Wnt-/β-catenin signaling dominates gene regulation along the oral-aboral axis. Phenotype analysis using morpholinos targeting a subset of transcripts indicated developmental roles consistent with expression profiles for both conserved and cnidarian-restricted genes. Overall our unbiased screen allowed systematic identification of regionally expressed genes and provided functional support for a shared eumetazoan developmental regulatory gene set with both predicted and

  10. [Evolutionary history of Metazoa, ancestral status of the bilateria clonal reproduction, and semicolonial origin of the mollusca].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martynov, A V

    2013-01-01

    Evolutionary history of any metazoan group is a history of the entire ontogenetic cycles instead of separate stages and genes only. Ontogeny in the most objective way links two key components of the biological systematics: historically-independent characters attribution and phylogeny itself. A general theory encompassing "static" traditional taxonomy and dynamic evolutionary process, based on the ontogenetic transformation of the organisms' shape is suggested here to term as ontogenetic systematics. As an important practical implication of the ontogenetic systematics, a new model of the bilaterian metazoans evolution is suggested. The new model considers asexual clonal reproduction as a central feature of the ancestral ontogenetic cycles of basal Bilateria. The new scenario resolves several notable contradictions, e.g. morphological, ontogenetic and molecular similarities of Pogonophora, Vestimentifera, Phoronida simultaneously to protostomian Spiralia (Lophotrochozoa) and Deuterostomia. The suggested model implies individuation (possibly multiple) of ancestral semicolonial sedentary group as a major factor of the basal Bilateria diversification. In the late Ediacaran and early Cambrian thus existed ancestral bilaterian group that shared characters of both Spiralia and Deuterostomia and possessed polyp-shape body and cephalic secretory shield (like in modern Pterobranchia and Vestimentifera), that later on reduced in various lines. This ancestral taxon in rank of supraphylum is suggested to term as Carmaphora (shield-bearers). Presence of the enigmatic sedentary fossil of the genus Cloudina with vestimentiferan-like tubes and evident clonal reproduction already in the late Ediacaran, and most recent found of an unquestionable pterobranch already in the early Cambrian support the new model of Bilateria evolution.

  11. Nearly complete rRNA genes assembled from across the metazoan animals: effects of more taxa, a structure-based alignment, and paired-sites evolutionary models on phylogeny reconstruction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallatt, Jon; Craig, Catherine Waggoner; Yoder, Matthew J

    2010-04-01

    This study (1) uses nearly complete rRNA-gene sequences from across Metazoa (197 taxa) to reconstruct animal phylogeny; (2) presents a highly annotated, manual alignment of these sequences with special reference to rRNA features including paired sites (http://purl.oclc.org/NET/rRNA/Metazoan_alignment) and (3) tests, after eliminating as few disruptive, rogue sequences as possible, if a likelihood framework can recover the main metazoan clades. We found that systematic elimination of approximately 6% of the sequences, including the divergent or unstably placed sequences of cephalopods, arrowworm, symphylan and pauropod myriapods, and of myzostomid and nemertodermatid worms, led to a tree that supported Ecdysozoa, Lophotrochozoa, Protostomia, and Bilateria. Deuterostomia, however, was never recovered, because the rRNA of urochordates goes (nonsignificantly) near the base of the Bilateria. Counterintuitively, when we modeled the evolution of the paired sites, phylogenetic resolution was not increased over traditional tree-building models that assume all sites in rRNA evolve independently. The rRNA genes of non-bilaterians contain a higher % AT than do those of most bilaterians. The rRNA genes of Acoela and Myzostomida were found to be secondarily shortened, AT-enriched, and highly modified, throwing some doubt on the location of these worms at the base of Bilateria in the rRNA tree--especially myzostomids, which other evidence suggests are annelids instead. Other findings are marsupial-with-placental mammals, arrowworms in Ecdysozoa (well supported here but contradicted by morphology), and Placozoa as sister to Cnidaria. Finally, despite the difficulties, the rRNA-gene trees are in strong concordance with trees derived from multiple protein-coding genes in supporting the new animal phylogeny.

  12. Expanded functional diversity of shaker K(+ channels in cnidarians is driven by gene expansion.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Timothy Jegla

    Full Text Available The genome of the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis (starlet sea anemone provides a molecular genetic view into the first nervous systems, which appeared in a late common ancestor of cnidarians and bilaterians. Nematostella has a surprisingly large and diverse set of neuronal signaling genes including paralogs of most neuronal signaling molecules found in higher metazoans. Several ion channel gene families are highly expanded in the sea anemone, including three subfamilies of the Shaker K(+ channel gene family: Shaker (Kv1, Shaw (Kv3 and Shal (Kv4. In order to better understand the physiological significance of these voltage-gated K(+ channel expansions, we analyzed the function of 18 members of the 20 gene Shaker subfamily in Nematostella. Six of the Nematostella Shaker genes express functional homotetrameric K(+ channels in vitro. These include functional orthologs of bilaterian Shakers and channels with an unusually high threshold for voltage activation. We identified 11 Nematostella Shaker genes with a distinct "silent" or "regulatory" phenotype; these encode subunits that function only in heteromeric channels and serve to further diversify Nematostella Shaker channel gating properties. Subunits with the regulatory phenotype have not previously been found in the Shaker subfamily, but have evolved independently in the Shab (Kv2 family in vertebrates and the Shal family in a cnidarian. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that regulatory subunits were present in ancestral cnidarians, but have continued to diversity at a high rate after the split between anthozoans and hydrozoans. Comparison of Shaker family gene complements from diverse metazoan species reveals frequent, large scale duplication has produced highly unique sets of Shaker channels in the major metazoan lineages.

  13. Expression of the ctenophore Brain Factor 1 forkhead gene ortholog (ctenoBF-1) mRNA is restricted to the presumptive mouth and feeding apparatus: implications for axial organization in the Metazoa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamada, Atsuko; Martindale, Mark Q.

    2002-01-01

    Ctenophores are thoroughly modern animals whose ancestors are derived from a separate evolutionary branch than that of other eumetazoans. Their major longitudinal body axis is the oral-aboral axis. An apical sense organ, called the apical organ, is located at the aboral pole and contains a highly innervated statocyst and photodetecting cells. The apical organ integrates sensory information and controls the locomotory apparatus of ctenophores, the eight longitudinal rows of ctene/comb plates. In an effort to understand the developmental and evolutionary organization of axial properties of ctenophores we have isolated a forkhead gene from the Brain Factor 1 (BF-1) family. This gene, ctenoBF-1, is the first full-length nuclear gene reported from ctenophores. This makes ctenophores the most basal metazoan (to date) known to express definitive forkhead class transcription factors. Orthologs of BF-1 in vertebrates, Drosophila, and Caenorhabditis elegans are expressed in anterior neural structures. Surprisingly, in situ hybridizations with ctenoBF-1 antisense riboprobes show that this gene is not expressed in the apical organ of ctenophores. CtenoBF-1 is expressed prior to first cleavage. Transcripts become localized to the aboral pole by the 8-cell stage and are inherited by ectodermal micromeres generated from this region at the 16- and 32-cell stages. Expression in subsets of these cells persists and is seen around the edge of the blastopore (presumptive mouth) and in distinct ectodermal regions along the tentacular poles. Following gastrulation, stomodeal expression begins to fade and intense staining becomes restricted to two distinct domains in each tentacular feeding apparatus. We suggest that the apical organ is not homologous to the brain of bilaterians but that the oral pole of ctenophores corresponds to the anterior pole of bilaterian animals.

  14. Gastric pouches and the mucociliary sole: setting the stage for nervous system evolution.

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    Arendt, Detlev; Benito-Gutierrez, Elia; Brunet, Thibaut; Marlow, Heather

    2015-12-19

    Prerequisite for tracing nervous system evolution is understanding of the body plan, feeding behaviour and locomotion of the first animals in which neurons evolved. Here, a comprehensive scenario is presented for the diversification of cell types in early metazoans, which enhanced feeding efficiency and led to the emergence of larger animals that were able to move. Starting from cup-shaped, gastraea-like animals with outer and inner choanoflagellate-like cells, two major innovations are discussed that set the stage for nervous system evolution. First, the invention of a mucociliary sole entailed a switch from intra- to extracellular digestion and increased the concentration of nutrients flowing into the gastric cavity. In these animals, an initial nerve net may have evolved via division of labour from mechanosensory-contractile cells in the lateral body wall, enabling coordinated movement of the growing body that involved both mucociliary creeping and changes of body shape. Second, the inner surface of the animals folded into metameric series of gastric pouches, which optimized nutrient resorption and allowed larger body sizes. The concomitant acquisition of bilateral symmetry may have allowed more directed locomotion and, with more demanding coordinative tasks, triggered the evolution of specialized nervous subsystems. Animals of this organizational state would have resembled Ediacarian fossils such as Dickinsonia and may have been close to the cnidarian-bilaterian ancestor. In the bilaterian lineage, the mucociliary sole was used mostly for creeping, or frequently lost. One possible remnant is the enigmatic Reissner's fibre in the ventral neural tube of cephalochordates and vertebrates.

  15. Spatiotemporal development of the embryonic nervous system of Saccoglossus kowalevskii.

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    Cunningham, Doreen; Casey, Elena Silva

    2014-02-01

    Defining the organization and temporal onset of key steps in neurogenesis in invertebrate deuterostomes is critical to understand the evolution of the bilaterian and deuterostome nervous systems. Although recent studies have revealed the organization of the nervous system in adult hemichordates, little attention has been paid to neurogenesis during embryonic development in this third major phylum of deuterostomes. We examine the early events of neural development in the enteropneust hemichordate Saccoglossus kowalevskii by analyzing the expression of 11 orthologs of key genes associated with neurogenesis in an expansive range of bilaterians. Using in situ hybridization (ISH) and RT-PCR, we follow the course of neural development to track the transition of the early embryonic diffuse nervous system to the more regionalized midline nervous system of the adult. We show that in Saccoglossus, neural progenitor markers are expressed maternally and broadly encircle the developing embryo. An increase in their expression and the onset of pan neural markers, indicate that neural specification occurs in late blastulae - early gastrulae. By mid-gastrulation, punctate expression of markers of differentiating neurons encircling the embryo indicate the presence of immature neurons, and at the end of gastrulation when the embryo begins to elongate, markers of mature neurons are expressed. At this stage, expression of a subset of neuronal markers is concentrated along the trunk ventral and dorsal midlines. These data indicate that the diffuse embryonic nervous system of Saccoglossus is transient and quickly reorganizes before hatching to resemble the adult regionalized, centralized nervous system. This regionalization occurs at a much earlier developmental stage than anticipated indicating that centralization is not linked in S. kowalevskii to a lifestyle change of a swimming larva metamorphosing to a crawling worm-like adult.

  16. Expression patterns indicate that BMP2/4 and Chordin, not BMP5-8 and Gremlin, mediate dorsal-ventral patterning in the mollusk Crassostrea gigas.

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    Tan, Sujian; Huan, Pin; Liu, Baozhong

    2016-12-16

    Though several bilaterian animals use a conserved BMP2/4-Chordin antagonism to pattern the dorsal-ventral (DV) axis, the only lophotrochozoan species in which early DV patterning has been studied to date, the leech Helobdella robusta, appears to employ BMP5-8 and Gremlin. These findings call into question the conservation of a common DV patterning mechanism among bilaterian animals. To explore whether the unusual DV patterning mechanism in H. robusta is also used in other lophotrochozoan species, we investigated the expression of orthologous genes in the early embryo of a bivalve mollusk, Crassostrea gigas. Searching of the genome and phylogenetic analysis revealed that C. gigas possesses single orthologs of BMP2/4, Chordin, and BMP5-8 and no Gremlin homolog. Whole mount in situ hybridization revealed mRNA localization of BMP2/4 and Chordin on the opposite sides of embryos, suggesting the potential involvement of a BMP2/4-Chordin antagonism in DV patterning in this species. Furthermore, universal BMP5-8 expression and the absence of a Gremlin homolog in the C. gigas genome called into question any major contribution by BMP5-8 and Gremlin to early DV patterning in this species. Additionally, we identified seven genes showing asymmetric expression along the DV axis, providing further insight into DV patterning in C. gigas. We present the first report of a Chordin gene in a lophotrochozoan species and of the opposite expression of BMP2/4 (dorsal) and Chordin (ventral) along the D/V axis of a lophotrochozoan embryo. The findings of this study further the knowledge of axis formation in lophotrochozoan species and provide insight into the evolution of the animal DV patterning mechanism.

  17. Developmental diversity in free-living flatworms.

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    Martín-Durán, José María; Egger, Bernhard

    2012-03-19

    Flatworm embryology has attracted attention since the early beginnings of comparative evolutionary biology. Considered for a long time the most basal bilaterians, the Platyhelminthes (excluding Acoelomorpha) are now robustly placed within the Spiralia. Despite having lost their relevance to explain the transition from radially to bilaterally symmetrical animals, the study of flatworm embryology is still of great importance to understand the diversification of bilaterians and of developmental mechanisms. Flatworms are acoelomate organisms generally with a simple centralized nervous system, a blind gut, and lacking a circulatory organ, a skeleton and a respiratory system other than the epidermis. Regeneration and asexual reproduction, based on a totipotent neoblast stem cell system, are broadly present among different groups of flatworms. While some more basally branching groups - such as polyclad flatworms - retain the ancestral quartet spiral cleavage pattern, most flatworms have significantly diverged from this pattern and exhibit unique strategies to specify the common adult body plan. Most free-living flatworms (i.e. Platyhelminthes excluding the parasitic Neodermata) are directly developing, whereas in polyclads, also indirect developers with an intermediate free-living larval stage and subsequent metamorphosis are found. A comparative study of developmental diversity may help understanding major questions in evolutionary biology, such as the evolution of cleavage patterns, gastrulation and axial specification, the evolution of larval types, and the diversification and specialization of organ systems. In this review, we present a thorough overview of the embryonic development of the different groups of free-living (turbellarian) platyhelminths, including the Catenulida, Macrostomorpha, Polycladida, Lecithoepitheliata, Proseriata, Bothrioplanida, Rhabdocoela, Fecampiida, Prolecithophora and Tricladida, and discuss their main features under a consensus phylogeny

  18. Exploiting gene families for phylogenomic analysis of myzostomid transcriptome data.

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    Stefanie Hartmann

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: In trying to understand the evolutionary relationships of organisms, the current flood of sequence data offers great opportunities, but also reveals new challenges with regard to data quality, the selection of data for subsequent analysis, and the automation of steps that were once done manually for single-gene analyses. Even though genome or transcriptome data is available for representatives of most bilaterian phyla, some enigmatic taxa still have an uncertain position in the animal tree of life. This is especially true for myzostomids, a group of symbiotic (or parasitic protostomes that are either placed with annelids or flatworms. METHODOLOGY: Based on similarity criteria, Illumina-based transcriptome sequences of one myzostomid were compared to protein sequences of one additional myzostomid and 29 reference metazoa and clustered into gene families. These families were then used to investigate the phylogenetic position of Myzostomida using different approaches: Alignments of 989 sequence families were concatenated, and the resulting superalignment was analyzed under a Maximum Likelihood criterion. We also used all 1,878 gene trees with at least one myzostomid sequence for a supertree approach: the individual gene trees were computed and then reconciled into a species tree using gene tree parsimony. CONCLUSIONS: Superalignments require strictly orthologous genes, and both the gene selection and the widely varying amount of data available for different taxa in our dataset may cause anomalous placements and low bootstrap support. In contrast, gene tree parsimony is designed to accommodate multilocus gene families and therefore allows a much more comprehensive data set to be analyzed. Results of this supertree approach showed a well-resolved phylogeny, in which myzostomids were part of the annelid radiation, and major bilaterian taxa were found to be monophyletic.

  19. Comparative analyses of developmental transcription factor repertoires in sponges reveal unexpected complexity of the earliest animals.

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    Fortunato, Sofia A V; Adamski, Marcin; Adamska, Maja

    2015-12-01

    Developmental transcription factors (DTFs) control development of animals by affecting expression of target genes, some of which are transcription factors themselves. In bilaterians and cnidarians, conserved DTFs are involved in homologous processes such as gastrulation or specification of neurons. The genome of Amphimedon queenslandica, the first sponge to be sequenced, revealed that only a fraction of these conserved DTF families are present in demosponges. This finding was in line with the view that morphological complexity in the animal lineage correlates with developmental toolkit complexity. However, as the phylum Porifera is very diverse, Amphimedon's genome may not be representative of all sponges. The recently sequenced genomes of calcareous sponges Sycon ciliatum and Leucosolenia complicata allowed investigations of DTFs in a sponge lineage evolutionarily distant from demosponges. Surprisingly, the phylogenetic analyses of identified DTFs revealed striking differences between the calcareous sponges and Amphimedon. As these differences appear to be a result of independent gene loss events in the two sponge lineages, the last common ancestor of sponges had to possess a much more diverse repertoire of DTFs than extant sponges. Developmental expression of sponge homologs of genes involved in specification of the Bilaterian endomesoderm and the neurosensory cells suggests that roles of many DTFs date back to the last common ancestor of all animals. Strikingly, even DTFs displaying apparent pan-metazoan conservation of sequence and function are not immune to being lost from individual species genomes. The quest for a comprehensive picture of the developmental toolkit in the last common metazoan ancestor is thus greatly benefitting from the increasing accessibility of sequencing, allowing comparisons of multiple genomes within each phylum.

  20. Parallel Evolution and Lineage-Specific Expansion of RNA Editing in Ctenophores

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohn, Andrea B.; Sanford, Rachel S.; Yoshida, Masa-aki; Moroz, Leonid L.

    2015-01-01

    RNA editing is a process of targeted alterations of nucleotides in all types of RNA molecules (e.g., rRNA, tRNA, mRNA, and miRNA). As a result, the transcriptional output differs from its genomic DNA template. RNA editing can be defined both by biochemical mechanisms and by enzymes that perform these reactions. There are high levels of RNA editing detected in the mammalian nervous system, suggesting that nervous systems use this mechanism to increase protein diversity, because the post-transcription modifications lead to new gene products with novel functions. By re-annotating the ctenophore genomes, we found that the number of predicted RNA-editing enzymes is comparable to the numbers in mammals, but much greater than in other non-bilaterian basal metazoans. However, the overall molecular diversity of RNA-editing enzymes in ctenophores is lower, suggesting a possible “compensation” by an expansion of the ADAT1-like subfamily in this lineage. In two genera of ctenophores, Pleurobrachia and Mnemiopsis, there are high levels of expression for RNA-editing enzymes in their aboral organs, the integrative center involved in control of locomotion and geotaxis. This finding supports the hypothesis that RNA editing is correlated with the complexity of tissues and behaviors. Smaller numbers of RNA-editing enzymes in Porifera and Placozoa also correlates with the primary absence of neural and muscular systems in these lineages. In ctenophores, the expansion of the RNA-editing machinery can also provide mechanisms that support the remarkable capacity for regeneration in these animals. In summary, despite their compact genomes, a wide variety of epigenomic mechanisms employed by ctenophores and other non-bilaterian basal metazoans can provide novel insights into the evolutionary origins of biological novelties. PMID:26089435

  1. Phylogenetics of Lophotrochozoan bHLH Genes and the Evolution of Lineage-Specific Gene Duplicates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bao, Yongbo

    2017-01-01

    The gain and loss of genes encoding transcription factors is of importance to understanding the evolution of gene regulatory complexity. The basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) genes encode a large superfamily of transcription factors. We systematically classify the bHLH genes from five mollusc, two annelid and one brachiopod genomes, tracing the pattern of bHLH gene evolution across these poorly studied Phyla. In total, 56–88 bHLH genes were identified in each genome, with most identifiable as members of previously described bilaterian families, or of new families we define. Of such families only one, Mesp, appears lost by all these species. Additional duplications have also played a role in the evolution of the bHLH gene repertoire, with many new lophotrochozoan-, mollusc-, bivalve-, or gastropod-specific genes defined. Using a combination of transcriptome mining, RT-PCR, and in situ hybridization we compared the expression of several of these novel genes in tissues and embryos of the molluscs Crassostrea gigas and Patella vulgata, finding both conserved expression and evidence for neofunctionalization. We also map the positions of the genes across these genomes, identifying numerous gene linkages. Some reflect recent paralog divergence by tandem duplication, others are remnants of ancient tandem duplications dating to the lophotrochozoan or bilaterian common ancestors. These data are built into a model of the evolution of bHLH genes in molluscs, showing formidable evolutionary stasis at the family level but considerable within-family diversification by tandem gene duplication. PMID:28338988

  2. Ciliary photoreceptors in the cerebral eyes of a protostome larva

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    Passamaneck Yale J

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Eyes in bilaterian metazoans have been described as being composed of either ciliary or rhabdomeric photoreceptors. Phylogenetic distribution, as well as distinct morphologies and characteristic deployment of different photopigments (ciliary vs. rhabdomeric opsins and transduction pathways argue for the co-existence of both of these two photoreceptor types in the last common bilaterian ancestor. Both receptor types exist throughout the Bilateria, but only vertebrates are thought to use ciliary photoreceptors for directional light detection in cerebral eyes, while all other invertebrate bilaterians studied utilize rhabdomeric photoreceptors for this purpose. In protostomes, ciliary photoreceptors that express c-opsin have been described only from a non-visual deep-brain photoreceptor. Their homology with vertebrate rods and cones of the human eye has been hypothesized to represent a unique functional transition from non-visual to visual roles in the vertebrate lineage. Results To test the hypothesis that protostome cerebral eyes employ exclusively rhabdomeric photoreceptors, we investigated the ultrastructure of the larval eyes in the brachiopod Terebratalia transversa. We show that these pigment-cup eyes consist of a lens cell and a shading pigment cell, both of which are putative photoreceptors, deploying a modified, enlarged cilium for light perception, and have axonal connections to the larval brain. Our investigation of the gene expression patterns of c-opsin, Pax6 and otx in these eyes confirms that the larval eye spots of brachiopods are cerebral eyes that deploy ciliary type photoreceptors for directional light detection. Interestingly, c-opsin is also expressed during early embryogenesis in all potential apical neural cells, becoming restricted to the anterior neuroectoderm, before expression is initiated in the photoreceptor cells of the eyes. Coincident with the expression of c-opsin in the presumptive neuroectoderm

  3. Genomic organization, evolution, and expression of photoprotein and opsin genes in Mnemiopsis leidyi: a new view of ctenophore photocytes

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    Schnitzler Christine E

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Calcium-activated photoproteins are luciferase variants found in photocyte cells of bioluminescent jellyfish (Phylum Cnidaria and comb jellies (Phylum Ctenophora. The complete genomic sequence from the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi, a representative of the earliest branch of animals that emit light, provided an opportunity to examine the genome of an organism that uses this class of luciferase for bioluminescence and to look for genes involved in light reception. To determine when photoprotein genes first arose, we examined the genomic sequence from other early-branching taxa. We combined our genomic survey with gene trees, developmental expression patterns, and functional protein assays of photoproteins and opsins to provide a comprehensive view of light production and light reception in Mnemiopsis. Results The Mnemiopsis genome has 10 full-length photoprotein genes situated within two genomic clusters with high sequence conservation that are maintained due to strong purifying selection and concerted evolution. Photoprotein-like genes were also identified in the genomes of the non-luminescent sponge Amphimedon queenslandica and the non-luminescent cnidarian Nematostella vectensis, and phylogenomic analysis demonstrated that photoprotein genes arose at the base of all animals. Photoprotein gene expression in Mnemiopsis embryos begins during gastrulation in migrating precursors to photocytes and persists throughout development in the canals where photocytes reside. We identified three putative opsin genes in the Mnemiopsis genome and show that they do not group with well-known bilaterian opsin subfamilies. Interestingly, photoprotein transcripts are co-expressed with two of the putative opsins in developing photocytes. Opsin expression is also seen in the apical sensory organ. We present evidence that one opsin functions as a photopigment in vitro, absorbing light at wavelengths that overlap with peak photoprotein light

  4. Early evolution of the LIM homeobox gene family

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    Degnan Bernard M

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background LIM homeobox (Lhx transcription factors are unique to the animal lineage and have patterning roles during embryonic development in flies, nematodes and vertebrates, with a conserved role in specifying neuronal identity. Though genes of this family have been reported in a sponge and a cnidarian, the expression patterns and functions of the Lhx family during development in non-bilaterian phyla are not known. Results We identified Lhx genes in two cnidarians and a placozoan and report the expression of Lhx genes during embryonic development in Nematostella and the demosponge Amphimedon. Members of the six major LIM homeobox subfamilies are represented in the genomes of the starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, and the placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens. The hydrozoan cnidarian, Hydra magnipapillata, has retained four of the six Lhx subfamilies, but apparently lost two others. Only three subfamilies are represented in the haplosclerid demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica. A tandem cluster of three Lhx genes of different subfamilies and a gene containing two LIM domains in the genome of T. adhaerens (an animal without any neurons indicates that Lhx subfamilies were generated by tandem duplication. This tandem cluster in Trichoplax is likely a remnant of the original chromosomal context in which Lhx subfamilies first appeared. Three of the six Trichoplax Lhx genes are expressed in animals in laboratory culture, as are all Lhx genes in Hydra. Expression patterns of Nematostella Lhx genes correlate with neural territories in larval and juvenile polyp stages. In the aneural demosponge, A. queenslandica, the three Lhx genes are expressed widely during development, including in cells that are associated with the larval photosensory ring. Conclusions The Lhx family expanded and diversified early in animal evolution, with all six subfamilies already diverged prior to the cnidarian-placozoan-bilaterian last common ancestor. In

  5. The normal development of Platynereis dumerilii (Nereididae, Annelida

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    Henrich Thorsten

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The polychaete annelid Platynereis dumerilii is an emerging model organism for the study of molecular developmental processes, evolution, neurobiology and marine biology. Annelids belong to the Lophotrochozoa, the so far understudied third major branch of bilaterian animals besides deuterostomes and ecdysozoans. P. dumerilii has proven highly relevant to explore ancient bilaterian conditions via comparison to the deuterostomes, because it has accumulated less evolutionary change than conventional ecdysozoan models. Previous staging was mainly referring to hours post fertilization but did not allow matching stages between studies performed at (even slightly different temperatures. To overcome this, and to provide a first comprehensive description of P. dumerilii normal development, a temperature-independent staging system is needed. Results Platynereis dumerilii normal development is subdivided into 16 stages, starting with the zygote and ending with the death of the mature worms after delivering their gametes. The stages described can be easily identified by conventional light microscopy or even by dissecting scope. Developmental landmarks such as the beginning of phototaxis, the visibility of the stomodeal opening and of the chaetae, the first occurrence of the ciliary bands, the formation of the parapodia, the extension of antennae and cirri, the onset of feeding and other characteristics are used to define different developmental stages. The morphology of all larval stages as well as of juveniles and adults is documented by light microscopy. We also provide an overview of important steps in the development of the nervous system and of the musculature, using fluorescent labeling techniques and confocal laser-scanning microscopy. Timing of each developmental stage refers to hours post fertilization at 18 ± 0.1°C. For comparison, we determined the pace of development of larvae raised at 14°C, 16°C, 20°C, 25°C, 28°C and

  6. Early evolution of the LIM homeobox gene family

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    Srivastava, Mansi; Larroux, Claire; Lu, Daniel R; Mohanty, Kareshma; Chapman, Jarrod; Degnan, Bernard M; Rokhsar, Daniel S

    2010-01-01

    LIM homeobox (Lhx) transcription factors are unique to the animal lineage and have patterning roles during embryonic development in flies, nematodes and vertebrates, with a conserved role in specifying neuronal identity. Though genes of this family have been reported in a sponge and a cnidarian, the expression patterns and functions of the Lhx family during development in non-bilaterian phyla are not known. We identified Lhx genes in two cnidarians and a placozoan and report the expression of Lhx genes during embryonic development in Nematostella and the demosponge Amphimedon. Members of the six major LIM homeobox subfamilies are represented in the genomes of the starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, and the placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens. The hydrozoan cnidarian, Hydra magnipapillata, has retained four of the six Lhx subfamilies, but apparently lost two others. Only three subfamilies are represented in the haplosclerid demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica. A tandem cluster of three Lhx genes of different subfamilies and a gene containing two LIM domains in the genome of T. adhaerens (an animal without any neurons) indicates that Lhx subfamilies were generated by tandem duplication. This tandem cluster in Trichoplax is likely a remnant of the original chromosomal context in which Lhx subfamilies first appeared. Three of the six Trichoplax Lhx genes are expressed in animals in laboratory culture, as are all Lhx genes in Hydra. Expression patterns of Nematostella Lhx genes correlate with neural territories in larval and juvenile polyp stages. In the aneural demosponge, A. queenslandica, the three Lhx genes are expressed widely during development, including in cells that are associated with the larval photosensory ring. The Lhx family expanded and diversified early in animal evolution, with all six subfamilies already diverged prior to the cnidarian-placozoan-bilaterian last common ancestor. In Nematostella, Lhx gene expression is correlated with neural

  7. Light entrained rhythmic gene expression in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis: the evolution of the animal circadian clock.

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    Adam M Reitzel

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Circadian rhythms in behavior and physiology are the observable phenotypes from cycles in expression of, interactions between, and degradation of the underlying molecular components. In bilaterian animals, the core molecular components include Timeless-Timeout, photoreceptive cryptochromes, and several members of the basic-loop-helix-Per-ARNT-Sim (bHLH-PAS family. While many of core circadian genes are conserved throughout the Bilateria, their specific roles vary among species. Here, we identify and experimentally study the rhythmic gene expression of conserved circadian clock members in a sea anemone in order to characterize this gene network in a member of the phylum Cnidaria and to infer critical components of the clockwork used in the last common ancestor of cnidarians and bilaterians. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We identified homologs of circadian regulatory genes in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, including a gene most similar to Timeout, three cryptochromes, and several key bHLH-PAS transcription factors. We then maintained N. vectensis either in complete darkness or in a 12 hour light: 12 hour dark cycle in three different light treatments (blue only, full spectrum, blue-depleted. Gene expression varied in response to light cycle and light treatment, with a particularly strong pattern observed for NvClock. The cryptochromes more closely related to the light-sensitive clade of cryptochromes were upregulated in light treatments that included blue wavelengths. With co-immunoprecipitation, we determined that heterodimerization between CLOCK and CYCLE is conserved within N. vectensis. Additionally, we identified E-box motifs, DNA sequences recognized by the CLOCK:CYCLE heterodimer, upstream of genes showing rhythmic expression. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study reveals conserved molecular and functional components of the circadian clock that were in place at the divergence of the Cnidaria and Bilateria, suggesting

  8. The scavenger receptor repertoire in six cnidarian species and its putative role in cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis

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    Emilie F. Neubauer

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Many cnidarians engage in a mutualism with endosymbiotic photosynthetic dinoflagellates that forms the basis of the coral reef ecosystem. Interpartner interaction and regulation includes involvement of the host innate immune system. Basal metazoans, including cnidarians have diverse and complex innate immune repertoires that are just beginning to be described. Scavenger receptors (SR are a diverse superfamily of innate immunity genes that recognize a broad array of microbial ligands and participate in phagocytosis of invading microbes. The superfamily includes subclades named SR-A through SR-I that are categorized based on the arrangement of sequence domains including the scavenger receptor cysteine rich (SRCR, the C-type lectin (CTLD and the CD36 domains. Previous functional and gene expression studies on cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis have implicated SR-like proteins in interpartner communication and regulation. In this study, we characterized the SR repertoire from a combination of genomic and transcriptomic resources from six cnidarian species in the Class Anthozoa. We combined these bioinformatic analyses with functional experiments using the SR inhibitor fucoidan to explore a role for SRs in cnidarian symbiosis and immunity. Bioinformatic searches revealed a large diversity of SR-like genes that resembled SR-As, SR-Bs, SR-Es and SR-Is. SRCRs, CTLDs and CD36 domains were identified in multiple sequences in combinations that were highly homologous to vertebrate SRs as well as in proteins with novel domain combinations. Phylogenetic analyses of CD36 domains of the SR-B-like sequences from a diversity of metazoans grouped cnidarian with bilaterian sequences separate from other basal metazoans. All cnidarian sequences grouped together with moderate support in a subclade separately from bilaterian sequences. Functional experiments were carried out on the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida that engages in a symbiosis with Symbiodinium minutum

  9. The scavenger receptor repertoire in six cnidarian species and its putative role in cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis

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    Neubauer, Emilie F.; Poole, Angela Z.; Davy, Simon K.

    2016-01-01

    Many cnidarians engage in a mutualism with endosymbiotic photosynthetic dinoflagellates that forms the basis of the coral reef ecosystem. Interpartner interaction and regulation includes involvement of the host innate immune system. Basal metazoans, including cnidarians have diverse and complex innate immune repertoires that are just beginning to be described. Scavenger receptors (SR) are a diverse superfamily of innate immunity genes that recognize a broad array of microbial ligands and participate in phagocytosis of invading microbes. The superfamily includes subclades named SR-A through SR-I that are categorized based on the arrangement of sequence domains including the scavenger receptor cysteine rich (SRCR), the C-type lectin (CTLD) and the CD36 domains. Previous functional and gene expression studies on cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis have implicated SR-like proteins in interpartner communication and regulation. In this study, we characterized the SR repertoire from a combination of genomic and transcriptomic resources from six cnidarian species in the Class Anthozoa. We combined these bioinformatic analyses with functional experiments using the SR inhibitor fucoidan to explore a role for SRs in cnidarian symbiosis and immunity. Bioinformatic searches revealed a large diversity of SR-like genes that resembled SR-As, SR-Bs, SR-Es and SR-Is. SRCRs, CTLDs and CD36 domains were identified in multiple sequences in combinations that were highly homologous to vertebrate SRs as well as in proteins with novel domain combinations. Phylogenetic analyses of CD36 domains of the SR-B-like sequences from a diversity of metazoans grouped cnidarian with bilaterian sequences separate from other basal metazoans. All cnidarian sequences grouped together with moderate support in a subclade separately from bilaterian sequences. Functional experiments were carried out on the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida that engages in a symbiosis with Symbiodinium minutum (clade B1

  10. Molecular Regulation of Striatal Development: A Review

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    A. E. Evans

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The central nervous system is composed of the brain and the spinal cord. The brain is a complex organ that processes and coordinates activities of the body in bilaterian, higher-order animals. The development of the brain mirrors its complex function as it requires intricate genetic signalling at specific times, and deviations from this can lead to brain malformations such as anencephaly. Research into how the CNS is specified and patterned has been studied extensively in chick, fish, frog, and mice, but findings from the latter will be emphasised here as higher-order mammals show most similarity to the human brain. Specifically, we will focus on the embryonic development of an important forebrain structure, the striatum (also known as the dorsal striatum or neostriatum. Over the past decade, research on striatal development in mice has led to an influx of new information about the genes involved, but the precise orchestration between the genes, signalling molecules, and transcription factors remains unanswered. We aim to summarise what is known to date about the tightly controlled network of interacting genes that control striatal development. This paper will discuss early telencephalon patterning and dorsal ventral patterning with specific reference to the genes involved in striatal development.

  11. The first mitochondrial genome of the sepsid fly Nemopoda mamaevi Ozerov, 1997 (Diptera: Sciomyzoidea: Sepsidae, with mitochondrial genome phylogeny of cyclorrhapha.

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    Xuankun Li

    Full Text Available Sepsid flies (Diptera: Sepsidae are important model insects for sexual selection research. In order to develop mitochondrial (mt genome data for this significant group, we sequenced the first complete mt genome of the sepsid fly Nemopoda mamaevi Ozerov, 1997. The circular 15,878 bp mt genome is typical of Diptera, containing all 37 genes usually present in bilaterian animals. We discovered inaccurate annotations of fly mt genomes previously deposited on GenBank and thus re-annotated all published mt genomes of Cyclorrhapha. These re-annotations were based on comparative analysis of homologous genes, and provide a statistical analysis of start and stop codon positions. We further detected two 18 bp of conserved intergenic sequences from tRNAGlu-tRNAPhe and ND1-tRNASer(UCN across Cyclorrhapha, which are the mtTERM binding site motifs. Additionally, we compared automated annotation software MITOS with hand annotation method. Phylogenetic trees based on the mt genome data from Cyclorrhapha were inferred by Maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods, strongly supported a close relationship between Sepsidae and the Tephritoidea.

  12. Ancient origin of animal U-box ubiquitin ligases

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    Marín Ignacio

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The patterns of emergence and diversification of the families of ubiquitin ligases provide insights about the evolution of the eukaryotic ubiquitination system. U-box ubiquitin ligases (UULs are proteins characterized by containing a peculiar protein domain known as U box. In this study, the origin of the animal UUL genes is described. Results Phylogenetic and structural data indicate that six of the seven main UUL-encoding genes found in humans (UBE4A, UBE4B, UIP5, PRP19, CHIP and CYC4 were already present in the ancestor of all current metazoans and the seventh (WDSUB1 is found in placozoans, cnidarians and bilaterians. The fact that only 4 - 5 genes orthologous to the human ones are present in the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis suggests that several animal-specific cooptions of the U box to generate new genes occurred. Significantly, Monosiga contains five additional UUL genes that are not present in animals. One of them is also present in distantly-related protozoans. Along animal evolution, losses of UUL-encoding genes are rare, except in nematodes, which lack three of them. These general patterns are highly congruent with those found for other two families (RBR, HECT of ubiquitin ligases. Conclusions Finding that the patterns of emergence, diversification and loss of three unrelated families of ubiquitin ligases (RBR, HECT and U-box are parallel indicates that there are underlying, linage-specific evolutionary forces shaping the complexity of the animal ubiquitin system.

  13. Origin of animal multicellularity: precursors, causes, consequences-the choanoflagellate/sponge transition, neurogenesis and the Cambrian explosion.

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    Cavalier-Smith, Thomas

    2017-02-05

    Evolving multicellularity is easy, especially in phototrophs and osmotrophs whose multicells feed like unicells. Evolving animals was much harder and unique; probably only one pathway via benthic 'zoophytes' with pelagic ciliated larvae allowed trophic continuity from phagocytic protozoa to gut-endowed animals. Choanoflagellate protozoa produced sponges. Converting sponge flask cells mediating larval settling to synaptically controlled nematocysts arguably made Cnidaria. I replace Haeckel's gastraea theory by a sponge/coelenterate/bilaterian pathway: Placozoa, hydrozoan diploblasty and ctenophores were secondary; stem anthozoan developmental mutations arguably independently generated coelomate bilateria and ctenophores. I emphasize animal origin's conceptual aspects (selective, developmental) related to feeding modes, cell structure, phylogeny of related protozoa, sequence evidence, ecology and palaeontology. Epithelia and connective tissue could evolve only by compensating for dramatically lower feeding efficiency that differentiation into non-choanocytes entails. Consequentially, larger bodies enabled filtering more water for bacterial food and harbouring photosynthetic bacteria, together adding more food than cell differentiation sacrificed. A hypothetical presponge of sessile triploblastic sheets (connective tissue sandwiched between two choanocyte epithelia) evolved oogamy through selection for larger dispersive ciliated larvae to accelerate benthic trophic competence and overgrowing protozoan competitors. Extinct Vendozoa might be elaborations of this organismal grade with choanocyte-bearing epithelia, before poriferan water channels and cnidarian gut/nematocysts/synapses evolved.This article is part of the themed issue 'Evo-devo in the genomics era, and the origins of morphological diversity'.

  14. Origin of animal multicellularity: precursors, causes, consequences—the choanoflagellate/sponge transition, neurogenesis and the Cambrian explosion

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    Cavalier-Smith, Thomas

    2017-01-01

    Evolving multicellularity is easy, especially in phototrophs and osmotrophs whose multicells feed like unicells. Evolving animals was much harder and unique; probably only one pathway via benthic ‘zoophytes’ with pelagic ciliated larvae allowed trophic continuity from phagocytic protozoa to gut-endowed animals. Choanoflagellate protozoa produced sponges. Converting sponge flask cells mediating larval settling to synaptically controlled nematocysts arguably made Cnidaria. I replace Haeckel's gastraea theory by a sponge/coelenterate/bilaterian pathway: Placozoa, hydrozoan diploblasty and ctenophores were secondary; stem anthozoan developmental mutations arguably independently generated coelomate bilateria and ctenophores. I emphasize animal origin's conceptual aspects (selective, developmental) related to feeding modes, cell structure, phylogeny of related protozoa, sequence evidence, ecology and palaeontology. Epithelia and connective tissue could evolve only by compensating for dramatically lower feeding efficiency that differentiation into non-choanocytes entails. Consequentially, larger bodies enabled filtering more water for bacterial food and harbouring photosynthetic bacteria, together adding more food than cell differentiation sacrificed. A hypothetical presponge of sessile triploblastic sheets (connective tissue sandwiched between two choanocyte epithelia) evolved oogamy through selection for larger dispersive ciliated larvae to accelerate benthic trophic competence and overgrowing protozoan competitors. Extinct Vendozoa might be elaborations of this organismal grade with choanocyte-bearing epithelia, before poriferan water channels and cnidarian gut/nematocysts/synapses evolved. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Evo-devo in the genomics era, and the origins of morphological diversity’. PMID:27994119

  15. The diversification of the LIM superclass at the base of the metazoa increased subcellular complexity and promoted multicellular specialization.

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    Bernard J Koch

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Throughout evolution, the LIM domain has been deployed in many different domain configurations, which has led to the formation of a large and distinct group of proteins. LIM proteins are involved in relaying stimuli received at the cell surface to the nucleus in order to regulate cell structure, motility, and division. Despite their fundamental roles in cellular processes and human disease, little is known about the evolution of the LIM superclass. RESULTS: We have identified and characterized all known LIM domain-containing proteins in six metazoans and three non-metazoans. In addition, we performed a phylogenetic analysis on all LIM domains and, in the process, have identified a number of novel non-LIM domains and motifs in each of these proteins. Based on these results, we have formalized a classification system for LIM proteins, provided reasonable timing for class and family origin events; and identified lineage-specific loss events. Our analysis is the first detailed description of the full set of LIM proteins from the non-bilaterian species examined in this study. CONCLUSION: Six of the 14 LIM classes originated in the stem lineage of the Metazoa. The expansion of the LIM superclass at the base of the Metazoa undoubtedly contributed to the increase in subcellular complexity required for the transition from a unicellular to multicellular lifestyle and, as such, was a critically important event in the history of animal multicellularity.

  16. Yap1, transcription regulator in the Hippo signaling pathway, is required for Xenopus limb bud regeneration.

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    Hayashi, Shinichi; Tamura, Koji; Yokoyama, Hitoshi

    2014-04-01

    The Hippo signaling pathway is conserved from insects to mammals and is important for multiple processes, including cell proliferation, apoptosis and tissue homeostasis. Hippo signaling is also crucial for regeneration, including intercalary regeneration, of the whole body in the flatworm and of the leg in the cricket. However, its role in vertebrate epimorphic regeneration is unknown. Therefore, to identify principles of regeneration that are conserved among bilaterians, we investigated the role of Hippo signaling in the limb bud regeneration of an anuran amphibian, Xenopus laevis. We found that a transcription factor, Yap1, an important downstream effector of Hippo signaling, is upregulated in the regenerating limb bud. To evaluate Yap1׳s function in limb bud regeneration, we made transgenic animals that expressed a dominant-negative form of Yap under a heat-shock promoter. Overexpression of a dominant-negative form of Yap in tadpoles reduced cell proliferation, induced ectopic apoptosis, perturbed the expression domains of limb-patterning genes including hoxa13, hoxa11, and shh in the regenerating limb bud. Transient expression of a dominant-negative Yap in transgenic tadpoles also caused limb bud regeneration defects, and reduced intercalary regeneration. These results indicate that Yap1 has a crucial role in controlling the limb regenerative capacity in Xenopus, and suggest that the involvement of Hippo signaling in regeneration is conserved between vertebrates and invertebrates. This finding provides molecular evidence that common principles underlie regeneration across phyla, and may contribute to the development of new therapies in regenerative medicine.

  17. A Hox Gene, Antennapedia, Regulates Expression of Multiple Major Silk Protein Genes in the Silkworm Bombyx mori.

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    Tsubota, Takuya; Tomita, Shuichiro; Uchino, Keiro; Kimoto, Mai; Takiya, Shigeharu; Kajiwara, Hideyuki; Yamazaki, Toshimasa; Sezutsu, Hideki

    2016-03-25

    Hoxgenes play a pivotal role in the determination of anteroposterior axis specificity during bilaterian animal development. They do so by acting as a master control and regulating the expression of genes important for development. Recently, however, we showed that Hoxgenes can also function in terminally differentiated tissue of the lepidopteranBombyx mori In this species,Antennapedia(Antp) regulates expression of sericin-1, a major silk protein gene, in the silk gland. Here, we investigated whether Antpcan regulate expression of multiple genes in this tissue. By means of proteomic, RT-PCR, and in situ hybridization analyses, we demonstrate that misexpression of Antpin the posterior silk gland induced ectopic expression of major silk protein genes such assericin-3,fhxh4, and fhxh5 These genes are normally expressed specifically in the middle silk gland as is Antp Therefore, the evidence strongly suggests that Antpactivates these silk protein genes in the middle silk gland. The putativesericin-1 activator complex (middle silk gland-intermolt-specific complex) can bind to the upstream regions of these genes, suggesting that Antpdirectly activates their expression. We also found that the pattern of gene expression was well conserved between B. moriand the wild species Bombyx mandarina, indicating that the gene regulation mechanism identified here is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism and not an artifact of the domestication of B. mori We suggest that Hoxgenes have a role as a master control in terminally differentiated tissues, possibly acting as a primary regulator for a range of physiological processes.

  18. Diversity, phylogeny and expression patterns of Pou and Six homeodomain transcription factors in hydrozoan jellyfish Craspedacusta sowerbyi.

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    Miluse Hroudova

    Full Text Available Formation of all metazoan bodies is controlled by a group of selector genes including homeobox genes, highly conserved across the entire animal kingdom. The homeobox genes from Pou and Six classes are key members of the regulation cascades determining development of sensory organs, nervous system, gonads and muscles. Besides using common bilaterian models, more attention has recently been targeted at the identification and characterization of these genes within the basal metazoan phyla. Cnidaria as a diploblastic sister group to bilateria with simple and yet specialized organs are suitable models for studies on the sensory organ origin and the associated role of homeobox genes. In this work, Pou and Six homeobox genes, together with a broad range of other sensory-specific transcription factors, were identified in the transcriptome of hydrozoan jellyfish Craspedacusta sowerbyi. Phylogenetic analyses of Pou and Six proteins revealed cnidarian-specific sequence motifs and contributed to the classification of individual factors. The majority of the Craspedacusta sowerbyi Pou and Six homeobox genes are predominantly expressed in statocysts, manubrium and nerve ring, the tissues with sensory and nervous activities. The described diversity and expression patterns of Pou and Six factors in hydrozoan jellyfish highlight their evolutionarily conserved functions. This study extends the knowledge of the cnidarian genome complexity and shows that the transcriptome of hydrozoan jellyfish is generally rich in homeodomain transcription factors employed in the regulation of sensory and nervous functions.

  19. Genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation in five tissues of Zhikong scallop, Chlamys farreri.

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    Yan Sun

    Full Text Available DNA methylation plays a vital role in tissue development and differentiation in eukaryotes. Epigenetic studies have been seldom conducted in the extremely diverse and evolutionarily highly successful bilaterian lineage Mollusca. In the present study, we conducted the genome-wide profiling of DNA methylation for five tissues of a bivalve mollusc, Chlamys farreri using the methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism (MSAP technique. The methylation levels were quite similar among tissues, ranging from 20.9% to 21.7%. CG methylation was the dominant type (14.9%-16.5% in the C. farreri genome, but CHG methylation also accounted for a substantial fraction of total methylation (5.1%-6.3%. Relatively high methylation diversity was observed within tissues. Methylation differentiation between tissues was evaluated and 460 tissue-specific epiloci were identified. Kidney differs from the other tissues in DNA methylation profiles. Our study presents the first look at the tissue-specific DNA methylation patterns in a bivalve mollusc and represents an initial step towards understanding of epigenetic regulatory mechanism underlying tissue development and differentiation in bivalves.

  20. Pygmy squids and giant brains: mapping the complex cephalopod CNS by phalloidin staining of vibratome sections and whole-mount preparations.

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    Wollesen, T; Loesel, R; Wanninger, A

    2009-04-30

    Among bilaterian invertebrates, cephalopod molluscs (e.g., squids, cuttlefish and octopuses) have a central nervous system (CNS) that rivals in complexity that of the phylogenetically distant vertebrates (e.g., mouse and human). However, this prime example of convergent evolution has rarely been the subject of recent developmental and evolutionary studies, which may partly be due to the lack of suitable neural markers and the large size of cephalopod brains. Here, we demonstrate the usefulness of fluorescence-coupled phalloidin to characterize the CNS of cephalopods using histochemistry combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy. Whole-mount preparations of developmental stages as well as vibratome sections of embryonic and adult brains were analyzed and the benefits of this technique are illustrated. Compared to classical neuroanatomical and antibody-based studies, phalloidin labeling experiments are less time-consuming and allow a high throughput of samples. Besides other advantages summarized here, phalloidin reliably labels the entire neuropil of the CNS of all squids, cuttlefish and octopuses investigated. This facilitates high-resolution in toto reconstructions of the CNS and contributes to a better understanding of the organization of neural networks. Amenable for multi-labeling experiments employing antibodies against neurotransmitters, proteins and enzymes, phalloidin constitutes an excellent neuropil marker for the complex cephalopod CNS.

  1. The Notch pathway in the annelid Platynereis: insights into chaetogenesis and neurogenesis processes.

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    Gazave, Eve; Lemaître, Quentin I B; Balavoine, Guillaume

    2017-02-01

    Notch is a key signalling pathway playing multiple and varied functions during development. Notch regulates the selection of cells with a neurogenic fate and maintains a pool of yet uncommitted precursors through lateral inhibition, both in insects and in vertebrates. Here, we explore the functions of Notch in the annelid Platynereis dumerilii (Lophotrochozoa). Conserved components of the pathway are identified and a scenario for their evolution in metazoans is proposed. Unexpectedly, neither Notch nor its ligands are expressed in the neurogenic epithelia of the larva at the time when massive neurogenesis begins. Using chemical inhibitors and neural markers, we demonstrate that Notch plays no major role in the general neurogenesis of larvae. Instead, we find Notch components expressed in nascent chaetal sacs, the organs that produce the annelid bristles. Impairing Notch signalling induces defects in chaetal sac formation, abnormalities in chaetae producing cells and a change of identity of chaeta growth accessory cells. This is the first bilaterian species in which the early neurogenesis processes appear to occur without a major involvement of the Notch pathway. Instead, Notch is co-opted to pattern annelid-specific organs, likely through a lateral inhibition process. These features reinforce the view that Notch signalling has been recruited multiple times in evolution due to its remarkable 'toolkit' nature.

  2. Sterol metabolism in the filasterean Capsaspora owczarzaki has features that resemble both fungi and animals

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    Molina, María Celeste; Ruiz-Trillo, Iñaki; Uttaro, Antonio D.

    2016-01-01

    Sterols are essential for several physiological processes in most eukaryotes. Sterols regulate membrane homeostasis and participate in different signalling pathways not only as precursors of steroid hormones and vitamins, but also through its role in the formation of lipid rafts. Two major types of sterols, cholesterol and ergosterol, have been described so far in the opisthokonts, the clade that comprise animals, fungi and their unicellular relatives. Cholesterol predominates in derived bilaterians, whereas ergosterol is what generally defines fungi. We here characterize, by a combination of bioinformatic and biochemical analyses, the sterol metabolism in the filasterean Capsaspora owczarzaki, a close unicellular relative of animals that is becoming a model organism. We found that C. owczarzaki sterol metabolism combines enzymatic activities that are usually considered either characteristic of fungi or exclusive to metazoans. Moreover, we observe a differential transcriptional regulation of this metabolism across its life cycle. Thus, C. owczarzaki alternates between synthesizing 7-dehydrocholesterol de novo, which happens at the cystic stage, and the partial conversion—via a novel pathway—of incorporated cholesterol into ergosterol, the characteristic fungal sterol, in the filopodial and aggregative stages. PMID:27383626

  3. Hox genes and evolution [version 1; referees: 3 approved

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    Steven M. Hrycaj

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Hox proteins are a deeply conserved group of transcription factors originally defined for their critical roles in governing segmental identity along the antero-posterior (AP axis in Drosophila. Over the last 30 years, numerous data generated in evolutionarily diverse taxa have clearly shown that changes in the expression patterns of these genes are closely associated with the regionalization of the AP axis, suggesting that Hox genes have played a critical role in the evolution of novel body plans within Bilateria. Despite this deep functional conservation and the importance of these genes in AP patterning, key questions remain regarding many aspects of Hox biology. In this commentary, we highlight recent reports that have provided novel insight into the origins of the mammalian Hox cluster, the role of Hox genes in the generation of a limbless body plan, and a novel putative mechanism in which Hox genes may encode specificity along the AP axis. Although the data discussed here offer a fresh perspective, it is clear that there is still much to learn about Hox biology and the roles it has played in the evolution of the Bilaterian body plan.

  4. The first mitochondrial genome of the sepsid fly Nemopoda mamaevi Ozerov, 1997 (Diptera: Sciomyzoidea: Sepsidae), with mitochondrial genome phylogeny of cyclorrhapha.

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    Li, Xuankun; Ding, Shuangmei; Cameron, Stephen L; Kang, Zehui; Wang, Yuyu; Yang, Ding

    2015-01-01

    Sepsid flies (Diptera: Sepsidae) are important model insects for sexual selection research. In order to develop mitochondrial (mt) genome data for this significant group, we sequenced the first complete mt genome of the sepsid fly Nemopoda mamaevi Ozerov, 1997. The circular 15,878 bp mt genome is typical of Diptera, containing all 37 genes usually present in bilaterian animals. We discovered inaccurate annotations of fly mt genomes previously deposited on GenBank and thus re-annotated all published mt genomes of Cyclorrhapha. These re-annotations were based on comparative analysis of homologous genes, and provide a statistical analysis of start and stop codon positions. We further detected two 18 bp of conserved intergenic sequences from tRNAGlu-tRNAPhe and ND1-tRNASer(UCN) across Cyclorrhapha, which are the mtTERM binding site motifs. Additionally, we compared automated annotation software MITOS with hand annotation method. Phylogenetic trees based on the mt genome data from Cyclorrhapha were inferred by Maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods, strongly supported a close relationship between Sepsidae and the Tephritoidea.

  5. Candidate gene screen in the red flour beetle Tribolium reveals six3 as ancient regulator of anterior median head and central complex development.

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    Nico Posnien

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available Several highly conserved genes play a role in anterior neural plate patterning of vertebrates and in head and brain patterning of insects. However, head involution in Drosophila has impeded a systematic identification of genes required for insect head formation. Therefore, we use the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum in order to comprehensively test the function of orthologs of vertebrate neural plate patterning genes for a function in insect head development. RNAi analysis reveals that most of these genes are indeed required for insect head capsule patterning, and we also identified several genes that had not been implicated in this process before. Furthermore, we show that Tc-six3/optix acts upstream of Tc-wingless, Tc-orthodenticle1, and Tc-eyeless to control anterior median development. Finally, we demonstrate that Tc-six3/optix is the first gene known to be required for the embryonic formation of the central complex, a midline-spanning brain part connected to the neuroendocrine pars intercerebralis. These functions are very likely conserved among bilaterians since vertebrate six3 is required for neuroendocrine and median brain development with certain mutations leading to holoprosencephaly.

  6. Cell differentiation and germ-soma separation in Ediacaran animal embryo-like fossils

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    Chen, Lei; Xiao, Shuhai; Pang, Ke; Zhou, Chuanming; Yuan, Xunlai

    2014-12-01

    Phosphorites of the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation (~600 million years old) yield spheroidal microfossils with a palintomic cell cleavage pattern. These fossils have been variously interpreted as sulphur-oxidizing bacteria, unicellular protists, mesomycetozoean-like holozoans, green algae akin to Volvox, and blastula embryos of early metazoans or bilaterian animals. However, their complete life cycle is unknown and it is uncertain whether they had a cellularly differentiated ontogenetic stage, making it difficult to test their various phylogenetic interpretations. Here we describe new spheroidal fossils from black phosphorites of the Doushantuo Formation that have been overlooked in previous studies. These fossils represent later developmental stages of previously published blastula-like fossils, and they show evidence for cell differentiation, germ-soma separation, and programmed cell death. Their complex multicellularity is inconsistent with a phylogenetic affinity with bacteria, unicellular protists, or mesomycetozoean-like holozoans. Available evidence also indicates that the Doushantuo fossils are unlikely crown-group animals or volvocine green algae. We conclude that an affinity with cellularly differentiated multicellular eukaryotes, including stem-group animals or algae, is likely but more data are needed to constrain further the exact phylogenetic affinity of the Doushantuo fossils.

  7. Comments on the eyes of tardigrades.

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    Greven, Hartmut

    2007-12-01

    A survey is given on the scarce information on the visual organs (eyes or ocelli) of Tardigrada. Many Eutardigrada and some Arthrotardigrada, namely the Echiniscidae, possess inverse pigment-cup ocelli, which are located in the outer lobe of the brain, and probably are of cerebral origin. Occurrence of such organs in tardigrades, suggested as being eyeless, has never been checked. Depending on the species, response to light (photokinesis) is negative, positive or indifferent, and may change during the ontogeny. The tardigrade eyes of the two eutardigrades examined up to now comprise a single pigment cup cell, one or two microvillous (rhabdomeric) sensory cells and ciliary sensory cell(s). In the eyes of the eutardigrade Milnesium tardigradum the cilia are differentiated in an outer branching segment and an inner (dendritic) segment. Because of the scarcity of information on the tardigrade eyes, their homology with the visual organs of other bilaterians is currently difficult to establish and further comparative studies are needed. Thus, the significance of these eyes for the evolution of arthropod visual systems is unclear yet.

  8. Developmental Principles: Fact or Fiction

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    A. J. Durston

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available While still at school, most of us are deeply impressed by the underlying principles that so beautifully explain why the chemical elements are ordered as they are in the periodic table, and may wonder, with the theoretician Brian Goodwin, “whether there might be equally powerful principles that account for the awe-inspiring diversity of body forms in the living realm”. We have considered the arguments for developmental principles, conclude that they do exist and have specifically identified features that may generate principles associated with Hox patterning of the main body axis in bilaterian metazoa in general and in the vertebrates in particular. We wonder whether this exercise serves any purpose. The features we discuss were already known to us as parts of developmental mechanisms and defining developmental principles (how, and at which level? adds no insight. We also see little profit in the proposal by Goodwin that there are principles outside the emerging genetic mechanisms that need to be taken into account. The emerging developmental genetic hierarchies already reveal a wealth of interesting phenomena, whatever we choose to call them.

  9. Eumetazoan cryptochrome phylogeny and evolution.

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    Haug, Marion F; Gesemann, Matthias; Lazović, Viktor; Neuhauss, Stephan C F

    2015-01-18

    Cryptochromes (Crys) are light sensing receptors that are present in all eukaryotes. They mainly absorb light in the UV/blue spectrum. The extant Crys consist of two subfamilies, which are descendants of photolyases but are now involved in the regulation of circadian rhythms. So far, knowledge about the evolution, phylogeny, and expression of cry genes is still scarce. The inclusion of cry sequences from a wide range of bilaterian species allowed us to analyze their phylogeny in detail, identifying six major Cry subgroups. Selective gene inactivations and stabilizations in multiple chordate as well as arthropod lineages suggest several sub- and/or neofunctionalization events. An expression study performed in zebrafish, the model organism harboring the largest amount of crys, showed indeed only partially overlapping expression of paralogous mRNA, supporting gene sub- and/or neofunctionalization. Moreover, the daily cry expression in the adult zebrafish retina indicated varying oscillation patterns in different cell types. Our extensive phylogenetic analysis provides for the first time an overview of cry evolutionary history. Although several, especially parasitic or blind species, have lost all cry genes, crustaceans have retained up to three crys, teleosts possess up to seven, and tetrapods up to four crys. The broad and cyclic expression pattern of all cry transcripts in zebrafish retinal layers implies an involvement in retinal circadian processes and supports the hypothesis of several autonomous circadian clocks present in the vertebrate retina.

  10. Phylogeny of forkhead genes in three spiralians and their expression in Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas

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    Yang, Mei; Xu, Fei; Liu, Jun; Que, Huayong; Li, Li; Zhang, Guofan

    2014-11-01

    The Fox genes encode a group of transcription factors that contain a forkhead domain, which forms a structure known as a winged helix. These transcription factors play a crucial role in several key biological processes, including development. High-degree identity in the canonical forkhead domain has been used to divide Fox proteins into 23 families (FoxA to FoxS). We surveyed the genome of three spiralians, the oyster Crassostrea gigas, the limpet Lottia gigantea, and the annelid Capitella teleta. We identified 25 C. gigas fox genes, 21 L. gigantea fox genes, and 25 C. teleta fox genes. The C. gigas fox and L. gigantea fox genes represented 19 of the 23 families, whereas FoxI, Q1, R, and S were missing. The majority of the Fox families were observed within the C. teleta fox genes, with the exception of FoxR and S. In addition, the foxAB-like gene, foxY-like gene, and foxH gene were also present in the three genomes. The conserved FoxC-FoxL1 cluster, observed in mammals, was also found in C. gigas. The diversity of temporal expression patterns observed across the developmental process implies the C. gigas fox genes exert a wide range of functions. Further functional studies are required to gain insight into the evolution of Fox genes in bilaterians.

  11. Ontology for the asexual development and anatomy of the colonial chordate Botryllus schlosseri.

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    Lucia Manni

    Full Text Available Ontologies provide an important resource to integrate information. For developmental biology and comparative anatomy studies, ontologies of a species are used to formalize and annotate data that are related to anatomical structures, their lineage and timing of development. Here, we have constructed the first ontology for anatomy and asexual development (blastogenesis of a bilaterian, the colonial tunicate Botryllus schlosseri. Tunicates, like Botryllus schlosseri, are non-vertebrates and the only chordate taxon species that reproduce both sexually and asexually. Their tadpole larval stage possesses structures characteristic of all chordates, i.e. a notochord, a dorsal neural tube, and gill slits. Larvae settle and metamorphose into individuals that are either solitary or colonial. The latter reproduce both sexually and asexually and these two reproductive modes lead to essentially the same adult body plan. The Botryllus schlosseri Ontology of Development and Anatomy (BODA will facilitate the comparison between both types of development. BODA uses the rules defined by the Open Biomedical Ontologies Foundry. It is based on studies that investigate the anatomy, blastogenesis and regeneration of this organism. BODA features allow the users to easily search and identify anatomical structures in the colony, to define the developmental stage, and to follow the morphogenetic events of a tissue and/or organ of interest throughout asexual development. We invite the scientific community to use this resource as a reference for the anatomy and developmental ontology of B. schlosseri and encourage recommendations for updates and improvements.

  12. Distribution of serotonin in the trunk of Metaperipatus blainvillei (Onychophora, Peripatopsidae): implications for the evolution of the nervous system in Arthropoda.

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    Mayer, Georg; Harzsch, Steffen

    2008-03-10

    Onychophora ("velvet worms") are a key taxon in the discussion of arthropod phylogeny. Studies that analyze neuroanatomical characters against a phylogenetic background have recently provided new insights into this debate. However, to date only a few studies on nervous system organization, particularly in the trunk, are available in Onychophora. To close this gap and to compare the onychophoran nervous system with that of other bilaterians, we have analyzed the pattern of serotonin-like immunoreactivity in Metaperipatus blainvillei (Peripatopsidae). In addition to confirming previous histological observations, our experiments revealed many new aspects of nervous system organization in Onychophora. The serotonergic nervous system of M. blainvillei consists of five longitudinal nerve strands (the paired dorsolateral nerves, the heart nerve, and the paired ventral cords), which are interconnected at regular intervals by ring commissures as well as median commissures. The ring commissures are absent in the leg-bearing regions. In addition to the main nerve tracts, there are several extensive fiber networks innervating the integument, the nephridial organs, and the body musculature. The leg nerves and nephridial nerves represent the only strictly segmental neuronal structures. We conclude that the general architecture of the onychophoran nervous system in the trunk closely resembles the orthogonal organization that is present in various other groups of Bilateria, which suggests that the arthropod nervous system is derived from such an orthogonal pattern. This finding implies that the "rope ladder-like" nervous system may have arisen independently in Panarthropoda and Annelida and does not represent a synapomorphy of these groups.

  13. Rapid proliferation of repetitive palindromic elements in mtDNA of the endemic Baikalian sponge Lubomirskia baicalensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lavrov, Dennis V

    2010-04-01

    Animal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a remarkably compact molecule largely because of the scarcity of noncoding "selfish" DNA. Recently, however, we found that mitochondrial genomes of several phylogenetically diverse species of demosponges contain small repetitive palindromic sequences, interspersed within intergenic regions and fused in protein and ribosomal RNA genes. Here, I report and analyze the proliferation of such elements in the mitochondrial genome of the endemic sponge of Lake Baikal Lubomirskia baicalensis. Because Baikal sponges are closely related to the circumglobally distributed freshwater sponge Ephydatia muelleri with which they shared a common ancestor approximately 3-10 Ma, both the rate of single nucleotide substitutions and the rate of palindromic repeat insertions can be calculated in this system. I found the rate of nucleotide substitutions in mtDNA of freshwater sponges to be extremely low (0.5-1.6 x 10(-9) per site per year), more similar to that in plants than bilaterian animals. By contrast, the per/nucleotide rate of insertions of repetitive elements is at least four times higher. This rapid rate of proliferation combined with the broad phylogenetic distribution of hairpin elements can make them a defining force in the evolution of mitochondrial genomes of demosponges.

  14. Linking micro- and macro-evolution at the cell type level: a view from the lophotrochozoan Platynereis dumerilii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simakov, Oleg; Larsson, Tomas A; Arendt, Detlev

    2013-09-01

    Ever since the origin of the first metazoans over 600 million years ago, cell type diversification has been driven by micro-evolutionary processes at population level, leading to macro-evolution changes above species level. In this review, we introduce the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii, a member of the lophotrochozoan clade (a key yet most understudied superphylum of bilaterians), as a suitable model system for the simultaneous study, at cellular resolution, of macro-evolutionary processes across phyla and of micro-evolutionary processes across highly polymorphic populations collected worldwide. Recent advances in molecular and experimental techniques, easy maintenance and breeding, and the fast, synchronous and stereotypical development have facilitated the establishment of Platynereis as one of the leading model species in the eco-evo-devo field. Most importantly, Platynereis allows the combination of expression profiling, morphological and physiological characterization at the single cell level. Here, we discuss recent advances in the collection of -omics data for the lab strain and for natural populations collected world-wide that can be integrated with population-specific cellular analyses to result in a cellular atlas integrating genetic, phenotypic and ecological variation. This makes Platynereis a tractable system to begin understanding the interplay between macro- and micro-evolutionary processes and cell type diversity.

  15. LS³: A Method for Improving Phylogenomic Inferences When Evolutionary Rates Are Heterogeneous among Taxa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rivera-Rivera, Carlos J; Montoya-Burgos, Juan I

    2016-06-01

    Phylogenetic inference artifacts can occur when sequence evolution deviates from assumptions made by the models used to analyze them. The combination of strong model assumption violations and highly heterogeneous lineage evolutionary rates can become problematic in phylogenetic inference, and lead to the well-described long-branch attraction (LBA) artifact. Here, we define an objective criterion for assessing lineage evolutionary rate heterogeneity among predefined lineages: the result of a likelihood ratio test between a model in which the lineages evolve at the same rate (homogeneous model) and a model in which different lineage rates are allowed (heterogeneous model). We implement this criterion in the algorithm Locus Specific Sequence Subsampling (LS³), aimed at reducing the effects of LBA in multi-gene datasets. For each gene, LS³ sequentially removes the fastest-evolving taxon of the ingroup and tests for lineage rate homogeneity until all lineages have uniform evolutionary rates. The sequences excluded from the homogeneously evolving taxon subset are flagged as potentially problematic. The software implementation provides the user with the possibility to remove the flagged sequences for generating a new concatenated alignment. We tested LS³ with simulations and two real datasets containing LBA artifacts: a nucleotide dataset regarding the position of Glires within mammals and an amino-acid dataset concerning the position of nematodes within bilaterians. The initially incorrect phylogenies were corrected in all cases upon removing data flagged by LS³.

  16. Hox genes from the Polystomatidae (Platyhelminthes, Monogenea).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Badets, Mathieu; Verneau, Olivier

    2009-11-01

    Hox genes form a multigenic family that play a fundamental role during the early stages of development. They are organised in a single cluster and share a 60 amino acid conserved sequence that corresponds to the DNA binding domain, i.e. the homeodomain. Sequence conservation in this region has allowed investigators to explore Hox diversity in the metazoan lineages. Within parasitic flatworms only homeobox sequences of parasite species from the Cestoda and Digenea have been reported. In the present study we surveyed species of the Polyopisthocotylea (Monogenea) in order to clarify Hox identification and diversification processes in the neodermatan lineage. From cloning of degenerative PCR products of the central region of the homeobox, we report one ParaHox and 25 new Hox sequences from 10 species of the Polystomatidae and one species of the Diclidophoridae, which extend Hox gene diversity from 46 to 72 within Neodermata. Hox sequences from the Polyopisthocotylea were annotated and classified from sequence alignments and Bayesian inferences of 178 Hox, ParaHox and related gene families recovered from all available parasitic platyhelminths and other bilaterian taxa. Our results are discussed in the light of the recent Hox evolutionary schemes. They may provide new perspectives to study the transition from turbellarians to parasitic flatworms with complex life-cycles and outline the first steps for evolutionary developmental biological approaches within platyhelminth parasites.

  17. Hoxb1b controls oriented cell division, cell shape and microtubule dynamics in neural tube morphogenesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zigman, Mihaela; Laumann-Lipp, Nico; Titus, Tom; Postlethwait, John; Moens, Cecilia B

    2014-02-01

    Hox genes are classically ascribed to function in patterning the anterior-posterior axis of bilaterian animals; however, their role in directing molecular mechanisms underlying morphogenesis at the cellular level remains largely unstudied. We unveil a non-classical role for the zebrafish hoxb1b gene, which shares ancestral functions with mammalian Hoxa1, in controlling progenitor cell shape and oriented cell division during zebrafish anterior hindbrain neural tube morphogenesis. This is likely distinct from its role in cell fate acquisition and segment boundary formation. We show that, without affecting major components of apico-basal or planar cell polarity, Hoxb1b regulates mitotic spindle rotation during the oriented neural keel symmetric mitoses that are required for normal neural tube lumen formation in the zebrafish. This function correlates with a non-cell-autonomous requirement for Hoxb1b in regulating microtubule plus-end dynamics in progenitor cells in interphase. We propose that Hox genes can influence global tissue morphogenesis by control of microtubule dynamics in individual cells in vivo.

  18. Embryonic development of the nervous system in the planarian Schmidtea polychroa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Monjo, Francisco; Romero, Rafael

    2015-01-15

    The development of a nervous system is a key innovation in the evolution of metazoans, which is illustrated by the presence of a common developmental toolkit for the formation of this organ system. Neurogenesis in the Spiralia, in particular the Platyhelminthes, is, however, poorly understood when compared with other animal groups. Here, we characterize embryonic neurogenesis in the freshwater flatworm Schmidtea polychroa and analyze the expression of soxB and a set of proneural bHLH genes, which are gene families with a well-established role in metazoan early neural development. We show that the nervous system is fully de novo assembled after the early embryo ingests the maternal nutrients. At early stages of neurogenesis, soxB1 genes are expressed in putative neural progenitor cells, whereas soxB2 and neural bHLH genes (achaete-scute, neuroD and beta3) are associated with late neurogenesis and the specification of neural subpopulations of the central and peripheral nervous system. Our findings are consistent with the role of proneural genes in other bilaterians, suggesting that the ancestral neural-specific gene regulatory network is conserved in triclads, despite exhibiting a divergent mode of development.

  19. Beyond secondary structure: primary-sequence determinants license pri-miRNA hairpins for processing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Auyeung, Vincent C; Ulitsky, Igor; McGeary, Sean E; Bartel, David P

    2013-02-14

    To use microRNAs to downregulate mRNA targets, cells must first process these ~22 nt RNAs from primary transcripts (pri-miRNAs). These transcripts form RNA hairpins important for processing, but additional determinants must distinguish pri-miRNAs from the many other hairpin-containing transcripts expressed in each cell. Illustrating the complexity of this recognition, we show that most Caenorhabditis elegans pri-miRNAs lack determinants required for processing in human cells. To find these determinants, we generated many variants of four human pri-miRNAs, sequenced millions that retained function, and compared them with the starting variants. Our results confirmed the importance of pairing in the stem and revealed three primary-sequence determinants, including an SRp20-binding motif (CNNC) found downstream of most pri-miRNA hairpins in bilaterian animals, but not in nematodes. Adding this and other determinants to C. elegans pri-miRNAs imparted efficient processing in human cells, thereby confirming the importance of primary-sequence determinants for distinguishing pri-miRNAs from other hairpin-containing transcripts.

  20. The Roles of Mutation, Selection, and Expression in Determining Relative Rates of Evolution in Mitochondrial versus Nuclear Genomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Havird, Justin C; Sloan, Daniel B

    2016-12-01

    Eukaryotes rely on proteins encoded by the nuclear and mitochondrial (mt) genomes, which interact within multisubunit complexes such as oxidative-phosphorylation enzymes. Although selection is thought to be less efficient on the asexual mt genome, in bilaterian animals the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions (ω) is lower in mt- compared with nuclear-encoded OXPHOS subunits, suggesting stronger effects of purifying selection in the mt genome. Because high levels of gene expression constrain protein sequence evolution, one proposed resolution to this paradox is that mt genes are expressed more highly than nuclear genes. To test this hypothesis, we investigated expression and sequence evolution of mt and nuclear genes from 84 diverse eukaryotes that vary in mt gene content and mutation rate. We found that the relationship between mt and nuclear ω values varied dramatically across eukaryotes. In contrast, transcript abundance is consistently higher for mt genes than nuclear genes, regardless of which genes happen to be in the mt genome. Consequently, expression levels cannot be responsible for the differences in ω Rather, 84% of the variance in the ratio of ω values between mt and nuclear genes could be explained by differences in mutation rate between the two genomes. We relate these findings to the hypothesis that high rates of mt mutation select for compensatory changes in the nuclear genome. We also propose an explanation for why mt transcripts consistently outnumber their nuclear counterparts, with implications for mitonuclear protein imbalance and aging.

  1. Interplay between a Wnt-dependent organiser and the Notch segmentation clock regulates posterior development in Periplaneta americana

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John E. Chesebro

    2012-12-01

    Sequential addition of segments in the posteriorly growing end of the embryo is a developmental mechanism common to many bilaterians. However, posterior growth and patterning in most animals also entails the establishment of a ‘posterior organiser’ that expresses the Caudal and Wnt proteins and has been proposed to be an ancestral feature of animal development. We have studied the functional relationships between the Wnt-driven organiser and the segmentation mechanisms in a basal insect, the cockroach Periplaneta americana. Here, posteriorly-expressed Wnt1 promotes caudal and Delta expression early in development to generate a growth zone from which segments will later bud off. caudal maintains the undifferentiated growth zone by dampening Delta expression, and hence Notch-mediated segmentation occurs just outside the caudal domain. In turn, Delta expression maintains Wnt1, maintaining this posterior gene network until all segments have formed. This feedback between caudal, Wnt and Notch-signalling in regulating growth and segmentation seems conserved in other arthropods, with some aspects found even in vertebrates. Thus our findings not only support an ancestral Wnt posterior organiser, but also impinge on the proposals for a common origin of segmentation in arthropods, annelids and vertebrates.

  2. Ecological innovations in the Cambrian and the origins of the crown group phyla.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Budd, Graham E; Jackson, Illiam S C

    2016-01-05

    Simulation studies of the early origins of the modern phyla in the fossil record, and the rapid diversification that led to them, show that these are inevitable outcomes of rapid and long-lasting radiations. Recent advances in Cambrian stratigraphy have revealed a more precise picture of the early bilaterian radiation taking place during the earliest Terreneuvian Series, although several ambiguities remain. The early period is dominated by various tubes and a moderately diverse trace fossil record, with the classical 'Tommotian' small shelly biota beginning to appear some millions of years after the base of the Cambrian at ca 541 Ma. The body fossil record of the earliest period contains a few representatives of known groups, but most of the record is of uncertain affinity. Early trace fossils can be assigned to ecdysozoans, but deuterostome and even spiralian trace and body fossils are less clearly represented. One way of explaining the relative lack of clear spiralian fossils until about 536 Ma is to assign the various lowest Cambrian tubes to various stem-group lophotrochozoans, with the implication that the groundplan of the lophotrochozoans included a U-shaped gut and a sessile habit. The implication of this view would be that the vagrant lifestyle of annelids, nemerteans and molluscs would be independently derived from such a sessile ancestor, with potentially important implications for the homology of their sensory and nervous systems.

  3. Unusual Gene Order and Organization of the Sea Urchin Hox Cluster

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Cameron, R A; Rowen, L; Nesbitt, R; Bloom, S; Rast, J P; Berney, K; Arenas-Mena, C; Martinez, P; Lucas, S; Richardson, P M; Davidson, E H; Peterson, K J; Hood, L

    2005-10-11

    The highly consistent gene order and axial colinear expression patterns found in vertebrate hox gene clusters are less well conserved across the rest of bilaterians. We report the first deuterostome instance of an intact hox cluster with a unique gene order where the paralog groups are not expressed in a sequential manner. The finished sequence from BAC clones from the genome of the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, reveals a gene order wherein the anterior genes (Hox1, Hox2 and Hox3) lie nearest the posterior genes in the cluster such that the most 3 gene is Hox5. (The gene order is : 5-Hox1, 2, 3, 11/13c, 11/13b, 11/13a, 9/10, 8, 7, 6, 5 - 3). The finished sequence result is corroborated by restriction mapping evidence and BAC-end scaffold analyses. Comparisons with a putative ancestral deuterostome Hox gene cluster suggest that the rearrangements leading to the sea urchin gene order were many and complex.

  4. Unusual Gene Order and Organization of the Sea Urchin HoxCluster

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Richardson, Paul M.; Lucas, Susan; Cameron, R. Andrew; Rowen,Lee; Nesbitt, Ryan; Bloom, Scott; Rast, Jonathan P.; Berney, Kevin; Arenas-Mena, Cesar; Martinez, Pedro; Davidson, Eric H.; Peterson, KevinJ.; Hood, Leroy

    2005-05-10

    The highly consistent gene order and axial colinear expression patterns found in vertebrate hox gene clusters are less well conserved across the rest of bilaterians. We report the first deuterostome instance of an intact hox cluster with a unique gene order where the paralog groups are not expressed in a sequential manner. The finished sequence from BAC clones from the genome of the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, reveals a gene order wherein the anterior genes (Hox1, Hox2 and Hox3) lie nearest the posterior genes in the cluster such that the most 3' gene is Hox5. (The gene order is : 5'-Hox1,2, 3, 11/13c, 11/13b, '11/13a, 9/10, 8, 7, 6, 5 - 3)'. The finished sequence result is corroborated by restriction mapping evidence and BAC-end scaffold analyses. Comparisons with a putative ancestral deuterostome Hox gene cluster suggest that the rearrangements leading to the sea urchin gene order were many and complex.

  5. A hexamer origin of the echinoderms' five rays.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Lussanet, Marc H E

    2011-01-01

    Of the major deuterostome groups, the echinoderms with their multiple forms and complex development are arguably the most mysterious. Although larval echinoderms are bilaterally symmetric, the adult body seems to abandon the larval body plan and to develop independently a new structure with different symmetries. The prevalent pentamer structure, the asymmetry of Lovén's rule and the variable location of the periproct and madrepore present enormous difficulties in homologizing structures across the major clades, despite the excellent fossil record. This irregularity in body forms seems to place echinoderms outside the other deuterostomes. Here I propose that the predominant five-ray structure is derived from a hexamer structure that is grounded directly in the structure of the bilaterally symmetric larva. This hypothesis implies that the adult echinoderm body can be derived directly from the larval bilateral symmetry and thus firmly ranks even the adult echinoderms among the bilaterians. In order to test the hypothesis rigorously, a model is developed in which one ray is missing between rays IV-V (Lovén's schema) or rays C-D (Carpenter's schema). The model is used to make predictions, which are tested and verified for the process of metamorphosis and for the morphology of recent and fossil forms. The theory provides fundamental insight into the M-plane and the Ubisch', Lovén's, and Carpenter's planes and generalizes them for all echinoderms. The theory also makes robust predictions about the evolution of the pentamer structure and its developmental basis.

  6. The evolution of genes encoding for green fluorescent proteins: insights from cephalochordates (amphioxus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yue, Jia-Xing; Holland, Nicholas D.; Holland, Linda Z.; Deheyn, Dimitri D.

    2016-06-01

    Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) was originally found in cnidarians, and later in copepods and cephalochordates (amphioxus) (Branchiostoma spp). Here, we looked for GFP-encoding genes in Asymmetron, an early-diverged cephalochordate lineage, and found two such genes closely related to some of the Branchiostoma GFPs. Dim fluorescence was found throughout the body in adults of Asymmetron lucayanum, and, as in Branchiostoma floridae, was especially intense in the ripe ovaries. Spectra of the fluorescence were similar between Asymmetron and Branchiostoma. Lineage-specific expansion of GFP-encoding genes in the genus Branchiostoma was observed, largely driven by tandem duplications. Despite such expansion, purifying selection has strongly shaped the evolution of GFP-encoding genes in cephalochordates, with apparent relaxation for highly duplicated clades. All cephalochordate GFP-encoding genes are quite different from those of copepods and cnidarians. Thus, the ancestral cephalochordates probably had GFP, but since GFP appears to be lacking in more early-diverged deuterostomes (echinoderms, hemichordates), it is uncertain whether the ancestral cephalochordates (i.e. the common ancestor of Asymmetron and Branchiostoma) acquired GFP by horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from copepods or cnidarians or inherited it from the common ancestor of copepods and deuterostomes, i.e. the ancestral bilaterians.

  7. Timing and Scope of Genomic Expansion within Annelida: Evidence from Homeoboxes in the Genome of the Earthworm Eisenia fetida.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zwarycz, Allison S; Nossa, Carlos W; Putnam, Nicholas H; Ryan, Joseph F

    2015-12-10

    Annelida represents a large and morphologically diverse group of bilaterian organisms. The recently published polychaete and leech genome sequences revealed an equally dynamic range of diversity at the genomic level. The availability of more annelid genomes will allow for the identification of evolutionary genomic events that helped shape the annelid lineage and better understand the diversity within the group. We sequenced and assembled the genome of the common earthworm, Eisenia fetida. As a first pass at understanding the diversity within the group, we classified 363 earthworm homeoboxes and compared them with those of the leech Helobdella robusta and the polychaete Capitella teleta. We inferred many gene expansions occurring in the lineage connecting the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of Capitella and Eisenia to the Eisenia/Helobdella MRCA. Likewise, the lineage leading from the Eisenia/Helobdella MRCA to the leech H. robusta has experienced substantial gains and losses. However, the lineage leading from Eisenia/Helobdella MRCA to E. fetida is characterized by extraordinary levels of homeobox gain. The evolutionary dynamics observed in the homeoboxes of these lineages are very likely to be generalizable to all genes. These genome expansions and losses have likely contributed to the remarkable biology exhibited in this group. These results provide a new perspective from which to understand the diversity within these lineages, show the utility of sub-draft genome assemblies for understanding genomic evolution, and provide a critical resource from which the biology of these animals can be studied.

  8. The evolution of annelids reveals two adaptive routes to the interstitial realm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Struck, Torsten Hugo; Golombek, Anja; Weigert, Anne; Franke, Franziska Anni; Westheide, Wilfried; Purschke, Günter; Bleidorn, Christoph; Halanych, Kenneth Michael

    2015-08-03

    Many animals permanently inhabit the marine interstitium, the space between sand grains [1, 2]. Different evolutionary scenarios may explain the existence of interstitial animals [3, 4]. These scenarios include (1) that the interstitial realm is the ancestral habitat of bilaterians [5, 6], (2) that interstitial taxa evolved from larger ancestors by miniaturization, or (3) progenesis [3]. The first view mirrors the former hypothesis that interstitial annelids, called archiannelids, were at the base of the annelid radiation [7]. Based on morphological data, however, progenesis is generally favored for interstitial annelids today [3, 4, 8]. Herein, our phylogenomic approach revealed that interstitial archiannelids are robustly placed into two groups nested within the annelid tree. Evolution of the first group comprising among others Dinophilidae is best explained by progenesis. In contrast, the second group comprising Protodrilida and Polygordiidae appears to have evolved by stepwise miniaturization adapting from coarser to finer sediments. Thus, in addition to progenesis [3, 4], miniaturization, thought to be too slow for an adaptation to the interstitium [3], is an important second route allowing adaptation to interstitial environments. Both progenesis and miniaturization should be considered when investigating evolution of interstitial taxa [1, 3].

  9. The first complete mitochondrial genome sequences of Amblypygi (Chelicerata: Arachnida) reveal conservation of the ancestral arthropod gene order.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fahrein, Kathrin; Masta, Susan E; Podsiadlowski, Lars

    2009-05-01

    Amblypygi (whip spiders) are terrestrial chelicerates inhabiting the subtropics and tropics. In morphological and rRNA-based phylogenetic analyses, Amblypygi cluster with Uropygi (whip scorpions) and Araneae (spiders) to form the taxon Tetrapulmonata, but there is controversy regarding the interrelationship of these three taxa. Mitochondrial genomes provide an additional large data set of phylogenetic information (sequences, gene order, RNA secondary structure), but in arachnids, mitochondrial genome data are missing for some of the major orders. In the course of an ongoing project concerning arachnid mitochondrial genomics, we present the first two complete mitochondrial genomes from Amblypygi. Both genomes were found to be typical circular duplex DNA molecules with all 37 genes usually present in bilaterian mitochondrial genomes. In both species, gene order is identical to that of Limulus polyphemus (Xiphosura), which is assumed to reflect the putative arthropod ground pattern. All tRNA gene sequences have the potential to fold into structures that are typical of metazoan mitochondrial tRNAs, except for tRNA-Ala, which lacks the D arm in both amblypygids, suggesting the loss of this feature early in amblypygid evolution. Phylogenetic analysis resulted in weak support for Uropygi being the sister group of Amblypygi.

  10. Functional and Structural Characterization of FAU Gene/Protein from Marine Sponge Suberites domuncula.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perina, Dragutin; Korolija, Marina; Hadžija, Marijana Popović; Grbeša, Ivana; Belužić, Robert; Imešek, Mirna; Morrow, Christine; Marjanović, Melanija Posavec; Bakran-Petricioli, Tatjana; Mikoč, Andreja; Ćetković, Helena

    2015-07-07

    Finkel-Biskis-Reilly murine sarcoma virus (FBR-MuSV) ubiquitously expressed (FAU) gene is down-regulated in human prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. Moreover, its dysregulation is associated with poor prognosis in breast cancer. Sponges (Porifera) are animals without tissues which branched off first from the common ancestor of all metazoans. A large majority of genes implicated in human cancers have their homologues in the sponge genome. Our study suggests that FAU gene from the sponge Suberites domuncula reflects characteristics of the FAU gene from the metazoan ancestor, which have changed only slightly during the course of animal evolution. We found pro-apoptotic activity of sponge FAU protein. The same as its human homologue, sponge FAU increases apoptosis in human HEK293T cells. This indicates that the biological functions of FAU, usually associated with "higher" metazoans, particularly in cancer etiology, possess a biochemical background established early in metazoan evolution. The ancestor of all animals possibly possessed FAU protein with the structure and function similar to evolutionarily more recent versions of the protein, even before the appearance of true tissues and the origin of tumors and metastasis. It provides an opportunity to use pre-bilaterian animals as a simpler model for studying complex interactions in human cancerogenesis.

  11. Systemic Inflammation and the Brain: novel roles of genetic, molecular, and environmental cues as drivers of neurodegeneration.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roman eSankowski

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available The nervous and immune systems have evolved in parallel from the early bilaterians, in which innate immunity and a central nervous system coexisted for the first time, to jawed vertebrates and the appearance of adaptive immunity. The central nervous system (CNS feeds from, and integrates efferent signals in response to, somatic and autonomic sensory information. The CNS receives input also from the periphery about inflammation and infection. Cytokines, chemokines, damage-associated soluble mediators of systemic inflammation can also gain access to the CNS via blood flow. In response to systemic inflammation, those soluble mediators can access directly through the circumventricular organs, as well as open the blood-brain barrier (BBB. The resulting translocation of inflammatory mediators can interfere with neuronal and glial well-being, leading to a break of balance in brain homeostasis. This in turn results in cognitive and behavioral manifestations commonly present during acute infections -including anorexia, malaise, depression, and decreased physical activity- collectively known as the sickness behavior (SB. While SB manifestations are transient and self-limited, under states of persistent systemic inflammatory response the cognitive and behavioral changes can become permanent. For example, cognitive decline is almost universal in sepsis survivors, and a common finding in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE. Here, we review recent genetic evidence suggesting an association between neurodegenerative disorders and persistent immune activation; clinical and experimental evidence indicating previously unidentified immune-mediated pathways of neurodegeneration; and novel immunomodulatory targets and their potential relevance for neurodegenerative disorders.

  12. Oxygen and Early Animal Evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, S.

    2012-12-01

    It is often hypothesized that the rise of animals was triggered by an increase in O2 levels in the atmosphere and oceans. However, this hypothesis is remarkably difficult to test, because the timing of animal divergences is poorly resolved, the physiology of early animals is often unknown, estimates of past pO2 levels come with large error bars, and causal relationships between oxygenation and animal evolution are difficult to establish. Nonetheless, existing phylogenetic, paleontological, and geochemical data indicate that the evolution of macroscopic animals and motile macrometazoans with energetically expensive lifestyles may be temporally coupled with ocean oxygenation events in the Ediacaran Period. Thus, it is plausible that ocean oxygenation may have been a limiting factor in the early evolution of macroscopic, complex, and metabolically aggressive animals (particularly bilaterian animals). However, ocean oxygenation and animal evolution were likely engaged in two-way interactions: Ediacaran oxygenation may have initially lifted a physiological barrier for the evolution of animal size, motility, and active lifestyles, but subsequent animal diversification in the Paleozoic may have also changed oceanic redox structures. Viewed in a broader context, the early evolutionary history of animals was contingent upon a series of events, including genetic preparation (developmental genetics), environmental facilitation (oceanic oxygenation), and ecological escalation (Cambrian explosion), but the rise of animals to ecological importance also had important geobiological impacts on oceanic redox structures, sedimentary fabrics, and global geochemical cycles.

  13. Expression of Fox genes in the cephalochordate Branchiostoma lanceolatum

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel eAldea

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Forkhead box (Fox genes code for transcription factors that play important roles in different biological processes. They are found in a wide variety of organisms and appeared in unicellular eukaryotes. In metazoans, the gene family includes many members that can be subdivided into 24 classes. Cephalochordates are key organisms to understand the functional evolution of gene families in the chordate lineage due to their phylogenetic position as an early divergent chordate, their simple anatomy and genome structure. In the genome of the cephalochordate amphioxus Branchiostoma floridae, 32 Fox genes were identified, with at least one member for each of the classes that were present in the ancestor of bilaterians. In this work we describe the expression pattern of 13 of these genes during the embryonic development of the Mediterranean amphioxus, Branchiostoma lanceolatum. We found that FoxK and FoxM genes present an ubiquitous expression while all the others show specific expression patterns restricted to diverse embryonic territories. Many of these expression patterns are conserved with vertebrates, suggesting that the main functions of Fox genes in chordates were present in their common ancestor.

  14. Cell death and renewal during prey capture and digestion in the carnivorous sponge Asbestopluma hypogea (Porifera: Poecilosclerida).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martinand-Mari, Camille; Vacelet, Jean; Nickel, Michael; Wörheide, Gert; Mangeat, Paul; Baghdiguian, Stephen

    2012-11-15

    The sponge Asbestopluma hypogea is unusual among sponges due to its peculiar carnivorous feeding habit. During various stages of its nutrition cycle, the sponge is subjected to spectacular morphological modifications. Starved animals are characterized by many elongated filaments, which are crucial for the capture of prey. After capture, and during the digestion process, these filaments actively regress before being regenerated during a subsequent period of starvation. Here, we demonstrate that these morphological events rely on a highly dynamic cellular turnover, implying a coordinated sequence of programmed cell death (apoptosis and autophagy), cell proliferation and cell migration. A candidate niche for cell renewal by stem cell proliferation and differentiation was identified at the base of the sponge peduncle, characterized by higher levels of BrdU/EdU incorporation. Therefore, BrdU/EdU-positive cells of the peduncle base are candidate motile cells responsible for the regeneration of the prey-capturing main sponge body, i.e. the dynamic filaments. Altogether, our results demonstrate that dynamics of cell renewal in sponge appear to be regulated by cellular mechanisms as multiple and complex as those already identified in bilaterian metazoans.

  15. Origin of the Eumetazoa: testing ecological predictions of molecular clocks against the Proterozoic fossil record

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peterson, Kevin J.; Butterfield, Nicholas J.

    2005-01-01

    Molecular clocks have the potential to shed light on the timing of early metazoan divergences, but differing algorithms and calibration points yield conspicuously discordant results. We argue here that competing molecular clock hypotheses should be testable in the fossil record, on the principle that fundamentally new grades of animal organization will have ecosystem-wide impacts. Using a set of seven nuclear-encoded protein sequences, we demonstrate the paraphyly of Porifera and calculate sponge/eumetazoan and cnidarian/bilaterian divergence times by using both distance [minimum evolution (ME)] and maximum likelihood (ML) molecular clocks; ME brackets the appearance of Eumetazoa between 634 and 604 Ma, whereas ML suggests it was between 867 and 748 Ma. Significantly, the ME, but not the ML, estimate is coincident with a major regime change in the Proterozoic acritarch record, including: (i) disappearance of low-diversity, evolutionarily static, pre-Ediacaran acanthomorphs; (ii) radiation of the high-diversity, short-lived Doushantuo-Pertatataka microbiota; and (iii) an order-of-magnitude increase in evolutionary turnover rate. We interpret this turnover as a consequence of the novel ecological challenges accompanying the evolution of the eumetazoan nervous system and gut. Thus, the more readily preserved microfossil record provides positive evidence for the absence of pre-Ediacaran eumetazoans and strongly supports the veracity, and therefore more general application, of the ME molecular clock.

  16. Conservation and phylogeny of a novel family of non-Hox genes of the Antp class in Demospongiae (porifera).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richelle-Maurer, Evelyn; Boury-Esnault, Nicole; Itskovich, Valeria B; Manuel, Michaël; Pomponi, Shirley A; Van de Vyver, Gisèle; Borchiellini, Carole

    2006-08-01

    A survey across the most basal animal phylum, the Porifera, for the presence of homeobox-containing genes led to the isolation of 24 partial or complete homeobox sequences from 21 sponge species distributed in 15 families and 6 orders of Demospongiae. All the new sequences shared a high identity/similarity with EmH-3 (Ephydatia muelleri), a non-Hox gene from the Antp class. The Demox sequences, EmH-3, and related homeodomains formed a well-supported clade with no true affinity with any known bilaterian family, including the Tlx/Hox11 family, suggesting that the EmH-3 family of genes, comprising 31 members, represents a novel family of non-Hox genes, called the Demox family, widespread among Demospongiae. The presence of the Tlx/Hox11 specific signature in the Demox family and common regulatory elements suggested that the Demox and Tlx/Hox11 families are closely related. In the phylogenetic analyses, freshwater Haplosclerida appeared as monophyletic, and Haplosclerida and Halichondrida as polyphyletic, with a clade comprising Agelas species and Axinella corrugata. As for their expression, high levels of Demox transcripts were found in adult tissues. Our data add to the number of published poriferan homeobox sequences and provide independent confirmation of the current Demospongiae phylogenies.

  17. The putative Notch ligand HyJagged is a transmembrane protein present in all cell types of adult Hydra and upregulated at the boundary between bud and parent

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    Tischer Susanne

    2011-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The Notch signalling pathway is conserved in pre-bilaterian animals. In the Cnidarian Hydra it is involved in interstitial stem cell differentiation and in boundary formation during budding. Experimental evidence suggests that in Hydra Notch is activated by presenilin through proteolytic cleavage at the S3 site as in all animals. However, the endogenous ligand for HvNotch has not been described yet. Results We have cloned a cDNA from Hydra, which encodes a bona-fide Notch ligand with a conserved domain structure similar to that of Jagged-like Notch ligands from other animals. Hyjagged mRNA is undetectable in adult Hydra by in situ hybridisation but is strongly upregulated and easily visible at the border between bud and parent shortly before bud detachment. In contrast, HyJagged protein is found in all cell types of an adult hydra, where it localises to membranes and endosomes. Co-localisation experiments showed that it is present in the same cells as HvNotch, however not always in the same membrane structures. Conclusions The putative Notch ligand HyJagged is conserved in Cnidarians. Together with HvNotch it may be involved in the formation of the parent-bud boundary in Hydra. Moreover, protein distribution of both, HvNotch receptor and HyJagged indicate a more widespread function for these two transmembrane proteins in the adult hydra, which may be regulated by additional factors, possibly involving endocytic pathways.

  18. Gene Expression Data from the Moon Jelly, Aurelia, Provide Insights into the Evolution of the Combinatorial Code Controlling Animal Sense Organ Development.

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    Nagayasu Nakanishi

    Full Text Available In Bilateria, Pax6, Six, Eya and Dach families of transcription factors underlie the development and evolution of morphologically and phyletically distinct eyes, including the compound eyes in Drosophila and the camera-type eyes in vertebrates, indicating that bilaterian eyes evolved under the strong influence of ancestral developmental gene regulation. However the conservation in eye developmental genetics deeper in the Eumetazoa, and the origin of the conserved gene regulatory apparatus controlling eye development remain unclear due to limited comparative developmental data from Cnidaria. Here we show in the eye-bearing scyphozoan cnidarian Aurelia that the ectodermal photosensory domain of the developing medusa sensory structure known as the rhopalium expresses sine oculis (so/six1/2 and eyes absent/eya, but not optix/six3/6 or pax (A&B. In addition, the so and eya co-expression domain encompasses the region of active cell proliferation, neurogenesis, and mechanoreceptor development in rhopalia. Consistent with the role of so and eya in rhopalial development, developmental transcriptome data across Aurelia life cycle stages show upregulation of so and eya, but not optix or pax (A&B, during medusa formation. Moreover, pax6 and dach are absent in the Aurelia genome, and thus are not required for eye development in Aurelia. Our data are consistent with so and eya, but not optix, pax or dach, having conserved functions in sensory structure specification across Eumetazoa. The lability of developmental components including Pax genes relative to so-eya is consistent with a model of sense organ development and evolution that involved the lineage specific modification of a combinatorial code that specifies animal sense organs.

  19. The apoptotic initiator caspase-8: its functional ubiquity and genetic diversity during animal evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sakamaki, Kazuhiro; Shimizu, Kouhei; Iwata, Hiroaki; Imai, Kenichiro; Satou, Yutaka; Funayama, Noriko; Nozaki, Masami; Yajima, Mamiko; Nishimura, Osamu; Higuchi, Mayura; Chiba, Kumiko; Yoshimoto, Michi; Kimura, Haruna; Gracey, Andrew Y; Shimizu, Takashi; Tomii, Kentaro; Gotoh, Osamu; Akasaka, Koji; Sawasaki, Tatsuya; Miller, David J

    2014-12-01

    The caspases, a family of cysteine proteases, play multiple roles in apoptosis, inflammation, and cellular differentiation. Caspase-8 (Casp8), which was first identified in humans, functions as an initiator caspase in the apoptotic signaling mediated by cell-surface death receptors. To understand the evolution of function in the Casp8 protein family, casp8 orthologs were identified from a comprehensive range of vertebrates and invertebrates, including sponges and cnidarians, and characterized at both the gene and protein levels. Some introns have been conserved from cnidarians to mammals, but both losses and gains have also occurred; a new intron arose during teleost evolution, whereas in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis, the casp8 gene is intronless and is organized in an operon with a neighboring gene. Casp8 activities are near ubiquitous throughout the animal kingdom. Exogenous expression of a representative range of nonmammalian Casp8 proteins in cultured mammalian cells induced cell death, implying that these proteins possess proapoptotic activity. The cnidarian Casp8 proteins differ considerably from their bilaterian counterparts in terms of amino acid residues in the catalytic pocket, but display the same substrate specificity as human CASP8, highlighting the complexity of spatial structural interactions involved in enzymatic activity. Finally, it was confirmed that the interaction with an adaptor molecule, Fas-associated death domain protein, is also evolutionarily ancient. Thus, despite structural diversity and cooption to a variety of new functions, the ancient origins and near ubiquitous distribution of this activity across the animal kingdom emphasize the importance and utility of Casp8 as a central component of the metazoan molecular toolkit.

  20. Exploring the potential of small RNA subunit and ITS sequences for resolving phylogenetic relationships within the phylum Ctenophora.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simion, Paul; Bekkouche, Nicolas; Jager, Muriel; Quéinnec, Eric; Manuel, Michaël

    2015-04-01

    Ctenophores are a phylum of non-bilaterian marine (mostly planktonic) animals, characterised by several unique synapomorphies (e.g., comb rows, apical organ). Relationships between and within the nine recognised ctenophore orders are far from understood, notably due to a paucity of phylogenetically informative anatomical characters. Previous attempts to address ctenophore phylogeny using molecular data (18S rRNA) led to poorly resolved trees but demonstrated the paraphyly of the order Cydippida. Here we compiled an updated 18S rRNA data set, notably including a few newly sequenced species representing previously unsampled families (Lampeidae, Euryhamphaeidae), and we constructed an additional more rapidly evolving ITS1 + 5.8S rRNA + ITS2 alignment. These data sets were analysed separately and in combination under a probabilistic framework, using different methods (maximum likelihood, Bayesian inference) and models (e.g., doublet model to accommodate secondary structure; data partitioning). An important lesson from our exploration of these datasets is that the fast-evolving internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions are useful markers for reconstructing high-level relationships within ctenophores. Our results confirm the paraphyly of the order Cydippida (and thus a "cydippid-like" ctenophore common ancestor) and suggest that the family Mertensiidae could be the sister group of all other ctenophores. The family Lampeidae (also part of the former "Cydippida") is probably the sister group of the order Platyctenida (benthic ctenophores). The order Beroida might not be monophyletic, due to the position of Beroe abyssicola outside of a clade grouping the other Beroe species and members of the "Cydippida" family Haeckeliidae. Many relationships (e.g. between Pleurobrachiidae, Beroida, Cestida, Lobata, Thalassocalycida) remain unresolved. Future progress in understanding ctenophore phylogeny will come from the use of additional rapidly evolving markers and improvement of

  1. Evolving gene regulatory networks into cellular networks guiding adaptive behavior: an outline how single cells could have evolved into a centralized neurosensory system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fritzsch, Bernd; Jahan, Israt; Pan, Ning; Elliott, Karen L

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of the neurosensory system of man, able to reflect on its own origin, is one of the major goals of comparative neurobiology. Details of the origin of neurosensory cells, their aggregation into central nervous systems and associated sensory organs and their localized patterning leading to remarkably different cell types aggregated into variably sized parts of the central nervous system have begun to emerge. Insights at the cellular and molecular level have begun to shed some light on the evolution of neurosensory cells, partially covered in this review. Molecular evidence suggests that high mobility group (HMG) proteins of pre-metazoans evolved into the definitive Sox [SRY (sex determining region Y)-box] genes used for neurosensory precursor specification in metazoans. Likewise, pre-metazoan basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) genes evolved in metazoans into the group A bHLH genes dedicated to neurosensory differentiation in bilaterians. Available evidence suggests that the Sox and bHLH genes evolved a cross-regulatory network able to synchronize expansion of precursor populations and their subsequent differentiation into novel parts of the brain or sensory organs. Molecular evidence suggests metazoans evolved patterning gene networks early, which were not dedicated to neuronal development. Only later in evolution were these patterning gene networks tied into the increasing complexity of diffusible factors, many of which were already present in pre-metazoans, to drive local patterning events. It appears that the evolving molecular basis of neurosensory cell development may have led, in interaction with differentially expressed patterning genes, to local network modifications guiding unique specializations of neurosensory cells into sensory organs and various areas of the central nervous system.

  2. Computational workflow for analysis of gain and loss of genes in distantly related genomes

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    Ptitsyn Andrey

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Early evolution of animals led to profound changes in body plan organization, symmetry and the rise of tissue complexity including formation of muscular and nervous systems. This process was associated with massive restructuring of animal genomes as well as deletion, acquisition and rapid differentiation of genes from a common metazoan ancestor. Here, we present a simple but efficient workflow for elucidation of gene gain and gene loss within major branches of the animal kingdom. Methods We have designed a pipeline of sequence comparison, clustering and functional annotation using 12 major phyla as illustrative examples. Specifically, for the input we used sets of ab initio predicted gene models from the genomes of six bilaterians, three basal metazoans (Cnidaria, Placozoa, Porifera, two unicellular eukaryotes (Monosiga and Capsospora and the green plant Arabidopsis as an out-group. Due to the large amounts of data the software required a high-performance Linux cluster. The final results can be imported into standard spreadsheet analysis software and queried for the numbers and specific sets of genes absent in specific genomes, uniquely present or shared among different taxons. Results and conclusions The developed software is open source and available free of charge on Open Source principles. It allows the user to address a number of specific questions regarding gene gain and gene loss in particular genomes, and user-defined groups of genomes can be formulated in a type of logical expression. For example, our analysis of 12 sequenced genomes indicated that these genomes possess at least 90,000 unique genes and gene families, suggesting enormous diversity of the genome repertoire in the animal kingdom. Approximately 9% of these gene families are shared universally (homologous among all genomes, 53% are unique to specific taxa, and the rest are shared between two or more distantly related genomes.

  3. Handedness of a motor program in C. elegans is independent of left-right body asymmetry.

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    Joanna C Downes

    Full Text Available Complex animals display bilaterally asymmetric motor behavior, or "motor handedness," often revealed by preferential use of limbs on one side. For example, use of right limbs is dominant in a strong majority of humans. While the mechanisms that establish bilateral asymmetry in motor function are unknown in humans, they appear to be distinct from those for other handedness asymmetries, including bilateral visceral organ asymmetry, brain laterality, and ocular dominance. We report here that a simple, genetically homogeneous animal comprised of only ~1000 somatic cells, the nematode C. elegans, also shows a distinct motor handedness preference: on a population basis, males show a pronounced right-hand turning bias during mating. The handedness bias persists through much of adult lifespan, suggesting that, as in more complex animals, it is an intrinsic trait of each individual, which can differ from the population mean. Our observations imply that the laterality of motor handedness preference in C. elegans is driven by epigenetic factors rather than by genetic variation. The preference for right-hand turns is also seen in animals with mirror-reversed anatomical handedness and is not attributable to stochastic asymmetric loss of male sensory rays that occurs by programmed cell death. As with C. elegans, we also observed a substantial handedness bias, though not necessarily the same preference in direction, in several gonochoristic Caenorhabditis species. These findings indicate that the independence of bilaterally asymmetric motor dominance from overall anatomical asymmetry, and a population-level tendency away from ambidexterity, occur even in simple invertebrates, suggesting that these may be common features of bilaterian metazoans.

  4. Tunicate mitogenomics and phylogenetics: peculiarities of the Herdmania momus mitochondrial genome and support for the new chordate phylogeny

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    Loya Yossi

    2009-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Tunicates represent a key metazoan group as the sister-group of vertebrates within chordates. The six complete mitochondrial genomes available so far for tunicates have revealed distinctive features. Extensive gene rearrangements and particularly high evolutionary rates have been evidenced with regard to other chordates. This peculiar evolutionary dynamics has hampered the reconstruction of tunicate phylogenetic relationships within chordates based on mitogenomic data. Results In order to further understand the atypical evolutionary dynamics of the mitochondrial genome of tunicates, we determined the complete sequence of the solitary ascidian Herdmania momus. This genome from a stolidobranch ascidian presents the typical tunicate gene content with 13 protein-coding genes, 2 rRNAs and 24 tRNAs which are all encoded on the same strand. However, it also presents a novel gene arrangement, highlighting the extreme plasticity of gene order observed in tunicate mitochondrial genomes. Probabilistic phylogenetic inferences were conducted on the concatenation of the 13 mitochondrial protein-coding genes from representatives of major metazoan phyla. We show that whereas standard homogeneous amino acid models support an artefactual sister position of tunicates relative to all other bilaterians, the CAT and CAT+BP site- and time-heterogeneous mixture models place tunicates as the sister-group of vertebrates within monophyletic chordates. Moreover, the reference phylogeny indicates that tunicate mitochondrial genomes have experienced a drastic acceleration in their evolutionary rate that equally affects protein-coding and ribosomal-RNA genes. Conclusion This is the first mitogenomic study supporting the new chordate phylogeny revealed by recent phylogenomic analyses. It illustrates the beneficial effects of an increased taxon sampling coupled with the use of more realistic amino acid substitution models for the reconstruction of animal

  5. A new stalked filter-feeder from the middle Cambrian Burgess Shale, British Columbia, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Brien, Lorna J; Caron, Jean-Bernard

    2012-01-01

    Burgess Shale-type deposits provide invaluable insights into the early evolution of body plans and the ecological structure of Cambrian communities, but a number of species, continue to defy phylogenetic interpretations. Here we extend this list to include a new soft-bodied animal, Siphusauctum gregarium n. gen. and n. sp., from the Tulip Beds (Campsite Cliff Shale Member, Burgess Shale Formation) of Mount Stephen (Yoho National Park, British Columbia). With 1,133 specimens collected, S. gregarium is clearly the most abundant animal from this locality.This stalked animal (reaching at least 20 cm in length), has a large ovoid calyx connected to a narrow bilayered stem and a small flattened or bulb-like holdfast. The calyx is enclosed by a flexible sheath with six small openings at the base, and a central terminal anus near the top encircled by indistinct openings. A prominent organ, represented by six radially symmetrical segments with comb-like elements, surrounds an internal body cavity with a large stomach, conical median gut and straight intestine. Siphusauctum gregarium was probably an active filter-feeder, with water passing through the calyx openings, capturing food particles with its comb-like elements. It often occurs in large assemblages on single bedding planes suggesting a gregarious lifestyle, with the animal living in high tier clusters. These were probably buried en masse more or less in-situ by rapid mud flow events.Siphusauctum gregarium resembles Dinomischus, another Cambrian enigmatic stalked animal. Principal points of comparison include a long stem with a calyx containing a visceral mass and bract-like elements, and a similar lifestyle albeit occupying different tiering levels. The presence in both animals of a digestive tract with a potential stomach and anus suggest a grade of organization within bilaterians, but relationships with extant phyla are not straightforward. Thus, the broader affinities of S. gregarium remain largely unconstrained.

  6. Gene Expression Data from the Moon Jelly, Aurelia, Provide Insights into the Evolution of the Combinatorial Code Controlling Animal Sense Organ Development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nakanishi, Nagayasu; Camara, Anthony C; Yuan, David C; Gold, David A; Jacobs, David K

    2015-01-01

    In Bilateria, Pax6, Six, Eya and Dach families of transcription factors underlie the development and evolution of morphologically and phyletically distinct eyes, including the compound eyes in Drosophila and the camera-type eyes in vertebrates, indicating that bilaterian eyes evolved under the strong influence of ancestral developmental gene regulation. However the conservation in eye developmental genetics deeper in the Eumetazoa, and the origin of the conserved gene regulatory apparatus controlling eye development remain unclear due to limited comparative developmental data from Cnidaria. Here we show in the eye-bearing scyphozoan cnidarian Aurelia that the ectodermal photosensory domain of the developing medusa sensory structure known as the rhopalium expresses sine oculis (so)/six1/2 and eyes absent/eya, but not optix/six3/6 or pax (A&B). In addition, the so and eya co-expression domain encompasses the region of active cell proliferation, neurogenesis, and mechanoreceptor development in rhopalia. Consistent with the role of so and eya in rhopalial development, developmental transcriptome data across Aurelia life cycle stages show upregulation of so and eya, but not optix or pax (A&B), during medusa formation. Moreover, pax6 and dach are absent in the Aurelia genome, and thus are not required for eye development in Aurelia. Our data are consistent with so and eya, but not optix, pax or dach, having conserved functions in sensory structure specification across Eumetazoa. The lability of developmental components including Pax genes relative to so-eya is consistent with a model of sense organ development and evolution that involved the lineage specific modification of a combinatorial code that specifies animal sense organs.

  7. Expression of the pair-rule gene homologs runt, Pax3/7, even-skipped-1 and even-skipped-2 during larval and juvenile development of the polychaete annelid Capitella teleta does not support a role in segmentation

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    Seaver Elaine C

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Annelids and arthropods each possess a segmented body. Whether this similarity represents an evolutionary convergence or inheritance from a common segmented ancestor is the subject of ongoing investigation. Methods To investigate whether annelids and arthropods share molecular components that control segmentation, we isolated orthologs of the Drosophila melanogaster pair-rule genes, runt, paired (Pax3/7 and eve, from the polychaete annelid Capitella teleta and used whole mount in situ hybridization to characterize their expression patterns. Results When segments first appear, expression of the single C. teleta runt ortholog is only detected in the brain. Later, Ct-runt is expressed in the ventral nerve cord, foregut and hindgut. Analysis of Pax genes in the C. teleta genome reveals the presence of a single Pax3/7 ortholog. Ct-Pax3/7 is initially detected in the mid-body prior to segmentation, but is restricted to two longitudinal bands in the ventral ectoderm. Each of the two C. teleta eve orthologs has a unique and complex expression pattern, although there is partial overlap in several tissues. Prior to and during segment formation, Ct-eve1 and Ct-eve2 are both expressed in the bilaterial pair of mesoteloblasts, while Ct-eve1 is expressed in the descendant mesodermal band cells. At later stages, Ct-eve2 is expressed in the central and peripheral nervous system, and in mesoderm along the dorsal midline. In late stage larvae and adults, Ct-eve1 and Ct-eve2 are expressed in the posterior growth zone. Conclusions C. teleta eve, Pax3/7 and runt homologs all have distinct expression patterns and share expression domains with homologs from other bilaterians. None of the pair-rule orthologs examined in C. teleta exhibit segmental or pair-rule stripes of expression in the ectoderm or mesoderm, consistent with an independent origin of segmentation between annelids and arthropods.

  8. Wnt and TGF-beta expression in the sponge Amphimedon queenslandica and the origin of metazoan embryonic patterning.

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    Maja Adamska

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The origin of metazoan development and differentiation was contingent upon the evolution of cell adhesion, communication and cooperation mechanisms. While components of many of the major cell signalling pathways have been identified in a range of sponges (phylum Porifera, their roles in development have not been investigated and remain largely unknown. Here, we take the first steps toward reconstructing the developmental signalling systems used in the last common ancestor to living sponges and eumetazoans by studying the expression of genes encoding Wnt and TGF-beta signalling ligands during the embryonic development of a sponge. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using resources generated in the recent sponge Amphimedon queenslandica (Demospongiae genome project, we have recovered genes encoding Wnt and TGF-beta signalling ligands that are critical in patterning metazoan embryos. Both genes are expressed from the earliest stages of Amphimedon embryonic development in highly dynamic patterns. At the time when the Amphimedon embryos begin to display anterior-posterior polarity, Wnt expression becomes localised to the posterior pole and this expression continues until the swimming larva stage. In contrast, TGF-beta expression is highest at the anterior pole. As in complex animals, sponge Wnt and TGF-beta expression patterns intersect later in development during the patterning of a sub-community of cells that form a simple tissue-like structure, the pigment ring. Throughout development, Wnt and TGF-beta are expressed radially along the anterior-posterior axis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We infer from the expression of Wnt and TGF-beta in Amphimedon that the ancestor that gave rise to sponges, cnidarians and bilaterians had already evolved the capacity to direct the formation of relatively sophisticated body plans, with axes and tissues. The radially symmetrical expression patterns of Wnt and TGF-beta along the anterior-posterior axis of

  9. Biodiversity and evolution of the Myxozoa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Canning, Elizabeth U; Okamura, Beth

    2004-01-01

    Myxozoans (phylum Myxozoa) are metazoan parasites utilizing invertebrate and (mainly) aquatic vertebrate hosts. They have in common with cnidarians the possession of virtually identical, highly complex organelles, namely the polar capsules in myxozoan spores, serving for attachment to new hosts and the nematocysts in surface epithelia of cnidarians, serving for food capture. Although myxozoan spores are multicellular, the simple trophic body forms of almost all species, reduced to syncytial plasmodia or single cells, reveal no clues to myxozoan ancestry or phylogenetic relationships. The myxozoan genus Buddenbrockia is one of only two known genera belonging to a clade which diverged early in the evolution of the Myxozoa. Today the Myxozoa are represented by two classes, the Myxosporea, containing all the better-known genera, which alternate between fish and annelids, and the Malacosporea, containing Buddenbrockia and Tetracapsuloides, parasitising bryozoans. The latter genus also infects salmonid fish, causing proliferative kidney disease (PKD). The enigmatic Buddenbrockia has retained some of its ancestral features in a body wall of two cell layers and a worm-like shape, maintained by four longitudinally-running muscle blocks, similar to a gutless nematode and suggestive of a bilaterian ancestry. Although some analyses of 18S rDNA sequences tend towards a cnidarian (diploblast) affinity for myxozoans, the majority of these studies place them within, or sister to, the Bilateria. The latter view is supported by their possession of central class Hox genes, so far considered to be synapomorphic for Bilateria. The simple body form is, therefore, an extreme example of simplification due to parasitism. Various hypotheses for the occurrence of identical complex organelles (nematocysts and polar capsules) in diploblast and triploblast phyla are evaluated: common ancestry, convergent evolution, gene transfer and, especially, endosymbiosis. A theory of the evolution of their

  10. The first myriapod genome sequence reveals conservative arthropod gene content and genome organisation in the centipede Strigamia maritima.

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    Chipman, Ariel D; Ferrier, David E K; Brena, Carlo; Qu, Jiaxin; Hughes, Daniel S T; Schröder, Reinhard; Torres-Oliva, Montserrat; Znassi, Nadia; Jiang, Huaiyang; Almeida, Francisca C; Alonso, Claudio R; Apostolou, Zivkos; Aqrawi, Peshtewani; Arthur, Wallace; Barna, Jennifer C J; Blankenburg, Kerstin P; Brites, Daniela; Capella-Gutiérrez, Salvador; Coyle, Marcus; Dearden, Peter K; Du Pasquier, Louis; Duncan, Elizabeth J; Ebert, Dieter; Eibner, Cornelius; Erikson, Galina; Evans, Peter D; Extavour, Cassandra G; Francisco, Liezl; Gabaldón, Toni; Gillis, William J; Goodwin-Horn, Elizabeth A; Green, Jack E; Griffiths-Jones, Sam; Grimmelikhuijzen, Cornelis J P; Gubbala, Sai; Guigó, Roderic; Han, Yi; Hauser, Frank; Havlak, Paul; Hayden, Luke; Helbing, Sophie; Holder, Michael; Hui, Jerome H L; Hunn, Julia P; Hunnekuhl, Vera S; Jackson, LaRonda; Javaid, Mehwish; Jhangiani, Shalini N; Jiggins, Francis M; Jones, Tamsin E; Kaiser, Tobias S; Kalra, Divya; Kenny, Nathan J; Korchina, Viktoriya; Kovar, Christie L; Kraus, F Bernhard; Lapraz, François; Lee, Sandra L; Lv, Jie; Mandapat, Christigale; Manning, Gerard; Mariotti, Marco; Mata, Robert; Mathew, Tittu; Neumann, Tobias; Newsham, Irene; Ngo, Dinh N; Ninova, Maria; Okwuonu, Geoffrey; Ongeri, Fiona; Palmer, William J; Patil, Shobha; Patraquim, Pedro; Pham, Christopher; Pu, Ling-Ling; Putman, Nicholas H; Rabouille, Catherine; Ramos, Olivia Mendivil; Rhodes, Adelaide C; Robertson, Helen E; Robertson, Hugh M; Ronshaugen, Matthew; Rozas, Julio; Saada, Nehad; Sánchez-Gracia, Alejandro; Scherer, Steven E; Schurko, Andrew M; Siggens, Kenneth W; Simmons, DeNard; Stief, Anna; Stolle, Eckart; Telford, Maximilian J; Tessmar-Raible, Kristin; Thornton, Rebecca; van der Zee, Maurijn; von Haeseler, Arndt; Williams, James M; Willis, Judith H; Wu, Yuanqing; Zou, Xiaoyan; Lawson, Daniel; Muzny, Donna M; Worley, Kim C; Gibbs, Richard A; Akam, Michael; Richards, Stephen

    2014-11-01

    Myriapods (e.g., centipedes and millipedes) display a simple homonomous body plan relative to other arthropods. All members of the class are terrestrial, but they attained terrestriality independently of insects. Myriapoda is the only arthropod class not represented by a sequenced genome. We present an analysis of the genome of the centipede Strigamia maritima. It retains a compact genome that has undergone less gene loss and shuffling than previously sequenced arthropods, and many orthologues of genes conserved from the bilaterian ancestor that have been lost in insects. Our analysis locates many genes in conserved macro-synteny contexts, and many small-scale examples of gene clustering. We describe several examples where S. maritima shows different solutions from insects to similar problems. The insect olfactory receptor gene family is absent from S. maritima, and olfaction in air is likely effected by expansion of other receptor gene families. For some genes S. maritima has evolved paralogues to generate coding sequence diversity, where insects use alternate splicing. This is most striking for the Dscam gene, which in Drosophila generates more than 100,000 alternate splice forms, but in S. maritima is encoded by over 100 paralogues. We see an intriguing linkage between the absence of any known photosensory proteins in a blind organism and the additional absence of canonical circadian clock genes. The phylogenetic position of myriapods allows us to identify where in arthropod phylogeny several particular molecular mechanisms and traits emerged. For example, we conclude that juvenile hormone signalling evolved with the emergence of the exoskeleton in the arthropods and that RR-1 containing cuticle proteins evolved in the lineage leading to Mandibulata. We also identify when various gene expansions and losses occurred. The genome of S. maritima offers us a unique glimpse into the ancestral arthropod genome, while also displaying many adaptations to its specific

  11. The first myriapod genome sequence reveals conservative arthropod gene content and genome organisation in the centipede Strigamia maritima.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ariel D Chipman

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Myriapods (e.g., centipedes and millipedes display a simple homonomous body plan relative to other arthropods. All members of the class are terrestrial, but they attained terrestriality independently of insects. Myriapoda is the only arthropod class not represented by a sequenced genome. We present an analysis of the genome of the centipede Strigamia maritima. It retains a compact genome that has undergone less gene loss and shuffling than previously sequenced arthropods, and many orthologues of genes conserved from the bilaterian ancestor that have been lost in insects. Our analysis locates many genes in conserved macro-synteny contexts, and many small-scale examples of gene clustering. We describe several examples where S. maritima shows different solutions from insects to similar problems. The insect olfactory receptor gene family is absent from S. maritima, and olfaction in air is likely effected by expansion of other receptor gene families. For some genes S. maritima has evolved paralogues to generate coding sequence diversity, where insects use alternate splicing. This is most striking for the Dscam gene, which in Drosophila generates more than 100,000 alternate splice forms, but in S. maritima is encoded by over 100 paralogues. We see an intriguing linkage between the absence of any known photosensory proteins in a blind organism and the additional absence of canonical circadian clock genes. The phylogenetic position of myriapods allows us to identify where in arthropod phylogeny several particular molecular mechanisms and traits emerged. For example, we conclude that juvenile hormone signalling evolved with the emergence of the exoskeleton in the arthropods and that RR-1 containing cuticle proteins evolved in the lineage leading to Mandibulata. We also identify when various gene expansions and losses occurred. The genome of S. maritima offers us a unique glimpse into the ancestral arthropod genome, while also displaying many adaptations

  12. A basin redox transect at the dawn of animal life

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sperling, Erik A.; Halverson, Galen P.; Knoll, Andrew H.; Macdonald, Francis A.; Johnston, David T.

    2013-06-01

    Multiple eukaryotic clades make their first appearance in the fossil record between ~810 and 715 Ma. Molecular clock studies suggest that the origin of animal multicellularity may have been part of this broader eukaryotic radiation. Animals require oxygen to fuel their metabolism, and low oxygen levels have been hypothesized to account for the temporal lag between metazoan origins and the Cambrian radiation of large, ecologically diverse animals. Here, paleoredox conditions were investigated in the Fifteenmile Group, Ogilvie Mountains, Yukon, Canada, which hosts an 811 Ma ash horizon and spans the temporal window that captures the inferred origin and early evolution of animals. Iron-based redox proxies, redox-sensitive trace elements, organic carbon percentages and pyrite sulfur isotopes were analyzed in seven stratigraphic sections along two parallel basin transects. These data suggest that for this basin, oxygenated shelf waters overlay generally anoxic deeper waters. The anoxic water column was dominantly ferruginous, but brief periods of euxinia likely occurred. These oscillations coincide with changes in total organic carbon, suggesting euxinia was primarily driven by increased organic carbon loading. Overall, these data are consistent with proposed quantitative constraints on Proterozoic atmospheric oxygen being greater than 1% of modern levels, but less than present levels. Comparing these oxygen levels against the likely oxygen requirements of the earliest animals, both theoretical considerations and the ecology of modern oxygen-deficient settings suggest that the inferred oxygen levels in the mixed layer would not have been prohibitive to the presence of sponges, eumetazoans or bilaterians. Thus the evolution of the earliest animals was probably not limited by the low absolute oxygen levels that may have characterized Neoproterozoic oceans, although these inferred levels would constrain animals to very small sizes and low metabolic rates.

  13. Development of the excretory system in a polyplacophoran mollusc: stages in metanephridial system development

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    Baeumler Natalie

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Two types of excretory systems, protonephridia and metanephridial systems are common among bilaterians. The homology of protonephridia of lophotrochozoan taxa has been widely accepted. In contrast, the homology of metanephridial systems – including coelomic cavities as functional units – among taxa as well as the homology between the two excretory systems is a matter of ongoing discussion. This particularly concerns the molluscan kidneys, which are mostly regarded as being derived convergently to the metanephridia of e.g. annelids because of different ontogenetic origin. A reinvestigation of nephrogenesis in polyplacophorans, which carry many primitive traits within molluscs, could shed light on these questions. Results The metanephridial system of Lepidochitona corrugata develops rapidly in the early juvenile phase. It is formed from a coelomic anlage that soon achieves endothelial organization. The pericardium and heart are formed from the central portion of the anlage. The nephridial components are formed by outgrowth from lateral differentiations of the anlage. Simultaneously with formation of the heart, podocytes appear in the atrial wall of the pericardium. In addition, renopericardial ducts, kidneys and efferent nephroducts, all showing downstream ciliation towards the internal lumen, become differentiated (specimen length: 0.62 mm. Further development consists of elongation of the kidney and reinforcement of filtration and reabsorptive structures. Conclusions During development and in fully formed condition the metanephridial system of Lepidochitona corrugata shares many detailed traits (cellular and overall organization with the protonephridia of the same species. Accordingly, we suggest a serial homology of various cell types and between the two excretory systems and the organs as a whole. The formation of the metanephridial system varies significantly within Mollusca, thus the mode of formation cannot be used

  14. Shared gene structures and clusters of mutually exclusive spliced exons within the metazoan muscle myosin heavy chain genes.

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    Martin Kollmar

    several times within bilaterian evolution.

  15. Gene discovery in the threatened elkhorn coral: 454 sequencing of the Acropora palmata transcriptome.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas R Polato

    considerable exposure to genotoxic stress over long life spans, and showed conservation of important physiological pathways between corals and bilaterians.

  16. BMPs regulate msx gene expression in the dorsal neuroectoderm of Drosophila and vertebrates by distinct mechanisms.

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    Francisco F Esteves

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available In a broad variety of bilaterian species the trunk central nervous system (CNS derives from three primary rows of neuroblasts. The fates of these neural progenitor cells are determined in part by three conserved transcription factors: vnd/nkx2.2, ind/gsh and msh/msx in Drosophila melanogaster/vertebrates, which are expressed in corresponding non-overlapping patterns along the dorsal-ventral axis. While this conserved suite of "neural identity" gene expression strongly suggests a common ancestral origin for the patterning systems, it is unclear whether the original regulatory mechanisms establishing these patterns have been similarly conserved during evolution. In Drosophila, genetic evidence suggests that Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs act in a dosage-dependent fashion to repress expression of neural identity genes. BMPs also play a dose-dependent role in patterning the dorsal and lateral regions of the vertebrate CNS, however, the mechanism by which they achieve such patterning has not yet been clearly established. In this report, we examine the mechanisms by which BMPs act on cis-regulatory modules (CRMs that control localized expression of the Drosophila msh and zebrafish (Danio rerio msxB in the dorsal central nervous system (CNS. Our analysis suggests that BMPs act differently in these organisms to regulate similar patterns of gene expression in the neuroectoderm: repressing msh expression in Drosophila, while activating msxB expression in the zebrafish. These findings suggest that the mechanisms by which the BMP gradient patterns the dorsal neuroectoderm have reversed since the divergence of these two ancient lineages.

  17. The First Myriapod Genome Sequence Reveals Conservative Arthropod Gene Content and Genome Organisation in the Centipede Strigamia maritima

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chipman, Ariel D.; Ferrier, David E. K.; Brena, Carlo; Qu, Jiaxin; Hughes, Daniel S. T.; Schröder, Reinhard; Torres-Oliva, Montserrat; Znassi, Nadia; Jiang, Huaiyang; Almeida, Francisca C.; Alonso, Claudio R.; Apostolou, Zivkos; Aqrawi, Peshtewani; Arthur, Wallace; Barna, Jennifer C. J.; Blankenburg, Kerstin P.; Brites, Daniela; Capella-Gutiérrez, Salvador; Coyle, Marcus; Dearden, Peter K.; Du Pasquier, Louis; Duncan, Elizabeth J.; Ebert, Dieter; Eibner, Cornelius; Erikson, Galina; Evans, Peter D.; Extavour, Cassandra G.; Francisco, Liezl; Gabaldón, Toni; Gillis, William J.; Goodwin-Horn, Elizabeth A.; Green, Jack E.; Griffiths-Jones, Sam; Grimmelikhuijzen, Cornelis J. P.; Gubbala, Sai; Guigó, Roderic; Han, Yi; Hauser, Frank; Havlak, Paul; Hayden, Luke; Helbing, Sophie; Holder, Michael; Hui, Jerome H. L.; Hunn, Julia P.; Hunnekuhl, Vera S.; Jackson, LaRonda; Javaid, Mehwish; Jhangiani, Shalini N.; Jiggins, Francis M.; Jones, Tamsin E.; Kaiser, Tobias S.; Kalra, Divya; Kenny, Nathan J.; Korchina, Viktoriya; Kovar, Christie L.; Kraus, F. Bernhard; Lapraz, François; Lee, Sandra L.; Lv, Jie; Mandapat, Christigale; Manning, Gerard; Mariotti, Marco; Mata, Robert; Mathew, Tittu; Neumann, Tobias; Newsham, Irene; Ngo, Dinh N.; Ninova, Maria; Okwuonu, Geoffrey; Ongeri, Fiona; Palmer, William J.; Patil, Shobha; Patraquim, Pedro; Pham, Christopher; Pu, Ling-Ling; Putman, Nicholas H.; Rabouille, Catherine; Ramos, Olivia Mendivil; Rhodes, Adelaide C.; Robertson, Helen E.; Robertson, Hugh M.; Ronshaugen, Matthew; Rozas, Julio; Saada, Nehad; Sánchez-Gracia, Alejandro; Scherer, Steven E.; Schurko, Andrew M.; Siggens, Kenneth W.; Simmons, DeNard; Stief, Anna; Stolle, Eckart; Telford, Maximilian J.; Tessmar-Raible, Kristin; Thornton, Rebecca; van der Zee, Maurijn; von Haeseler, Arndt; Williams, James M.; Willis, Judith H.; Wu, Yuanqing; Zou, Xiaoyan; Lawson, Daniel; Muzny, Donna M.; Worley, Kim C.; Gibbs, Richard A.; Akam, Michael; Richards, Stephen

    2014-01-01

    Myriapods (e.g., centipedes and millipedes) display a simple homonomous body plan relative to other arthropods. All members of the class are terrestrial, but they attained terrestriality independently of insects. Myriapoda is the only arthropod class not represented by a sequenced genome. We present an analysis of the genome of the centipede Strigamia maritima. It retains a compact genome that has undergone less gene loss and shuffling than previously sequenced arthropods, and many orthologues of genes conserved from the bilaterian ancestor that have been lost in insects. Our analysis locates many genes in conserved macro-synteny contexts, and many small-scale examples of gene clustering. We describe several examples where S. maritima shows different solutions from insects to similar problems. The insect olfactory receptor gene family is absent from S. maritima, and olfaction in air is likely effected by expansion of other receptor gene families. For some genes S. maritima has evolved paralogues to generate coding sequence diversity, where insects use alternate splicing. This is most striking for the Dscam gene, which in Drosophila generates more than 100,000 alternate splice forms, but in S. maritima is encoded by over 100 paralogues. We see an intriguing linkage between the absence of any known photosensory proteins in a blind organism and the additional absence of canonical circadian clock genes. The phylogenetic position of myriapods allows us to identify where in arthropod phylogeny several particular molecular mechanisms and traits emerged. For example, we conclude that juvenile hormone signalling evolved with the emergence of the exoskeleton in the arthropods and that RR-1 containing cuticle proteins evolved in the lineage leading to Mandibulata. We also identify when various gene expansions and losses occurred. The genome of S. maritima offers us a unique glimpse into the ancestral arthropod genome, while also displaying many adaptations to its specific

  18. An efficient method to find potentially universal population genetic markers, applied to metazoans

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    Chenuil Anne

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Despite the impressive growth of sequence databases, the limited availability of nuclear markers that are sufficiently polymorphic for population genetics and phylogeography and applicable across various phyla restricts many potential studies, particularly in non-model organisms. Numerous introns have invariant positions among kingdoms, providing a potential source for such markers. Unfortunately, most of the few known EPIC (Exon Primed Intron Crossing loci are restricted to vertebrates or belong to multigenic families. Results In order to develop markers with broad applicability, we designed a bioinformatic approach aimed at avoiding multigenic families while identifying intron positions conserved across metazoan phyla. We developed a program facilitating the identification of EPIC loci which allowed slight variation in intron position. From the Homolens databases we selected 29 gene families which contained 52 promising introns for which we designed 93 primer pairs. PCR tests were performed on several ascidians, echinoderms, bivalves and cnidarians. On average, 24 different introns per genus were amplified in bilaterians. Remarkably, five of the introns successfully amplified in all of the metazoan genera tested (a dozen genera, including cnidarians. The influence of several factors on amplification success was investigated. Success rate was not related to the phylogenetic relatedness of a taxon to the groups that most influenced primer design, showing that these EPIC markers are extremely conserved in animals. Conclusions Our new method now makes it possible to (i rapidly isolate a set of EPIC markers for any phylum, even outside the animal kingdom, and thus, (ii compare genetic diversity at potentially homologous polymorphic loci between divergent taxa.

  19. Analysis of the opsin repertoire in the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini provides insights into the evolution of opsin genes in panarthropoda.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hering, Lars; Mayer, Georg

    2014-09-04

    Screening of a deeply sequenced transcriptome using Illumina sequencing as well as the genome of the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini revealed a set of five opsin genes. To clarify the phylogenetic position of these genes and to elucidate the evolutionary history of opsins in Panarthropoda (Onychophora + Tardigrada + Arthropoda), we reconstructed the phylogeny of broadly sampled metazoan opsin genes using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods in conjunction with carefully selected substitution models. According to our findings, the opsin repertoire of H. dujardini comprises representatives of all three major bilaterian opsin clades, including one r-opsin, three c-opsins, and a Group 4 opsin (neuropsin/opsin-5). The identification of the tardigrade ortholog of neuropsin/opsin-5 is the first record of this opsin type in a protostome, but our screening of available metazoan genomes revealed that it is also present in other protostomes. Our opsin phylogeny further suggests that two r-opsins, including an "arthropsin," were present in the last common ancestor of Panarthropoda. Although both r-opsin lineages were retained in Onychophora and Arthropoda, the arthropsin was lost in Tardigrada. The single (most likely visual) r-opsin found in H. dujardini supports the hypothesis of monochromatic vision in the panarthropod ancestor, whereas two duplications of the ancestral panarthropod c-opsin have led to three c-opsins in tardigrades. Although the early-branching nodes are unstable within the metazoans, our findings suggest that the last common ancestor of Bilateria possessed six opsins: Two r-opsins, one c-opsin, and three Group 4 opsins, one of which (Go opsin) was lost in the ecdysozoan lineage.

  20. Segmental expression of Pax3/7 and engrailed homologs in tardigrade development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gabriel, Willow N; Goldstein, Bob

    2007-06-01

    How morphological diversity arises through evolution of gene sequence is a major question in biology. In Drosophila, the genetic basis for body patterning and morphological segmentation has been studied intensively. It is clear that some of the genes in the Drosophila segmentation program are functioning similarly in certain other taxa, although many questions remain about when these gene functions arose and which taxa use these genes similarly to establish diverse body plans. Tardigrades are an outgroup to arthropods in the Ecdysozoa and, as such, can provide insight into how gene functions have evolved among the arthropods and their close relatives. We developed immunostaining methods for tardigrade embryos, and we used cross-reactive antibodies to investigate the expression of homologs of the pair-rule gene paired (Pax3/7) and the segment polarity gene engrailed in the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini. We find that in H. dujardini embryos, Pax3/7 protein localizes not in a pair-rule pattern but in a segmentally iterated pattern, after the segments are established, in regions of the embryo where neurons later arise. Engrailed protein localizes in the posterior ectoderm of each segment before ectodermal segmentation is apparent. Together with previous results from others, our data support the conclusions that the pair-rule function of Pax3/7 is specific to the arthropods, that some of the ancient functions of Pax3/7 and Engrailed in ancestral bilaterians may have been in neurogenesis, and that Engrailed may have a function in establishing morphological boundaries between segments that is conserved at least among the Panarthropoda.

  1. Extreme conservation of noncoding DNA near HoxD complex of vertebrates

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    Tripathi Anshuman

    2004-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Homeotic gene complexes determine the anterior-posterior body axis in animals. The expression pattern and function of hox genes along this axis is colinear with the order in which they are organized in the complex. This 'chromosomal organization and functional correspondence' is conserved in all bilaterians investigated. Genomic sequences covering the HoxD complex from several vertebrate species are now available. This offers a comparative genomics approach to identify conserved regions linked to this complex. Although the molecular basis of 'colinearity' of Hox complexes is not yet understood, it is possible that there are control elements within or in the proximity of these complexes that establish and maintain the expression patterns of hox genes in a coordinated fashion. Results We have compared DNA sequence flanking the HoxD complex of several primate, rodent and fish species. This analysis revealed an unprecedented conservation of non-coding DNA sequences adjacent to the HoxD complex from fish to human. Stretches of hundreds of base pairs in a 7 kb region, upstream of HoxD complex, show 100% conservation across the vertebrate species. Using PCR primers from the human sequence, these conserved regions could be amplified from other vertebrate species, including other mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Our analysis of these sequences also indicates that starting from the conserved core regions, more sequences have been added on and maintained during evolution from fish to human. Conclusion Such a high degree of conservation in the core regions of this 7 kb DNA, where no variation occurred during ~500 million years of evolution, suggests critical function for these sequences. We suggest that such sequences are likely to provide molecular handle to gain insight into the evolution and mechanism of regulation of associated gene complexes.

  2. The evolution of the dystroglycan complex, a major mediator of muscle integrity

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    Josephine C. Adams

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Basement membrane (BM extracellular matrices are crucial for the coordination of different tissue layers. A matrix adhesion receptor that is important for BM function and stability in many mammalian tissues is the dystroglycan (DG complex. This comprises the non-covalently-associated extracellular α-DG, that interacts with laminin in the BM, and the transmembrane β-DG, that interacts principally with dystrophin to connect to the actin cytoskeleton. Mutations in dystrophin, DG, or several enzymes that glycosylate α-DG underlie severe forms of human muscular dystrophy. Nonwithstanding the pathophysiological importance of the DG complex and its fundamental interest as a non-integrin system of cell-ECM adhesion, the evolution of DG and its interacting proteins is not understood. We analysed the phylogenetic distribution of DG, its proximal binding partners and key processing enzymes in extant metazoan and relevant outgroups. We identify that DG originated after the divergence of ctenophores from porifera and eumetazoa. The C-terminal half of the DG core protein is highly-conserved, yet the N-terminal region, that includes the laminin-binding region, has undergone major lineage-specific divergences. Phylogenetic analysis based on the C-terminal IG2_MAT_NU region identified three distinct clades corresponding to deuterostomes, arthropods, and mollusks/early-diverging metazoans. Whereas the glycosyltransferases that modify α-DG are also present in choanoflagellates, the DG-binding proteins dystrophin and laminin originated at the base of the metazoa, and DG-associated sarcoglycan is restricted to cnidarians and bilaterians. These findings implicate extensive functional diversification of DG within invertebrate lineages and identify the laminin-DG-dystrophin axis as a conserved adhesion system that evolved subsequent to integrin-ECM adhesion, likely to enhance the functional complexity of cell-BM interactions in early metazoans.

  3. The evolution of the dystroglycan complex, a major mediator of muscle integrity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, Josephine C; Brancaccio, Andrea

    2015-08-28

    Basement membrane (BM) extracellular matrices are crucial for the coordination of different tissue layers. A matrix adhesion receptor that is important for BM function and stability in many mammalian tissues is the dystroglycan (DG) complex. This comprises the non-covalently-associated extracellular α-DG, that interacts with laminin in the BM, and the transmembrane β-DG, that interacts principally with dystrophin to connect to the actin cytoskeleton. Mutations in dystrophin, DG, or several enzymes that glycosylate α-DG underlie severe forms of human muscular dystrophy. Nonwithstanding the pathophysiological importance of the DG complex and its fundamental interest as a non-integrin system of cell-ECM adhesion, the evolution of DG and its interacting proteins is not understood. We analysed the phylogenetic distribution of DG, its proximal binding partners and key processing enzymes in extant metazoan and relevant outgroups. We identify that DG originated after the divergence of ctenophores from porifera and eumetazoa. The C-terminal half of the DG core protein is highly-conserved, yet the N-terminal region, that includes the laminin-binding region, has undergone major lineage-specific divergences. Phylogenetic analysis based on the C-terminal IG2_MAT_NU region identified three distinct clades corresponding to deuterostomes, arthropods, and mollusks/early-diverging metazoans. Whereas the glycosyltransferases that modify α-DG are also present in choanoflagellates, the DG-binding proteins dystrophin and laminin originated at the base of the metazoa, and DG-associated sarcoglycan is restricted to cnidarians and bilaterians. These findings implicate extensive functional diversification of DG within invertebrate lineages and identify the laminin-DG-dystrophin axis as a conserved adhesion system that evolved subsequent to integrin-ECM adhesion, likely to enhance the functional complexity of cell-BM interactions in early metazoans.

  4. Acoelomorph flatworms are deuterostomes related to Xenoturbella

    Science.gov (United States)

    Philippe, Hervé; Brinkmann, Henner; Copley, Richard R.; Moroz, Leonid L.; Nakano, Hiroaki; Poustka, Albert J.; Wallberg, Andreas; Peterson, Kevin J.; Telford, Maximilian J.

    2014-01-01

    Xenoturbellida and Acoelomorpha are marine worms with contentious ancestry. Both were originally associated with the flatworms (Platyhelminthes), but molecular data haverevised their phylogenetic positions, generally linking Xenoturbellida to the deuterostomes1,2 and positioning the Acoelomorpha as the most basally branching bilaterian group(s)3–6. Recent phylogenomic data suggested that Xenoturbellida and Acoelomorpha are sister taxa and together constitute an early branch of Bilateria7. Here we assemble three independent data sets—mitochondrial genes, a phylogenomic data set of 38,330 amino-acid positions and new microRNA (miRNA) complements—and show that the position of Acoelomorpha is strongly affected by a long-branch attraction (LBA) artefact. When we minimize LBA we find consistent support for a position of both acoelomorphs and Xenoturbella within the deuterostomes. The most likely phylogeny links Xenoturbella and Acoelomorpha in a clade we call Xenacoelomorpha. The Xenacoelomorpha is the sister group of the Ambulacraria (hemichordates and echinoderms). We show that analyses of miRNA complements8 have been affected by character loss in the acoels and that both groups possess one miRNA and the gene Rsb66 otherwise specific to deuterostomes. In addition, Xenoturbella shares one miRNA with the ambulacrarians, and two with the acoels. This phylogeny makes sense of the shared characteristics of Xenoturbellida and Acoelomorpha, such as ciliary ultrastructure and diffuse nervous system, and implies the loss of various deuterostome characters in the Xenacoelomorpha including coelomic cavities, through gut and gill slits. PMID:21307940

  5. Immunolocalization of arthropsin in the onychophoran Euperipatoides rowelli (Peripatopsidae

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    Isabell Schumann

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Opsins are light-sensitive proteins that play a key role in animal vision and are related to the ancient photoreceptive molecule rhodopsin found in unicellular organisms. In general, opsins involved in vision comprise two major groups: the rhabdomeric (r-opsins and the ciliary opsins (c-opsins. The functionality of opsins, which is dependent on their protein structure, may have changed during evolution. In arthropods, typically r-opsins are responsible for vision, whereas in vertebrates c-opsins are components of visual photoreceptors. Recently, an enigmatic r-opsin-like protein called arthropsin has been identified in various bilaterian taxa, including arthropods, lophotrochozoans and chordates, by performing transcriptomic and genomic analyses. Since the role of arthropsin and its distribution within the body are unknown, we immunolocalized this protein in a representative of Onychophora – Euperipatoides rowelli – an ecdysozoan taxon which is regarded as one of the closest relatives of Arthropoda. Our data show that arthropsin is expressed in the central nervous system of E. rowelli, including the brain and the ventral nerve cords, but not in the eyes. These findings are consistent with previous results based on reverse transcription PCR in a closely related onychophoran species and suggest that arthropsin is a non-visual protein. Based on its distribution in the central brain region and the mushroom bodies, we speculate that the onychophoran arthropsin might be either a photosensitive molecule playing a role in the circadian clock, or a non-photosensitive protein involved in olfactory pathways, or both.

  6. Comparative genomics of flatworms (platyhelminthes) reveals shared genomic features of ecto- and endoparastic neodermata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hahn, Christoph; Fromm, Bastian; Bachmann, Lutz

    2014-05-01

    The ectoparasitic Monogenea comprise a major part of the obligate parasitic flatworm diversity. Although genomic adaptations to parasitism have been studied in the endoparasitic tapeworms (Cestoda) and flukes (Trematoda), no representative of the Monogenea has been investigated yet. We present the high-quality draft genome of Gyrodactylus salaris, an economically important monogenean ectoparasite of wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). A total of 15,488 gene models were identified, of which 7,102 were functionally annotated. The controversial phylogenetic relationships within the obligate parasitic Neodermata were resolved in a phylogenomic analysis using 1,719 gene models (alignment length of >500,000 amino acids) for a set of 16 metazoan taxa. The Monogenea were found basal to the Cestoda and Trematoda, which implies ectoparasitism being plesiomorphic within the Neodermata and strongly supports a common origin of complex life cycles. Comparative analysis of seven parasitic flatworm genomes identified shared genomic features for the ecto- and endoparasitic lineages, such as a substantial reduction of the core bilaterian gene complement, including the homeodomain-containing genes, and a loss of the piwi and vasa genes, which are considered essential for animal development. Furthermore, the shared loss of functional fatty acid biosynthesis pathways and the absence of peroxisomes, the latter organelles presumed ubiquitous in eukaryotes except for parasitic protozoans, were inferred. The draft genome of G. salaris opens for future in-depth analyses of pathogenicity and host specificity of poorly characterized G. salaris strains, and will enhance studies addressing the genomics of host-parasite interactions and speciation in the highly diverse monogenean flatworms.

  7. A new stalked filter-feeder from the middle Cambrian Burgess Shale, British Columbia, Canada.

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    Lorna J O'Brien

    Full Text Available Burgess Shale-type deposits provide invaluable insights into the early evolution of body plans and the ecological structure of Cambrian communities, but a number of species, continue to defy phylogenetic interpretations. Here we extend this list to include a new soft-bodied animal, Siphusauctum gregarium n. gen. and n. sp., from the Tulip Beds (Campsite Cliff Shale Member, Burgess Shale Formation of Mount Stephen (Yoho National Park, British Columbia. With 1,133 specimens collected, S. gregarium is clearly the most abundant animal from this locality.This stalked animal (reaching at least 20 cm in length, has a large ovoid calyx connected to a narrow bilayered stem and a small flattened or bulb-like holdfast. The calyx is enclosed by a flexible sheath with six small openings at the base, and a central terminal anus near the top encircled by indistinct openings. A prominent organ, represented by six radially symmetrical segments with comb-like elements, surrounds an internal body cavity with a large stomach, conical median gut and straight intestine. Siphusauctum gregarium was probably an active filter-feeder, with water passing through the calyx openings, capturing food particles with its comb-like elements. It often occurs in large assemblages on single bedding planes suggesting a gregarious lifestyle, with the animal living in high tier clusters. These were probably buried en masse more or less in-situ by rapid mud flow events.Siphusauctum gregarium resembles Dinomischus, another Cambrian enigmatic stalked animal. Principal points of comparison include a long stem with a calyx containing a visceral mass and bract-like elements, and a similar lifestyle albeit occupying different tiering levels. The presence in both animals of a digestive tract with a potential stomach and anus suggest a grade of organization within bilaterians, but relationships with extant phyla are not straightforward. Thus, the broader affinities of S. gregarium remain

  8. An enigmatic fourth runt domain gene in the fugu genome: ancestral gene loss versus accelerated evolution

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    Hood Leroy

    2004-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The runt domain transcription factors are key regulators of developmental processes in bilaterians, involved both in cell proliferation and differentiation, and their disruption usually leads to disease. Three runt domain genes have been described in each vertebrate genome (the RUNX gene family, but only one in other chordates. Therefore, the common ancestor of vertebrates has been thought to have had a single runt domain gene. Results Analysis of the genome draft of the fugu pufferfish (Takifugu rubripes reveals the existence of a fourth runt domain gene, FrRUNT, in addition to the orthologs of human RUNX1, RUNX2 and RUNX3. The tiny FrRUNT packs six exons and two putative promoters in just 3 kb of genomic sequence. The first exon is located within an intron of FrSUPT3H, the ortholog of human SUPT3H, and the first exon of FrSUPT3H resides within the first intron of FrRUNT. The two gene structures are therefore "interlocked". In the human genome, SUPT3H is instead interlocked with RUNX2. FrRUNT has no detectable ortholog in the genomes of mammals, birds or amphibians. We consider alternative explanations for an apparent contradiction between the phylogenetic data and the comparison of the genomic neighborhoods of human and fugu runt domain genes. We hypothesize that an ancient RUNT locus was lost in the tetrapod lineage, together with FrFSTL6, a member of a novel family of follistatin-like genes. Conclusions Our results suggest that the runt domain family may have started expanding in chordates much earlier than previously thought, and exemplify the importance of detailed analysis of whole-genome draft sequence to provide new insights into gene evolution.

  9. Embracing the comparative approach: how robust phylogenies and broader developmental sampling impacts the understanding of nervous system evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hejnol, Andreas; Lowe, Christopher J

    2015-12-19

    Molecular biology has provided a rich dataset to develop hypotheses of nervous system evolution. The startling patterning similarities between distantly related animals during the development of their central nervous system (CNS) have resulted in the hypothesis that a CNS with a single centralized medullary cord and a partitioned brain is homologous across bilaterians. However, the ability to precisely reconstruct ancestral neural architectures from molecular genetic information requires that these gene networks specifically map with particular neural anatomies. A growing body of literature representing the development of a wider range of metazoan neural architectures demonstrates that patterning gene network complexity is maintained in animals with more modest levels of neural complexity. Furthermore, a robust phylogenetic framework that provides the basis for testing the congruence of these homology hypotheses has been lacking since the advent of the field of 'evo-devo'. Recent progress in molecular phylogenetics is refining the necessary framework to test previous homology statements that span large evolutionary distances. In this review, we describe recent advances in animal phylogeny and exemplify for two neural characters-the partitioned brain of arthropods and the ventral centralized nerve cords of annelids-a test for congruence using this framework. The sequential sister taxa at the base of Ecdysozoa and Spiralia comprise small, interstitial groups. This topology is not consistent with the hypothesis of homology of tripartitioned brain of arthropods and vertebrates as well as the ventral arthropod and rope-like ladder nervous system of annelids. There can be exquisite conservation of gene regulatory networks between distantly related groups with contrasting levels of nervous system centralization and complexity. Consequently, the utility of molecular characters to reconstruct ancestral neural organization in deep time is limited.

  10. Genome-wide analysis of the sox family in the calcareous sponge Sycon ciliatum: multiple genes with unique expression patterns

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    Fortunato Sofia

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Sox genes are HMG-domain containing transcription factors with important roles in developmental processes in animals; many of them appear to have conserved functions among eumetazoans. Demosponges have fewer Sox genes than eumetazoans, but their roles remain unclear. The aim of this study is to gain insight into the early evolutionary history of the Sox gene family by identification and expression analysis of Sox genes in the calcareous sponge Sycon ciliatum. Methods Calcaronean Sox related sequences were retrieved by searching recently generated genomic and transcriptome sequence resources and analyzed using variety of phylogenetic methods and identification of conserved motifs. Expression was studied by whole mount in situ hybridization. Results We have identified seven Sox genes and four Sox-related genes in the complete genome of Sycon ciliatum. Phylogenetic and conserved motif analyses showed that five of Sycon Sox genes represent groups B, C, E, and F present in cnidarians and bilaterians. Two additional genes are classified as Sox genes but cannot be assigned to specific subfamilies, and four genes are more similar to Sox genes than to other HMG-containing genes. Thus, the repertoire of Sox genes is larger in this representative of calcareous sponges than in the demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica. It remains unclear whether this is due to the expansion of the gene family in Sycon or a secondary reduction in the Amphimedon genome. In situ hybridization of Sycon Sox genes revealed a variety of expression patterns during embryogenesis and in specific cell types of adult sponges. Conclusions In this study, we describe a large family of Sox genes in Sycon ciliatum with dynamic expression patterns, indicating that Sox genes are regulators in development and cell type determination in sponges, as observed in higher animals. The revealed differences between demosponge and calcisponge Sox genes repertoire highlight the need to

  11. Unexpected diversity in Shisa-like proteins suggests the importance of their roles as transmembrane adaptors.

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    Pei, Jimin; Grishin, Nick V

    2012-03-01

    The Shisa family of single-transmembrane proteins is characterized by an N-terminal cysteine-rich domain and a proline-rich C-terminal region. Its founding member, Xenopus Shisa, promotes head development by antagonizing Wnt and FGF signaling. Recently, a mouse brain-specific Shisa protein CKAMP44 (Shisa9) was shown to play an important role in AMPA receptor desensitization. We used sequence similarity searches against protein, genome and EST databases to study the evolutionary origin and phylogenetic distribution of Shisa homologs. In addition to nine Shisa subfamilies in vertebrates, we detected distantly related Shisa homologs that possess an N-terminal domain with six conserved cysteines. These Shisa-like proteins include FAM159 and KIAA1644 mainly from vertebrates, and members from various bilaterian invertebrates and Porifera, suggesting their presence in the last common ancestor of Metazoa. Shisa-like genes have undergone large expansions in Branchiostoma floridae and Saccoglossus kowalevskii, and appear to have been lost in certain insects. Pattern-based searches against eukaryotic proteomes also uncovered several other families of predicted single-transmembrane proteins with a similar cysteine-rich domain. We refer to these proteins (Shisa/Shisa-like, WBP1/VOPP1, CX, DUF2650, TMEM92, and CYYR1) as STMC6 proteins (single-transmembrane proteins with conserved 6 cysteines). STMC6 genes are widespread in Metazoa, with the human genome containing 17 members. Frequent occurrences of PY motifs in STMC6 proteins suggest that most of them could interact with WW-domain-containing proteins, such as the NEDD4 family E3 ubiquitin ligases, and could play critical roles in protein degradation and sorting. STMC6 proteins are likely transmembrane adaptors that regulate membrane proteins such as cell surface receptors.

  12. The octopus genome and the evolution of cephalopod neural and morphological novelties.

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    Albertin, Caroline B; Simakov, Oleg; Mitros, Therese; Wang, Z Yan; Pungor, Judit R; Edsinger-Gonzales, Eric; Brenner, Sydney; Ragsdale, Clifton W; Rokhsar, Daniel S

    2015-08-13

    Coleoid cephalopods (octopus, squid and cuttlefish) are active, resourceful predators with a rich behavioural repertoire. They have the largest nervous systems among the invertebrates and present other striking morphological innovations including camera-like eyes, prehensile arms, a highly derived early embryogenesis and a remarkably sophisticated adaptive colouration system. To investigate the molecular bases of cephalopod brain and body innovations, we sequenced the genome and multiple transcriptomes of the California two-spot octopus, Octopus bimaculoides. We found no evidence for hypothesized whole-genome duplications in the octopus lineage. The core developmental and neuronal gene repertoire of the octopus is broadly similar to that found across invertebrate bilaterians, except for massive expansions in two gene families previously thought to be uniquely enlarged in vertebrates: the protocadherins, which regulate neuronal development, and the C2H2 superfamily of zinc-finger transcription factors. Extensive messenger RNA editing generates transcript and protein diversity in genes involved in neural excitability, as previously described, as well as in genes participating in a broad range of other cellular functions. We identified hundreds of cephalopod-specific genes, many of which showed elevated expression levels in such specialized structures as the skin, the suckers and the nervous system. Finally, we found evidence for large-scale genomic rearrangements that are closely associated with transposable element expansions. Our analysis suggests that substantial expansion of a handful of gene families, along with extensive remodelling of genome linkage and repetitive content, played a critical role in the evolution of cephalopod morphological innovations, including their large and complex nervous systems.

  13. Expansion of signaling genes for adaptive immune system evolution in early vertebrates

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    Okada Kinya

    2008-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The adaptive immune system (AIS of jawed vertebrates is a sophisticated system mediated by numerous genes in specialized cells. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that emergence of the AIS followed the occurrence of two rounds of whole-genome duplication (2R-WGD in early vertebrates, but little direct evidence linking these two events is available. Results We examined the relationship between 2R-WGD and the gain of AIS-related functions by numerous genes. To analyze the evolution of the many genes related to signal transduction in the AIS (defined as AIS genes, we identified groups of genes (defined as AIS subfamilies that included at least one human AIS gene, its paralogs (if any, and its Drosophila ortholog(s. Genomic mapping revealed that numerous pairs of AIS genes and their paralogs were part of paralogons – series of paralogous regions that derive from a common ancestor – throughout the human genome, indicating that the genes were retained as duplicates after 2R-WGD. Outgroup comparison analysis revealed that subfamilies in which human and fly genes shared a nervous system-related function were significantly enriched among AIS subfamilies, as compared with the overall incidence of shared nervous system-related functions among all subfamilies in bilaterians. This finding statistically supports the hypothesis that AIS-related signaling genes were ancestrally involved in the nervous system of urbilaterians. Conclusion The current results suggest that 2R-WGD played a major role in the duplication of many signaling genes, ancestrally used in nervous system development and function, that were later co-opted for new functions during evolution of the AIS.

  14. Silencing of Smed-betacatenin1 generates radial-like hypercephalized planarians.

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    Iglesias, Marta; Gomez-Skarmeta, Jose Luis; Saló, Emili; Adell, Teresa

    2008-04-01

    Little is known about the molecular mechanisms responsible for axis establishment during non-embryonic processes such as regeneration and homeostasis. To address this issue, we set out to analyze the role of the canonical Wnt pathway in planarians, flatworms renowned for their extraordinary morphological plasticity. Canonical Wnt signalling is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism to confer polarity during embryonic development, specifying the anteroposterior (AP) axis in most bilaterians and the dorsoventral (DV) axis in early vertebrate embryos. beta-Catenin is a key element in this pathway, although it is a bifunctional protein that is also involved in cell-cell adhesion. Here, we report the characterization of two beta-catenin homologs from Schmidtea mediterranea (Smed-betacatenin1/2). Loss of function of Smed-betacatenin1, but not Smed-betacatenin2, in both regenerating and intact planarians, generates radial-like hypercephalized planarians in which the AP axis disappears but the DV axis remains unaffected, representing a unique example of a striking body symmetry transformation. The radial-like hypercephalized phenotype demonstrates the requirement for Smed-betacatenin1 in AP axis re-establishment and maintenance, and supports a conserved role for canonical Wnt signalling in AP axis specification, whereas the role of beta-catenin in DV axis establishment would be a vertebrate innovation. When considered alongside the protein domains present in each S. mediterranea beta-catenin and the results of functional assays in Xenopus embryos demonstrating nuclear accumulation and axis induction with Smed-betacatenin1, but not Smed-betacatenin2, these data suggest that S. mediterranea beta-catenins could be functionally specialized and that only Smed-betacatenin1 is involved in Wnt signalling.

  15. Substantial loss of conserved and gain of novel MicroRNA families in flatworms.

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    Fromm, Bastian; Worren, Merete Molton; Hahn, Christoph; Hovig, Eivind; Bachmann, Lutz

    2013-12-01

    Recent studies on microRNA (miRNA) evolution focused mainly on the comparison of miRNA complements between animal clades. However, evolution of miRNAs within such groups is poorly explored despite the availability of comparable data that in some cases lack only a few key taxa. For flatworms (Platyhelminthes), miRNA complements are available for some free-living flatworms and all major parasitic lineages, except for the Monogenea. We present the miRNA complement of the monogenean flatworm Gyrodactylus salaris that facilitates a comprehensive analysis of miRNA evolution in Platyhelminthes. Using the newly designed bioinformatics pipeline miRCandRef, the miRNA complement was disentangled from next-generation sequencing of small RNAs and genomic DNA without a priori genome assembly. It consists of 39 miRNA hairpin loci of conserved miRNA families, and 22 novel miRNAs. A comparison with the miRNA complements of Schmidtea mediterranea (Turbellaria), Schistosoma japonicum (Trematoda), and Echinococcus granulosus (Cestoda) reveals a substantial loss of conserved bilaterian, protostomian, and lophotrochozoan miRNAs. Eight of the 46 expected conserved miRNAs were lost in all flatworms, 16 in Neodermata and 24 conserved miRNAs could not be detected in the cestode and the trematode. Such a gradual loss of miRNAs has not been reported before for other animal phyla. Currently, little is known about miRNAs in Platyhelminthes, and for the majority of the lost miRNAs there is no prediction of function. As suggested earlier they might be related to morphological simplifications. The presence and absence of 153 conserved miRNAs was compared for platyhelminths and 32 other metazoan taxa. Phylogenetic analyses support the monophyly of Platyhelminthes (Turbellaria + Neodermata [Monogenea {Trematoda + Cestoda}]).

  16. Role of abd-A and Abd-B in development of abdominal epithelia breaks posterior prevalence rule.

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    Singh, Narendra Pratap; Mishra, Rakesh Kumar

    2014-10-01

    Hox genes that determine anteroposterior body axis formation in all bilaterians are often found to have partially overlapping expression pattern. Since posterior genes dominate over anterior Hox genes in the region of co-expression, the anterior Hox genes are thought to have no function in such regions. In this study we show that two Hox genes have distinct and essential functions in the same cell. In Drosophila, the three Hox genes of the bithorax complex, Ubx, abd-A and Abd-B, show coexpression during embryonic development. Here, we show that in early pupal abdominal epithelia, Ubx does not coexpress with abd-A and Abd-B, while abd-A and Abd-B continue to coexpress in the same nuclei. The abd-A and Abd-B are expressed in both histoblast nest cells and larval epithelial cells of early pupal abdominal epithelia. Further functional studies demonstrate that abd-A is required in histoblast nest cells for their proliferation and suppression of Ubx to prevent first abdominal segment like features in posterior segments while in larval epithelial cells it is required for their elimination. We also observed that these functions of abd-A are required in its exclusive as well as the coexpression domain with that of Abd-B. The expression of Abd-B is required in histoblast nest cells for their identity while it is dispensable in the larval epithelial cells. The higher level of Abd-B in the seventh abdominal segment, that down-regulates abd-A expression, leads this segment to be absent in males or of smaller size in females. We also show that abd-A in histoblast nest cells positively regulates expression of wingless for the formation of the abdominal epithelia. Our study reveals an exception to the rule of posterior prevalence and shows that two different Hox genes have distinct functions in the same cell, which is essential for the development of abdominal epithelia.

  17. The complete mitochondrial genome of Pseudocellus pearsei (Chelicerata: Ricinulei and a comparison of mitochondrial gene rearrangements in Arachnida

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    Braband Anke

    2007-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Mitochondrial genomes are widely utilized for phylogenetic and population genetic analyses among animals. In addition to sequence data the mitochondrial gene order and RNA secondary structure data are used in phylogenetic analyses. Arachnid phylogeny is still highly debated and there is a lack of sufficient sequence data for many taxa. Ricinulei (hooded tickspiders are a morphologically distinct clade of arachnids with uncertain phylogenetic affinities. Results The first complete mitochondrial DNA genome of a member of the Ricinulei, Pseudocellus pearsei (Arachnida: Ricinulei was sequenced using a PCR-based approach. The mitochondrial genome is a typical circular duplex DNA molecule with a size of 15,099 bp, showing the complete set of genes usually present in bilaterian mitochondrial genomes. Five tRNA genes (trnW, trnY, trnN, trnL(CUN, trnV show different relative positions compared to other Chelicerata (e.g. Limulus polyphemus, Ixodes spp.. We propose that two events led to this derived gene order: (1 a tandem duplication followed by random deletion and (2 an independent translocation of trnN. Most of the inferred tRNA secondary structures show the common cloverleaf pattern except tRNA-Glu where the TψC-arm is missing. In phylogenetic analyses (maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony, Bayesian inference using concatenated amino acid and nucleotide sequences of protein-coding genes the basal relationships of arachnid orders remain unresolved. Conclusion Phylogenetic analyses (ML, MP, BI of arachnid mitochondrial genomes fail to resolve interordinal relationships of Arachnida and remain in a preliminary stage because there is still a lack of mitogenomic data from important taxa such as Opiliones and Pseudoscorpiones. Gene order varies considerably within Arachnida – only eight out of 23 species have retained the putative arthropod ground pattern. Some gene order changes are valuable characters in phylogenetic analysis of

  18. The molecular cell death machinery in the simple cnidarian Hydra includes an expanded caspase family and pro- and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins.

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    Lasi, Margherita; Pauly, Barbara; Schmidt, Nikola; Cikala, Mihai; Stiening, Beate; Käsbauer, Tina; Zenner, Gerhardt; Popp, Tanja; Wagner, Anita; Knapp, Regina T; Huber, Andreas H; Grunert, Michaela; Söding, Johannes; David, Charles N; Böttger, Angelika

    2010-07-01

    The fresh water polyp Hydra belongs to the phylum Cnidaria, which diverged from the metazoan lineage before the appearance of bilaterians. In order to understand the evolution of apoptosis in metazoans, we have begun to elucidate the molecular cell death machinery in this model organism. Based on ESTs and the whole Hydra genome assembly, we have identified 15 caspases. We show that one is activated during apoptosis, four have characteristics of initiator caspases with N-terminal DED, CARD or DD domain and two undergo autoprocessing in vitro. In addition, we describe seven Bcl-2-like and two Bak-like proteins. For most of the Bcl-2 family proteins, we have observed mitochondrial localization. When expressed in mammalian cells, HyBak-like 1 and 2 strongly induced apoptosis. Six of the Bcl-2 family members inhibited apoptosis induced by camptothecin in mammalian cells with HyBcl-2-like 4 showing an especially strong protective effect. This protein also interacted with HyBak-like 1 in a yeast two-hybrid assay. Mutation of the conserved leucine in its BH3 domain abolished both the interaction with HyBak-like 1 and the anti-apoptotic effect. Moreover, we describe novel Hydra BH-3-only proteins. One of these interacted with Bcl-2-like 4 and induced apoptosis in mammalian cells. Our data indicate that the evolution of a complex network for cell death regulation arose at the earliest and simplest level of multicellular organization, where it exhibited a substantially higher level of complexity than in the protostome model organisms Caenorhabditis and Drosophila.

  19. On the Phylum Vetulicolia

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    SHU Degan

    2005-01-01

    The origins and radiations of metazoans, bilaterians, deuterostomes and vertebrates have been recognized as the four most important milestone events in animal history and, conversely four of the toughest and puzzling questions in evolutionary biology. Among them, the first two occurred in the deep time of the Precambrian and have left little information in the fossil records. Fortunately, intensive investigation into the Early Cambrian Chengjiang faunas in the past two decades have revealed numerous significant data on the main episode of the Cambrian Explosion, particularly information on the various earliest-known deuterostomes, leading to a much better understanding of the last two events. The "first fish" Haikouichthys and Myllokunmingia have been proved the oldest-known vertebrates, and to be among the most primitive ones, representing a key transitional group from acraniates to craniates. Indeed, "Paleontological work of Shu and collaborators is revising our understanding of the early evolution of chordates". Moreover, the discovery of the Phylum Vetulicolia may also throw new light on the origin of deuterostomes. This extinct group with simple gill slits might represent one of the roots in the deuterostome lineage, as the evidence of molecular biology and developmental biology has predicted. Here the first discovery of tiny vetulicolians from the Chengjiang Lagerst(a)tte is reported. The evolutionary trend from the giant to the small might represent a special adaptation in early animal history. Since all vetulicolians share similar characters in their anterior section (pharynx), and on the basis of differences in their posterior section, a new classification system is proposed, with a new class, the Heteromorphida erected. As both the "root" group vetulicolians and the "top" group vertebrates in the early deuterostome lineage, as well as those members in between, such as vetulocystids, yunnanozoans, cephalochordates and urochordates, have been recovered, a

  20. Regulatory Factor X (RFX)-mediated transcriptional rewiring of ciliary genes in animals.

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    Piasecki, Brian P; Burghoorn, Jan; Swoboda, Peter

    2010-07-20

    Cilia were present in the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) and were retained by most organisms spanning all extant eukaryotic lineages, including organisms in the Unikonta (Amoebozoa, fungi, choanoflagellates, and animals), Archaeplastida, Excavata, Chromalveolata, and Rhizaria. In certain animals, including humans, ciliary gene regulation is mediated by Regulatory Factor X (RFX) transcription factors (TFs). RFX TFs bind X-box promoter motifs and thereby positively regulate >50 ciliary genes. Though RFX-mediated ciliary gene regulation has been studied in several bilaterian animals, little is known about the evolutionary conservation of ciliary gene regulation. Here, we explore the evolutionary relationships between RFX TFs and cilia. By sampling the genome sequences of >120 eukaryotic organisms, we show that RFX TFs are exclusively found in unikont organisms (whether ciliated or not), but are completely absent from the genome sequences of all nonunikont organisms (again, whether ciliated or not). Sampling the promoter sequences of 12 highly conserved ciliary genes from 23 diverse unikont and nonunikont organisms further revealed that phylogenetic footprints of X-box promoter motif sequences are found exclusively in ciliary genes of certain animals. Thus, there is no correlation between cilia/ciliary genes and the presence or absence of RFX TFs and X-box promoter motifs in nonanimal unikont and in nonunikont organisms. These data suggest that RFX TFs originated early in the unikont lineage, distinctly after cilia evolved. The evolutionary model that best explains these observations indicates that the transcriptional rewiring of many ciliary genes by RFX TFs occurred early in the animal lineage.

  1. Deep phylogeny and evolution of sponges (phylum Porifera).

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    Wörheide, G; Dohrmann, M; Erpenbeck, D; Larroux, C; Maldonado, M; Voigt, O; Borchiellini, C; Lavrov, D V

    2012-01-01

    Sponges (phylum Porifera) are a diverse taxon of benthic aquatic animals of great ecological, commercial, and biopharmaceutical importance. They are arguably the earliest-branching metazoan taxon, and therefore, they have great significance in the reconstruction of early metazoan evolution. Yet, the phylogeny and systematics of sponges are to some extent still unresolved, and there is an on-going debate about the exact branching pattern of their main clades and their relationships to the other non-bilaterian animals. Here, we review the current state of the deep phylogeny of sponges. Several studies have suggested that sponges are paraphyletic. However, based on recent phylogenomic analyses, we suggest that the phylum Porifera could well be monophyletic, in accordance with cladistic analyses based on morphology. This finding has many implications for the evolutionary interpretation of early animal traits and sponge development. We further review the contribution that mitochondrial genes and genomes have made to sponge phylogenetics and explore the current state of the molecular phylogenies of the four main sponge lineages (Classes), that is, Demospongiae, Hexactinellida, Calcarea, and Homoscleromorpha, in detail. While classical systematic systems are largely congruent with molecular phylogenies in the class Hexactinellida and in certain parts of Demospongiae and Homoscleromorpha, the high degree of incongruence in the class Calcarea still represents a challenge. We highlight future areas of research to fill existing gaps in our knowledge. By reviewing sponge development in an evolutionary and phylogenetic context, we support previous suggestions that sponge larvae share traits and complexity with eumetazoans and that the simple sedentary adult lifestyle of sponges probably reflects some degree of secondary simplification. In summary, while deep sponge phylogenetics has made many advances in the past years, considerable efforts are still required to achieve a

  2. Expansion, diversification, and expression of T-box family genes in Porifera.

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    Holstien, Kay; Rivera, Ajna; Windsor, Pam; Ding, Siyu; Leys, Sally P; Hill, Malcolm; Hill, April

    2010-12-01

    Sponges are among the earliest diverging lineage within the metazoan phyla. Although their adult morphology is distinctive, at several stages of development, they possess characteristics found in more complex animals. The T-box family of transcription factors is an evolutionarily ancient gene family known to be involved in the development of structures derived from all germ layers in the bilaterian animals. There is an incomplete understanding of the role that T-box transcription factors play in normal sponge development or whether developmental pathways using the T-box family share similarities between parazoan and eumetazoan animals. To address these questions, we present data that identify several important T-box genes in marine and freshwater sponges, place these genes in a phylogenetic context, and reveal patterns in how these genes are expressed in developing sponges. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that sponges have members of at least two of the five T-box subfamilies (Brachyury and Tbx2/3/4/5) and that the T-box genes expanded and diverged in the poriferan lineage. Our analysis of signature residues in the sponge T-box genes calls into question whether "true" Brachyury genes are found in the Porifera. Expression for a subset of the T-box genes was elucidated in larvae from the marine demosponge, Halichondria bowerbanki. Our results show that sponges regulate the timing and specificity of gene expression for T-box orthologs across larval developmental stages. In situ hybridization reveals distinct, yet sometimes overlapping expression of particular T-box genes in free-swimming larvae. Our results provide a comparative framework from which we can gain insights into the evolution of developmentally important pathways.

  3. Insights into metazoan evolution from alvinella pompejana cDNAs

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    Thierry Jean-Claude

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Alvinella pompejana is a representative of Annelids, a key phylum for evo-devo studies that is still poorly studied at the sequence level. A. pompejana inhabits deep-sea hydrothermal vents and is currently known as one of the most thermotolerant Eukaryotes in marine environments, withstanding the largest known chemical and thermal ranges (from 5 to 105°C. This tube-dwelling worm forms dense colonies on the surface of hydrothermal chimneys and can withstand long periods of hypo/anoxia and long phases of exposure to hydrogen sulphides. A. pompejana specifically inhabits chimney walls of hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise. To survive, Alvinella has developed numerous adaptations at the physiological and molecular levels, such as an increase in the thermostability of proteins and protein complexes. It represents an outstanding model organism for studying adaptation to harsh physicochemical conditions and for isolating stable macromolecules resistant to high temperatures. Results We have constructed four full length enriched cDNA libraries to investigate the biology and evolution of this intriguing animal. Analysis of more than 75,000 high quality reads led to the identification of 15,858 transcripts and 9,221 putative protein sequences. Our annotation reveals a good coverage of most animal pathways and networks with a prevalence of transcripts involved in oxidative stress resistance, detoxification, anti-bacterial defence, and heat shock protection. Alvinella proteins seem to show a slow evolutionary rate and a higher similarity with proteins from Vertebrates compared to proteins from Arthropods or Nematodes. Their composition shows enrichment in positively charged amino acids that might contribute to their thermostability. The gene content of Alvinella reveals that an important pool of genes previously considered to be specific to Deuterostomes were in fact already present in the last common ancestor of the Bilaterian

  4. Identification and characterization of microRNAs by deep-sequencing in Hyalomma anatolicum anatolicum (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks.

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    Luo, Jin; Liu, Guang-Yuan; Chen, Ze; Ren, Qiao-Yun; Yin, Hong; Luo, Jian-Xun; Wang, Hui

    2015-06-15

    Hyalomma anatolicum anatolicum (H.a. anatolicum) (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks are globally distributed ectoparasites with veterinary and medical importance. These ticks not only weaken animals by sucking their blood but also transmit different species of parasitic protozoans. Multiple factors influence these parasitic infections including miRNAs, which are non-coding, small regulatory RNA molecules essential for the complex life cycle of parasites. To identify and characterize miRNAs in H.a. anatolicum, we developed an integrative approach combining deep sequencing, bioinformatics and real-time PCR analysis. Here we report the use of this approach to identify miRNA expression, family distribution, and nucleotide characteristics, and discovered novel miRNAs in H.a. anatolicum. The result showed that miR-1-3p, miR-275-3p, and miR-92a were expressed abundantly. There was a strong bias on miRNA, family members, and nucleotide compositions at certain positions in H.a. anatolicum miRNA. Uracil was the dominant nucleotide, particularly at positions 1, 6, 16, and 18, which were located approximately at the beginning, middle, and end of conserved miRNAs. Analysis of the conserved miRNAs indicated that miRNAs in H.a. anatolicum were concentrated along three diverse phylogenetic branches of bilaterians, insects and coelomates. Two possible roles for the use of miRNA in H.a. anatolicum could be presumed based on its parasitic life cycle: to maintain a large category of miRNA families of different animals, and/or to preserve stringent conserved seed regions with active changes in other places of miRNAs mainly in the middle and the end regions. These might help the parasite to undergo its complex life style in different hosts and adapt more readily to the host changes. The present study represents the first large scale characterization of H.a. anatolicum miRNAs, which could further the understanding of the complex biology of this zoonotic parasite, as well as initiate miRNA studies

  5. Cell type complexity in the basal metazoan Hydra is maintained by both stem cell based mechanisms and transdifferentiation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Siebert, Stefan; Anton-Erxleben, Friederike; Bosch, Thomas C G

    2008-01-01

    the origin of bilaterian animals.

  6. Identification and characterization of microRNAs in Clonorchis sinensis of human health significance

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    Yuan Zi-Guo

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Clonorchis sinensis is a zoonotic parasite causing clonorchiasis-associated human disease such as biliary calculi, cholecystitis, liver cirrhosis, and it is currently classified as carcinogenic to humans for cholangiocarcinoma. MicroRNAs (miRNAs are non-coding, regulating small RNA molecules which are essential for the complex life cycles of parasites and are involved in parasitic infections. To identify and characterize miRNAs expressed in adult C. sinensis residing chronically in the biliary tract, we developed an integrative approach combining deep sequencing and bioinformatic predictions with stem-loop real-time PCR analysis. Results Here we report the use of this approach to identify and clone 6 new and 62,512 conserved C. sinensis miRNAs which belonged to 284 families. There was strong bias on families, family members and sequence nucleotides in C. sinensis. Uracil was the dominant nucleotide, particularly at positions 1, 14 and 22, which were located approximately at the beginning, middle and end of conserved miRNAs. There was no significant "seed region" at the first and ninth positions which were commonly found in human, animals and plants. Categorization of conserved miRNAs indicated that miRNAs of C. sinensis were still innovated and concentrated along three branches of the phylogenetic tree leading to bilaterians, insects and coelomates. There were two miRNA strategies in C. sinensis for its parasitic life: keeping a large category of miRNA families of different animals and keeping stringent conserved seed regions with high active innovation in other places of miRNAs mainly in the middle and the end, which were perfect for the parasite to perform its complex life style and for host changes. Conclusions The present study represented the first large scale characterization of C. sinensis miRNAs, which have implications for understanding the complex biology of this zoonotic parasite, as well as miRNA studies of other

  7. The nervous system of Isodiametra pulchra (Acoela with a discussion on the neuroanatomy of the Xenacoelomorpha and its evolutionary implications

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    Achatz Johannes

    2012-10-01

    evolved from a ring-commissural brain that was present in the stem species of acoelomorphs. The acoelomorph brain is bipartite, consisting of a Six3/6-dependend animal pole nervous system that persists throughout adulthood and an axial nervous system that does not develop by exhibiting a staggered pattern of conserved regulatory genes as in other bilaterians but by a nested pattern of these genes. This indicates that acoelomorphs stem from an ancestor with a simple brain or with a biphasic life cycle.

  8. Expression of FoxA and GATA transcription factors correlates with regionalized gut development in two lophotrochozoan marine worms: Chaetopterus (Annelida and Themiste lageniformis (Sipuncula

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    Boyle Michael J

    2010-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background A through gut is present in almost all metazoans, and most likely represents an ancient innovation that enabled bilaterian animals to exploit a wide range of habitats. Molecular developmental studies indicate that Fox and GATA regulatory genes specify tissue regions along the gut tube in a broad diversity of taxa, although little is known about gut regionalization within the Lophotrochozoa. In this study, we isolated FoxA and GATA456 orthologs and used whole mount in situ hybridization during larval gut formation in two marine worms: the segmented, polychaete annelid Chaetopterus, which develops a planktotrophic larva with a tripartite gut, and the non-segmented sipunculan Themiste lageniformis, which develops a lecithotrophic larva with a U-shaped gut. Results FoxA and GATA456 transcripts are predominantly restricted to gut tissue, and together show regional expression spanning most of the alimentary canal in each of these lophotrochozoans, although neither FoxA nor GATA456 is expressed in the posterior intestine of Chaetopterus. In both species, FoxA is expressed at the blastula stage, transiently in presumptive endoderm before formation of a definitive gut tube, and throughout early larval development in discrete foregut and hindgut domains. GATA456 genes are expressed during endoderm formation, and in endoderm and mesoderm associated with the midgut in each species. Several species-specific differences were detected, including an overlap of FoxA and GATA456 expression in the intestinal system of Themiste, which is instead complimentary in Chaetopterus. Other differences include additional discrete expression domains of FoxA in ectodermal trunk cells in Themiste but not Chaetopterus, and expression of GATA456 in anterior ectoderm and midgut cells unique to Chaetopterus. Conclusions This study of gene expression in a sipunculan contributes new comparative developmental insights from lophotrochozoans, and shows that FoxA and

  9. Six3

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    Steinmetz Patrick RH

    2010-12-01

    lobes do not represent the tip of the neuraxis. These results support the hypothesis that the last common ancestor of annelids and arthropods already possessed neurosecretory centres in the most anterior region of the brain. In light of its broad evolutionary conservation in protostomes and, as previously shown, in deuterostomes, the six3-otx head patterning system may be universal to bilaterian animals.

  10. SALMFamide salmagundi: the biology of a neuropeptide family in echinoderms.

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    Elphick, Maurice R

    2014-09-01

    The SALMFamides are a family of neuropeptides that occur in species belonging to the phylum Echinodermata. The prototypes for this neuropeptide family (S1 and S2) were discovered in starfish but subsequently SALMFamides were identified in other echinoderms. There are two types of SALMFamides: L-type, which have the C-terminal motif SxLxFamide, and F-type, which have the C-terminal motif SxFxFamide. They are derived from two types of precursor proteins: an L-type SALMFamide precursor, which comprises only L-type or L-type-like SALMFamides and an F-type SALMFamide precursor, which contains several F-type or F-type-like SALMFamides and, typically, one or more L-type SALMFamides. Thus, SALMFamides occur as heterogeneous mixtures of neuropeptides - a SALMFamide salmagundi. SALMFamides are produced by distinct populations of neurons in echinoderm larval and adult nervous systems and are present in the innervation of neuromuscular organs. Both L-type and F-type SALMFamides cause muscle relaxation in echinoderms and, for example, in starfish this effect of SALMFamides may mediate neural control of cardiac stomach eversion in species that feed extra-orally (e.g., Asterias rubens). The SALMFamide S1 also causes inhibition of neural release of a relaxin-like gonadotropin in the starfish Asterina pectinifera. An important issue that remains to be resolved are the relationships of SALMFamides with neuropeptides that have been identified in other phyla. However, it has been noted that the C-terminal SxLxFamide motif of L-type SALMFamides is a feature of some members of a bilaterian neuropeptide family that includes gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) in vertebrates and SIFamide-type neuropeptides in protostomes. Similarly, the C-terminal FxFamide motif of F-type SALMFamides is a feature of vertebrate QRFP (26RFa)-type neuropeptides. These sequence similarities may provide a basis for molecular identification of receptors that mediate effects of SALMFamides. Furthermore

  11. Evidence for gill slits and a pharynx in Cambrian vetulicolians: implications for the early evolution of deuterostomes

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    Ou Qiang

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Vetulicolians are a group of Cambrian metazoans whose distinctive bodyplan continues to present a major phylogenetic challenge. Thus, we see vetulicolians assigned to groups as disparate as deuterostomes and ecdysozoans. This divergence of opinions revolves around a strikingly arthropod-like body, but one that also bears complex lateral structures on its anterior section interpreted as pharyngeal openings. Establishing the homology of these structures is central to resolving where vetulicolians sit in metazoan phylogeny. Results New material from the Chengjiang Lagerstätte helps to resolve this issue. Here, we demonstrate that these controversial structures comprise grooves with a series of openings. The latter are oval in shape and associated with a complex anatomy consistent with control of their opening and closure. Remains of what we interpret to be a musculature, combined with the capacity for the grooves to contract, indicate vetulicolians possessed a pumping mechanism that could process considerable volumes of seawater. Our observations suggest that food captured in the anterior cavity was transported to dorsal and ventral gutters, which then channeled material to the intestine. This arrangement appears to find no counterpart in any known fossil or extant arthropod (or any other ecdysozoan. Anterior lateral perforations, however, are diagnostic of deuterostomes. Conclusions If the evidence is against vetulicolians belonging to one or other group of ecdysozoan, then two phylogenetic options seem to remain. The first is that such features as vetulicolians possess are indicative of either a position among the bilaterians or deuterostomes but apart from the observation that they themselves form a distinctive and recognizable clade current evidence can permit no greater precision as to their phylogenetic placement. We argue that this is too pessimistic a view, and conclude that evidence points towards vetulicolians being

  12. Survey of transcripts expressed by the invasive juvenile stage of the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica

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    Alvarez-Valín Fernando

    2010-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The common liver fluke Fasciola hepatica is the agent of a zoonosis with significant economic consequences in livestock production worldwide, and increasing relevance to human health in developing countries. Although flukicidal drugs are available, re-infection and emerging resistance are demanding new efficient and inexpensive control strategies. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the host-parasite interaction provide relevant clues in this search, while enlightening the physiological adaptations to parasitism. Genomics and transcriptomics are still in their infancy in F. hepatica, with very scarce information available from the invasive newly excysted juveniles (NEJ. Here we provide an initial glimpse to the transcriptomics of the NEJ, the first stage to interact with the mammalian host. Results We catalogued more than 500 clusters generated from the analysis of F. hepatica juvenile expressed sequence tags (EST, several of them not detected in the adult stage. A set of putative F. hepatica specific transcripts, and a group of sequences conserved exclusively in flatworms were identified. These novel sequences along with a set of parasite transcripts absent in the host genomes are putative new targets for future anti-parasitic drugs or vaccine development. Comparisons of the F. hepatica sequences with other metazoans genomes or EST databases were consistent with the basal positioning of flatworms in the bilaterian phylogeny. Notably, GC content, codon usage and amino acid frequencies are remarkably different in Schistosomes to F. hepatica and other trematodes. Functional annotation of predicted proteins showed a general representation of diverse biological functions. Besides proteases and antioxidant enzymes expected to participate in the early interaction with the host, various proteins involved in gene expression, protein synthesis, cell signaling and mitochondrial enzymes were identified. Differential

  13. Identification of a novel starfish neuropeptide that acts as a muscle relaxant.

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    Kim, Chan-Hee; Kim, Eun Jung; Go, Hye-Jin; Oh, Hye Young; Lin, Ming; Elphick, Maurice R; Park, Nam Gyu

    2016-04-01

    Neuropeptides that act as muscle relaxants have been identified in chordates and protostomian invertebrates but little is known about the molecular identity of neuropeptides that act as muscle relaxants in deuterostomian invertebrates (e.g. echinoderms) that are 'evolutionary intermediates' of chordates and protostomes. Here, we have used the apical muscle of the starfish Patiria pectinifera to assay for myorelaxants in extracts of this species. A hexadecapeptide with the amino acid sequence Phe-Gly-Lys-Gly-Gly-Ala-Tyr-Asp-Pro-Leu-Ser-Ala-Gly-Phe-Thr-Asp was identified and designated starfish myorelaxant peptide (SMP). Cloning and sequencing of a cDNA encoding the SMP precursor protein revealed that it comprises 12 copies of SMP as well as 3 peptides (7 copies in total) that are structurally related to SMP. Analysis of the expression of SMP precursor transcripts in P. pectinifera using qPCR revealed the highest expression in the radial nerve cords and lower expression levels in a range of neuromuscular tissues, including the apical muscle, tube feet and cardiac stomach. Consistent with these findings, SMP also caused relaxation of tube foot and cardiac stomach preparations. Furthermore, SMP caused relaxation of apical muscle preparations from another starfish species - Asterias amurensis. Collectively, these data indicate that SMP has a general physiological role as a muscle relaxant in starfish. Interestingly, comparison of the sequence of the SMP precursor with known neuropeptide precursors revealed that SMP belongs to a bilaterian family of neuropeptides that include molluscan pedal peptides (PP) and arthropodan orcokinins (OK). This is the first study to determine the function of a PP/OK-type peptide in a deuterostome. Pedal peptide/orcokinin (PP/OK)-type peptides are a family of structurally related neuropeptides that were first identified and functionally characterised in protostomian invertebrates. Here, we report the discovery of starfish myorelaxant

  14. A late origin of the extant eukaryotic diversity: divergence time estimates using rare genomic changes

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    Koonin Eugene V

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Accurate estimation of the divergence time of the extant eukaryotes is a fundamentally important but extremely difficult problem owing primarily to gross violations of the molecular clock at long evolutionary distances and the lack of appropriate calibration points close to the date of interest. These difficulties are intrinsic to the dating of ancient divergence events and are reflected in the large discrepancies between estimates obtained with different approaches. Estimates of the age of Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor (LECA vary approximately twofold, from ~1,100 million years ago (Mya to ~2,300 Mya. Results We applied the genome-wide analysis of rare genomic changes associated with conserved amino acids (RGC_CAs and used several independent techniques to obtain date estimates for the divergence of the major lineages of eukaryotes with calibration intervals for insects, land plants and vertebrates. The results suggest an early divergence of monocot and dicot plants, approximately 340 Mya, raising the possibility of plant-insect coevolution. The divergence of bilaterian animal phyla is estimated at ~400-700 Mya, a range of dates that is consistent with cladogenesis immediately preceding the Cambrian explosion. The origin of opisthokonts (the supergroup of eukaryotes that includes metazoa and fungi is estimated at ~700-1,000 Mya, and the age of LECA at ~1,000-1,300 Mya. We separately analyzed the red algal calibration interval which is based on single fossil. This analysis produced time estimates that were systematically older compared to the other estimates. Nevertheless, the majority of the estimates for the age of the LECA using the red algal data fell within the 1,200-1,400 Mya interval. Conclusion The inference of a "young LECA" is compatible with the latest of previously estimated dates and has substantial biological implications. If these estimates are valid, the approximately 1 to 1.4 billion years of evolution of

  15. Genome-wide identification of Schistosoma japonicum microRNAs using a deep-sequencing approach.

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    Jian Huang

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Human schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent and serious parasitic diseases worldwide. Schistosoma japonicum is one of important pathogens of this disease. MicroRNAs (miRNAs are a large group of non-coding RNAs that play important roles in regulating gene expression and protein translation in animals. Genome-wide identification of miRNAs in a given organism is a critical step to facilitating our understanding of genome organization, genome biology, evolution, and posttranscriptional regulation. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We sequenced two small RNA libraries prepared from different stages of the life cycle of S. japonicum, immature schistosomula and mature pairing adults, through a deep DNA sequencing approach, which yielded approximately 12 million high-quality short sequence reads containing a total of approximately 2 million non-redundant tags. Based on a bioinformatics pipeline, we identified 176 new S. japonicum miRNAs, of which some exhibited a differential pattern of expression between the two stages. Although 21 S. japonicum miRNAs are orthologs of known miRNAs within the metazoans, some nucleotides at many positions of Schistosoma miRNAs, such as miR-8, let-7, miR-10, miR-31, miR-92, miR-124, and miR-125, are indeed significantly distinct from other bilaterian orthologs. In addition, both miR-71 and some miR-2 family members in tandem are found to be clustered in a reversal direction model on two genomic loci, and two pairs of novel S. japonicum miRNAs were derived from sense and antisense DNA strands at the same genomic loci. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The collection of S. japonicum miRNAs could be used as a new platform to study the genomic structure, gene regulation and networks, evolutionary processes, development, and host-parasite interactions. Some S. japonicum miRNAs and their clusters could represent the ancestral forms of the conserved orthologues and a model for the genesis of novel miRNAs.

  16. Cleavage pattern and fate map of the mesentoblast, 4d, in the gastropod Crepidula: a hallmark of spiralian development

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    Lyons Deirdre C

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Animals with a spiral cleavage program, such as mollusks and annelids, make up the majority of the superphylum Lophotrochozoa. The great diversity of larval and adult body plans in this group emerges from this highly conserved developmental program. The 4d micromere is one of the most conserved aspects of spiralian development. Unlike the preceding pattern of spiral divisions, cleavages within the 4d teloblastic sublineages are bilateral, representing a critical transition towards constructing the bilaterian body plan. These cells give rise to the visceral mesoderm in virtually all spiralians examined and in many species they also contribute to the endodermal intestine. Hence, the 4d lineage is an ideal one for studying the evolution and diversification of the bipotential endomesodermal germ layer in protostomes at the level of individual cells. Little is known of how division patterns are controlled or how mesodermal and endodermal sublineages diverge in spiralians. Detailed modern fate maps for 4d exist in only a few species of clitellate annelids, specifically in glossiphoniid leeches and the sludge worm Tubifex. We investigated the 4d lineage in the gastropod Crepidula fornicata, an established model system for spiralian biology, and in a closely related direct-developing species, C. convexa. Results High-resolution cell lineage tracing techniques were used to study the 4d lineage of C. fornicata and C. convexa. We present a new nomenclature to name the progeny of 4d, and report the fate map for the sublineages up through the birth of the first five pairs of teloblast daughter cells (when 28 cells are present in the 4d sublineage, and describe each clone’s behavior during gastrulation and later stages as these undergo differentiation. We identify the precise origin of the intestine, two cells of the larval kidney complex, the larval retractor muscles and the presumptive germ cells, among others. Other tissues that arise

  17. A conserved cluster of three PRD-class homeobox genes (homeobrain, rx and orthopedia in the Cnidaria and Protostomia

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    Mazza Maureen E

    2010-07-01

    temporal expression. Conclusion We report the first evidence for a PRD-class homeobox cluster that appears to have been conserved since the time of the cnidarian-bilaterian ancestor, and possibly even earlier, given the presence of a partial cluster in the placozoan Trichoplax. Very similar clusters comprising these three genes exist in Nematostella and diverse protostomes. Interestingly, in chordates, one member of the ancestral cluster (homeobrain has apparently been lost, and there is no linkage between rx and orthopedia in any of the vertebrates. In Nematostella, the spatial expression of these three genes along the body column is not colinear with their physical order in the cluster but the temporal expression is, therefore, using the terminology that has been applied to the Hox cluster genes, the HRO cluster would appear to exhibit temporal but not spatial colinearity. It remains to be seen whether the mechanisms responsible for the evolutionary conservation of the HRO cluster are the same mechanisms responsible for cohesion of the Hox cluster and other ANTP-class homeobox clusters that have been widely conserved throughout animal evolution.

  18. Nearly complete rRNA genes from 371 Animalia: updated structure-based alignment and detailed phylogenetic analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallatt, Jon; Craig, Catherine Waggoner; Yoder, Matthew J

    2012-09-01

    This study presents a manually constructed alignment of nearly complete rRNA genes from most animal clades (371 taxa from ~33 of the ~36 metazoan phyla), expanded from the 197 sequences in a previous study. This thorough, taxon-rich alignment, available at http://www.wsu.edu/~jmallatt/research/rRNAalignment.html and in the Dryad Repository (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1v62kr3q), is based rigidly on the secondary structure of the SSU and LSU rRNA molecules, and is annotated in detail, including labeling of the erroneous sequences (contaminants). The alignment can be used for future studies of the molecular evolution of rRNA. Here, we use it to explore if the larger number of sequences produces an improved phylogenetic tree of animal relationships. Disappointingly, the resolution did not improve, neither when the standard maximum-likelihood method was used, nor with more sophisticated methods that partitioned the rRNA into paired and unpaired sites (stem, loop, bulge, junction), or accounted for the evolution of the paired sites. For example, no doublet model of paired-site substitutions (16-state, 16A and 16B, 7A-F, or 6A-C models) corrected the placement of any rogue taxa or increased resolution. The following findings are from the simplest, standard, ML analysis. The 371-taxon tree only imperfectly supported the bilaterian clades of Lophotrochozoa and Ecdysozoa, and this problem remained after 17 taxa with unstably positioned sequences were omitted from the analysis. The problem seems to stem from base-compositional heterogeneity across taxa and from an overrepresentation of highly divergent sequences among the newly added taxa (e.g., sequences from Cephalopoda, Rotifera, Acoela, and Myxozoa). The rogue taxa continue to concentrate in two locations in the rRNA tree: near the base of Arthropoda and of Bilateria. The approximately uncertain (AU) test refuted the monophyly of Mollusca and of Chordata, probably due to long-branch attraction of the highly