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Sample records for chordates

  1. Five longitudes in chordate body.

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    Kuznetsov, Alexander N

    2012-01-01

    The evolutionary scenario of chordate origin and body plan formation remains controversial. The existing theories explain very few chordate features besides the dorsal position of their central nervous system. An update of the morphological background can help to interpret new paleontological findings and to pose new molecular targets for further endeavor into the origin of chordates. In the present study, previously underestimated features of vertebrates are generalized, indicative of the presence in the evolution of chordates of a pentaradiate stage, commonly regarded as unique to echinoderms. Five longitudinal lines are distinguished in the trunk of chordates, comprising basic blueprint for ectoderm-mesoderm interactions. All the five can develop outgrowths, such as fin-folds, spines, scutes, limbs and nipples, or invaginations, such as neural tube and lateral line canals, and are regarded as representatives of the five radii of the ancestral pentaradiality. The long-standing theory of dorsoventral inversion at the bilateral evolutionary stage is discouraged. Instead, the hypothetical ancestral subphylum Pentachordata is introduced, characterized by five neural tubes and five muscular notochords. The morpho-functional analysis allows to restore pentachordates as sessile, but active sediment-feeders. Two problematic Precambrian and Lower Cambrian fossils are ascribed to pentachordates. An idea of experimental verification of the Pentachordata hypothesis is proposed.

  2. Hemichordates and the Origin of Chordates

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    Gerhart, John; Kirschner, Marc; Lowe, Chris

    2002-01-01

    At the start of the period of the NASA grant three years ago, we had no information on the organization and development of the body axis of the hemichordate, Saccoglossus kowalevskii. Now we have substantial findings about the anteroposterior axis and dorsoventral axis, and based on this information, we have new insights about the origin of chordates from ancestral deuterostomes. We found ways to obtain and preserve large numbers of embryos and hatched juveniles. We can now collect about 40,000 embryos in the month of September, the time of S. kowalevskii spawning at Woods Hole. Excellent cDNA libraries were prepared from three developmental stages. From these libraries, we directly isolated about 30 gene ortholog sequences by screening and pcr techniques, all of these sequences of interest in the inquiry about the animal's organization and development. We also performed a mid-sized EST project (60,000 randomly picked clones, many of these arrayed). About half of these have been analyzed so far by blastx and are suitable for direct use of clones. We have obtained about 50 interesting sequences from this set. The rest still await analysis. Thus, at this time we have isolated orthologs of 80 genes that are known to be expressed in chordates in conserved domains and known to have interesting roles in chordate organization and development. The orthology of the S. kowalevskii sequences has been verified by neighbor joining and parsimony methods, with bootstrap estimates of validity. The S. kowalevskii sequences cluster with other deuterostome sequences, namely, other hemichordates, echinoderms, ascidians, amphioxus, or vertebrates, depending on what sequences are available in the database for comparison. We have used these sequences to do high quality in situ hybridization on S. kowalevskii embryos, and the results can be divided into three sections-those concerning the anteroposterior axis of S. kowalevskii in comparison to the same axis of chordates, those concerning

  3. New Early Cambrian Chordates from Haikou, Kunming

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2001-01-01

    Two new chordates, Cathaymyrus haikouensis Luo et Hu sp. nov. andZhongxiniscus intermedius Luo et Hu gen. et sp. nov. are studied in this paper. Both display numerous S-shaped myomeres on their trunk. C. haikouensis shows a long and slim body similar to that of Cathaymyrus diadexus Shu et al., Zhongxiniscus approaches to Myllokunmingia and Haikouichthvs in the dorsal fin, but differs in the myomeres. Zhongxiniscus may be the intermediate form between Ca thaymyrus and Myllokunmingia and Haikouichthys.

  4. The evolution of dopamine systems in chordates

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    Kei eYamamoto

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Dopamine (DA neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS is found throughout chordates, and its emergence predates the divergence of chordates. Many of the molecular components of DA systems, such as biosynthetic enzymes, transporters and receptors, are shared with those of other monoamine systems, suggesting the common origin of these systems. In the mammalian CNS, the DA neurotransmitter systems are diversified and serve for visual and olfactory perception, sensory-motor programming, motivation, memory, emotion, and endocrine regulations. Some of the functions are conserved among different vertebrate groups, while others are not, and this is reflected in the anatomical aspects of DA systems in the forebrain and midbrain. Recent findings concerning a second tyrosine hydroxylase gene (TH2 revealed new populations of DA synthesizing cells, as evidenced in the periventricular hypothalamic zones of teleost fish. It is likely that the ancestor of vertebrates possessed TH2 DA-synthesizing cells, and the TH2 gene has been lost secondarily in placental mammals. All the vertebrates possess DA cells in the olfactory bulb, retina and in the diencephalon. Midbrain DA cells are abundant in amniotes while absent in some groups, e.g. teleosts. Studies of protochordate DA cells suggest that the diencephalic DA cells were present before the divergence of the chordate lineage. In contrast, the midbrain cell populations have probably emerged in the vertebrate lineage following the development of the midbrain-hindbrain boundary. The functional flexibility of the DA systems, and the evolvability provided by duplication of the corresponding genes permitted a large diversification of these systems. These features were instrumental in the adaptation of brain functions to the very variable way of life of vertebrates.

  5. The evolution of dopamine systems in chordates.

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    Yamamoto, Kei; Vernier, Philippe

    2011-01-01

    Dopamine (DA) neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS) is found throughout chordates, and its emergence predates the divergence of chordates. Many of the molecular components of DA systems, such as biosynthetic enzymes, transporters, and receptors, are shared with those of other monoamine systems, suggesting the common origin of these systems. In the mammalian CNS, the DA neurotransmitter systems are diversified and serve for visual and olfactory perception, sensory-motor programming, motivation, memory, emotion, and endocrine regulations. Some of the functions are conserved among different vertebrate groups, while others are not, and this is reflected in the anatomical aspects of DA systems in the forebrain and midbrain. Recent findings concerning a second tyrosine hydroxylase gene (TH2) revealed new populations of DA-synthesizing cells, as evidenced in the periventricular hypothalamic zones of teleost fish. It is likely that the ancestor of vertebrates possessed TH2 DA-synthesizing cells, and the TH2 gene has been lost secondarily in placental mammals. All the vertebrates possess DA cells in the olfactory bulb, retina, and in the diencephalon. Midbrain DA cells are abundant in amniotes while absent in some groups, e.g., teleosts. Studies of protochordate DA cells suggest that the diencephalic DA cells were present before the divergence of the chordate lineage. In contrast, the midbrain cell populations have probably emerged in the vertebrate lineage following the development of the midbrain-hindbrain boundary. The functional flexibility of the DA systems, and the evolvability provided by duplication of the corresponding genes permitted a large diversification of these systems. These features were instrumental in the adaptation of brain functions to the very variable way of life of vertebrates.

  6. The amphioxus genome and the evolution of the chordate karyotype

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    Putnam, Nicholas H.; Butts, Thomas; Ferrier, David E.K.; Furlong, Rebecca F.; Hellsten, Uffe; Kawashima, Takeshi; Robinson-Rechavi, Marc; Shoguchi, Eiichi; Terry, Astrid; Yu, Jr-Kai; Benito-Gutierrez, Elia; Dubchak, Inna; Garcia-Fernandez, Jordi; Gibson-Brown, Jeremy J.; Grigoriev, Igor V.; Horton, Amy C.; de Jong, Pieter J.; Jurka, Jerzy; Kapitonov, Vladimir; Kohara, Yuji; Kuroki, Yoko; Lindquist, Erika; Lucas, Susan; Osoegawa, Kazutoyo; Pennacchio, Len A.; Salamov, Asaf A.; Satou, Yutaka; Sauka-Spengler, Tatjana; Schmutz[, Jeremy; Shin-I, Tadasu; Toyoda, Atsushi; Bronner-Fraser, Marianne; Fujiyama, Asao; Holland, Linda Z.; Holland, Peter W. H.; Satoh, Nori; Rokhsar, Daniel S.

    2008-04-01

    Lancelets ('amphioxus') are the modern survivors of an ancient chordate lineage with a fossil record dating back to the Cambrian. We describe the structure and gene content of the highly polymorphic {approx}520 million base pair genome of the Florida lancelet Branchiostoma floridae, and analyze it in the context of chordate evolution. Whole genome comparisons illuminate the murky relationships among the three chordate groups (tunicates, lancelets, and vertebrates), and allow reconstruction of not only the gene complement of the last common chordate ancestor, but also a partial reconstruction of its genomic organization, as well as a description of two genome-wide duplications and subsequent reorganizations in the vertebrate lineage. These genome-scale events shaped the vertebrate genome and provided additional genetic variation for exploitation during vertebrate evolution.

  7. Dorsoventral patterning in hemichordates: insights into early chordate evolution.

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    Christopher J Lowe

    2006-09-01

    Full Text Available We have compared the dorsoventral development of hemichordates and chordates to deduce the organization of their common ancestor, and hence to identify the evolutionary modifications of the chordate body axis after the lineages split. In the hemichordate embryo, genes encoding bone morphogenetic proteins (Bmp 2/4 and 5/8, as well as several genes for modulators of Bmp activity, are expressed in a thin stripe of ectoderm on one midline, historically called "dorsal." On the opposite midline, the genes encoding Chordin and Anti-dorsalizing morphogenetic protein (Admp are expressed. Thus, we find a Bmp-Chordin developmental axis preceding and underlying the anatomical dorsoventral axis of hemichordates, adding to the evidence from Drosophila and chordates that this axis may be at least as ancient as the first bilateral animals. Numerous genes encoding transcription factors and signaling ligands are expressed in the three germ layers of hemichordate embryos in distinct dorsoventral domains, such as pox neuro, pituitary homeobox, distalless, and tbx2/3 on the Bmp side and netrin, mnx, mox, and single-minded on the Chordin-Admp side. When we expose the embryo to excess Bmp protein, or when we deplete endogenous Bmp by small interfering RNA injections, these expression domains expand or contract, reflecting their activation or repression by Bmp, and the embryos develop as dorsalized or ventralized limit forms. Dorsoventral patterning is independent of anterior/posterior patterning, as in Drosophila but not chordates. Unlike both chordates and Drosophila, neural gene expression in hemichordates is not repressed by high Bmp levels, consistent with their development of a diffuse rather than centralized nervous system. We suggest that the common ancestor of hemichordates and chordates did not use its Bmp-Chordin axis to segregate epidermal and neural ectoderm but to pattern many other dorsoventral aspects of the germ layers, including neural cell fates

  8. Retinoic acid signaling and the evolution of chordates

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    2006-04-01

    Full Text Available In chordates, which comprise urochordates, cephalochordates and vertebrates, the vitamin A-derived morphogen retinoic acid (RA has a pivotal role during development. Altering levels of endogenous RA signaling during early embryology leads to severe malformations, mainly due to incorrect positional codes specifying the embryonic anteroposterior body axis. In this review, we present our current understanding of the RA signaling pathway and its roles during chordate development. In particular, we focus on the conserved roles of RA and its downstream mediators, the Hox genes, in conveying positional patterning information to different embryonic tissues, such as the endoderm and the central nervous system. We find that some of the control mechanisms governing RA-mediated patterning are well conserved between vertebrates and invertebrate chordates, such as the cephalochordate amphioxus. In contrast, outside the chordates, evidence for roles of RA signaling is scarce and the evolutionary origin of the RA pathway itself thus remains elusive. In sum, to fully understand the evolutionary history of the RA pathway, future research should focus on identification and study of components of the RA signaling cascade in non-chordate deuterostomes (such as hemichordates and echinoderms and other invertebrates, such as insects, mollusks and cnidarians.

  9. Anteroposterior patterning in hemichordates and the origins of the chordate nervous system

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    Lowe, Christopher J.; Wu, Mike; Salic, Adrian; Evans, Louise; Lander, Eric; Stange-Thomann, Nicole; Gruber, Christian E.; Gerhart, John; Kirschner, Marc

    2003-01-01

    The chordate central nervous system has been hypothesized to originate from either a dorsal centralized, or a ventral centralized, or a noncentralized nervous system of a deuterostome ancestor. In an effort to resolve these issues, we examined the hemichordate Saccoglossus kowalevskii and studied the expression of orthologs of genes that are involved in patterning the chordate central nervous system. All 22 orthologs studied are expressed in the ectoderm in an anteroposterior arrangement nearly identical to that found in chordates. Domain topography is conserved between hemichordates and chordates despite the fact that hemichordates have a diffuse nerve net, whereas chordates have a centralized system. We propose that the deuterostome ancestor may have had a diffuse nervous system, which was later centralized during the evolution of the chordate lineage.

  10. Evolution of the reproductive endocrine system in chordates.

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    Kubokawa, Kaoru; Tando, Yukiko; Roy, Sonali

    2010-07-01

    The cephalochordate, amphioxus, is phylogenetically placed at the most primitive position in the chordate clade. Despite many studies on the endocrine system of amphioxus, definitive evidence has not been reported for the presence an endocrine system comparable to the pituitary-gonadal axis, which is important in the regulation of reproduction in vertebrates. Recent genome analyses in the amphioxus, Branchiostoma floridae, showed that it does not have any pituitary hormone genes except the thyrostimulin gene. Thyrostimulin is a heterodimeric glycoprotein hormone consisting of α and β subunits, and is present in various organs of vertebrates. Analyses of a phylogenetic tree and a synteny suggest that amphioxus' thyrostimulin is an ancestral type of the glycoprotein hormones in chordates. In addition, genes for sex steroidogenic enzymes belonging to the CYP family were found in the genome sequences. The conversion pathway of sex steroids from cholesterol to estrogen, androgen, and major sex steroids was also identified in the gonads of amphioxus in vitro. Furthermore, we demonstrated the expression of genes encoding thyrostimulin and sex steroidogenic enzymes by an in situ hybridization technique. Here, we discuss the evolution of hormones and reproductive functions in the neuroendocrine control system of chordates.

  11. Facts and fancies about early fossil chordates and vertebrates.

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    Janvier, Philippe

    2015-04-23

    The interrelationships between major living vertebrate, and even chordate, groups are now reasonably well resolved thanks to a large amount of generally congruent data derived from molecular sequences, anatomy and physiology. But fossils provide unexpected combinations of characters that help us to understand how the anatomy of modern groups was progressively shaped over millions of years. The dawn of vertebrates is documented by fossils that are preserved as either soft-tissue imprints, or minute skeletal fragments, and it is sometimes difficult for palaeontologists to tell which of them are reliable vertebrate remains and which merely reflect our idea of an ancestral vertebrate.

  12. Gridded genomic libraries of different chordate species: a reference library system for basic and comparative genetic studies of chordate genomes.

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    Burgtorf, C; Welzel, K; Hasenbank, R; Zehetner, G; Weis, S; Lehrach, H

    1998-09-01

    The use of genomic libraries maintained in arrayed format is becoming a more and more popular tool for the analysis of molecular evolution and comparative molecular development. Being able to use already existing reference libraries considerably reduces the work load, and if results are made publicly available, it will facilitate in silica experiments in the future. Here we describe the construction and preliminary characterization of six cosmid libraries of different chordate species, Ciona intestinalis (Hemichordate), Branchiostoma floridae (Cephalochordate), Lampetra fluviatilis (Cyclostoma), Xiphophorus maculatus, and Danio rerio (Osteichthyes) in Lawrist7 and Fugu rubripes in Lawrist4.

  13. Early Chordate Origins of the Vertebrate Second Heart Field

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    Stolfi, Alberto; Gainous, T. Blair; Young, John J.; Mori, Alessandro; Levine, Michael; Christiaen, Lionel

    2016-01-01

    The vertebrate heart is formed from diverse embryonic territories, including the first and second heart fields. The second heart field (SHF) gives rise to the right ventricle and outflow tract, yet its evolutionary origins are unclear. We found that heart progenitor cells of the simple chordate Ciona intestinalis also generate precursors of the atrial siphon muscles (ASMs). These precursors express Islet and Tbx1/10, evocative of the splanchnic mesoderm that produces the lower jaw muscles and SHF of vertebrates. Evidence is presented that the transcription factor COE is a critical determinant of ASM fate. We propose that the last common ancestor of tunicates and vertebrates possessed multipotent cardiopharyngeal muscle precursors, and that their reallocation might have contributed to the emergence of the SHF. PMID:20671188

  14. Vertebrate-like regeneration in the invertebrate chordate amphioxus.

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    Somorjai, Ildikó M L; Somorjai, Rajmund L; Garcia-Fernàndez, Jordi; Escrivà, Hector

    2012-01-10

    An important question in biology is why some animals are able to regenerate, whereas others are not. The basal chordate amphioxus is uniquely positioned to address the evolution of regeneration. We report here the high regeneration potential of the European amphioxus Branchiostoma lanceolatum. Adults regenerate both anterior and posterior structures, including neural tube, notochord, fin, and muscle. Development of a classifier based on tail regeneration profiles predicts the assignment of young and old adults to their own class with >94% accuracy. The process involves loss of differentiated characteristics, formation of an msx-expressing blastema, and neurogenesis. Moreover, regeneration is linked to the activation of satellite-like Pax3/7 progenitor cells, the extent of which declines with size and age. Our results provide a framework for understanding the evolution and diversity of regeneration mechanisms in vertebrates.

  15. The genome sequence of the colonial chordate, Botryllus schlosseri

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    Voskoboynik, Ayelet; Neff, Norma F; Sahoo, Debashis; Newman, Aaron M; Pushkarev, Dmitry; Koh, Winston; Passarelli, Benedetto; Fan, H Christina; Mantalas, Gary L; Palmeri, Karla J; Ishizuka, Katherine J; Gissi, Carmela; Griggio, Francesca; Ben-Shlomo, Rachel; Corey, Daniel M; Penland, Lolita; White, Richard A; Weissman, Irving L; Quake, Stephen R

    2013-01-01

    Botryllus schlosseri is a colonial urochordate that follows the chordate plan of development following sexual reproduction, but invokes a stem cell-mediated budding program during subsequent rounds of asexual reproduction. As urochordates are considered to be the closest living invertebrate relatives of vertebrates, they are ideal subjects for whole genome sequence analyses. Using a novel method for high-throughput sequencing of eukaryotic genomes, we sequenced and assembled 580 Mbp of the B. schlosseri genome. The genome assembly is comprised of nearly 14,000 intron-containing predicted genes, and 13,500 intron-less predicted genes, 40% of which could be confidently parceled into 13 (of 16 haploid) chromosomes. A comparison of homologous genes between B. schlosseri and other diverse taxonomic groups revealed genomic events underlying the evolution of vertebrates and lymphoid-mediated immunity. The B. schlosseri genome is a community resource for studying alternative modes of reproduction, natural transplantation reactions, and stem cell-mediated regeneration. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00569.001 PMID:23840927

  16. Symmetry breaking and convergent extension in early chordate development.

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    Schiffmann, Yoram

    2006-10-01

    The initiation of axis, polarity, cell differentiation, and gastrulation in the very early chordate development is due to the breaking of radial symmetry. It is believed that this occurs by an external signal. We suggest instead spontaneous symmetry breaking through the agency of the Turing-Child field. Increased size or decreased diffusivity, both brought about by mitotic activity, cause the spontaneous loss of stability of the homogeneous state and the evolution of the metabolic pattern during development. The polar metabolic pattern is the cause of polar gene expression, polar morphogenesis (gastrulation), and polar mitotic activity. The Turing-Child theory explains not only the spontaneous formation of the invagination in gastrulation but also the coherent cell movement observed in convergence and extension during gastrulation and neurulation. The theory is demonstrated with respect to experimental observations on the early development of fish, amphibian, and the chick. The theory can explain a multitude of experimental details. For example, it explains the splayed polar progression of reduction in the fish blastoderm. Reduction starts on that side of the blastoderm margin, which will initiate invagination several hours later. It progresses toward the blastoderm center and somewhat laterally from this future "dorsal lip". This is precisely as predicted by a Turing-Child system in a circle. And for a fish like zebrafish with a blastoderm that is slightly oval, reduction is observed to progress along the long axis of the ellipse, which is what Turing-Child theory predicts. In general the shape and the chemical nature of the experimental patterns are the same as predicted by the Turing couple (cAMP, ATP). Embryological polarity and convergent extension are based on polar eigenfunction and saddle-shaped eigenfunction, respectively.

  17. Parallel evolution of chordate cis-regulatory code for development.

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    Laura Doglio

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Urochordates are the closest relatives of vertebrates and at the larval stage, possess a characteristic bilateral chordate body plan. In vertebrates, the genes that orchestrate embryonic patterning are in part regulated by highly conserved non-coding elements (CNEs, yet these elements have not been identified in urochordate genomes. Consequently the evolution of the cis-regulatory code for urochordate development remains largely uncharacterised. Here, we use genome-wide comparisons between C. intestinalis and C. savignyi to identify putative urochordate cis-regulatory sequences. Ciona conserved non-coding elements (ciCNEs are associated with largely the same key regulatory genes as vertebrate CNEs. Furthermore, some of the tested ciCNEs are able to activate reporter gene expression in both zebrafish and Ciona embryos, in a pattern that at least partially overlaps that of the gene they associate with, despite the absence of sequence identity. We also show that the ability of a ciCNE to up-regulate gene expression in vertebrate embryos can in some cases be localised to short sub-sequences, suggesting that functional cross-talk may be defined by small regions of ancestral regulatory logic, although functional sub-sequences may also be dispersed across the whole element. We conclude that the structure and organisation of cis-regulatory modules is very different between vertebrates and urochordates, reflecting their separate evolutionary histories. However, functional cross-talk still exists because the same repertoire of transcription factors has likely guided their parallel evolution, exploiting similar sets of binding sites but in different combinations.

  18. Evolution of a core gene network for skeletogenesis in chordates.

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    Jochen Hecht

    2008-03-01

    Full Text Available The skeleton is one of the most important features for the reconstruction of vertebrate phylogeny but few data are available to understand its molecular origin. In mammals the Runt genes are central regulators of skeletogenesis. Runx2 was shown to be essential for osteoblast differentiation, tooth development, and bone formation. Both Runx2 and Runx3 are essential for chondrocyte maturation. Furthermore, Runx2 directly regulates Indian hedgehog expression, a master coordinator of skeletal development. To clarify the correlation of Runt gene evolution and the emergence of cartilage and bone in vertebrates, we cloned the Runt genes from hagfish as representative of jawless fish (MgRunxA, MgRunxB and from dogfish as representative of jawed cartilaginous fish (ScRunx1-3. According to our phylogenetic reconstruction the stem species of chordates harboured a single Runt gene and thereafter Runt locus duplications occurred during early vertebrate evolution. All newly isolated Runt genes were expressed in cartilage according to quantitative PCR. In situ hybridisation confirmed high MgRunxA expression in hard cartilage of hagfish. In dogfish ScRunx2 and ScRunx3 were expressed in embryonal cartilage whereas all three Runt genes were detected in teeth and placoid scales. In cephalochordates (lancelets Runt, Hedgehog and SoxE were strongly expressed in the gill bars and expression of Runt and Hedgehog was found in endo- as well as ectodermal cells. Furthermore we demonstrate that the lancelet Runt protein binds to Runt binding sites in the lancelet Hedgehog promoter and regulates its activity. Together, these results suggest that Runt and Hedgehog were part of a core gene network for cartilage formation, which was already active in the gill bars of the common ancestor of cephalochordates and vertebrates and diversified after Runt duplications had occurred during vertebrate evolution. The similarities in expression patterns of Runt genes support the view

  19. Evolutionary patterns of RNA-based duplication in non-mammalian chordates.

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    Ming Chen

    Full Text Available The role of RNA-based duplication, or retroposition, in the evolution of new gene functions in mammals, plants, and Drosophila has been widely reported. However, little is known about RNA-based duplication in non-mammalian chordates. In this study, we screened ten non-mammalian chordate genomes for retrocopies and investigated their evolutionary patterns. We identified numerous retrocopies in these species. Examination of the age distribution of these retrocopies revealed no burst of young retrocopies in ancient chordate species. Upon comparing these non-mammalian chordate species to the mammalian species, we observed that a larger fraction of the non-mammalian retrocopies was under strong evolutionary constraints than mammalian retrocopies are, as evidenced by signals of purifying selection and expression profiles. For the Western clawed frog, Medaka, and Sea squirt, many retrogenes have evolved gonad and brain expression patterns, similar to what was observed in human. Testing of retrogene movement in the Medaka genome, where the nascent sex chrosomes have been well assembled, did not reveal any significant gene movement. Taken together, our analyses demonstrate that RNA-based duplication generates many functional genes and can make a significant contribution to the evolution of non-mammalian genomes.

  20. Modeling RNA polymerase interaction in mitochondria of chordates

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    Lyubetsky Vassily A

    2012-08-01

    selected genes only relative RNA concentrations have been experimentally determined. Conversely, these characteristics and absolute transcription levels can be obtained using relative RNA concentrations and RNA half-lives known from various experimental studies. In this case, the “inverse problem” is solved with multi-objective optimization. Conclusions In this study, we demonstrate that our model accurately reproduces all relevant experimental data available for plant plastids, as well as the mitochondria of chordates. Using experimental data, the model is applied to estimate binding intensities of phage-type RNA polymerases to their promoters as well as predicting terminator characteristics, including polarization. In addition, one can predict characteristics of phage-type RNA polymerases and the transcription process that are difficult to measure directly, e.g., the association between the promoter’s nucleotide composition and the intensity of polymerase binding. To illustrate the application of our model in functional predictions, we propose a possible mechanism for MELAS syndrome development in human involving a decrease of Phe-tRNA, Val-tRNA and rRNA concentrations in the cell. In addition, we describe how changes in methylation patterns of the mTERF binding site and three promoters in hypothyroid rat correlate with changes in intensities of the mTERF binding and transcription initiations. Finally, we introduce an auxiliary model to describe the interaction between polysomal mRNA and ribonucleases.

  1. The Middle Cambrian fossil Pikaia and the evolution of chordate swimming

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    Lacalli Thurston

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Conway Morris and Caron (2012 have recently published an account of virtually all the available information on Pikaia gracilens, a well-known Cambrian fossil and supposed basal chordate, and propose on this basis some new ideas about Pikaia’s anatomy and evolutionary significance. Chief among its chordate-like features are the putative myomeres, a regular series of vertical bands that extends the length of the body. These differ from the myomeres of living chordates in that boundaries between them (the myosepta are gently curved, with minimal overlap, whereas amphioxus and vertebrates have strongly overlapping V- and W-shaped myomeres. The implication, on biomechanical grounds, is that myomeres in Pikaia exerted much less tension on the myosepta, so the animal would have been incapable of swimming as rapidly as living chordates operating in the fast-twitch mode used for escape and attack. Pikaia either lacked the fast-twitch fibers necessary for such speeds, having instead only slow-twitch fibers, or it had an ancestral fiber type with functional capabilities more like modern slow fibers than fast ones. The first option is supported by the sequence of development in zebrafish, where both myoseptum formation and fast fiber deployment show a dependence on slow fibers, which develop first. For Pikaia, the absence of fast fibers has both behavioral and anatomical implications, which are discussed. Among the latter is the possibility that a notochord may not have been needed as a primary stiffening device if other structures (for example, the dorsal organ could perform that role.

  2. Evolution of the Role of RA and FGF Signals in the Control of Somitogenesis in Chordates.

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    Bertrand, Stéphanie; Aldea, Daniel; Oulion, Silvan; Subirana, Lucie; de Lera, Angel R; Somorjai, Ildiko; Escriva, Hector

    2015-01-01

    During vertebrate development, the paraxial mesoderm becomes segmented, forming somites that will give rise to dermis, axial skeleton and skeletal muscles. Although recently challenged, the "clock and wavefront" model for somitogenesis explains how interactions between several cell-cell communication pathways, including the FGF, RA, Wnt and Notch signals, control the formation of these bilateral symmetric blocks. In the cephalochordate amphioxus, which belongs to the chordate phylum together with tunicates and vertebrates, the dorsal paraxial mesendoderm also periodically forms somites, although this process is asymmetric and extends along the whole body. It has been previously shown that the formation of the most anterior somites in amphioxus is dependent upon FGF signalling. However, the signals controlling somitogenesis during posterior elongation in amphioxus are still unknown. Here we show that, contrary to vertebrates, RA and FGF signals act independently during posterior elongation and that they are not mandatory for posterior somites to form. Moreover, we show that RA is not able to buffer the left/right asymmetry machinery that is controlled through the asymmetric expression of Nodal pathway actors. Our results give new insights into the evolution of the somitogenesis process in chordates. They suggest that RA and FGF pathways have acquired specific functions in the control of somitogenesis in vertebrates. We propose that the "clock and wavefront" system was selected specifically in vertebrates in parallel to the development of more complex somite-derived structures but that it was not required for somitogenesis in the ancestor of chordates.

  3. SOXE neofunctionalization and elaboration of the neural crest during chordate evolution

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    Tai, Andrew; Cheung, Martin; Huang, Yong-Heng; Jauch, Ralf; Bronner, Marianne E.; Cheah, Kathryn S. E.

    2016-01-01

    During chordate evolution, two genome-wide duplications facilitated acquisition of vertebrate traits, including emergence of neural crest cells (NCCs), in which neofunctionalization of the duplicated genes are thought to have facilitated development of craniofacial structures and the peripheral nervous system. How these duplicated genes evolve and acquire the ability to specify NC and their derivatives are largely unknown. Vertebrate SoxE paralogues, most notably Sox9/10, are essential for NC induction, delamination and lineage specification. In contrast, the basal chordate, amphioxus, has a single SoxE gene and lacks NC-like cells. Here, we test the hypothesis that duplication and divergence of an ancestral SoxE gene may have facilitated elaboration of NC lineages. By using an in vivo expression assay to compare effects of AmphiSoxE and vertebrate Sox9 on NC development, we demonstrate that all SOXE proteins possess similar DNA binding and homodimerization properties and can induce NCCs. However, AmphiSOXE is less efficient than SOX9 in transactivation activity and in the ability to preferentially promote glial over neuronal fate, a difference that lies within the combined properties of amino terminal and transactivation domains. We propose that acquisition of AmphiSoxE expression in the neural plate border led to NCC emergence while duplication and divergence produced advantageous mutations in vertebrate homologues, promoting elaboration of NC traits. PMID:27734831

  4. 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.

  5. A conserved non-reproductive GnRH system in chordates.

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    Takehiro G Kusakabe

    Full Text Available Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH is a neuroendocrine peptide that plays a central role in the vertebrate hypothalamo-pituitary axis. The roles of GnRH in the control of vertebrate reproductive functions have been established, while its non-reproductive function has been suggested but less well understood. Here we show that the tunicate Ciona intestinalis has in its non-reproductive larval stage a prominent GnRH system spanning the entire length of the nervous system. Tunicate GnRH receptors are phylogenetically closest to vertebrate GnRH receptors, yet functional analysis of the receptors revealed that these simple chordates have evolved a unique GnRH system with multiple ligands and receptor heterodimerization enabling complex regulation. One of the gnrh genes is conspicuously expressed in the motor ganglion and nerve cord, which are homologous structures to the hindbrain and spinal cord of vertebrates. Correspondingly, GnRH receptor genes were found to be expressed in the tail muscle and notochord of embryos, both of which are phylotypic axial structures along the nerve cord. Our findings suggest a novel non-reproductive role of GnRH in tunicates. Furthermore, we present evidence that GnRH-producing cells are present in the hindbrain and spinal cord of the medaka, Oryzias latipes, thereby suggesting the deep evolutionary origin of a non-reproductive GnRH system in chordates.

  6. Evolutionary history of chordate PAX genes: dynamics of change in a complex gene family.

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    Vanessa Rodrigues Paixão-Côrtes

    Full Text Available Paired box (PAX genes are transcription factors that play important roles in embryonic development. Although the PAX gene family occurs in animals only, it is widely distributed. Among the vertebrates, its 9 genes appear to be the product of complete duplication of an original set of 4 genes, followed by an additional partial duplication. Although some studies of PAX genes have been conducted, no comprehensive survey of these genes across the entire taxonomic unit has yet been attempted. In this study, we conducted a detailed comparison of PAX sequences from 188 chordates, which revealed restricted variation. The absence of PAX4 and PAX8 among some species of reptiles and birds was notable; however, all 9 genes were present in all 74 mammalian genomes investigated. A search for signatures of selection indicated that all genes are subject to purifying selection, with a possible constraint relaxation in PAX4, PAX7, and PAX8. This result indicates asymmetric evolution of PAX family genes, which can be associated with the emergence of adaptive novelties in the chordate evolutionary trajectory.

  7. 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

  8. Gut-spilling in chordates: evisceration in the tropical ascidian Polycarpa mytiligera.

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    Shenkar, Noa; Gordon, Tal

    2015-04-16

    The ejection of internal organs, i.e., evisceration, is a well-known phenomenon in sea-cucumbers. We report the ability of a member of the Chordate phyla, the tropical ascidian Polycarpa mytiligera, to eviscerate and regenerate its gut within 12 days, and to rebuild its branchial sac within 19 days. Evisceration occurred within 4-43 seconds of gentle mechanical pressure exerted on the tunic in 47% of the tested P. mytiligera. Individuals were able to discard up to 3/4 of their digestive tract via the incurrent siphon by rupture of the branchial sac in this area. Although chemical analysis revealed no significant levels of toxic compounds, the eviscerated guts were unpalatable to the triggerfish and pufferfish on which they were tested, suggesting evisceration as a defense mechanism. Given the close affinity of ascidians to vertebrates, the regeneration pathway of the viscera and branchial sac of ascidians suggests its potential beneficial application in soft tissue regeneration research.

  9. A glycine receptor is involved in the organization of swimming movements in an invertebrate chordate

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    Okamura Yasushi

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Rhythmic motor patterns for locomotion in vertebrates are generated in spinal cord neural networks known as spinal Central Pattern Generators (CPGs. A key element in pattern generation is the role of glycinergic synaptic transmission by interneurons that cross the cord midline and inhibit contralaterally-located excitatory neurons. The glycinergic inhibitory drive permits alternating and precisely timed motor output during locomotion such as walking or swimming. To understand better the evolution of this system we examined the physiology of the neural network controlling swimming in an invertebrate chordate relative of vertebrates, the ascidian larva Ciona intestinalis. Results A reduced preparation of the larva consisting of nerve cord and motor ganglion generates alternating swimming movements. Pharmacological and genetic manipulation of glycine receptors shows that they are implicated in the control of these locomotory movements. Morphological molecular techniques and heterologous expression experiments revealed that glycine receptors are inhibitory and are present on both motoneurones and locomotory muscle while putative glycinergic interneurons were identified in the nerve cord by labeling with an anti-glycine antibody. Conclusions In Ciona intestinalis, glycine receptors, glycinergic transmission and putative glycinergic interneurons, have a key role in coordinating swimming movements through a simple CPG that is present in the motor ganglion and nerve cord. Thus, the strong association between glycine receptors and vertebrate locomotory networks may now be extended to include the phylum chordata. The results suggest that the basic network for 'spinal-like' locomotion is likely to have existed in the common ancestor of extant chordates some 650 M years ago.

  10. The synapsin gene family in basal chordates: evolutionary perspectives in metazoans

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    De Bernardi Fiorenza

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Synapsins are neuronal phosphoproteins involved in several functions correlated with both neurotransmitter release and synaptogenesis. The comprehension of the basal role of the synapsin family is hampered in vertebrates by the existence of multiple synapsin genes. Therefore, studying homologous genes in basal chordates, devoid of genome duplication, could help to achieve a better understanding of the complex functions of these proteins. Results In this study we report the cloning and characterization of the Ciona intestinalis and amphioxus Branchiostoma floridae synapsin transcripts and the definition of their gene structure using available C. intestinalis and B. floridae genomic sequences. We demonstrate the occurrence, in both model organisms, of a single member of the synapsin gene family. Full-length synapsin genes were identified in the recently sequenced genomes of phylogenetically diverse metazoans. Comparative genome analysis reveals extensive conservation of the SYN locus in several metazoans. Moreover, developmental expression studies underline that synapsin is a neuronal-specific marker in basal chordates and is expressed in several cell types of PNS and in many, if not all, CNS neurons. Conclusion Our study demonstrates that synapsin genes are metazoan genes present in a single copy per genome, except for vertebrates. Moreover, we hypothesize that, during the evolution of synapsin proteins, new domains are added at different stages probably to cope up with the increased complexity in the nervous system organization. Finally, we demonstrate that protochordate synapsin is restricted to the post-mitotic phase of CNS development and thereby is a good marker of postmitotic neurons.

  11. Conservation and diversification of an ancestral chordate gene regulatory network for dorsoventral patterning.

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    Iryna Kozmikova

    Full Text Available Formation of a dorsoventral axis is a key event in the early development of most animal embryos. It is well established that bone morphogenetic proteins (Bmps and Wnts are key mediators of dorsoventral patterning in vertebrates. In the cephalochordate amphioxus, genes encoding Bmps and transcription factors downstream of Bmp signaling such as Vent are expressed in patterns reminiscent of those of their vertebrate orthologues. However, the key question is whether the conservation of expression patterns of network constituents implies conservation of functional network interactions, and if so, how an increased functional complexity can evolve. Using heterologous systems, namely by reporter gene assays in mammalian cell lines and by transgenesis in medaka fish, we have compared the gene regulatory network implicated in dorsoventral patterning of the basal chordate amphioxus and vertebrates. We found that Bmp but not canonical Wnt signaling regulates promoters of genes encoding homeodomain proteins AmphiVent1 and AmphiVent2. Furthermore, AmphiVent1 and AmphiVent2 promoters appear to be correctly regulated in the context of a vertebrate embryo. Finally, we show that AmphiVent1 is able to directly repress promoters of AmphiGoosecoid and AmphiChordin genes. Repression of genes encoding dorsal-specific signaling molecule Chordin and transcription factor Goosecoid by Xenopus and zebrafish Vent genes represents a key regulatory interaction during vertebrate axis formation. Our data indicate high evolutionary conservation of a core Bmp-triggered gene regulatory network for dorsoventral patterning in chordates and suggest that co-option of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway for dorsoventral patterning in vertebrates represents one of the innovations through which an increased morphological complexity of vertebrate embryo is achieved.

  12. Molecular signatures that are distinctive characteristics of the vertebrates and chordates and supporting a grouping of vertebrates with the tunicates.

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    Gupta, Radhey S

    2016-01-01

    Members of the phylum Chordata and the subphylum Vertebrata are presently distinguished solely on the basis of morphological characteristics. The relationship of the vertebrates to the two non-vertebrate chordate subphyla is also a subject of debate. Analyses of protein sequences have identified multiple conserved signature indels (CSIs) that are specific for Chordata or for Vertebrata. Five CSIs in 4 important proteins are specific for the Vertebrata, whereas two other CSIs are uniquely found in all sequenced chordate species including Ciona intestinalis and Oikapleura dioica (Tunicates) as well as Branchiostoma floridae (Cephalochordates). The shared presence of these molecular signatures by all vertebrates/chordate species, but in no other animal taxa, strongly indicates that the genetic changes represented by the identified CSIs diagnose monophyletic groups. Two other discovered CSIs are uniquely shared by different vertebrate species and by either one (Ciona intestinalis) or both tunicate (Ciona and Oikapleura) species, but they are not found in Branchiostoma or other animal species. Specific presence of these CSIs in different vertebrates and either one or both tunicate species provides strong independent evidence that the vertebrate species are more closely related to the urochordates (tunicates) than to the cephalochordates.

  13. Ion channel clustering at the axon initial segment and node of Ranvier evolved sequentially in early chordates.

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    Alexis S Hill

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available In many mammalian neurons, dense clusters of ion channels at the axonal initial segment and nodes of Ranvier underlie action potential generation and rapid conduction. Axonal clustering of mammalian voltage-gated sodium and KCNQ (Kv7 potassium channels is based on linkage to the actin-spectrin cytoskeleton, which is mediated by the adaptor protein ankyrin-G. We identified key steps in the evolution of this axonal channel clustering. The anchor motif for sodium channel clustering evolved early in the chordate lineage before the divergence of the wormlike cephalochordate, amphioxus. Axons of the lamprey, a very primitive vertebrate, exhibited some invertebrate features (lack of myelin, use of giant diameter to hasten conduction, but possessed narrow initial segments bearing sodium channel clusters like in more recently evolved vertebrates. The KCNQ potassium channel anchor motif evolved after the divergence of lampreys from other vertebrates, in a common ancestor of shark and humans. Thus, clustering of voltage-gated sodium channels was a pivotal early innovation of the chordates. Sodium channel clusters at the axon initial segment serving the generation of action potentials evolved long before the node of Ranvier. KCNQ channels acquired anchors allowing their integration into pre-existing sodium channel complexes at about the same time that ancient vertebrates acquired myelin, saltatory conduction, and hinged jaws. The early chordate refinements in action potential mechanisms we have elucidated appear essential to the complex neural signaling, active behavior, and evolutionary success of vertebrates.

  14. The central nervous system of sea cucumbers (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea shows positive immunostaining for a chordate glial secretion

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    Grondona Jesus M

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Echinoderms and chordates belong to the same monophyletic taxon, the Deuterostomia. In spite of significant differences in body plan organization, the two phyla may share more common traits than was thought previously. Of particular interest are the common features in the organization of the central nervous system. The present study employs two polyclonal antisera raised against bovine Reissner's substance (RS, a secretory product produced by glial cells of the subcomissural organ, to study RS-like immunoreactivity in the central nervous system of sea cucumbers. Results In the ectoneural division of the nervous system, both antisera recognize the content of secretory vacuoles in the apical cytoplasm of the radial glia-like cells of the neuroepithelium and in the flattened glial cells of the non-neural epineural roof epithelium. The secreted immunopositive material seems to form a thin layer covering the cell apices. There is no accumulation of the immunoreactive material on the apical surface of the hyponeural neuroepithelium or the hyponeural roof epithelium. Besides labelling the supporting cells and flattened glial cells of the epineural roof epithelium, both anti-RS antisera reveal a previously unknown putative glial cell type within the neural parenchyma of the holothurian nervous system. Conclusion Our results show that: a the glial cells of the holothurian tubular nervous system produce a material similar to Reissner's substance known to be synthesized by secretory glial cells in all chordates studied so far; b the nervous system of sea cucumbers shows a previously unrealized complexity of glial organization. Our findings also provide significant clues for interpretation of the evolution of the nervous system in the Deuterostomia. It is suggested that echinoderms and chordates might have inherited the RS-producing radial glial cell type from the central nervous system of their common ancestor, i.e., the last common

  15. Ascidians as excellent chordate models for studying the development of the nervous system during embryogenesis and metamorphosis.

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    Sasakura, Yasunori; Mita, Kaoru; Ogura, Yosuke; Horie, Takeo

    2012-04-01

    The swimming larvae of the chordate ascidians possess a dorsal hollowed central nervous system (CNS), which is homologous to that of vertebrates. Despite the homology, the ascidian CNS consists of a countable number of cells. The simple nervous system of ascidians provides an excellent experimental system to study the developmental mechanisms of the chordate nervous system. The neural fate of the cells consisting of the ascidian CNS is determined in both autonomous and non-autonomous fashion during the cleavage stage. The ascidian neural plate performs the morphogenetic movement of neural tube closure that resembles that in vertebrate neural tube formation. Following neurulation, the CNS is separated into five distinct regions, whose homology with the regions of vertebrate CNS has been discussed. Following their larval stage, ascidians undergo a metamorphosis and become sessile adults. The metamorphosis is completed quickly, and therefore the metamorphosis of ascidians is a good experimental system to observe the reorganization of the CNS during metamorphosis. A recent study has shown that the major parts of the larval CNS remain after the metamorphosis to form the adult CNS. In contrast to such a conserved manner of CNS reorganization, most larval neurons disappear during metamorphosis. The larval glial cells in the CNS are the major source for the formation of the adult CNS, and some of the glial cells produce adult neurons.

  16. Developmental Control of Cell-Cycle Compensation Provides a Switch for Patterned Mitosis at the Onset of Chordate Neurulation.

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    Ogura, Yosuke; Sasakura, Yasunori

    2016-04-18

    During neurulation of chordate ascidians, the 11th mitotic division within the epidermal layer shows a posterior-to-anterior wave that is precisely coordinated with the unidirectional progression of the morphogenetic movement. Here we show that the first sign of this patterned mitosis is an asynchronous anterior-to-posterior S-phase length and that mitotic synchrony is reestablished by a compensatory asynchronous G2-phase length. Live imaging combined with genetic experiments demonstrated that compensatory G2-phase regulation requires transcriptional activation of the G2/M regulator cdc25 by the patterning genes GATA and AP-2. The downregulation of GATA and AP-2 at the onset of neurulation leads to loss of compensatory G2-phase regulation and promotes the transition to patterned mitosis. We propose that such developmentally regulated cell-cycle compensation provides an abrupt switch to spatially patterned mitosis in order to achieve the coordination between mitotic timing and morphogenesis.

  17. The effect of antibiotic exposure on eicosanoid generation from arachidonic acid and gene expression in a primitive chordate, Branchiostoma belcheri.

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    Yuan, Dongjuan; Pan, Minming; Zou, Qiuqiong; Chen, Chengyong; Chen, Shangwu; Xu, Anlong

    2015-01-01

    Chloramphenicol (Chl) is an effective antimicrobial agent widely used in veterinary medicine and commonly used in fish. Its use is restricted in the clinic because of adverse effects on the immune system and oxidative stress in mammals. However, the effects of Chl treatment on invertebrates remain unclear. Amphioxus, a basal chordate, is an ideal model to study the origin and evolution of the vertebrate immune system as it has a primary vertebrate-like arachidonic acid (AA) metabolic system. Here, we combined transcriptomic and lipidomic approaches to investigate the immune system and observe the oxygenated metabolites of AA to address the antibiotic effects on amphioxus. Tissue necrosis of the gill slits occurred in the Chl-treated amphioxus, but fewer epithelial cells were lost when treated with both Chl and ampicillin (Amp). The immune related pathways were dysregulated in both of the antibiotic treatment groups. The Chl alone treatment resulted in immunosuppression with down-regulation of the innate immune genes. In contrast, the Chl + Amp treatment resulted in immunostimulation to some extent, as shown by KEGG clustering. Furthermore, Chl induced a 3-fold reduction in the level of the eicosanoids, while the Chl + Amp treatment resulted in 1.7-fold increase of eicosanoid level. Thus in amphioxus, Amp might relieve the effects of the Chl-induced immune suppression and increase the level of eicosanoids from AA. Finally, the oxygenated metabolites from AA might be crucial to evaluate the effects of Chl treatment in animals.

  18. Characterization of bbtTICAM from amphioxus suggests the emergence of a MyD88-independent pathway in basal chordates

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    ManyiYang; ShaochunYuan; Shengfeng Huang; Jun Li; Liqun Xu; Huiqing Huang; Xin Tao; Jian peng; Anlong Xu

    2011-01-01

    The MyD88-independent pathway,one of the two crucial TLR signaling routes,Is thought to be a vertebrate innovation.However,a novel Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) adaptor,designated bbtTICAM,which was identified in the basal chordate amphioxus,links this pathway to invertebrates.The protein architecture of bbtTICAM is similar to that of vertebrate TICAM1 (TIR-containing adaptor molecule-1,also known as TRIF),while phylogenetic analysis based on the TIR domain indicated that bbtTICAM is the oldest ortholog of vertebrate TICAMI and TICAM2(TIR-containing adaptor molecule-2,also known as TRAM).Similar to human TICAM1,bbtTICAM activates NF-κB in a MyD88-independent manner by interacting with receptor interacting protein (RIP) via its RHIM motif.Such activation requires bbtTICAM to form homodimers in endosomes,and it may be negatively regulated by amphioxus SARM (sterile a and armadillo motif-containing protein) and TRAF2.However,bbtTICAM did not induce the production of type I interferon.Thus,our study not only presents the ancestral features of vertebrate TICAM I and TICAM2,but also reveals the evolutionary origin of the MyD88-independent pathway from basal chordates,which will aid in understanding the development of the vertebrate TLR network.

  19. Distinctive expression patterns of Hedgehog pathway genes in the Ciona intestinalis larva: implications for a role of Hedgehog signaling in postembryonic development and chordate evolution.

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    Islam, A F M Tariqul; Moly, Pricila Khan; Miyamoto, Yuki; Kusakabe, Takehiro G

    2010-02-01

    Members of the Hedgehog (Hh) family are soluble ligands that orchestrate a wide spectrum of developmental processes ranging from left-right axis determination of the embryo to tissue patterning and organogenesis. Tunicates, including ascidians, are the closest relatives of vertebrates, and elucidation of Hh signaling in ascidians should provide an important clue towards better understanding the role of this pathway in development. In previous studies, expression patterns of genes encoding Hh and its downstream factor Gli have been examined up to the tailbud stage in the ascidian embryo, but their expression in the larva has not been reported. Here we show the spatial expression patterns of hedgehog (Ci-hh1, Ci-hh2), patched (Ci-ptc), smoothened (Ci-smo), and Gli (Ci-Gli) orthologs in larvae of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. The expression patterns of Ci-hh2 and Ci-Gli dramatically change during the period between the late tailbud embryo and the swimming larva. At the larval stage, expression of Ci-Gli was found in a central part of the endoderm and in the visceral ganglion, while Ci-hh2 was expressed in two discrete endodermal regions, anteriorly and posteriorly adjacent to the cells expressing Gli. The expression patterns of these genes suggest that the Hh ligand controls postembryonic development of the endoderm and the central nervous system. Expression of a gene encoding Hh in the anterior and/or pharyngeal endoderm is probably an ancient chordate character; diversification of regulation and targets of the Hh signaling in this region may have played a major role in the evolution of chordate body structures.

  20. Localization of CiCBR in the invertebrate chordate Ciona intestinalis: evidence of an ancient role for cannabinoid receptors as axonal regulators of neuronal signalling.

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    Egertová, Michaela; Elphick, Maurice R

    2007-06-01

    CiCBR is a G-protein-coupled receptor in the sea-squirt Ciona intestinalis and the first ortholog of vertebrate CB(1) and CB(2) cannabinoid receptors to be identified in an invertebrate (Elphick et al. [2003] Gene 302:95-101). Here we have used Western blotting and immunocytochemistry to examine expression of CiCBR in adult Ciona, employing novel antibodies to the C-terminal tail of CiCBR. Consistent with the expected mass for CiCBR, a approximately 47-kDa band was detected in Ciona membranes, and immunocytochemical analysis of serial sections of Ciona revealed intense immunoreactivity in the cerebral ganglion localised in a dense meshwork of fibers in the neuropile. Accordingly, Western blot analysis of neural complex homogenates revealed the presence of a approximately 47-kDa band. CiCBR immunoreactivity was also observed in axons exiting the ganglion in the anterior and posterior nerves, and analysis of whole-mount preparations revealed that these axons project over the interior surface of the oral and atrial siphons. Isolated CiCBR-immunoreactive axons not associated with the anterior and posterior nerves were observed projecting through the cortical layer of the cerebral ganglion. Central and peripheral CiCBR-immunoreactive fibers were studded with intensely stained varicosities, indicative of a role for CiCBR in regulation of axonal release of neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, or neurohormones. Collectively, our data suggest that the well-established role that the CB(1) receptor has as an axonal regulator of neurotransmitter release in mammals may have originated with ancestral-type cannabinoid receptors in invertebrate chordates before the emergence of CB(1)- and CB(2)-type receptors in vertebrates.

  1. Identification of a Colonial Chordate Histocompatibility Gene

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    Voskoboynik, Ayelet; Newman, Aaron M.; Corey, Daniel M.; Sahoo, Debashis; Pushkarev, Dmitry; Neff, Norma F.; Passarelli, Benedetto; Koh, Winston; Ishizuka, Katherine J.; Palmeri, Karla J.; Dimov, Ivan K.; Keasar, Chen; Fan, H. Christina; Mantalas, Gary L.; Sinha, Rahul; Penland, Lolita; Quake, Stephen R.; Weissman, Irving L.

    2013-01-01

    Histocompatibility is the basis by which multicellular organisms of the same species distinguish self from non-self. Relatively little is known about the mechanisms underlying histocompatibility reactions in lower organisms. Botryllus schlosseri is a colonial urochordate, a sister group of vertebrates, that exhibits a genetically determined natural transplantation reaction, whereby self-recognition between colonies leads to formation of parabionts with a common vasculature, whereas rejection occurs between incompatible colonies. Using genetically defined lines, whole-transcriptome sequencing, and genomics, we identified a single gene that encodes self/non-self and determines “graft” outcomes in this organism. This gene is significantly upregulated in colonies poised to undergo fusion or rejection, is highly expressed in the vasculature, and is functionally linked to histocompatibility outcomes. These findings establish a platform for advancing the science of allorecognition. PMID:23888037

  2. Reproductive protein evolution in two cryptic species of marine chordate

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    Harrison Richard G

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Reproductive character displacement (RCD is a common and taxonomically widespread pattern. In marine broadcast spawning organisms, behavioral and mechanical isolation are absent and prezygotic barriers between species often operate only during the fertilization process. Such barriers are usually a consequence of differences in the way in which sperm and egg proteins interact, so RCD can be manifest as faster evolution of these proteins between species in sympatry than allopatry. Rapid evolution of these proteins often appears to be a consequence of positive (directional selection. Here, we identify a set of candidate gamete recognition proteins (GRPs in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis and showed that these GRPs evolve more rapidly than control proteins (those not involved in gamete recognition. Choosing a subset of these gamete recognition proteins that show evidence of positive selection (CIPRO37.40.1, CIPRO60.5.1, CIPRO100.7.1, we then directly test the RCD hypothesis by comparing divergence (omega and polymorphism (McDonald-Kreitman, Tajima's D, Fu and Li's D and F, Fay and Wu's H statistics in sympatric and allopatric populations of two distinct forms of C. intestinalis (Types A and B between which there are strong post-zygotic barriers. Results Candidate gamete recognition proteins from two lineages of C. intestinalis (Type A and B are evolving more rapidly than control proteins, consistent with patterns seen in insects and mammals. However, ω (dN/dS is not significantly different between the sympatric and allopatric populations, and none of the polymorphism statistics show significant differences between sympatric and allopatric populations. Conclusions Enhanced prezygotic isolation in sympatry has become a well-known feature of gamete recognition proteins in marine broadcast spawners. But in most cases the evolutionary process or processes responsible for this pattern have not been identified. Although gamete recognition proteins in C. intestinalis do appear to evolve more rapidly, on average, than proteins with other functions, rates of evolution are not different in allopatric and sympatric populations of the two reproductively isolated forms. That sympatry is probably human-mediated, and therefore recent, may explain the absence of RCD.

  3. A genomic overview of short genetic variations in a basal chordate, Ciona intestinalis

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    Satou Yutaka

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Although the Ciona intestinalis genome contains many allelic polymorphisms, there is only limited data analyzed systematically. Establishing a dense map of genetic variations in C. intestinalis is necessary not only for linkage analysis, but also for other experimental biology including molecular developmental and evolutionary studies, because animals from natural populations are typically used for experiments. Results Here, we identified over three million candidate short genomic variations within a 110 Mb euchromatin region among five C. intestinalis individuals. The average nucleotide diversity was approximately 1.1%. Genetic variations were found at a similar density in intergenic and gene regions. Non-synonymous and nonsense nucleotide substitutions were found in 12,493 and 1,214 genes accounting for 81.9% and 8.0% of the entire gene set, respectively, and over 60% of genes in the single animal encode non-identical proteins between maternal and paternal alleles. Conclusions Our results provide a framework for studying evolution of the animal genome, as well as a useful resource for a wide range of C. intestinalis researchers.

  4. Surveying Europe’s Only Cave-Dwelling Chordate Species (Proteus anguinus) Using Environmental DNA

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    Márton, Orsolya; Schmidt, Benedikt R.; Gál, Júlia Tünde; Jelić, Dušan

    2017-01-01

    In surveillance of subterranean fauna, especially in the case of rare or elusive aquatic species, traditional techniques used for epigean species are often not feasible. We developed a non-invasive survey method based on environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect the presence of the red-listed cave-dwelling amphibian, Proteus anguinus, in the caves of the Dinaric Karst. We tested the method in fifteen caves in Croatia, from which the species was previously recorded or expected to occur. We successfully confirmed the presence of P. anguinus from ten caves and detected the species for the first time in five others. Using a hierarchical occupancy model we compared the availability and detection probability of eDNA of two water sampling methods, filtration and precipitation. The statistical analysis showed that both availability and detection probability depended on the method and estimates for both probabilities were higher using filter samples than for precipitation samples. Combining reliable field and laboratory methods with robust statistical modeling will give the best estimates of species occurrence. PMID:28129383

  5. ACAM, a novel member of the neural IgCAM family, mediates anterior neural tube closure in a primitive chordate.

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    Morales Diaz, Heidi; Mejares, Emil; Newman-Smith, Erin; Smith, William C

    2016-01-01

    The neural IgCAM family of cell adhesion molecules, which includes NCAM and related molecules, has evolved via gene duplication and alternative splicing to allow for a wide range of isoforms with distinct functions and homophilic binding properties. A search for neural IgCAMs in ascidians (Ciona intestinalis, Ciona savignyi, and Phallusia mammillata) has identified a novel set of truncated family members that, unlike the known members, lack fibronectin III domains and consist of only repeated Ig domains. Within the tunicates this form appears to be unique to the ascidians, and it was designated ACAM, for Ascidian Cell Adhesion Molecule. In C. intestinalis ACAM is expressed in the developing neural plate and neural tube, with strongest expression in the anterior sensory vesicle precursor. Unlike the two other conventional neural IgCAMs in C. intestinalis, which are expressed maternally and throughout the morula and blastula stages, ACAM expression initiates at the gastrula stage. Moreover, C. intestinalis ACAM is a target of the homeodomain transcription factor OTX, which plays an essential role in the development of the anterior central nervous system. Morpholino (MO) knockdown shows that ACAM is required for neural tube closure. In MO-injected embryos neural tube closure was normal caudally, but the anterior neuropore remained open. A similar phenotype was seen with overexpression of a secreted version of ACAM. The presence of ACAM in ascidians highlights the diversity of this gene family in morphogenesis and neurodevelopment.

  6. Molecular Phylogeny of the Animal Kingdom.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Field, Katharine G.; And Others

    1988-01-01

    A rapid sequencing method for ribosomal RNA was applied to the resolution of evolutionary relationships among Metazoa. Describes the four groups (chordates, echinoderms, arthropods, and eucoelomate protostomes) that radiated from the coelomates. (TW)

  7. Isolation of key retinoid signalling and metabolic modules in invertebrates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ana André

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Retinoids are a class of molecules related to vitamin A (Retinol that are required for regulation of critical chordate ndocrine-mediated process, such as embryonic development, reproduction, and vision. To maintain such physiological process, chordates have a complex mechanism to regulate the spatial and temporal distribution of retinoids that includes metabolic and signalling modules. Initially, retinoid modules were seen as a chordate novelty. However, emerging biochemical and genomic evidences have challenged this view, clearly pointing to a more basal ancestry than previously thought. However, for the majority of non-chordate invertebrate lineages a clearly characterization of the main enzymatic/molecular players is still missing. Despite limited, the available evidence supports the presence of biologically active retinoid pathways in invertebrates. In order to enhance our insights on retinoid biology, evolution, and its putative disruption by environmental chemicals, the isolation and functional characterization of key retinoid metabolic players in marine invertebrates has been carried out.

  8. Introducing a novel mechanism to control heart rate in the ancestral Pacific hagfish.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Christopher M; Roa, Jinae N; Cox, Georgina K; Tresguerres, Martin; Farrell, Anthony P

    2016-10-15

    Although neural modulation of heart rate is well established among chordate animals, the Pacific hagfish (Eptatretus stoutii) lacks any cardiac innervation, yet it can increase its heart rate from the steady, depressed heart rate seen in prolonged anoxia to almost double its normal normoxic heart rate, an almost fourfold overall change during the 1-h recovery from anoxia. The present study sought mechanistic explanations for these regulatory changes in heart rate. We provide evidence for a bicarbonate-activated, soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC)-dependent mechanism to control heart rate, a mechanism never previously implicated in chordate cardiac control.

  9. 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.

  10. Stem cells' exodus: a journey to immortality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Yi; Lewallen, Michelle; Xie, Ting

    2013-01-28

    Stem cell niches provide a regulatory microenvironment that retains stem cells and promotes self-renewal. Recently in Developmental Cell, Rinkevich et al. (2013) showed that cell islands (CIs) of Botryllus schlosseri, a colonial chordate, provide niches for maintaining cycling stem cells that migrate from degenerated CIs to newly formed buds.

  11. Ascidian gene-expression profiles

    OpenAIRE

    Jeffery, William R.

    2002-01-01

    With the advent of gene-expression profiling, a large number of genes can now be investigated simultaneously during critical stages of development. This approach will be particularly informative in studies of ascidians, basal chordates whose genomes and embryology are uniquely suited for mapping developmental gene networks.

  12. FGF signaling repertoire of the indirect developing hemichordate Ptychodera flava.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fan, Tzu-Pei; Su, Yi-Hsien

    2015-12-01

    Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are a group of ligands that play multiple roles during development by transducing signals through FGF receptors (FGFRs) to downstream factors. At least 22 FGF ligands and 4 receptors have been identified in vertebrates, while six to eight FGF ligands and a single FGFR are present in invertebrate chordates, such as tunicates and amphioxus. The chordate FGFs can be categorized into at least seven subfamilies, and the members of which expanded during the evolution of early vertebrates. In contrast, only one FGF and two FGFRs have been found in sea urchins. Thus, it is unclear whether the FGF subfamilies duplicated in the lineage leading to the chordates, or sea urchins lost several fgf genes. Analyses of the FGF signaling repertoire in hemichordates, which together with echinoderms form the closest group to the chordates, may provide insights into the evolution of FGF signaling in deuterostomes. In this study, we identified five FGFs and three FGFRs from Ptychodera flava, an indirect-developing hemichordate acorn worm. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that hemichordates possess a conserved FGF8/17/18 in addition to several putative hemichordate-specific FGFs. Analyses of sequence similarity and protein domain organizations suggested that the sea urchin and hemichordate FGFRs arose from independent lineage-specific duplications. Furthermore, the acorn worm fgf and fgfr genes were demonstrated to be expressed during P. flava embryogenesis. These results set the foundations for further functional studies of FGF signaling in hemichordates and provided insights into the evolutionary history of the FGF repertoire.

  13. Ontogeny of the collar cord: neurulation in the hemichordate Saccoglossus kowalevskii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaul, Sabrina; Stach, Thomas

    2010-10-01

    The chordate body plan is characterized by a central notochord, a pharynx perforated by gill pores, and a dorsal central nervous system. Despite progress in recent years, the evolutionary origin of each of theses characters remains controversial. In the case of the nervous system, two contradictory hypotheses exist. In the first, the chordate nervous system is derived directly from a diffuse nerve net; whereas, the second proposes that a centralized nervous system is found in hemichordates and, therefore, predates chordate evolution. Here, we document the ontogeny of the collar cord of the enteropneust Saccoglossus kowalevskii using transmission electron microscopy and 3D-reconstruction based on completely serially sectioned stages. We demonstrate that the collar cord develops from a middorsal neural plate that is closed in a posterior to anterior direction. Transversely oriented ependymal cells possessing myofilaments mediate this morphogenetic process and surround the remnants of the neural canal in juveniles. A mid-dorsal glandular complex is present in the collar. The collar cord in juveniles is clearly separated into a dorsal saddle-like region of somata and a ventral neuropil. We characterize two cell types in the somata region, giant neurons and ependymal cells. Giant neurons connect via a peculiar cell junction that seems to function in intercellular communication. Synaptic junctions containing different vesicle types are present in the neuropil. These findings support the hypotheses that the collar cord constitutes a centralized element of the nervous system and that the morphogenetic process in the ontogeny of the collar cord is homologous to neurulation in chordates. Moreover, we suggest that these similarities are indicative of a close phylogenetic relationship between enteropneusts and chordates.

  14. Decelerated genome evolution in modern vertebrates revealed by analysis of multiple lancelet genomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Shengfeng; Chen, Zelin; Yan, Xinyu; Yu, Ting; Huang, Guangrui; Yan, Qingyu; Pontarotti, Pierre Antoine; Zhao, Hongchen; Li, Jie; Yang, Ping; Wang, Ruihua; Li, Rui; Tao, Xin; Deng, Ting; Wang, Yiquan; Li, Guang; Zhang, Qiujin; Zhou, Sisi; You, Leiming; Yuan, Shaochun; Fu, Yonggui; Wu, Fenfang; Dong, Meiling; Chen, Shangwu; Xu, Anlong

    2014-12-19

    Vertebrates diverged from other chordates ~500 Myr ago and experienced successful innovations and adaptations, but the genomic basis underlying vertebrate origins are not fully understood. Here we suggest, through comparison with multiple lancelet (amphioxus) genomes, that ancient vertebrates experienced high rates of protein evolution, genome rearrangement and domain shuffling and that these rates greatly slowed down after the divergence of jawed and jawless vertebrates. Compared with lancelets, modern vertebrates retain, at least relatively, less protein diversity, fewer nucleotide polymorphisms, domain combinations and conserved non-coding elements (CNE). Modern vertebrates also lost substantial transposable element (TE) diversity, whereas lancelets preserve high TE diversity that includes even the long-sought RAG transposon. Lancelets also exhibit rapid gene turnover, pervasive transcription, fastest exon shuffling in metazoans and substantial TE methylation not observed in other invertebrates. These new lancelet genome sequences provide new insights into the chordate ancestral state and the vertebrate evolution.

  15. The Evolution of Sensory Placodes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Francoise Mazet

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available The vertebrate cranial sensory placodes are ectodermal embryonic patches that give rise to sensory receptor cells of the peripheral paired sense organs and to neurons in the cranial sensory ganglia. Their differentiation and the genetic pathways that underlay their development are now well understood. Their evolutionary history, however, has remained obscure. Recent molecular work, performed on close relatives of the vertebrates, demonstrated that some sensory placodes (namely the adenohypophysis, the olfactory, and accoustico-lateralis placodes first evolved at the base of the chordate lineage, while others might be specific to vertebrates. Combined with morphological and cellular fate data, these results also suggest that the sensory placodes of the ancestor of all chordates differentiated into a wide range of structures, most likely to fit the lifestyle and environment of each species.

  16. Evolutionary conservation of the mature oocyte proteome

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    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.

  17. Biota of a Pennsylvanian muddy coast: habitat within the Mazonian delta complex, northeast Illinois

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Baird, G.C.

    1985-03-01

    The Mazon Creek biota (Westphalian D) is composed of plants and animals from terrestrial fresh water and marginal marine habitats. Fossil animals, including jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, holothurians, insects, chordates, and problematica occur in sideritic concretions on spoilpiles of more than 100 abandoned coal mines in a five county region (Mazon Creek area) of northeast Illinois. These fossils record rapid burial and early diagenesis in a muddy, delta-influenced coastal setting submerged during marine transgression.

  18. Osmotic/ionic status of body fluids in the euryhaline cephalopod suggest possible parallel evolution of osmoregulation

    OpenAIRE

    Tatsuya Sakamoto; Satoshi Ogawa; Yudai Nishiyama; Chiaki Akada; Hideya Takahashi; Taro Watanabe; Hiroyuki Minakata; Hirotaka Sakamoto

    2015-01-01

    Acclimation from marine to dilute environments constitutes among the dramatic evolutionary transitions in the history of life. Such adaptations have evolved in multiple lineages, but studies of the blood/hemolymph homeostasis mechanisms are limited to those using evolutionarily advanced Deuterostome (chordates) and Ecdysozoa (crustaceans). Here, we examined hemolymph homeostasis in the advanced Lophotrochozoa/mollusc, the other unexplored taxa, and its possible regulation by the vasopressin/o...

  19. Structural and cell adhesion properties of zebrafish syndecan-4 are shared with higher vertebrates

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Whiteford, James; Ko, Sunggeon; Lee, Weontae

    2008-01-01

    The syndecan proteoglycans are an ancient class of receptor, bearing heparan sulfate chains that interact with numerous potential ligands including growth factors, morphogens, and extracellular matrix molecules. The single syndecan of invertebrates appears not to have cell adhesion roles, but the......-4 are consistent across the vertebrate spectrum and reflect an early acquisition of specialization after syndecan gene duplication events at the invertebrate/early chordate boundary....

  20. Structural and functional diversity of nonapeptide hormones from an evolutionary perspective: A review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banerjee, P; Joy, K P; Chaube, R

    2017-01-15

    The article presents an overview of the comparative distribution, structure and functions of the nonapeptide hormones in chordates and non chordates. The review begins with a historical preview of the advent of the concept of neurosecretion and birth of neuroendocrine science, pioneered by the works of E. Scharrer and W. Bargmann. The sections which follow discuss different vertebrate nonapeptides, their distribution, comparison, precursor gene structures and processing, highlighting the major differences in these aspects amidst the conserved features across vertebrates. The vast literature on the anatomical characteristics of the nonapeptide secreting nuclei in the brain and their projections was briefly reviewed in a comparative framework. Recent knowledge on the nonapeptide hormone receptors and their intracellular signaling pathways is discussed and few grey areas which require deeper studies are identified. The sections on the functions and regulation of nonapeptides summarize the huge and ever increasing literature that is available in these areas. The nonapeptides emerge as key homeostatic molecules with complex regulation and several synergistic partners. Lastly, an update of the nonapeptides in non chordates with respect to distribution, site of synthesis, functions and receptors, dealt separately for each phylum, is presented. The non chordate nonapeptides share many similarities with their counterparts in vertebrates, pointing the system to have an ancient origin and to be an important substrate for changes during adaptive evolution. The article concludes projecting the nonapeptides as one of the very first common molecules of the primitive nervous and endocrine systems, which have been retained to maintain homeostatic functions in metazoans; some of which are conserved across the animal kingdom and some are specialized in a group/lineage-specific manner.

  1. Identification of chondroitin/dermatan sulfotransferases in the protochordate, Ciona intestinalis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tetsukawa, Akira; Nakamura, Jun; Fujiwara, Shigeki

    2010-10-01

    Sulfated glycosaminoglycans are important components of connective tissues. The pattern of sulfation is important for their biological functions. Ascidians, the closest relatives of vertebrates, have a simple chordate body plan. In the present study, we identified an almost complete set of genes encoding proteins homologous to chondroitin/dermatan sulfotransferases in the genome of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. We found eight genes encoding 4-O-sulfotransferases, eight genes encoding 6-O-sulfotransferases, and three genes encoding uronyl 2-O-sulfotransferases. The number of sulfotransferase genes was unexpectedly large, considering that ascidians do not have a well-developed endoskeleton. In addition, most of the genes within each sub-family seemed to have arisen by gene duplication events that occurred in the ascidian lineage after divergence from the main chordate lineage. This suggests that a unique pattern of sulfation independently developed during ascidian evolution. Some of the genes identified in the present study showed tissue-specific expression in the epidermis, notochord, muscle, and central nervous system. Region-specific expression in the epidermis was also observed. The present study provides useful information for further comparative and functional analyses of sulfotransferases and proteoglycans in chordate embryos.

  2. Development of oral and branchial muscles in lancelet larvae of Branchiostoma japonicum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yasui, Kinya; Kaji, Takao; Morov, Arseniy R; Yonemura, Shigenobu

    2014-04-01

    The perforated pharynx has generally been regarded as a shared characteristic of chordates. However, there still remains phylogenetic ambiguity between the cilia-driven system in invertebrate chordates and the muscle-driven system in vertebrates. Giant larvae of the genus Asymmetron were reported to develop an orobranchial musculature similar to that of vertebrates more than 100 years ago. This discovery might represent an evolutionary link for the chordate branchial system, but few investigations of the lancelet orobranchial musculature have been completed since. We studied staged larvae of a Japanese population of Branchiostoma japonicum to characterize the developmental property of the orobranchial musculature. The larval mouth and the unpaired primary gills develop well-organized muscles. These muscles function only as obturators of the openings without antagonistic system. As the larval mouth enlarged posteriorly to the level of the ninth myomere, the oral musculature was fortified accordingly without segmental patterning. In contrast, the iterated branchial muscles coincided with the dorsal myomeric pattern before metamorphosis, but the pharynx was remodeled dynamically irrespective of the myomeric pattern during metamorphosis. The orobranchial musculature disappeared completely during metamorphosis, and adult muscles in the oral hood and velum, as well as on the pterygial coeloms developed independently. The lancelet orobranchial musculature is apparently a larval adaptation to prevent harmful intake. However, vestigial muscles appeared transiently with the secondary gill formation suggest a bilateral ancestral state of muscular gills, and a segmental pattern of developing branchial muscles without neural crest and placodal contributions is suggestive of a precursor of vertebrate branchiomeric pattern.

  3. Experimental taphonomy and the anatomy and diversity of the earliest fossil vertebrates (Chengjiang Biota, Cambrian, China)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Purnell, Mark; Gabbott, Sarah; Murdock, Duncan; Cong, Peiyun

    2016-04-01

    The oldest fossil vertebrates are from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang biota of China, which contains four genera of fish-like, primitive vertebrates: Haikouichthys, Myllokunmingia, Zhongjianichthys and Zhongxiniscus. These fossils play key roles in calibrating molecular clocks and informing our view of the anatomy of animals close to the origin of vertebrates, potentially including transitional forms between vertebrates and their nearest relatives. Despite the evident importance of these fossils, the degree to which taphonomic processes have affected their anatomical completeness has not been investigated. For example, some or all might have been affected by stemward slippage - the pattern observed in experimental decay of non-biomineralised chordates in which preferential decay of synapomorphies and retention of plesiomorphic characters would cause fossil taxa to erroneously occupy more basal positions than they should. This hypothesis is based on experimental data derived from decay of non-biomineralised chordates under laboratory conditions. We have expanded this analysis to include a broader range of potentially significant environmental variables; we have also compared and combined the results of experiments from several taxa to identify general patterns of chordate decay. Examination of the Chengjiang vertebrates in the light of these results demonstrates that, contrary to some assertions, experimentally derived models of phylogenetic bias are applicable to fossils. Anatomical and phylogenetic interpretations of early vertebrates that do not take taphonomic biases into account risk overestimating diversity and the evolutionary significance of differences between fossil specimens.

  4. Analysis of coelom development in the sea urchin Holopneustes purpurescens yielding a deuterostome body plan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, Valerie B

    2016-01-01

    An analysis of early coelom development in the echinoid Holopneustes purpurescens yields a deuterostome body plan that explains the disparity between the pentameral plan of echinoderms and the bilateral plans of chordates and hemichordates, the three major phyla of the monophyletic deuterostomes. The analysis shows an early separation into a medial hydrocoele and lateral coelomic mesoderm with an enteric channel between them before the hydrocoele forms the pentameral plan of five primary podia. The deuterostome body plan thus has a single axial or medial coelom and a pair of lateral coeloms, all surrounding an enteric channel, the gut channel. Applied to the phyla, the medial coelom is the hydrocoele in echinoderms, the notochord in chordates and the proboscis coelom in hemichordates: the lateral coeloms are the coelomic mesoderm in echinoderms, the paraxial mesoderm in chordates and the lateral coeloms in hemichordates. The plan fits frog and chick development and the echinoderm fossil record, and predicts genes involved in coelomogenesis as the source of deuterostome macroevolution.

  5. Analysis of coelom development in the sea urchin Holopneustes purpurescens yielding a deuterostome body plan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Valerie B. Morris

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available An analysis of early coelom development in the echinoid Holopneustes purpurescens yields a deuterostome body plan that explains the disparity between the pentameral plan of echinoderms and the bilateral plans of chordates and hemichordates, the three major phyla of the monophyletic deuterostomes. The analysis shows an early separation into a medial hydrocoele and lateral coelomic mesoderm with an enteric channel between them before the hydrocoele forms the pentameral plan of five primary podia. The deuterostome body plan thus has a single axial or medial coelom and a pair of lateral coeloms, all surrounding an enteric channel, the gut channel. Applied to the phyla, the medial coelom is the hydrocoele in echinoderms, the notochord in chordates and the proboscis coelom in hemichordates: the lateral coeloms are the coelomic mesoderm in echinoderms, the paraxial mesoderm in chordates and the lateral coeloms in hemichordates. The plan fits frog and chick development and the echinoderm fossil record, and predicts genes involved in coelomogenesis as the source of deuterostome macroevolution.

  6. Functional Brachyury binding sites establish a temporal read-out of gene expression in the Ciona notochord.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lavanya Katikala

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available The appearance of the notochord represented a milestone in Deuterostome evolution. The notochord is necessary for the development of the chordate body plan and for the formation of the vertebral column and numerous organs. It is known that the transcription factor Brachyury is required for notochord formation in all chordates, and that it controls transcription of a large number of target genes. However, studies of the structure of the cis-regulatory modules (CRMs through which this control is exerted are complicated in vertebrates by the genomic complexity and the pan-mesodermal expression territory of Brachyury. We used the ascidian Ciona, in which the single-copy Brachyury is notochord-specific and CRMs are easily identifiable, to carry out a systematic characterization of Brachyury-downstream notochord CRMs. We found that Ciona Brachyury (Ci-Bra controls most of its targets directly, through non-palindromic binding sites that function either synergistically or individually to activate early- and middle-onset genes, respectively, while late-onset target CRMs are controlled indirectly, via transcriptional intermediaries. These results illustrate how a transcriptional regulator can efficiently shape a shallow gene regulatory network into a multi-tiered transcriptional output, and provide insights into the mechanisms that establish temporal read-outs of gene expression in a fast-developing chordate embryo.

  7. 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.

  8. Brachyury, Foxa2 and the cis-Regulatory Origins of the Notochord.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diana S José-Edwards

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available A main challenge of modern biology is to understand how specific constellations of genes are activated to differentiate cells and give rise to distinct tissues. This study focuses on elucidating how gene expression is initiated in the notochord, an axial structure that provides support and patterning signals to embryos of humans and all other chordates. Although numerous notochord genes have been identified, the regulatory DNAs that orchestrate development and propel evolution of this structure by eliciting notochord gene expression remain mostly uncharted, and the information on their configuration and recurrence is still quite fragmentary. Here we used the simple chordate Ciona for a systematic analysis of notochord cis-regulatory modules (CRMs, and investigated their composition, architectural constraints, predictive ability and evolutionary conservation. We found that most Ciona notochord CRMs relied upon variable combinations of binding sites for the transcription factors Brachyury and/or Foxa2, which can act either synergistically or independently from one another. Notably, one of these CRMs contains a Brachyury binding site juxtaposed to an (AC microsatellite, an unusual arrangement also found in Brachyury-bound regulatory regions in mouse. In contrast, different subsets of CRMs relied upon binding sites for transcription factors of widely diverse families. Surprisingly, we found that neither intra-genomic nor interspecific conservation of binding sites were reliably predictive hallmarks of notochord CRMs. We propose that rather than obeying a rigid sequence-based cis-regulatory code, most notochord CRMs are rather unique. Yet, this study uncovered essential elements recurrently used by divergent chordates as basic building blocks for notochord CRMs.

  9. The evolution of tenascins and fibronectin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, Josephine C; Chiquet-Ehrismann, Ruth; Tucker, Richard P

    2015-01-01

    Tenascins are extracellular matrix glycoproteins that act both as integrin ligands and as modifiers of fibronectin-integrin interactions to regulate cell adhesion, migration, proliferation and differentiation. In tetrapods, both tenascins and fibronectin bind to integrins via RGD and LDV-type tripeptide motifs found in exposed loops in their fibronectin-type III domains. We previously showed that tenascins appeared early in the chordate lineage and are represented by single genes in extant cephalochordates and tunicates. Here we have examined the genomes of the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae, the elephant shark Callorhinchus milii as well as the lampreys Petromyzon marinus and Lethenteron japonicum to learn more about the evolution of the tenascin gene family as well as the timing of the appearance of fibronectin during chordate evolution. The coelacanth has 4 tenascins that are more similar to tetrapod tenascins than are tenascins from ray-finned fishes. In contrast, only 2 tenascins were identified in the elephant shark and the Japanese lamprey L. japonicum. An RGD motif exposed to integrin binding is observed in tenascins from many, but not all, classes of chordates. Tetrapods that lack this RGD motif in tenascin-C have a similar motif in the paralog tenascin-W, suggesting the potential for some overlapping function. A predicted fibronectin with the same domain organization as the fibronectin from tetrapods is found in the sea lamprey P. marinus but not in tunicates, leading us to infer that fibronectin first appeared in vertebrates. The motifs that recognize LDV-type integrin receptors are conserved in fibronectins from a broad spectrum of vertebrates, but the RGD integrin-binding motif may have evolved in gnathostomes.

  10. Evolutionary embryology resurrected in Japan with a new molecular basis: Nori Satoh and the history of ascidian studies originating in Kyoto during the 20th century.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuratani, Shigeru; Wada, Hiroshi; Kusakabe, Rie; Agata, Kiyokazu

    2006-01-01

    This article briefly summarizes the scientific contributions of Nori Satoh, the winner of the 2005 edition of the Kowalevsky Medal, to Developmental Biology and especially to Evo-Devo with his 30 years of research on tunicates - a primitive chordate species. His research began with his pure developmental interest in the clock mechanism of cell differentiation and later expanded into various aspects of evolutionary and developmental phenomena. He is not only known as a founder of molecular biology-based tunicate studies, but also for his world-wide service to education and his prestigious publications in international scientific journals.

  11. Evolution of vertebrates as viewed from the crest.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, Stephen A; Simoes-Costa, Marcos; Bronner, Marianne E

    2015-04-23

    The origin of vertebrates was accompanied by the advent of a novel cell type: the neural crest. Emerging from the central nervous system, these cells migrate to diverse locations and differentiate into numerous derivatives. By coupling morphological and gene regulatory information from vertebrates and other chordates, we describe how addition of the neural-crest-specification program may have enabled cells at the neural plate border to acquire multipotency and migratory ability. Analysis of the topology of the neural crest gene regulatory network can serve as a useful template for understanding vertebrate evolution, including elaboration of neural crest derivatives.

  12. The ascidian pigmented sensory organs: structures and developmental programs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esposito, R; Racioppi, C; Pezzotti, M R; Branno, M; Locascio, A; Ristoratore, F; Spagnuolo, A

    2015-01-01

    The recent advances on ascidian pigment sensory organ development and function represent a fascinating platform to get insight on the basic programs of chordate eye formation. This review aims to summarize current knowledge, at the structural and molecular levels, on the two main building blocks of ascidian light sensory organ, i.e. pigment cells and photoreceptor cells. The unique features of these structures (e.g., simplicity and well characterized cell lineage) are indeed making it possible to dissect the developmental programs at single cell resolution and will soon provide a panel of molecular tools to be exploited for a deep developmental and comparative-evolutionary analysis.

  13. Modularity of gene-regulatory networks revealed in sea-star development

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Degnan Bernard M

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Evidence that conserved developmental gene-regulatory networks can change as a unit during deutersostome evolution emerges from a study published in BMC Biology. This shows that genes consistently expressed in anterior brain patterning in hemichordates and chordates are expressed in a similar spatial pattern in another deuterostome, an asteroid echinoderm (sea star, but in a completely different developmental context (the animal-vegetal axis. This observation has implications for hypotheses on the type of development present in the deuterostome common ancestor. See research article: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/8/143/abstract

  14. 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....

  15. The phylogeny of invertebrates and the evolution of myelin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roots, Betty I

    2008-05-01

    Current concepts of invertebrate phylogeny are reviewed. Annelida and Arthropoda, previously regarded as closely related, are now placed in separate clades. Myelin, a sheath of multiple layers of membranes around nerve axons, is found in members of the Annelida, Arthropoda and Chordata. The structure, composition and function of the sheaths in Annelida and Arthropoda are examined and evidence for the separate evolutionary origins of myelin in the three clades is presented. That myelin has arisen independently at least three times, namely in Annelids, Arthropodas and Chordates, provides a remarkable example of convergent evolution.

  16. The molecular phylogeny of the type-species of Oodinium Chatton, 1912 (Dinoflagellata: Oodiniaceae), a highly divergent parasitic dinoflagellate with non-dinokaryotic characters

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gómez, Fernando; Skovgaard, Alf

    2015-01-01

    that are responsible of important damages in fish aquaculture. Species of Oodinium Chatton, 1912 have unique characteristics such as the possession of both non-dinokaryotic and dinokaryotic nuclei within the life-cycle, and the absence of the transversal (cingulum) and longitudinal (sulcus) surface grooves...... in the parasitic stage. We provide the first molecular data for the genus Oodinium from specimens of O. pouchetii infecting the chordate Oikopleura sp. (Tunicata: Appendicularia) off the coasts of Brazil. Although O. pouchetii lacks dinokaryotic characters in the parasitic stage, the SSU rDNA phylogeny revealed...

  17. Zebrafish hox clusters and vertebrate genome evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amores, A; Force, A; Yan, Y L; Joly, L; Amemiya, C; Fritz, A; Ho, R K; Langeland, J; Prince, V; Wang, Y L; Westerfield, M; Ekker, M; Postlethwait, J H

    1998-11-27

    HOX genes specify cell fate in the anterior-posterior axis of animal embryos. Invertebrate chordates have one HOX cluster, but mammals have four, suggesting that cluster duplication facilitated the evolution of vertebrate body plans. This report shows that zebrafish have seven hox clusters. Phylogenetic analysis and genetic mapping suggest a chromosome doubling event, probably by whole genome duplication, after the divergence of ray-finned and lobe-finned fishes but before the teleost radiation. Thus, teleosts, the most species-rich group of vertebrates, appear to have more copies of these developmental regulatory genes than do mammals, despite less complexity in the anterior-posterior axis.

  18. Diverse ETS transcription factors mediate FGF signaling in the Ciona anterior neural plate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gainous, T Blair; Wagner, Eileen; Levine, Michael

    2015-03-15

    The ascidian Ciona intestinalis is a marine invertebrate belonging to the sister group of the vertebrates, the tunicates. Its compact genome and simple, experimentally tractable embryos make Ciona well-suited for the study of cell-fate specification in chordates. Tunicate larvae possess a characteristic chordate body plan, and many developmental pathways are conserved between tunicates and vertebrates. Previous studies have shown that FGF signals are essential for neural induction and patterning at sequential steps of Ciona embryogenesis. Here we show that two different ETS family transcription factors, Ets1/2 and Elk1/3/4, have partially redundant activities in the anterior neural plate of gastrulating embryos. Whereas Ets1/2 promotes pigment cell formation in lateral lineages, both Ets1/2 and Elk1/3/4 are involved in the activation of Myt1L in medial lineages and the restriction of Six3/6 expression to the anterior-most regions of the neural tube. We also provide evidence that photoreceptor cells arise from posterior regions of the presumptive sensory vesicle, and do not depend on FGF signaling. Cells previously identified as photoreceptor progenitors instead form ependymal cells and neurons of the larval brain. Our results extend recent findings on FGF-dependent patterning of anterior-posterior compartments in the Ciona central nervous system.

  19. Discovery of germline-related genes in Cephalochordate amphioxus: A genome wide survey using genome annotation and transcriptome data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yue, Jia-Xing; Li, Kun-Lung; Yu, Jr-Kai

    2015-12-01

    The generation of germline cells is a critical process in the reproduction of multicellular organisms. Studies in animal models have identified a common repertoire of genes that play essential roles in primordial germ cell (PGC) formation. However, comparative studies also indicate that the timing and regulation of this core genetic program vary considerably in different animals, raising the intriguing questions regarding the evolution of PGC developmental mechanisms in metazoans. Cephalochordates (commonly called amphioxus or lancelets) represent one of the invertebrate chordate groups and can provide important information about the evolution of developmental mechanisms in the chordate lineage. In this study, we used genome and transcriptome data to identify germline-related genes in two distantly related cephalochordate species, Branchiostoma floridae and Asymmetron lucayanum. Branchiostoma and Asymmetron diverged more than 120 MYA, and the most conspicuous difference between them is their gonadal morphology. We used important germline developmental genes in several model animals to search the amphioxus genome and transcriptome dataset for conserved homologs. We also annotated the assembled transcriptome data using Gene Ontology (GO) terms to facilitate the discovery of putative genes associated with germ cell development and reproductive functions in amphioxus. We further confirmed the expression of 14 genes in developing oocytes or mature eggs using whole mount in situ hybridization, suggesting their potential functions in amphioxus germ cell development. The results of this global survey provide a useful resource for testing potential functions of candidate germline-related genes in cephalochordates and for investigating differences in gonad developmental mechanisms between Branchiostoma and Asymmetron species.

  20. A multicassette Gateway vector set for high throughput and comparative analyses in ciona and vertebrate embryos.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Agnès Roure

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The past few years have seen a vast increase in the amount of genomic data available for a growing number of taxa, including sets of full length cDNA clones and cis-regulatory sequences. Large scale cross-species comparisons of protein function and cis-regulatory sequences may help to understand the emergence of specific traits during evolution. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To facilitate such comparisons, we developed a Gateway compatible vector set, which can be used to systematically dissect cis-regulatory sequences, and overexpress wild type or tagged proteins in a variety of chordate systems. It was developed and first characterised in the embryos of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis, in which large scale analyses are easier to perform than in vertebrates, owing to the very efficient embryo electroporation protocol available in this organism. Its use was then extended to fish embryos and cultured mammalian cells. CONCLUSION: This versatile vector set opens the way to the mid- to large-scale comparative analyses of protein function and cis-regulatory sequences across chordate evolution. A complete user manual is provided as supplemental material.

  1. Filter Feeding Mechanism Simulated Machine Paradigms – A Theoretical Approach

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Channaveerappa. H,

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Bionics is the emerging branch of bio engineering where in the structures and functions of organism are utilized to construct a gadget that resembles the structure and performs similar function. The functional principles are also used to construct special gadgets to perform functions in the form of simulated robots. Animal models have also been used in creation of many structures/machines, for example the organization and flight mechanism of birds, echolocation in bats, and internal ear of mammals have been taken as blue prints to design aero planes, radars and telegraphic systems respectively. Here we are using ciliary feeding mechanisms in animals to create a machine that can be used for a particular purpose. Cilia are minute finger like protoplasmic extensions serve different functions like movement, creation of water current propelling and filter feeding in animals. In many invertebrates and lower chordates rotor movements of cilia create whirl pool of water current to obtain food material. Animals those use cilia for feeding are referred to ciliary feeders or filter feeders. The filter feeders are highly diverse in their habit but share common requirements. The filter feeders may be sessile or free swimming forms but the principles of feeding remains the same. In lower chordates the pharngometry of pharynx plays a decisive role in filter feeding. The filter feeding mechanism is highly evolved in animals through well designed evolutionary paradigms.

  2. Coelomogenesis during the abbreviated development of the echinoid Heliocidaris erythrogramma and the developmental origin of the echinoderm pentameral body plan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, Valerie B

    2011-01-01

    The development of the coeloms is described in an echinoid with an abbreviated larval development and shows the early morphogenesis of the coeloms of the adult stage. The development is described from images obtained by laser scanning confocal microscopy. The development in Heliocidaris erythrogramma is asymmetric with a larger left coelom forming on the larval-left side and a smaller right coelom forming on the larval-right side. The right coelom forms after the development of the left coelom is well advanced. The hydrocoele forms from the anterior part of the left coelom. The five lobes of the hydrocoele from which the pentamery of the adult derives take shape on the outer, distal wall of the anterior part of the left coelom. The hydrocoele separates from the more posterior part of the left coelom, which becomes the left posterior coelom. The lobes of the hydrocoele are named, based on the site of the connexion of the stone canal to the hydrocoele. The mouth is assumed to form by penetration through only the outer, distal wall of the hydrocoele and the ectoderm. Both larval and adult polarities are evident in this larva. A comparison with coelomogenesis in the asteroid Parvulastra exigua, which also has an abbreviated development, leads to predictions of homology between the echinoderm and chordate phyla that do not require the hypothesis of a dorsoventral inversion event in chordates.

  3. Oxytocin/vasopressin and gonadotropin-releasing hormone from cephalopods to vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minakata, Hiroyuki

    2010-07-01

    Recent advances in peptide search methods have revealed two peptide systems that have been conserved through metazoan evolution. Members of the oxytocin/vasopressin-superfamily have been identified from protostomian and deuterostomian animals, indicating that the oxytocin/vasopressin hormonal system represents one of the most ancient systems. In most protostomian animals, a single member of the superfamily shares oxytocin-like and vasopressin-like actions. Co-occurrence of two members has been discovered in modern cephalopods, octopus, and cuttlefish. We propose that cephalopods have developed two peptides in the molluscan evolutionary lineage like vertebrates have established two lineages in the oxytocin/vasopressin superfamily. The existence of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in protostomian animals was initially suggested by immunohistochemical analysis using chordate GnRH antibodies. A peptide with structural features similar to those of chordate GnRHs was originally isolated from octopus, and an identical peptide has been characterized from squid and cuttlefish. Novel forms of GnRH-like molecules from other molluscs, an annelid, arthropods, and nematodes demonstrate somewhat conserved structures at the N-terminal regions; but structures of the C-terminal regions critical to gonadotropin-releasing activity are diverse. These findings may be important for the study of the molecular evolution of GnRH in protostomian animals.

  4. The evolution and comparative neurobiology of endocannabinoid signalling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elphick, Maurice R

    2012-12-05

    CB(1)- and CB(2)-type cannabinoid receptors mediate effects of the endocannabinoids 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide in mammals. In canonical endocannabinoid-mediated synaptic plasticity, 2-AG is generated postsynaptically by diacylglycerol lipase alpha and acts via presynaptic CB(1)-type cannabinoid receptors to inhibit neurotransmitter release. Electrophysiological studies on lampreys indicate that this retrograde signalling mechanism occurs throughout the vertebrates, whereas system-level studies point to conserved roles for endocannabinoid signalling in neural mechanisms of learning and control of locomotor activity and feeding. CB(1)/CB(2)-type receptors originated in a common ancestor of extant chordates, and in the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis a CB(1)/CB(2)-type receptor is targeted to axons, indicative of an ancient role for cannabinoid receptors as axonal regulators of neuronal signalling. Although CB(1)/CB(2)-type receptors are unique to chordates, enzymes involved in biosynthesis/inactivation of endocannabinoids occur throughout the animal kingdom. Accordingly, non-CB(1)/CB(2)-mediated mechanisms of endocannabinoid signalling have been postulated. For example, there is evidence that 2-AG mediates retrograde signalling at synapses in the nervous system of the leech Hirudo medicinalis by activating presynaptic transient receptor potential vanilloid-type ion channels. Thus, postsynaptic synthesis of 2-AG or anandamide may be a phylogenetically widespread phenomenon, and a variety of proteins may have evolved as presynaptic (or postsynaptic) receptors for endocannabinoids.

  5. Phylotranscriptomic analysis uncovers a wealth of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases variants in echinoderms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clouse, Ronald M; Linchangco, Gregorio V; Kerr, Alexander M; Reid, Robert W; Janies, Daniel A

    2015-12-01

    Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) help regulate the extracellular matrix (ECM) in animals, mostly by inhibiting matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). They are important activators of mutable collagenous tissue (MCT), which have been extensively studied in echinoderms, and the four TIMP copies in humans have been studied for their role in cancer. To understand the evolution of TIMPs, we combined 405 TIMPs from an echinoderm transcriptome dataset built from 41 specimens representing all five classes of echinoderms with variants from protostomes and chordates. We used multiple sequence alignment with various stringencies of alignment quality to cull highly divergent sequences and then conducted phylogenetic analyses using both nucleotide and amino acid sequences. Phylogenetic hypotheses consistently recovered TIMPs as diversifying in the ancestral deuterostome and these early lineages continuing to diversify in echinoderms. The four vertebrate TIMPs diversified from a single copy in the ancestral chordate, all other copies being lost. Consistent with greater MCT needs owing to body wall liquefaction, evisceration, autotomy and reproduction by fission, holothuroids had significantly more TIMPs and higher read depths per contig. Ten cysteine residues, an HPQ binding site and several other residues were conserved in at least 70% of all TIMPs. The conservation of binding sites and the placement of echinoderm TIMPs involved in MCT modification suggest that ECM regulation remains the primary function of TIMP genes, although within this role there are a large number of specialized copies.

  6. C-opsin expressing photoreceptors in echinoderms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ullrich-Lüter, Esther M; D'Aniello, Salvatore; Arnone, Maria I

    2013-07-01

    Today's progress in molecular analysis and, in particular, the increased availability of genome sequences have enabled us to investigate photoreceptor cells (PRCs) in organisms that were formerly inaccessible to experimental manipulation. Our studies of marine non-chordate deuterostomes thus aim to bridge a gap of knowledge regarding the evolution of deuterostome PRCs prior to the emergence of vertebrates' eyes. In this contribution, we will show evidence for expression of a c-opsin photopigment, which, according to our phylogenetic analysis, is closely related to an assemblage of chordate visual c-opsins. An antibody raised against sea urchins' c-opsin protein (Sp-Opsin1) recognizes epitopes in a variety of tissues of different echinoderms. While in sea urchins this c-opsin is expressed in locomotory and buccal tube feet, spines, pedicellaria, and epidermis, in brittlestars and starfish we found the immuno-reaction to be located exclusively in cells within the animals' spines. Structural characteristics of these c-opsin+ PRC types include the close vicinity/connection to nerve strands and a, so far unexplored, conspicuous association with the animals' calcite skeleton, which previously has been hypothesized to play a role in echinoderm photobiology. These features are discussed within the context of the evolution of photoreceptors in echinoderms and in deuterostomes generally.

  7. The evolution and comparative neurobiology of endocannabinoid signalling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elphick, Maurice R.

    2012-01-01

    CB1- and CB2-type cannabinoid receptors mediate effects of the endocannabinoids 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide in mammals. In canonical endocannabinoid-mediated synaptic plasticity, 2-AG is generated postsynaptically by diacylglycerol lipase alpha and acts via presynaptic CB1-type cannabinoid receptors to inhibit neurotransmitter release. Electrophysiological studies on lampreys indicate that this retrograde signalling mechanism occurs throughout the vertebrates, whereas system-level studies point to conserved roles for endocannabinoid signalling in neural mechanisms of learning and control of locomotor activity and feeding. CB1/CB2-type receptors originated in a common ancestor of extant chordates, and in the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis a CB1/CB2-type receptor is targeted to axons, indicative of an ancient role for cannabinoid receptors as axonal regulators of neuronal signalling. Although CB1/CB2-type receptors are unique to chordates, enzymes involved in biosynthesis/inactivation of endocannabinoids occur throughout the animal kingdom. Accordingly, non-CB1/CB2-mediated mechanisms of endocannabinoid signalling have been postulated. For example, there is evidence that 2-AG mediates retrograde signalling at synapses in the nervous system of the leech Hirudo medicinalis by activating presynaptic transient receptor potential vanilloid-type ion channels. Thus, postsynaptic synthesis of 2-AG or anandamide may be a phylogenetically widespread phenomenon, and a variety of proteins may have evolved as presynaptic (or postsynaptic) receptors for endocannabinoids. PMID:23108540

  8. Extensive intron gain in the ancestor of placental mammals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kordiš Dušan

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Genome-wide studies of intron dynamics in mammalian orthologous genes have found convincing evidence for loss of introns but very little for intron turnover. Similarly, large-scale analysis of intron dynamics in a few vertebrate genomes has identified only intron losses and no gains, indicating that intron gain is an extremely rare event in vertebrate evolution. These studies suggest that the intron-rich genomes of vertebrates do not allow intron gain. The aim of this study was to search for evidence of de novo intron gain in domesticated genes from an analysis of their exon/intron structures. Results A phylogenomic approach has been used to analyse all domesticated genes in mammals and chordates that originated from the coding parts of transposable elements. Gain of introns in domesticated genes has been reconstructed on well established mammalian, vertebrate and chordate phylogenies, and examined as to where and when the gain events occurred. The locations, sizes and amounts of de novo introns gained in the domesticated genes during the evolution of mammals and chordates has been analyzed. A significant amount of intron gain was found only in domesticated genes of placental mammals, where more than 70 cases were identified. De novo gained introns show clear positional bias, since they are distributed mainly in 5' UTR and coding regions, while 3' UTR introns are very rare. In the coding regions of some domesticated genes up to 8 de novo gained introns have been found. Intron densities in Eutheria-specific domesticated genes and in older domesticated genes that originated early in vertebrates are lower than those for normal mammalian and vertebrate genes. Surprisingly, the majority of intron gains have occurred in the ancestor of placentals. Conclusions This study provides the first evidence for numerous intron gains in the ancestor of placental mammals and demonstrates that adequate taxon sampling is crucial for

  9. Review: Evolution of GnIH structure and function

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tomohiro eOsugi

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Discovery of gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH in the Japanese quail in 2000 was the first to demonstrate the existence of a hypothalamic neuropeptide inhibiting gonadotropin release. We now know that GnIH regulates reproduction by inhibiting gonadotropin synthesis and release via action on the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH system and the gonadotrope in various vertebrates. GnIH peptides identified in birds and mammals have a common LPXRF-amide (X = L or Q motif at the C-terminus and inhibits pituitary gonadotropin secretion. However, the function and structure of GnIH peptides were diverse in fish. Goldfish GnIHs possessing a C-terminal LPXRF-amide motif had both stimulatory and inhibitory effects on gonadotropin synthesis or release. The C-terminal sequence of grass puffer and medaka GnIHs were MPQRF-amide. To investigate the evolutionary origin of GnIH and its ancestral structure and function, we searched for GnIH in agnathans, the most ancient lineage of vertebrates. We identified GnIH precursor gene and mature GnIH peptides with C-terminal QPQRF-amide or RPQRF-amide from the brain of sea lamprey. Lamprey GnIH fibers were in close proximity to GnRH-III neurons. Further, one of lamprey GnIHs stimulated the expression of lamprey GnRH-III peptide in the hypothalamus and gonadotropic hormone β mRNA expression in the pituitary. We further identified the ancestral form of GnIH, which had a C-terminal RPQRF-amide, and its receptors in amphioxus, the most basal chordate species. The amphioxus GnIH inhibited cAMP signaling in vitro. In sum, the original forms of GnIH may date back to the time of the emergence of early chordates. GnIH peptides may have had various C-terminal structures slightly different from LPXRF-amide in basal chordates, which had stimulatory and/or inhibitory functions on reproduction. The C-terminal LPXRF-amide structure and its inhibitory function on reproduction may be selected in later-evolved vertebrates, such as

  10. SOX genes: architects of development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prior, H M; Walter, M A

    1996-07-01

    Development in higher organisms involves complex genetic regulation at the molecular level. The emerging picture of development control includes several families of master regulatory genes which can affect the expression of down-stream target genes in developmental cascade pathways. One new family of such development regulators is the SOX gene family. The SOX genes are named for a shared motif called the SRY box a region homologous to the DNA-binding domain of SRY, the mammalian sex determining gene. Like SRY, SOX genes play important roles in chordate development. At least a dozen human SOX genes have been identified and partially characterized (Tables 1 and 2). Mutations in SOX9 have recently been linked to campomelic dysplasia and autosomal sex reversal, and other SOX genes may also be associated with human disease.

  11. A saturation screen for cis-acting regulatory DNA in the Hox genes of Ciona intestinalis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Keys, David N.; Lee, Byung-in; Di Gregorio, Anna; Harafuji, Naoe; Detter, Chris; Wang, Mei; Kahsai, Orsalem; Ahn, Sylvia; Arellano, Andre; Zhang, Quin; Trong, Stephan; Doyle, Sharon A.; Satoh, Noriyuki; Satou, Yutaka; Saiga, Hidetoshi; Christian, Allen; Rokhsar, Dan; Hawkins, Trevor L.; Levine, Mike; Richardson, Paul

    2005-01-05

    A screen for the systematic identification of cis-regulatory elements within large (>100 kb) genomic domains containing Hox genes was performed by using the basal chordate Ciona intestinalis. Randomly generated DNA fragments from bacterial artificial chromosomes containing two clusters of Hox genes were inserted into a vector upstream of a minimal promoter and lacZ reporter gene. A total of 222 resultant fusion genes were separately electroporated into fertilized eggs, and their regulatory activities were monitored in larvae. In sum, 21 separable cis-regulatory elements were found. These include eight Hox linked domains that drive expression in nested anterior-posterior domains of ectodermally derived tissues. In addition to vertebrate-like CNS regulation, the discovery of cis-regulatory domains that drive epidermal transcription suggests that C. intestinalis has arthropod-like Hox patterning in the epidermis.

  12. A new phyllopod bed-like assemblage from the Burgess Shale of the Canadian Rockies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caron, Jean-Bernard; Gaines, Robert R; Aria, Cédric; Mángano, M Gabriela; Streng, Michael

    2014-01-01

    Burgess Shale-type fossil assemblages provide the best evidence of the 'Cambrian explosion'. Here we report the discovery of an extraordinary new soft-bodied fauna from the Burgess Shale. Despite its proximity (ca. 40 km) to Walcott's original locality, the Marble Canyon fossil assemblage is distinct, and offers new insights into the initial diversification of metazoans, their early morphological disparity, and the geographic ranges and longevity of many Cambrian taxa. The arthropod-dominated assemblage is remarkable for its high density and diversity of soft-bodied fossils, as well as for its large proportion of new species (22% of total diversity) and for the preservation of hitherto unreported anatomical features, including in the chordate Metaspriggina and the arthropod Mollisonia. The presence of the stem arthropods Misszhouia and Primicaris, previously known only from the early Cambrian of China, suggests that the palaeogeographic ranges and longevity of Burgess Shale taxa may be underestimated.

  13. AmphiFoxQ2, a novel winged helix/forkhead gene, exclusively marks the anterior end of the amphioxus embryo

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Jr-Kai; Holland, Nicholas D.; Holland, Linda Z.

    2003-01-01

    A full-length FoxQ-related gene (AmphiFoxQ2) was isolated from amphioxus. Expression is first detectable in the animal/anterior hemisphere at the mid blastula stage. The midpoint of this expression domain coincides with the anterior pole of the embryo and is offset dorsally by about 20 degrees from the animal pole. During the gastrula stage, expression is limited to the anterior ectoderm. By the early neurula stage, expression remains in the anterior ectoderm and also appears in the adjacent anterior mesendoderm. By the early larval stages, expression is detectable in the anteriormost ectoderm and in the rostral tip of the notochord. AmphiFoxQ2 is never expressed anywhere except at the anterior tip of amphioxus embryos and larvae. This is the first gene known that exclusively marks the anterior pole of chordate embryos. It may, therefore, play an important role in establishing and/or maintaining the anterior/posterior axis.

  14. Activities of Amphioxus GH-Like Protein in Osmoregulation: Insight into Origin of Vertebrate GH Family

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Mengyang; Jiang, Chengyan

    2017-01-01

    GH is known to play an important role in both growth promotion and osmoregulation in vertebrates. We have shown that amphioxus possesses a single GH-like hormone (GHl) gene encoding a functional protein capable of promoting growth. However, if GHl can mediate osmoregulation remains open. Here, we demonstrated clearly that GHl increased not only the survival rate of amphioxus but also the muscle moisture under high salinity. Moreover, GHl induced the expression of both the ion transporter Na+-K+-ATPase (NKA) and Na+-K+-2Cl− cotransporter (NKCC) in the gill as well as the mediator of GH action IGFl in the hepatic caecum, indicating that GHl fulfills this osmoregulatory activity through the same mechanisms of vertebrate GH. These results together suggest that the osmoregulatory activities of GH had emerged in the basal chordate amphioxus. We also proposed a new model depicting the origin of pituitary hormone family in vertebrates.

  15. Development of Bipotent Cardiac/Skeletal Myogenic Progenitors from MESP1+ Mesoderm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sunny Sun-Kin Chan

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available The branchiomeric skeletal muscles co-evolved with new chambers of the heart to enable predatory feeding in chordates. These co-evolved tissues develop from a common population in anterior splanchnic mesoderm, referred to as cardiopharyngeal mesoderm (CPM. The regulation and development of CPM are poorly understood. We describe an embryonic stem cell-based system in which MESP1 drives a PDGFRA+ population with dual cardiac and skeletal muscle differentiation potential, and gene expression resembling CPM. Using this system, we investigate the regulation of these bipotent progenitors, and find that cardiac specification is governed by an antagonistic TGFβ-BMP axis, while skeletal muscle specification is enhanced by Rho kinase inhibition. We define transcriptional signatures of the first committed CPM-derived cardiac and skeletal myogenic progenitors, and discover surface markers to distinguish cardiac (PODXL+ from the skeletal muscle (CDH4+ CPM derivatives. These tools open an accessible window on this developmentally and evolutionarily important population.

  16. Unique Asymmetric Protrusion of Nerve Cord in the Amphioxus, Branchiostoma belcheri

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nozaki, Masumi; Terakado, Kiyoshi; Kubokawa, Kaoru

    The amphioxus is the only surviving prevertebrate segmented chordate. In this animal Hatschek's pit has long been regarded as a putative homologue of the adenohypophysis because of the presence of secretory granules and immunoreactive cells to vertebrate gonadotrophic hormone in this organ. We found that the nerve cord extends a protrusion to the pit along the right side of the notochord. Furthermore, secretory granules were found not only in the pit but also in the protrusion of the nerve cord. These results suggest that Hatschek's pit and the nerve protrusion are homologous to the adenohypophysis and neurohypophysis, respectively. We believe that this is an evidence for the presence of the neuroendocrine link between the central nervous system and Hatschek's pit in the amphioxus.

  17. Observations on the radiation of lobe-finned fishes, ray-finned fishes, and cartilaginous fishes: phylogeny of the opioid/orphanin gene family and the 2R hypothesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dores, Robert M; Majeed, Qais; Komorowski, Leanne

    2011-01-15

    At the close of the Devonian Period the rapid decline in the diversity of the lobe-finned fishes was countered by the emergence and diversification of the ray-finned fishes and the cartilaginous fishes that now dominate marine and freshwater ecosystems. All of these jawed vertebrates were derived from the ancestral gnathostomes; a chordate lineage that had experienced two genome duplication events during the evolution of the phylum. This review analyzes trends in the phylogeny of the opioid/orphanin gene family (four prohormone/neuropeptide precursor-coding genes) in the major classes of gnathostomes that survived the extinction events at the close of the Devonian Period and focuses on some features of this gene family that appear to set the cartilaginous fishes (class Chondrichthyes) apart from class Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods) and class Actinopterygii (the ray-finned fishes).

  18. Ancestral echinoderms from the Chengjiang deposits of China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shu, D-G; Morris, S Conway; Han, J; Zhang, Z-F; Liu, J-N

    2004-07-22

    Deuterostomes are a remarkably diverse super-phylum, including not only the chordates (to which we belong) but groups as disparate as the echinoderms and the hemichordates. The phylogeny of deuterostomes is now achieving some degree of stability, especially on account of new molecular data, but this leaves as conjectural the appearance of extinct intermediate forms that would throw light on the sequence of evolutionary events leading to the extant groups. Such data can be supplied from the fossil record, notably those deposits with exceptional soft-part preservation. Excavations near Kunming in southwestern China have revealed a variety of remarkable early deuterostomes, including the vetulicolians and yunnanozoans. Here we describe a new group, the vetulocystids. They appear to have similarities not only to the vetulicolians but also to the homalozoans, a bizarre group of primitive echinoderms whose phylogenetic position has been highly controversial.

  19. Advances in biotechnology and informatics to link variation in the genome to phenotypes in plants and animals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Appels, R; Barrero, R; Bellgard, M

    2013-03-01

    Advances in our understanding of genome structure provide consistent evidence for the existence of a core genome representing species classically defined by phenotype, as well as conditionally dispensable components of the genome that shows extensive variation between individuals of a given species. Generally, conservation of phenotypic features between species reflects conserved features of the genome; however, this is evidently not necessarily always the case as demonstrated by the analysis of the tunicate chordate Oikopleura dioica. In both plants and animals, the methylation activity of DNA and histones continues to present new variables for modifying (eventually) the phenotype of an organism and provides for structural variation that builds on the point mutations, rearrangements, indels, and amplification of retrotransposable elements traditionally considered. The translation of the advances in the structure/function analysis of the genome to industry is facilitated through the capture of research outputs in "toolboxes" that remain accessible in the public domain.

  20. EXTRACTION AND PHYTOCHEMICAL SCREENING OF MIKANIA SCANDENS LINN. AND EVALUATION OF ITS METHANOLIC EXTRACT FOR ANALGESIC ACTIVITY

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    Raja Chakraverty and Sudeshna Saha

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available Mikania scandens is a rapidly growing herbaceous to semi-woody, perennial vine. It grows quickly over other plants such as young trees, smothering them; it can climb trees up to 25 m tall. Although not as serious a weed as M. chordate, in Southeast Asia it has become a hard to eradicate weed of tea, rubber, and other plantation crops. It also reduces the carrying capacity of pasture. The achenes are spread by wind, water and animals. The plant also reproduces by old rootstocks, runners and suckers. It is still under investigation. Although it has some analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, but these uses are not widely accepted till now. Folkloric uses include utilisation of the herb as an anticoagulant or other medicinal purpose. The aim of the undertaken work is to identify and isolate the chemical constituents of the plant Mikania scandens and to evaluate its reported analgesic activity.

  1. Differential mesodermal expression of two amphioxus MyoD family members (AmphiMRF1 and AmphiMRF2)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schubert, Michael; Meulemans, Daniel; Bronner-Fraser, Marianne; Holland, Linda Z.; Holland, Nicholas D.

    2003-01-01

    To explore the evolution of myogenic regulatory factors in chordates, we isolated two MyoD family genes (AmphiMRF1 and AmphiMRF2) from amphioxus. AmphiMRF1 is first expressed at the late gastrula in the paraxial mesoderm. As the first somites form, expression is restricted to their myotomal region. In the early larva, expression is strongest in the most anterior and most posterior somites. AmphiMRF2 transcription begins at mid/late gastrula in the paraxial mesoderm, but never spreads into its most anterior region. Through much of the neurula stage, AmphiMRF2 expression is strong in the myotomal region of all somites except the most anterior pair; by late neurula expression is downregulated except in the most posterior somites forming just rostral to the tail bud. These two MRF genes of amphioxus have partly overlapping patterns of mesodermal expression and evidently duplicated independent of the diversification of the vertebrate MRF family.

  2. The bijection from data to parameter space with the standard DEB model quantifies the supply–demand spectrum

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lika, Konstadia; Augustine, Starrlight; Pecquerie, Laure

    2014-01-01

    The standard Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model assumes that food is converted to reserve and a fraction κ of mobilised reserve of an individual is allocated to somatic maintenance plus growth, while the rest is allocated to maturity maintenance plus maturation (in embryos and juveniles......) or reproduction (in adults). The add_my_pet collection of over 300 animal species from most larger phyla, and all chordate classes, shows that this model fits energy data very well. Nine parameters determine nine data points at abundant food: dry/wet weight ratio, age at birth, puberty, death, weight at birth...... maintenance and costs for structure, allocation fraction of mobilised reserve to soma, energy conductance, and ageing acceleration. We provide an efficient algorithm for mapping between data and parameter space in both directions and found expressions for the boundaries of the parameter and data spaces. One...

  3. The mitochondrial genome of Phallusia mammillata and Phallusia fumigata (Tunicata, Ascidiacea: high genome plasticity at intra-genus level

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    Pesole Graziano

    2007-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Within Chordata, the subphyla Vertebrata and Cephalochordata (lancelets are characterized by a remarkable stability of the mitochondrial (mt genome, with constancy of gene content and almost invariant gene order, whereas the limited mitochondrial data on the subphylum Tunicata suggest frequent and extensive gene rearrangements, observed also within ascidians of the same genus. Results To confirm this evolutionary trend and to better understand the evolutionary dynamics of the mitochondrial genome in Tunicata Ascidiacea, we have sequenced and characterized the complete mt genome of two congeneric ascidian species, Phallusia mammillata and Phallusia fumigata (Phlebobranchiata, Ascidiidae. The two mtDNAs are surprisingly rearranged, both with respect to one another and relative to those of other tunicates and chordates, with gene rearrangements affecting both protein-coding and tRNA genes. The new data highlight the extraordinary variability of ascidian mt genome in base composition, tRNA secondary structure, tRNA gene content, and non-coding regions (number, size, sequence and location. Indeed, both Phallusia genomes lack the trnD gene, show loss/acquisition of DHU-arm in two tRNAs, and have a G+C content two-fold higher than other ascidians. Moreover, the mt genome of P. fumigata presents two identical copies of trnI, an extra tRNA gene with uncertain amino acid specificity, and four almost identical sequence regions. In addition, a truncated cytochrome b, lacking a C-terminal tail that commonly protrudes into the mt matrix, has been identified as a new mt feature probably shared by all tunicates. Conclusion The frequent occurrence of major gene order rearrangements in ascidians both at high taxonomic level and within the same genus makes this taxon an excellent model to study the mechanisms of gene rearrangement, and renders the mt genome an invaluable phylogenetic marker to investigate molecular biodiversity and speciation

  4. The cytochrome P450 genesis locus: the origin and evolution of animal cytochrome P450s.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, David R; Goldstone, Jared V; Stegeman, John J

    2013-02-19

    The neighbourhoods of cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes in deuterostome genomes, as well as those of the cnidarians Nematostella vectensis and Acropora digitifera and the placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens were examined to find clues concerning the evolution of CYP genes in animals. CYP genes created by the 2R whole genome duplications in chordates have been identified. Both microsynteny and macrosynteny were used to identify genes that coexisted near CYP genes in the animal ancestor. We show that all 11 CYP clans began in a common gene environment. The evidence implies the existence of a single locus, which we term the 'cytochrome P450 genesis locus', where one progenitor CYP gene duplicated to create a tandem set of genes that were precursors of the 11 animal CYP clans: CYP Clans 2, 3, 4, 7, 19, 20, 26, 46, 51, 74 and mitochondrial. These early CYP genes existed side by side before the origin of cnidarians, possibly with a few additional genes interspersed. The Hox gene cluster, WNT genes, an NK gene cluster and at least one ARF gene were close neighbours to this original CYP locus. According to this evolutionary scenario, the CYP74 clan originated from animals and not from land plants nor from a common ancestor of plants and animals. The CYP7 and CYP19 families that are chordate-specific belong to CYP clans that seem to have originated in the CYP genesis locus as well, even though this requires many gene losses to explain their current distribution. The approach to uncovering the CYP genesis locus overcomes confounding effects because of gene conversion, sequence divergence, gene birth and death, and opens the way to understanding the biodiversity of CYP genes, families and subfamilies, which in animals has been obscured by more than 600 Myr of evolution.

  5. SNPs and Hox gene mapping in Ciona intestinalis

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    Biffali Elio

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The tunicate Ciona intestinalis (Enterogona, Ascidiacea, a major model system for evolutionary and developmental genetics of chordates, harbours two cryptic species. To assess the degree of intra- and inter-specific genetic variability, we report the identification and analysis of C. intestinalis SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism markers. A SNP subset was used to determine the genetic distance between Hox-5 and -10 genes. Results DNA fragments were amplified from 12 regions of C. intestinalis sp. A. In total, 128 SNPs and 32 one bp indels have been identified within 8 Kb DNA. SNPs in coding regions cause 4 synonymous and 12 non-synonymous substitutions. The highest SNP frequency was detected in the Hox5 and Hox10 intragenic regions. In C. intestinalis, these two genes have lost their archetypal topology within the cluster, such that Hox10 is located between Hox4 and Hox5. A subset of the above primers was used to perform successful amplification in C. intestinalis sp. B. In this cryptic species, 62 SNPs were identified within 3614 bp: 41 in non-coding and 21 in coding regions. The genetic distance of the Hox-5 and -10 loci, computed combining a classical backcross approach with the application of SNP markers, was found to be 8.4 cM (Haldane's function. Based on the physical distance, 1 cM corresponds to 39.5 Kb. Linkage disequilibrium between the aforementioned loci was calculated in the backcross generation. Conclusion SNPs here described allow analysis and comparisons within and between C. intestinalis cryptic species. We provide the first reliable computation of genetic distance in this important model chordate. This latter result represents an important platform for future studies on Hox genes showing deviations from the archetypal topology.

  6. Genome-wide identification and characterization of transcription start sites and promoters in the tunicate Ciona intestinalis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yokomori, Rui; Shimai, Kotaro; Nishitsuji, Koki; Suzuki, Yutaka; Kusakabe, Takehiro G; Nakai, Kenta

    2016-01-01

    The tunicate Ciona intestinalis, an invertebrate chordate, has recently emerged as a powerful model organism for gene regulation analysis. However, few studies have been conducted to identify and characterize its transcription start sites (TSSs) and promoters at the genome-wide level. Here, using TSS-seq, we identified TSSs at the genome-wide scale and characterized promoters in C. intestinalis. Specifically, we identified TSS clusters (TSCs), high-density regions of TSS-seq tags, each of which appears to originate from an identical promoter. TSCs were found not only at known TSSs but also in other regions, suggesting the existence of many unknown transcription units in the genome. We also identified candidate promoters of 79 ribosomal protein (RP) genes, each of which had the major TSS in a polypyrimidine tract and showed a sharp TSS distribution like human RP gene promoters. Ciona RP gene promoters, however, did not appear to have typical TATA boxes, unlike human RP gene promoters. In Ciona non-RP promoters, two pyrimidine-purine dinucleotides, CA and TA, were frequently used as TSSs. Despite the absence of CpG islands, Ciona TATA-less promoters showed low expression specificity like CpG-associated human TATA-less promoters. By using TSS-seq, we also predicted trans-spliced gene TSSs and found that their downstream regions had higher G+T content than those of non-trans-spliced gene TSSs. Furthermore, we identified many putative alternative promoters, some of which were regulated in a tissue-specific manner. Our results provide valuable information about TSSs and promoter characteristics in C. intestinalis and will be helpful in future analysis of transcriptional regulation in chordates.

  7. 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.

  8. 60 YEARS OF POMC: Melanocortin receptors: evolution of ligand selectivity for melanocortin peptides.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dores, Robert M; Liang, Liang; Davis, Perry; Thomas, Alexa L; Petko, Bogdana

    2016-05-01

    The evolution of the melanocortin receptors (MCRs) is linked to the evolution of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), the melanocyte-stimulating hormones (MSHs), and their common precursor pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC). The origin of the MCRs and POMC appears to be grounded in the early radiation of the ancestral protochordates. During the genome duplications that have occurred during the evolution of the chordates, the organization plan for POMC was established, and features that have been retained include, the high conservation of the amino acid sequences of α-MSH and ACTH, and the presence of the HFRW MCR activation motif in all of the melanocortin peptides (i.e. ACTH, α-MSH, β-MSH, γ-MSH, and δ-MSH). For the MCRs, the chordate genome duplication events resulted in the proliferation of paralogous receptor genes, and a divergence in ligand selectivity. While most gnathostome MCRs can be activated by either ACTH or the MSHs, teleost and tetrapod MC2R orthologs can only be activated by ACTH. The appearance of the accessory protein, MRAP1, paralleled the emergence of teleost and tetrapods MC2R ligand selectivity, and the dependence of these orthologs on MRAP1 for trafficking to the plasma membrane. The accessory protein, MRAP2, does not affect MC2R ligand selectivity, but does influence the functionality of MC4R orthologs. In this regard, the roles that these accessory proteins may play in the physiology of the five MCRs (i.e. MC1R, MC2R, MC3R, MC4R, and MC5R) are discussed.

  9. Ventralization of an indirect developing hemichordate by NiCl₂ suggests a conserved mechanism of dorso-ventral (D/V) patterning in Ambulacraria (hemichordates and echinoderms).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Röttinger, E; Martindale, M Q

    2011-06-01

    One of the earliest steps in embryonic development is the establishment of the future body axes. Morphological and molecular data place the Ambulacraria (echinoderms and hemichordates) within the Deuterostomia and as the sister taxon to chordates. Extensive work over the last decades in echinoid (sea urchins) echinoderms has led to the characterization of gene regulatory networks underlying germ layer specification and axis formation during embryogenesis. However, with the exception of recent studies from a direct developing hemichordate (Saccoglossus kowalevskii), very little is known about the molecular mechanism underlying early hemichordate development. Unlike echinoids, indirect developing hemichordates retain the larval body axes and major larval tissues after metamorphosis into the adult worm. In order to gain insight into dorso-ventral (D/V) patterning, we used nickel chloride (NiCl₂), a potent ventralizing agent on echinoderm embryos, on the indirect developing enteropneust hemichordate, Ptychodera flava. Our present study shows that NiCl₂ disrupts the D/V axis and induces formation of a circumferential mouth when treated before the onset of gastrulation. Molecular analysis, using newly isolated tissue-specific markers, shows that the ventral ectoderm is expanded at expense of dorsal ectoderm in treated embryos, but has little effect on germ layer or anterior-posterior markers. The resulting ventralized phenotype, the effective dose, and the NiCl₂ sensitive response period of Ptychodera flava, is very similar to the effects of nickel on embryonic development described in larval echinoderms. These strong similarities allow one to speculate that a NiCl₂ sensitive pathway involved in dorso-ventral patterning may be shared between echinoderms, hemichordates and a putative ambulacrarian ancestor. Furthermore, nickel treatments ventralize the direct developing hemichordate, S. kowalevskii indicating that a common pathway patterns both larval and adult

  10. Conodont body size and diversity trends after the end-Permian extinction: implications for the recovery of pelagic vs. benthic marine ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schaal, E. K.; Morgan, D. J.; Clapham, M.; Rego, B. L.; Wang, S. C.; Payne, J.

    2012-12-01

    Many marine clades decreased in size across the end-Permian extinction horizon, but the pattern and timing of subsequent size increase during recovery is poorly constrained. The tempo of recovery from the end-Permian extinction is key to understanding the role of evolutionary and environmental constraints in the recovery of ecosystems. However, not all marine organisms share the same recovery pattern. In this study, we document Late Permian to Late Triassic trends in size distribution of conodonts, pelagic chordates that exhibit much more rapid diversification in the Early Triassic compared to benthic clades. Because tooth size correlates with body weight in chordates over many orders of magnitude and is commonly used to predict body size in fossils, conodont elements can serve as a proxy for the size of the conodont animal. Our dataset includes both specimens from high-resolution samples through an exceptionally exposed carbonate platform in south China and size measurements from the published literature for conodonts and seven other marine clades. In platform slope sections of south China, we observe a size decrease across the P/Tr boundary, but in platform interior sections, large conodonts are prolific in the earliest Triassic. Comparison with global data shows that while there is decrease in median conodont size across the P/Tr boundary, there is little change in maximum conodont size, and pre-extinction size distributions return by the Smithian. While benthic clades show Early Triassic size reduction and slow recovery, pelagic clades such as conodonts and ammonoids show large size and rapid diversification after the extinction event. This decoupling of recovery between benthic and pelagic marine ecosystems could reflect a depth gradient in environmental parameters such as oxygen availability or intrinsic differences in the evolutionary dynamics of these clades.

  11. No more than 14: the end of the amphioxus Hox cluster

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    2005-01-01

    Full Text Available The Hox gene cluster has been a key paradigm for a generation of developmental and evolutionary biologists. Since its discovery in the mid-1980's, the identification, genomic organization, expression, colinearity, and regulation of Hox genes have been immediate targets for study in any new model organism, and metazoan genome projects always refer to the structure of the particular Hox cluster(s. Since the early 1990's, it has been dogma that vertebrate Hox clusters are composed of thirteen paralogous groups. Nonetheless, we showed that in the otherwise prototypical cephalochordate amphioxus (Branchiostoma floridae, the Hox cluster contains a fourteenth Hox gene, and very recently, a 14th Hox paralogous group has been found in the coelacanth and the horn shark, suggesting that the amphioxus cluster was anticipating the finding of Hox 14 in some vertebrate lineages. In view of the pivotal place that amphioxus occupies in vertebrate evolution, we thought it of considerable interest to establish the limits of its Hox gene cluster, namely resolution of whether more Hox genes are present in the amphioxus cluster (e.g., Hox 15. Using two strategies, here we report the completion and characterization of the Hox gene content of the single amphioxus Hox cluster, which encompasses 650 kb from Hox1 to Evx. Our data have important implications for the primordial Hox gene cluster of chordates: the prototypical nature of the single amphioxus Hox cluster makes it unlikely that additional paralogous groups will be found in any chordate lineage. We suggest that 14 is the end.

  12. Evolutionary relationships of Aurora kinases: Implications for model organism studies and the development of anti-cancer drugs

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    Patrick Denis R

    2004-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background As key regulators of mitotic chromosome segregation, the Aurora family of serine/threonine kinases play an important role in cell division. Abnormalities in Aurora kinases have been strongly linked with cancer, which has lead to the recent development of new classes of anti-cancer drugs that specifically target the ATP-binding domain of these kinases. From an evolutionary perspective, the species distribution of the Aurora kinase family is complex. Mammals uniquely have three Aurora kinases, Aurora-A, Aurora-B, and Aurora-C, while for other metazoans, including the frog, fruitfly and nematode, only Aurora-A and Aurora-B kinases are known. The fungi have a single Aurora-like homolog. Based on the tacit assumption of orthology to human counterparts, model organism studies have been central to the functional characterization of Aurora kinases. However, the ortholog and paralog relationships of these kinases across various species have not been rigorously examined. Here, we present comprehensive evolutionary analyses of the Aurora kinase family. Results Phylogenetic trees suggest that all three vertebrate Auroras evolved from a single urochordate ancestor. Specifically, Aurora-A is an orthologous lineage in cold-blooded vertebrates and mammals, while structurally similar Aurora-B and Aurora-C evolved more recently in mammals from a duplication of an ancestral Aurora-B/C gene found in cold-blooded vertebrates. All so-called Aurora-A and Aurora-B kinases of non-chordates are ancestral to the clade of chordate Auroras and, therefore, are not strictly orthologous to vertebrate counterparts. Comparisons of human Aurora-B and Aurora-C sequences to the resolved 3D structure of human Aurora-A lends further support to the evolutionary scenario that vertebrate Aurora-B and Aurora-C are closely related paralogs. Of the 26 residues lining the ATP-binding active site, only three were variant and all were specific to Aurora-A. Conclusions In

  13. Introduction to 'Homology and convergence in nervous system evolution'.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strausfeld, Nicholas J; Hirth, Frank

    2016-01-01

    The origin of brains and central nervous systems (CNSs) is thought to have occurred before the Palaeozoic era 540 Ma. Yet in the absence of tangible evidence, there has been continued debate whether today's brains and nervous systems derive from one ancestral origin or whether similarities among them are due to convergent evolution. With the advent of molecular developmental genetics and genomics, it has become clear that homology is a concept that applies not only to morphologies, but also to genes, developmental processes, as well as to behaviours. Comparative studies in phyla ranging from annelids and arthropods to mammals are providing evidence that corresponding developmental genetic mechanisms act not only in dorso-ventral and anterior-posterior axis specification but also in segmentation, neurogenesis, axogenesis and eye/photoreceptor cell formation that appear to be conserved throughout the animal kingdom. These data are supported by recent studies which identified Mid-Cambrian fossils with preserved soft body parts that present segmental arrangements in brains typical of modern arthropods, and similarly organized brain centres and circuits across phyla that may reflect genealogical correspondence and control similar behavioural manifestations. Moreover, congruence between genetic and geological fossil records support the notion that by the 'Cambrian explosion' arthropods and chordates shared similarities in brain and nervous system organization. However, these similarities are strikingly absent in several sister- and outgroups of arthropods and chordates which raises several questions, foremost among them: what kind of natural laws and mechanisms underlie the convergent evolution of such similarities? And, vice versa: what are the selection pressures and genetic mechanisms underlying the possible loss or reduction of brains and CNSs in multiple lineages during the course of evolution? These questions were addressed at a Royal Society meeting to discuss

  14. Molecular cloning and analysis of zebrafish voltage-gated sodium channel beta subunit genes: implications for the evolution of electrical signaling in vertebrates

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    Zhong Tao P

    2007-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Action potential generation in excitable cells such as myocytes and neurons critically depends on voltage-gated sodium channels. In mammals, sodium channels exist as macromolecular complexes that include a pore-forming alpha subunit and 1 or more modulatory beta subunits. Although alpha subunit genes have been cloned from diverse metazoans including flies, jellyfish, and humans, beta subunits have not previously been identified in any non-mammalian species. To gain further insight into the evolution of electrical signaling in vertebrates, we investigated beta subunit genes in the teleost Danio rerio (zebrafish. Results We identified and cloned single zebrafish gene homologs for beta1-beta3 (zbeta1-zbeta3 and duplicate genes for beta4 (zbeta4.1, zbeta4.2. Sodium channel beta subunit loci are similarly organized in fish and mammalian genomes. Unlike their mammalian counterparts, zbeta1 and zbeta2 subunit genes display extensive alternative splicing. Zebrafish beta subunit genes and their splice variants are differentially-expressed in excitable tissues, indicating tissue-specific regulation of zbeta1-4 expression and splicing. Co-expression of the genes encoding zbeta1 and the zebrafish sodium channel alpha subunit Nav1.5 in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells increased sodium current and altered channel gating, demonstrating functional interactions between zebrafish alpha and beta subunits. Analysis of the synteny and phylogeny of mammalian, teleost, amphibian, and avian beta subunit and related genes indicated that all extant vertebrate beta subunits are orthologous, that beta2/beta4 and beta1/beta3 share common ancestry, and that beta subunits are closely related to other proteins sharing the V-type immunoglobulin domain structure. Vertebrate sodium channel beta subunit genes were not identified in the genomes of invertebrate chordates and are unrelated to known subunits of the para sodium channel in Drosophila. Conclusion The

  15. Conodonts, Calcichordates and the Origin of Vertebrates

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    J. Bergström

    1998-01-01

    Full Text Available Interpretation of early deuterostome evolution and relationships has been hampered by the lack of soft-part preservation in most groups. In addition, a recently revealed upside-down life orientation of vertebrates (the only real notoneuralians compared to other bilateral animals has been misinterpreted as evidence for a unique body design in all deuterostomes, misleading any search for relatives. Regarding echinoderms, the variety of body plans is confusing. The interpretation of some fossils with echinoderm-type calcite skeletons as “calcichordate” ancestors of chordates, however, involves a hypothetical reconstruction of an unusual body plan and a long series of hypothetical transitions. The number of necessary steps is much lower if cephalochordates (amphioxus or lancelet are derived directly from hemichordate enteropneusts. “Sensation interpretations” of fossils (Yunnanozoon, Cathaymyrus from Burgess Shale type deposits have added further confusion. Soft-part preservation of conodont animals, with V-shaped myomeres and a notochord, shows that they were segmented chordates, while probable eyes and teeth suggest that they were already on the vertebrate side. Die Interpretation früher Deuterostomia hinsichtlich ihrer Evolution und verwandtschaftlichen Beziehungen ist in den meisten Gruppen durch den Mangel an Weichkörpererhaltung sehr erschwert. Die kürzlich entdeckte Tatsache, daß Vertebraten, d. h. die einzigen echten Notoneuralia, im Gegensatz zu anderen bilateral symmetrischen Organismen eine mit ihrer ursprünglichen Oberseite nach unten gerichtete Lebensstellung einnehmen, hat zu der irrtümlichen Ansicht geführt, daß alle Deuostomia über einen im Tierreich einzigartigen Bauplan verfügen. Diese Interpretation brachte naturgemäß jede Suche nach Verwandtschaftsverhältnissen auf Abwege. Hinsichtlich der Echinodermata ist die bauplanmäßige Variation in der Tat verwirrend. Die Interpretation einiger Fossilien mit

  16. A forkhead gene related to HNF-3beta is required for gastrulation and axis formation in the ascidian embryo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olsen, C L; Jeffery, W R

    1997-09-01

    We have isolated a member of the HNF-3/forkhead gene family in ascidians as a means to determine the role of winged-helix genes in chordate development. The MocuFH1 gene, isolated from a Molgula oculata cDNA library, exhibits a forkhead DNA-binding domain most similar to zebrafish axial and rodent HNF-3beta. MocuFH1 is a single copy gene but there is at least one other related forkhead gene in the M. oculata genome. The MocuFH1 gene is expressed in the presumptive endoderm, mesenchyme and notochord cells beginning during the late cleavage stages. During gastrulation, MocuFH1 expression occurs in the prospective endoderm cells, which invaginate at the vegetal pole, and in the presumptive notochord and mesenchyme cells, which involute over the anterior and lateral lips of the blastopore, respectively. However, this gene is not expressed in the presumptive muscle cells, which involute over the posterior lip of the blastopore. MocuFH1 expression continues in the same cell lineages during neurulation and axis formation, however, during the tailbud stage, MocuFH1 is also expressed in ventral cells of the brain and spinal cord. The functional role of the MocuFH1 gene was studied using antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs), which transiently reduce MocuFH1 transcript levels during gastrulation. Embryos treated with antisense ODNs cleave normally and initiate gastrulation. However, gastrulation is incomplete, some of the endoderm and notochord cells do not enter the embryo and undergo subsequent movements, and axis formation is abnormal. In contrast, the prospective muscle cells, which do not express MocuFH1, undergo involution and later express muscle actin and acetylcholinesterase, markers of muscle cell differentiation. The results suggest that MocuFH1 is required for morphogenetic movements of the endoderm and notochord precursor cells during gastrulation and axis formation. The effects of inhibiting MocuFH1 expression on embryonic axis formation in ascidians are

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ou Qiang

    2012-10-01

    members of the stem-group deuterostomes; a group best known as the chordates (amphioxus, tunicates, vertebrates, but also including the ambulacrarians (echinoderms, hemichordates, and xenoturbellids. If the latter, first they demonstrate that these members of the stem group show few similarities to the descendant crown group representatives. Second, of the key innovations that underpinned deuterostome success, the earliest and arguably most seminal was the evolution of openings that define the pharyngeal gill slits of hemichordates (and some extinct echinoderms and chordates.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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

  19. Self/non-self recognition mechanisms in sexual reproduction: new insight into the self-incompatibility system shared by flowering plants and hermaphroditic animals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawada, Hitoshi; Morita, Masaya; Iwano, Megumi

    2014-08-01

    Sexual reproduction is an essential process for generating a genetic variety in the next generation. However, most flowering plants and hermaphroditic animals potentially allow self-fertilization. Approximately 60% of angiosperms possess a self-incompatibility (SI) system to avoid inbreeding. The SI system functions at a process of interaction between pollen (or pollen tube) and the pistil. These SI-responsible factors (S-determinants) in pollen and the pistil are encoded by highly polymorphic multiallelic genes in the S-locus, which are tightly linked making a single haplotype. Different taxonomic families utilize different types of S-determinant proteins. In contrast to the plant system, the mechanisms of SI in simultaneously hermaphroditic animals are largely unknown. Among them, promising candidates for SI in ascidians (primitive chordates) were recently identified. The SI system in the ascidian Cionaintestinalis was found to be very similar to those in flowering plants: The products of sperm- and egg-side multiallelic SI genes, which are tight linked and highly polymorphic, appear to be responsible for the SI system as revealed by genetic analysis. These findings led us to speculate that the SI systems in plants and animals evolved in a manner of convergent evolution. Here, we review the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the SI system in flowering plants, particularly Brassicacea, and in ascidians from the viewpoint of common mechanisms shared by plants and animals.

  20. Immunobiology of compound ascidians, with particular reference to Botryllus schlosseri: state of art

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    L Ballarin

    2008-05-01

    Full Text Available The phylogenetic position of invertebrate chordates closely related to vertebrates explains the increasing interest towards tunicate immunobiology. Most of the tunicates are ascidians which, like all other invertebrates, rely only on innate immunity for their defense. Compound ascidians differ from solitary species for the presence of colony specificity, i.e. the ability for intraspecific non-self recognition. The immunobiology of compound ascidians has been particularly studied in Botryllus schlosseri, which is an emerging model organism for this kind of studies. In B. schlosseri and related species, immunocytes are represented by phagocytes and cytotoxic morula cells, the former able to ingest foreign cell and particles, the latter representing the effectors of the inflammatory reaction which follows the contact between genetically incompatible colonies. Activated phagocytes release lectins with opsonic activity and are involved in the clearance of apoptotic cells during the colonial generational change. Morula cells recognize the presence of foreign molecules as well as allogeneic soluble factors diffusing from an alien colony and as a consequence they: i release cytokines in the medium which have chemotactic activity and activate phagocytes; ii degranulate and release phenoloxidase which induces necrotic cell death by oxidative stress. A better knowledge of Botryllus genome will allow a deeper insight into open problems in immunobiology of compound ascidians.

  1. Experimental analysis of decay biases in the fossil record of lobopodians

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murdock, Duncan; Gabbott, Sarah; Purnell, Mark

    2016-04-01

    If fossils are to realize their full potential in reconstructing the tree of life we must understand how our view of ancient organisms is obscured by taphonomic filters of decay and preservation. In most cases, processes of decay will leave behind either nothing or only the most decay resistant body parts, and even in those rare instances where soft tissues are fossilized we cannot assume that the resulting fossil, however exquisite, represents a faithful anatomical representation of the animal as it was in life.Recent experiments have shown that the biases introduced by decay can be far from random; in chordates, for example, the most phylogenetically informative characters are also the most decay-prone, resulting in 'stemward slippage'. But how widespread is this phenomenon, and are there other non-random biases linked to decay? Intuitively, we make assumptions about the likelihood of different kinds of characters to survive and be preserved, with knock-on effects for anatomical and phylogenetic interpretations. To what extent are these assumptions valid? We combine our understanding of the fossil record of lobopodians with insights from decay experiments of modern onychophorans (velvet worms) to test these assumptions. Our analysis demonstrates that taphonomically informed tests of character interpretations have the potential to improve phylogenetic resolution. This approach is widely applicable to the fossil record - allowing us to ground-truth some of the assumptions involved in describing exceptionally preserved fossil material.

  2. Differentiation of papillae and rostral sensory neurons in the larva of the ascidian Botryllus schlosseri (Tunicata).

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    Caicci, Federico; Zaniolo, Giovanna; Burighel, Paolo; Degasperi, Valentina; Gasparini, Fabio; Manni, Lucia

    2010-02-15

    During the metamorphosis of tunicate ascidians, the swimming larva uses its three anterior papillae to detect the substrate for settlement, reabsorbs its chordate-like tail, and becomes a sessile oozooid. In view of the crucial role played by the anterior structures and their nerve relations, we applied electron microscopy and immunocytochemistry to study the larva of the colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri, following differentiation of the anterior epidermis during late embryogenesis, the larval stage, and the onset of metamorphosis. Rudiments of the papillae appear in the early tail-bud stage as ectodermic protrusions, the apexes of which differentiate into central and peripheral bipolar neurons. Axons fasciculate into two nerves direct to the brain. Distally, the long, rod-like dendritic terminations extend during the larval stage, becoming exposed to sea water. After the larva selects and adheres to the substrate, these neurons retract and regress. Adjacent to the papillae, other scattered neurons insinuate dendrites into the tunic and form the net of rostral trunk epidermal neurons (RTENs) which fasciculate together with the papillary neurons. Our data indicate that the papillae are simple and coniform, the papillary neurons are mechanoreceptors, and the RTENs are chemoreceptors. The interpapillary epidermal area, by means of an apocrine secretion, provides sticky material for temporary adhesion of the larva to the substrate.

  3. Evolutionary History of the Smyd Gene Family in Metazoans: A Framework to Identify the Orthologs of Human Smyd Genes in Drosophila and Other Animal Species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calpena, Eduardo; Palau, Francesc; Espinós, Carmen; Galindo, Máximo Ibo

    2015-01-01

    The Smyd gene family code for proteins containing a conserved core consisting of a SET domain interrupted by a MYND zinc finger. Smyd proteins are important in epigenetic control of development and carcinogenesis, through posttranslational modifications in histones and other proteins. Previous reports indicated that the Smyd family is quite variable in metazoans, so a rigorous phylogenetic reconstruction of this complex gene family is of central importance to understand its evolutionary history and functional diversification or conservation. We have performed a phylogenetic analysis of Smyd protein sequences, and our results show that the extant metazoan Smyd genes can be classified in three main classes, Smyd3 (which includes chordate-specific Smyd1 and Smyd2 genes), Smyd4 and Smyd5. In addition, there is an arthropod-specific class, SmydA. While the evolutionary history of the Smyd3 and Smyd5 classes is relatively simple, the Smyd4 class has suffered several events of gene loss, gene duplication and lineage-specific expansions in the animal phyla included in our analysis. A more specific study of the four Smyd4 genes in Drosophila melanogaster shows that they are not redundant, since their patterns of expression are different and knock-down of individual genes can have dramatic phenotypes despite the presence of the other family members. PMID:26230726

  4. Evolutionary History of the Smyd Gene Family in Metazoans: A Framework to Identify the Orthologs of Human Smyd Genes in Drosophila and Other Animal Species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eduardo Calpena

    Full Text Available The Smyd gene family code for proteins containing a conserved core consisting of a SET domain interrupted by a MYND zinc finger. Smyd proteins are important in epigenetic control of development and carcinogenesis, through posttranslational modifications in histones and other proteins. Previous reports indicated that the Smyd family is quite variable in metazoans, so a rigorous phylogenetic reconstruction of this complex gene family is of central importance to understand its evolutionary history and functional diversification or conservation. We have performed a phylogenetic analysis of Smyd protein sequences, and our results show that the extant metazoan Smyd genes can be classified in three main classes, Smyd3 (which includes chordate-specific Smyd1 and Smyd2 genes, Smyd4 and Smyd5. In addition, there is an arthropod-specific class, SmydA. While the evolutionary history of the Smyd3 and Smyd5 classes is relatively simple, the Smyd4 class has suffered several events of gene loss, gene duplication and lineage-specific expansions in the animal phyla included in our analysis. A more specific study of the four Smyd4 genes in Drosophila melanogaster shows that they are not redundant, since their patterns of expression are different and knock-down of individual genes can have dramatic phenotypes despite the presence of the other family members.

  5. A RALDH-like enzyme involved in Fusarium verticillioides development

    KAUST Repository

    Díaz-Sánchez, Violeta

    2015-12-11

    Retinaldehyde dehydrogenases (RALDHs) convert retinal to retinoic acid, an important chordate morphogen. Retinal also occurs in some fungi, such as Fusarium and Ustilago spp., evidenced by the presence of rhodopsins and β–carotene cleaving, retinal-forming dioxygenases. Based on the assumption that retinoic acid may also be formed in fungi, we searched the Fusarium protein databases for RALDHs homologs, focusing on Fusarium verticillioides. Using crude lysates of Escherichia coli cells expressing the corresponding cDNAs, we checked the capability of best matches to convert retinal into retinoic acid in vitro. Thereby, we identified an aldehyde dehydrogenase, termed CarY, as a retinoic acid-forming enzyme, an activity that was also exerted by purified CarY. Targeted mutation of the carY gene in F. verticillioides resulted in alterations of mycelia development and conidia morphology in agar cultures, and reduced capacity to produce perithecia as a female in sexual crosses. Complementation of the mutant with a wild-type carY allele demonstrated that these alterations are caused by the lack of CarY. However, retinoic acid could not be detected by LC-MS analysis either in the wild type or the complemented carY strain in vivo, making elusive the connection between CarY enzymatic activity and retinoic acid formation in the fungus.

  6. Heterogeneous generation of new cells in the adult echinoderm nervous system

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    Vladimir S. Mashanov

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Adult neurogenesis, generation of new functional cells in the mature central nervous system (CNS, has been documented in a number of diverse organisms, ranging from humans to invertebrates. However, the origin and evolution of this phenomenon is still poorly understood for many of the key phylogenetic groups. Echinoderms are one such phylum, positioned as a sister group to chordates within the monophyletic clade Deuterostomia. They are well known for the ability of their adult organs, including the CNS, to completely regenerate after injury. Nothing is known, however, about production of new cells in the nervous tissue under normal physiological conditions in these animals. In this study, we show that new cells are continuously generated in the mature radial nerve cord (RNC of the sea cucumber Holothuria glaberrima. Importantly, this neurogenic activity is not evenly distributed, but is significantly more extensive in the lateral regions of the RNC than along the midline. Some of the new cells generated in the apical region of the ectoneural neuroepithelium leave their place of origin and migrate basally to populate the neural parenchyma. Gene expression analysis showed that generation of new cells in the adult sea cucumber CNS is associated with transcriptional activity of genes known to be involved in regulation of various aspects of neurogenesis in other animals. Further analysis of one of those genes, the transcription factor Myc showed that it is expressed, in some, but not all radial glial cells, suggesting heterogeneity of this CNS progenitor cell population in echinoderms.

  7. The Global Diversity of Hemichordata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tassia, Michael G; Cannon, Johanna T; Konikoff, Charlotte E; Shenkar, Noa; Halanych, Kenneth M; Swalla, Billie J

    2016-01-01

    Phylum Hemichordata, composed of worm-like Enteropneusta and colonial Pterobranchia, has been reported to only contain about 100 species. However, recent studies of hemichordate phylogeny and taxonomy suggest the species number has been largely underestimated. One issue is that species must be described by experts, and historically few taxonomists have studied this group of marine invertebrates. Despite this previous lack of coverage, interest in hemichordates has piqued in the past couple of decades, as they are critical to understanding the evolution of chordates-as acorn worms likely resemble the deuterostome ancestor more closely than any other extant animal. This review provides an overview of our current knowledge of hemichordates, focusing specifically on their global biodiversity, geographic distribution, and taxonomy. Using information available in the World Register of Marine Species and published literature, we assembled a list of 130 described, extant species. The majority (83%) of these species are enteropneusts, and more taxonomic descriptions are forthcoming. Ptychoderidae contained the greatest number of species (41 species), closely followed by Harrimaniidae (40 species), of the recognized hemichordate families. Hemichordates are found throughout the world's oceans, with the highest reported numbers by regions with marine labs and diligent taxonomic efforts (e.g. North Pacific and North Atlantic). Pterobranchs are abundant in Antarctica, but have also been found at lower latitudes. We consider this a baseline report and expect new species of Hemichordata will continue to be discovered and described as new marine habitats are characterized and explored.

  8. Deep sequencing of mixed total DNA without barcodes allows efficient assembly of highly plastic ascidian mitochondrial genomes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rubinstein, Nimrod D; Feldstein, Tamar; Shenkar, Noa; Botero-Castro, Fidel; Griggio, Francesca; Mastrototaro, Francesco; Delsuc, Frédéric; Douzery, Emmanuel J P; Gissi, Carmela; Huchon, Dorothée

    2013-01-01

    Ascidians or sea squirts form a diverse group within chordates, which includes a few thousand members of marine sessile filter-feeding animals. Their mitochondrial genomes are characterized by particularly high evolutionary rates and rampant gene rearrangements. This extreme variability complicates standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based techniques for molecular characterization studies, and consequently only a few complete Ascidian mitochondrial genome sequences are available. Using the standard PCR and Sanger sequencing approach, we produced the mitochondrial genome of Ascidiella aspersa only after a great effort. In contrast, we produced five additional mitogenomes (Botrylloides aff. leachii, Halocynthia spinosa, Polycarpa mytiligera, Pyura gangelion, and Rhodosoma turcicum) with a novel strategy, consisting in sequencing the pooled total DNA samples of these five species using one Illumina HiSeq 2000 flow cell lane. Each mitogenome was efficiently assembled in a single contig using de novo transcriptome assembly, as de novo genome assembly generally performed poorly for this task. Each of the new six mitogenomes presents a different and novel gene order, showing that no syntenic block has been conserved at the ordinal level (in Stolidobranchia and in Phlebobranchia). Phylogenetic analyses support the paraphyly of both Ascidiacea and Phlebobranchia, with Thaliacea nested inside Phlebobranchia, although the deepest nodes of the Phlebobranchia-Thaliacea clade are not well resolved. The strategy described here thus provides a cost-effective approach to obtain complete mitogenomes characterized by a highly plastic gene order and a fast nucleotide/amino acid substitution rate.

  9. Evolution of two prototypic T cell lineages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Das, Sabyasachi; Li, Jianxu; Hirano, Masayuki; Sutoh, Yoichi; Herrin, Brantley R; Cooper, Max D

    2015-07-01

    Jawless vertebrates, which occupy a unique position in chordate phylogeny, employ leucine-rich repeat (LRR)-based variable lymphocyte receptors (VLR) for antigen recognition. During the assembly of the VLR genes (VLRA, VLRB and VLRC), donor LRR-encoding sequences are copied in a step-wise manner into the incomplete germ-line genes. The assembled VLR genes are differentially expressed by discrete lymphocyte lineages: VLRA- and VLRC-producing cells are T-cell like, whereas VLRB-producing cells are B-cell like. VLRA(+) and VLRC(+) lymphocytes resemble the two principal T-cell lineages of jawed vertebrates that express the αβ or γδ T-cell receptors (TCR). Reminiscent of the interspersed nature of the TCRα/TCRδ locus in jawed vertebrates, the close proximity of the VLRA and VLRC loci facilitates sharing of donor LRR sequences during VLRA and VLRC assembly. Here we discuss the insight these findings provide into vertebrate T- and B-cell evolution, and the alternative types of anticipatory receptors they use for adaptive immunity.

  10. The Popeye domain-containing gene family.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brand, Thomas

    2005-01-01

    The Popeye domain-containing gene family has been isolated on the basis of a subtractive screen aiming at the identification of novel genes with a heart-restricted gene expression pattern. The gene family codes for membrane proteins containing three transmembrane domains. The carboxy-terminal part of the protein is localized to the cytoplasm and contains a protein domain with high sequence conservation named the Popeye domain. This domain is involved in protein homo dimerization. The gene family is expressed in heart and skeletal muscle cells as well as smooth muscle cells. In addition, Popdc genes are expressed in other cell types such as neuronal cells in restricted areas of the brain, spinal cord, and dorsal root ganglia, and in various epithelial cells. Recently, it has been proposed that Popdc proteins may function as a novel family of adhesion proteins. That the expression pattern has been conserved during evolution and is very similar in all vertebrate classes and also in basal chordates suggests that Popdc proteins play an important role in cardiac and skeletal muscle.

  11. A RALDH-like enzyme involved in Fusarium verticillioides development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Díaz-Sánchez, Violeta; Limón, M Carmen; Schaub, Patrick; Al-Babili, Salim; Avalos, Javier

    2016-01-01

    Retinaldehyde dehydrogenases (RALDHs) convert retinal to retinoic acid, an important chordate morphogen. Retinal also occurs in some fungi, such as Fusarium and Ustilago spp., evidenced by the presence of rhodopsins and β-carotene cleaving, retinal-forming dioxygenases. Based on the assumption that retinoic acid may also be formed in fungi, we searched the Fusarium protein databases for RALDHs homologs, focusing on Fusarium verticillioides. Using crude lysates of Escherichia coli cells expressing the corresponding cDNAs, we checked the capability of best matches to convert retinal into retinoic acid in vitro. Thereby, we identified an aldehyde dehydrogenase, termed CarY, as a retinoic acid-forming enzyme, an activity that was also exerted by purified CarY. Targeted mutation of the carY gene in F. verticillioides resulted in alterations of mycelia development and conidia morphology in agar cultures, and reduced capacity to produce perithecia as a female in sexual crosses. Complementation of the mutant with a wild-type carY allele demonstrated that these alterations are caused by the lackof CarY. However, retinoic acid could not be detected by LC-MS analysis either in the wild type or the complemented carY strain in vivo, making elusive the connection between CarY enzymatic activity and retinoic acid formation in the fungus.

  12. 3D-printed microwell arrays for Ciona microinjection and timelapse imaging.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Clint Gregory

    Full Text Available Ascidians such as Ciona are close chordate relatives of the vertebrates with small, simple embryonic body plans and small, simple genomes. The tractable size of the embryo offers considerable advantages for in toto imaging and quantitative analysis of morphogenesis. For functional studies, Ciona eggs are considerably more challenging to microinject than the much larger eggs of other model organisms such as zebrafish and Xenopus. One of the key difficulties is in restraining the eggs so that the microinjection needle can be easily introduced and withdrawn. Here we develop and test a device to cast wells in agarose that are each sized to hold a single egg. This injection mold is fabricated by micro-resolution stereolithography with a grid of egg-sized posts that cast corresponding wells in agarose. This 3D printing technology allows the rapid and inexpensive testing of iteratively refined prototypes. In addition to their utility in microinjection, these grids of embryo-sized wells are also valuable for timelapse imaging of multiple embryos.

  13. Phylogenetic analysis of cubilin (CUBN) gene.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shaik, Abjal Pasha; Alsaeed, Abbas H; Kiranmayee, S; Bammidi, Vk; Sultana, Asma

    2013-01-01

    Cubilin, (CUBN; also known as intrinsic factor-cobalamin receptor [Homo sapiens Entrez Pubmed ref NM_001081.3; NG_008967.1; GI: 119606627]), located in the epithelium of intestine and kidney acts as a receptor for intrinsic factor - vitamin B12 complexes. Mutations in CUBN may play a role in autosomal recessive megaloblastic anemia. The current study investigated the possible role of CUBN in evolution using phylogenetic testing. A total of 588 BLAST hits were found for the cubilin query sequence and these hits showed putative conserved domain, CUB superfamily (as on 27(th) Nov 2012). A first-pass phylogenetic tree was constructed to identify the taxa which most often contained the CUBN sequences. Following this, we narrowed down the search by manually deleting sequences which were not CUBN. A repeat phylogenetic analysis of 25 taxa was performed using PhyML, RAxML and TreeDyn softwares to confirm that CUBN is a conserved protein emphasizing its importance as an extracellular domain and being present in proteins mostly known to be involved in development in many chordate taxa but not found in prokaryotes, plants and yeast.. No horizontal gene transfers have been found between different taxa.

  14. Two lamprey Hedgehog genes share non-coding regulatory sequences and expression patterns with gnathostome Hedgehogs.

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    Shungo Kano

    Full Text Available Hedgehog (Hh genes play major roles in animal development and studies of their evolution, expression and function point to major differences among chordates. Here we focused on Hh genes in lampreys in order to characterize the evolution of Hh signalling at the emergence of vertebrates. Screening of a cosmid library of the river lamprey Lampetra fluviatilis and searching the preliminary genome assembly of the sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus indicate that lampreys have two Hh genes, named Hha and Hhb. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that Hha and Hhb are lamprey-specific paralogs closely related to Sonic/Indian Hh genes. Expression analysis indicates that Hha and Hhb are expressed in a Sonic Hh-like pattern. The two transcripts are expressed in largely overlapping but not identical domains in the lamprey embryonic brain, including a newly-described expression domain in the nasohypophyseal placode. Global alignments of genomic sequences and local alignment with known gnathostome regulatory motifs show that lamprey Hhs share conserved non-coding elements (CNE with gnathostome Hhs albeit with sequences that have significantly diverged and dispersed. Functional assays using zebrafish embryos demonstrate gnathostome-like midline enhancer activity for CNEs contained in intron2. We conclude that lamprey Hh genes are gnathostome Shh-like in terms of expression and regulation. In addition, they show some lamprey-specific features, including duplication and structural (but not functional changes in the intronic/regulatory sequences.

  15. Sexual and asexual reproduction in the colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gasparini, Fabio; Manni, Lucia; Cima, Francesca; Zaniolo, Giovanna; Burighel, Paolo; Caicci, Federico; Franchi, Nicola; Schiavon, Filippo; Rigon, Francesca; Campagna, Davide; Ballarin, Loriano

    2015-01-01

    The colonial tunicate Botryllus schlosseri is a widespread filter-feeding ascidian that lives in shallow waters and is easily reared in aquaria. Its peculiar blastogenetic cycle, characterized by the presence of three blastogenetic generations (filtering adults, buds, and budlets) and by recurrent generation changes, has resulted in over 60 years of studies aimed at understanding how sexual and asexual reproduction are coordinated and regulated in the colony. The possibility of using different methodological approaches, from classical genetics to cell transplantation, contributed to the development of this species as a valuable model organism for the study of a variety of biological processes. Here, we review the main studies detailing rearing, staging methods, reproduction and colony growth of this species, emphasizing the asymmetry in sexual and asexual reproduction potential, sexual reproduction in the field and the laboratory, and self- and cross-fertilization. These data, opportunely matched with recent tanscriptomic and genomic outcomes, can give a valuable help to the elucidation of some important steps in chordate evolution.

  16. Phylogenetic analysis of uroporphyrinogen III synthase (UROS) gene.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shaik, Abjal Pasha; Alsaeed, Abbas H; Sultana, Asma

    2012-01-01

    The uroporphyrinogen III synthase (UROS) enzyme (also known as hydroxymethylbilane hydrolyase) catalyzes the cyclization of hydroxymethylbilane to uroporphyrinogen III during heme biosynthesis. A deficiency of this enzyme is associated with the very rare Gunther's disease or congenital erythropoietic porphyria, an autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism. The current study investigated the possible role of UROS (Homo sapiens [EC: 4.2.1.75; 265 aa; 1371 bp mRNA; Entrez Pubmed ref NP_000366.1, NM_000375.2]) in evolution by studying the phylogenetic relationship and divergence of this gene using computational methods. The UROS protein sequences from various taxa were retrieved from GenBank database and were compared using Clustal-W (multiple sequence alignment) with defaults and a first-pass phylogenetic tree was built using neighbor-joining method as in DELTA BLAST 2.2.27+ version. A total of 163 BLAST hits were found for the uroporphyrinogen III synthase query sequence and these hits showed putative conserved domain, HemD superfamily (as on 14(th) Nov 2012). We then narrowed down the search by manually deleting the proteins which were not UROS sequences and sequences belonging to phyla other than Chordata were deleted. A repeat phylogenetic analysis of 39 taxa was performed using PhyML and TreeDyn software to confirm that UROS is a highly conserved protein with approximately 85% conserved sequences in almost all chordate taxons emphasizing its importance in heme synthesis.

  17. N-Methyl-D-aspartic Acid (NMDA in the nervous system of the amphioxus Branchiostoma lanceolatum

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    Garcia-Fernàndez Jordi

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartic acid is a widely known agonist for a class of glutamate receptors, the NMDA type. Synthetic NMDA elicits very strong activity for the induction of hypothalamic factors and hypophyseal hormones in mammals. Moreover, endogenous NMDA has been found in rat, where it has a role in the induction of GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone in the hypothalamus, and of LH (Luteinizing Hormone and PRL (Prolactin in the pituitary gland. Results In this study we show evidence for the occurrence of endogenous NMDA in the amphioxus Branchiostoma lanceolatum. A relatively high concentration of NMDA occurs in the nervous system of this species (3.08 ± 0.37 nmol/g tissue in the nerve cord and 10.52 ± 1.41 nmol/g tissue in the cephalic vesicle. As in rat, in amphioxus NMDA is also biosynthesized from D-aspartic acid (D-Asp by a NMDA synthase (also called D-aspartate methyl transferase. Conclusion Given the simplicity of the amphioxus nervous and endocrine systems compared to mammalian, the discovery of NMDA in this protochordate is important to gain insights into the role of endogenous NMDA in the nervous and endocrine systems of metazoans and particularly in the chordate lineage.

  18. Raman spectroscopic imaging of the whole Ciona intestinalis embryo during development.

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    Mitsuru J Nakamura

    Full Text Available Intracellular composition and the distribution of bio-molecules play central roles in the specification of cell fates and morphogenesis during embryogenesis. Consequently, investigation of changes in the expression and distribution of bio-molecules, especially mRNAs and proteins, is an important challenge in developmental biology. Raman spectroscopic imaging, a non-invasive and label-free technique, allows simultaneous imaging of the intracellular composition and distribution of multiple bio-molecules. In this study, we explored the application of Raman spectroscopic imaging in the whole Ciona intestinalis embryo during development. Analysis of Raman spectra scattered from C. intestinalis embryos revealed a number of localized patterns of high Raman intensity within the embryo. Based on the observed distribution of bio-molecules, we succeeded in identifying the location and structure of differentiated muscle and endoderm within the whole embryo, up to the tailbud stage, in a label-free manner. Furthermore, during cell differentiation, we detected significant differences in cell state between muscle/endoderm daughter cells and daughter cells with other fates that had divided from the same mother cells; this was achieved by focusing on the Raman intensity of single Raman bands at 1002 or 1526 cm(-1, respectively. This study reports the first application of Raman spectroscopic imaging to the study of identifying and characterizing differentiating tissues in a whole chordate embryo. Our results suggest that Raman spectroscopic imaging is a feasible label-free technique for investigating the developmental process of the whole embryo of C. intestinalis.

  19. Lessons from evolution: developmental plasticity in vertebrates with complex life cycles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Denver, R J; Middlemis-Maher, J

    2010-10-01

    Developmental plasticity is the property of a given genotype to produce different phenotypes in response to the environmental conditions experienced during development. Chordates have two basic modes of development, direct and indirect. Direct development (mode of humans) was derived evolutionarily from indirect development (mode of many amphibians), the major difference being the presence of a larval stage with indirect development; larvae undergo metamorphosis to the juvenile adult. In amphibians, environmental conditions experienced during the larval stage can lead to extreme plasticity in behaviour, morphology and the timing of metamorphosis and can cause variation in adult phenotypic expression (carry-over effects, or developmental programming). Hormones of the neuroendocrine stress axis play pivotal roles in mediating environmental effects on animal development. Stress hormones, produced in response to a deteriorating larval habitat, accelerate amphibian metamorphosis; in mammals, stress hormones hasten the onset of parturition and play an important role in pre-term birth caused by intra-uterine stress. While stress hormones can promote survival in a deteriorating larval or intra-uterine habitat, costs may be incurred, such as reduced growth and size at metamorphosis or birth. Furthermore, exposure to elevated stress hormones during the tadpole or foetal stage can cause permanent neurological changes, leading to altered physiology and behaviour later in life. The actions of stress hormones in animal development are evolutionarily conserved, and therefore amphibians can serve as important model organisms for research on the mechanisms of developmental plasticity.

  20. Muscle differentiation in a colonial ascidian: organisation, gene expression and evolutionary considerations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Burighel Paolo

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Ascidians are tunicates, the taxon recently proposed as sister group to the vertebrates. They possess a chordate-like swimming larva, which metamorphoses into a sessile adult. Several ascidian species form colonies of clonal individuals by asexual reproduction. During their life cycle, ascidians present three muscle types: striated in larval tail, striated in the heart, and unstriated in the adult body-wall. Results In the colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri, we investigated organisation, differentiation and gene expression of muscle beginning from early buds to adults and during zooid regression. We characterised transcripts for troponin T (BsTnT-c, adult muscle-type (BsMA2 and cytoplasmic-type (BsCA1 actins, followed by in situ hybridisation (ISH on sections to establish the spatio-temporal expression of BsTnT-c and BsMA2 during asexual reproduction and in the larva. Moreover, we characterised actin genomic sequences, which by comparison with other metazoans revealed conserved intron patterns. Conclusion Integration of data from ISH, phalloidin staining and TEM allowed us to follow the phases of differentiation of the three muscle kinds, which differ in expression pattern of the two transcripts. Moreover, phylogenetic analyses provided evidence for the close relationship between tunicate and vertebrate muscle genes. The characteristics and plasticity of muscles in tunicates are discussed.

  1. Striving for normality: whole body regeneration through a series of abnormal generations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Voskoboynik, Ayelet; Simon-Blecher, Noa; Soen, Yoav; Rinkevich, Baruch; De Tomaso, Anthony W; Ishizuka, Katherine J; Weissman, Irving L

    2007-05-01

    Embryogenesis and asexual reproduction are commonly considered to be coordinated developmental processes, which depend on accurate progression through a defined sequence of developmental stages. Here we report a peculiar developmental scenario in a simple chordate, Botryllus schlosseri, wherein a normal colony of individuals (zooids and buds) is regenerated from the vasculature (vascular budding) through a sequence of morphologically abnormal developmental stages. Vascular budding was induced by surgically removing buds and zooids from B. schlosseri colonies, leaving only the vasculature and the tunic that connects them. In vivo imaging and histological sections showed that the timing and morphology of developing structures during vascular budding deviated significantly from other asexual reproduction modes (the regular asexual reproduction mode in this organism and vascular budding in other botryllid species). Subsequent asexual reproduction cycles exhibited gradual regaining of normal developmental patterns, eventually leading to regeneration of a normal colony. The conversion into a normal body form suggests the activation of an alternative pathway of asexual reproduction, which involves gradual regaining of normal positional information. It presents a powerful model for studying the specification of the same body plan by different developmental programs.

  2. Botryllus schlosseri: a model ascidian for the study of asexual reproduction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manni, L; Zaniolo, G; Cima, F; Burighel, P; Ballarin, L

    2007-02-01

    Botryllus schlosseri, a cosmopolitan colonial ascidian reared in the laboratory for more than 50 years, reproduces both sexually and asexually and is used as a model organism for studying a variety of biological problems. Colonies are formed of numerous, genetically identical individuals (zooids) and undergo cyclical generation changes in which the adult zooids die and are replaced by their maturing buds. Because the progression of the colonial life cycle is intimately correlated with blastogenesis, a shared staging method of bud development is required to compare data coming from different laboratories. With the present review, we aim (1) to introduce B. schlosseri as a valuable chordate model to study various biological problems and, especially, sexual and asexual development; (2) to offer a detailed description of bud development up to adulthood and the attainment of sexual maturity; (3) to re-examine Sabbadin's (1955) staging method and re-propose it as a simple tool for in vivo recognition of the main morphogenetic events and recurrent changes in the blastogenetic cycle, as it refers to the developmental stages of buds and adults.

  3. The molecular phylogeny of the type-species of Oodinium Chatton, 1912 (Dinoflagellata: Oodiniaceae), a highly divergent parasitic dinoflagellate with non-dinokaryotic characters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gómez, Fernando; Skovgaard, Alf

    2015-02-01

    Oodinium pouchetii (Lemmermann, 1899) Chatton, 1912, the first described parasitic dinoflagellate, is the type of the Oodiniaceae Chatton, 1920. In the taxonomical schemes, this family of metazoan parasites includes Amyloodinium Brown & Hovasse, 1946 and Piscinoodinium Lom, 1981 that are responsible of important damages in fish aquaculture. Species of Oodinium Chatton, 1912 have unique characteristics such as the possession of both non-dinokaryotic and dinokaryotic nuclei within the life-cycle, and the absence of the transversal (cingulum) and longitudinal (sulcus) surface grooves in the parasitic stage. We provide the first molecular data for the genus Oodinium from specimens of O. pouchetii infecting the chordate Oikopleura sp. (Tunicata: Appendicularia) off the coasts of Brazil. Although O. pouchetii lacks dinokaryotic characters in the parasitic stage, the SSU rDNA phylogeny revealed that it forms a distinct fast-evolved clade that branches among the dinokaryotic dinoflagellates. However, there is no clear relationship with other dinoflagellates. Hence, the taxonomic affinity of the family Oodiniaceae is unclear at the moment.

  4. The Pax gene family: Highlights from cephalopods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baratte, Sébastien; Andouche, Aude; Bonnaud-Ponticelli, Laure

    2017-01-01

    Pax genes play important roles in Metazoan development. Their evolution has been extensively studied but Lophotrochozoa are usually omitted. We addressed the question of Pax paralog diversity in Lophotrochozoa by a thorough review of available databases. The existence of six Pax families (Pax1/9, Pax2/5/8, Pax3/7, Pax4/6, Paxβ, PoxNeuro) was confirmed and the lophotrochozoan Paxβ subfamily was further characterized. Contrary to the pattern reported in chordates, the Pax2/5/8 family is devoid of homeodomain in Lophotrochozoa. Expression patterns of the three main pax classes (pax2/5/8, pax3/7, pax4/6) during Sepia officinalis development showed that Pax roles taken as ancestral and common in metazoans are modified in S. officinalis, most likely due to either the morphological specificities of cephalopods or to their direct development. Some expected expression patterns were missing (e.g. pax6 in the developing retina), and some expressions in unexpected tissues have been found (e.g. pax2/5/8 in dermal tissue and in gills). This study underlines the diversity and functional plasticity of Pax genes and illustrates the difficulty of using probable gene homology as strict indicator of homology between biological structures. PMID:28253300

  5. Osmotic/ionic status of body fluids in the euryhaline cephalopod suggest possible parallel evolution of osmoregulation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sakamoto, Tatsuya; Ogawa, Satoshi; Nishiyama, Yudai; Akada, Chiaki; Takahashi, Hideya; Watanabe, Taro; Minakata, Hiroyuki; Sakamoto, Hirotaka

    2015-09-25

    Acclimation from marine to dilute environments constitutes among the dramatic evolutionary transitions in the history of life. Such adaptations have evolved in multiple lineages, but studies of the blood/hemolymph homeostasis mechanisms are limited to those using evolutionarily advanced Deuterostome (chordates) and Ecdysozoa (crustaceans). Here, we examined hemolymph homeostasis in the advanced Lophotrochozoa/mollusc, the other unexplored taxa, and its possible regulation by the vasopressin/oxytocin superfamily peptides known to be implicated in fluid homeostasis in Chordata and Arthropoda. The hemolymph osmotic and ionic status in the euryhaline cephalopod (Octopus ocellatus) following transfer from 30-ppt normal seawater to 20 ppt salinity indicate hyperosmo- and hyperionoregulatory abilities for more than 1 week, as in crustaceans and teleost fish. While ventilation frequency decreased by 1 day, Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase activity, which has been generally implicated in ion transport, was induced in two of the eight posterior gills after 1 week. In addition, the octopuses were intravenously injected with 1 or 100 ng/g octopressin or cephalotocin, which are Octopus vasopressin/oxytocin orthologs. After 1 day, octopressin, but not cephalotocin, decreased the hemolymph osmolality and Ca concentrations, as well as urinary Na concentrations. These data provide evidence for possible parallel evolution in hyperionoregulatory mechanisms and coordination by conserved peptides.

  6. On Branchiostoma californiense (Cephalochordata) from the Gulf of Nicoya estuary, Costa Rica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vargas, José A; Dean, Harlan K

    2010-12-01

    The cephalochordates are represented by the lancelets, of which species of the genus Branchiostoma are the best known. In recent years, these organisms have been the center of activity of studies focusing on the phylogenetic relationships of the chordates. In 1980, a survey of the benthos at 48 stations in the Gulf of Nicoya estuary, Pacific coast of Costa Rica, yielded 265 specimens of the lancelet Branchiostoma californiense. A total of 48 specimens was also collected at an intertidal flat in the mid upper estuary. Of the 48 subtidal stations, only eight had B. californiense, and these sites all had a sand fraction above 72%. The remaining stations ranged in their sand content from as low as 1% to as high as 92%, with an average of 25.9%, with 29 stations having a sand content lower than 72%. Lower salinities and muddy sediments may limit the distribution of the lancelet further upstream. This information is useful when changes over decades in the ecology of the estuary need to be evaluated against the background of local, regional, and global dynamics.

  7. THE COMPOSITION OF FLUIDS AND SERA OF SOME MARINE ANIMALS AND OF THE SEA WATER IN WHICH THEY LIVE.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cole, W H

    1940-05-20

    1. The electrolyte composition, the pH, and freezing points of the fluids of several invertebrates and one primitive chordate are reported. 2. Fluids of the worms, echinoderms, and the clam Venus were isotonic with sea water; fluids of the Arthropoda were hypertonic to sea water. 3. The pH of all fluids was below that of sea water. In the Arthropoda and Myxine less individual variation in pH appeared than in the echinoderms and worms. 4. Ratios of ionic concentrations in the fluid to those in the sea water indicated (1) uniform distribution of ions between the internal and external media for the echinoderms and Venus, (2) differential distribution of potassium and magnesium in the worms; (3) differential distribution of sulfate, magnesium, potassium, and calcium in the Arthropoda; and (4) differential distribution of calcium, magnesium, and sulfate in Myxine. 5. The unequal distribution of ions implies the expenditure of energy against a concentration gradient across the absorbing or excreting membranes, a capacity frequently overlooked in the invertebrates. 6. The sera of the Arthropoda from diluted sea water showed higher concentrations of sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride ions relative to the respective concentrations in the external medium than in normal sea water, and also showed different orders for those ions. 7. The increase in osmotic pressure of the sera of the animals moving into brackish water is caused by unequal accumulation of sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride ions. Sulfate and magnesium ionic ratios do not change.

  8. Branchial Cilia and Sperm Flagella Recruit Distinct Axonemal Components

    Science.gov (United States)

    Konno, Alu; Shiba, Kogiku; Cai, Chunhua; Inaba, Kazuo

    2015-01-01

    Eukaryotic cilia and flagella have highly conserved 9 + 2 structures. They are functionally diverged to play cell-type-specific roles even in a multicellular organism. Although their structural components are therefore believed to be common, few studies have investigated the molecular diversity of the protein components of the cilia and flagella in a single organism. Here we carried out a proteomic analysis and compared protein components between branchial cilia and sperm flagella in a marine invertebrate chordate, Ciona intestinalis. Distinct feature of protein recruitment in branchial cilia and sperm flagella has been clarified; (1) Isoforms of α- and β-tubulins as well as those of actins are distinctly used in branchial cilia or sperm flagella. (2) Structural components, such as dynein docking complex, tektins and an outer dense fiber protein, are used differently by the cilia and flagella. (3) Sperm flagella are specialized for the cAMP- and Ca2+-dependent regulation of outer arm dynein and for energy metabolism by glycolytic enzymes. Our present study clearly demonstrates that flagellar or ciliary proteins are properly recruited according to their function and stability, despite their apparent structural resemblance and conservation. PMID:25962172

  9. Branchial cilia and sperm flagella recruit distinct axonemal components.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alu Konno

    Full Text Available Eukaryotic cilia and flagella have highly conserved 9 + 2 structures. They are functionally diverged to play cell-type-specific roles even in a multicellular organism. Although their structural components are therefore believed to be common, few studies have investigated the molecular diversity of the protein components of the cilia and flagella in a single organism. Here we carried out a proteomic analysis and compared protein components between branchial cilia and sperm flagella in a marine invertebrate chordate, Ciona intestinalis. Distinct feature of protein recruitment in branchial cilia and sperm flagella has been clarified; (1 Isoforms of α- and β-tubulins as well as those of actins are distinctly used in branchial cilia or sperm flagella. (2 Structural components, such as dynein docking complex, tektins and an outer dense fiber protein, are used differently by the cilia and flagella. (3 Sperm flagella are specialized for the cAMP- and Ca2+-dependent regulation of outer arm dynein and for energy metabolism by glycolytic enzymes. Our present study clearly demonstrates that flagellar or ciliary proteins are properly recruited according to their function and stability, despite their apparent structural resemblance and conservation.

  10. The latrophilins, "split-personality" receptors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silva, John-Paul; Ushkaryov, Yuri A

    2010-01-01

    Latrophilin, a neuronal "adhesion-G protein-coupled receptor", is the major brain receptor for alpha-latrotoxin, a black widow spidertoxin which stimulates strong neuronal exocytosis in vertebrates. Latrophilin has an unusual structure consisting of two fragments that are produced by the proteolytic cleavage of the parental molecule and that behave independently in the plasma membrane. On binding an agonist, the fragments reassociate and send an intracellular signal. This signal, transduced by a heterotrimeric G protein, causes release of calcium from intracellular stores and massive release of neurotransmitters. Latrophilin represents a phylogenetically conserved family of receptors, with orthologues found in all animals and up to three homologues present in most chordate species. From mammalian homologues, latrophilins 1 and 3 are expressed in neurons, while latrophilin 2 is ubiquitous. Latrophilin 1 may control synapse maturation and exocytosis, whereas latrophilin 2 may be involved in breast cancer. Latrophilins may play different roles during development and in adult animals: thus, LAT-1 determines cell fate in early embryogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans and controls neurotransmitter release in adult nematodes. This diversity suggests that the functions of latrophilins may be determined by their interactions with respective ligands. The finding of the ligand of latrophilin 1, the large postsynaptic protein lasso, is the first step in the quest for the physiological functions of latrophilins.

  11. The single amphioxus Mox gene: insights into the functional evolution of Mox genes, somites, and the asymmetry of amphioxus somitogenesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minguillón, Carolina; Garcia-Fernàndez, Jordi

    2002-06-15

    Mox genes are members of the "extended" Hox-cluster group of Antennapedia-like homeobox genes. Homologues have been cloned from both invertebrate and vertebrate species, and are expressed in mesodermal tissues. In vertebrates, Mox1 and Mox2 are distinctly expressed during the formation of somites and differentiation of their derivatives. Somites are a distinguishing feature uniquely shared by cephalochordates and vertebrates. Here, we report the cloning and expression of the single amphioxus Mox gene. AmphiMox is expressed in the presomitic mesoderm (PSM) during early amphioxus somitogenesis and in nascent somites from the tail bud during the late phase. Once a somite is completely formed, AmphiMox is rapidly downregulated. We discuss the presence and extent of the PSM in both phases of amphioxus somitogenesis. We also propose a scenario for the functional evolution of Mox genes within chordates, in which Mox was co-opted for somite formation before the cephalochordate-vertebrate split. Novel expression sites found in vertebrates after somite formation postdated Mox duplication in the vertebrate stem lineage, and may be linked to the increase in complexity of vertebrate somites and their derivatives, e.g., the vertebrae. Furthermore, AmphiMox expression adds new data into a long-standing debate on the extent of the asymmetry of amphioxus somitogenesis.

  12. Developmental transcriptome of Aplysia californica'

    KAUST Repository

    Heyland, Andreas

    2010-12-06

    Genome-wide transcriptional changes in development provide important insight into mechanisms underlying growth, differentiation, and patterning. However, such large-scale developmental studies have been limited to a few representatives of Ecdysozoans and Chordates. Here, we characterize transcriptomes of embryonic, larval, and metamorphic development in the marine mollusc Aplysia californica and reveal novel molecular components associated with life history transitions. Specifically, we identify more than 20 signal peptides, putative hormones, and transcription factors in association with early development and metamorphic stages-many of which seem to be evolutionarily conserved elements of signal transduction pathways. We also characterize genes related to biomineralization-a critical process of molluscan development. In summary, our experiment provides the first large-scale survey of gene expression in mollusc development, and complements previous studies on the regulatory mechanisms underlying body plan patterning and the formation of larval and juvenile structures. This study serves as a resource for further functional annotation of transcripts and genes in Aplysia, specifically and molluscs in general. A comparison of the Aplysia developmental transcriptome with similar studies in the zebra fish Danio rerio, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and other studies on molluscs suggests an overall highly divergent pattern of gene regulatory mechanisms that are likely a consequence of the different developmental modes of these organisms. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company.

  13. p63 in Mytilus galloprovincialis and p53 family members in the phylum Mollusca.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stifanić, Mauro; Micić, Milena; Ramsak, Andreja; Blasković, Sanja; Ruso, Ana; Zahn, Rudolf K; Batel, Renato

    2009-11-01

    Genes of the p53 family are known to be critical regulators of the cell cycle. They have already been established as possible biomarkers. Elaborate regulation mechanisms result in numerous cDNA and protein isoforms being expressed from each gene of the p53 family. Their similarity caused an often misleading nomenclature in non-vertebrate species. The aim of the present work is a clarification of the nomenclature of molluscan p53 family sequences, an essential prerequisite for reliable interpretation of gene expression and protein function studies. Here, we report five partial cDNA and one partial genomic p63 sequences, all originating from two Mytilus galloprovincialis individuals. DNA, deduced protein sequences, and the exon/intron architecture were analyzed and compared to p53, p63 and p73 sequences from other organisms. Along with our sequences, we analyzed all similar molluscan sequences found in the GenBank database. The analysis showed our cDNA sequences code for the TAp63gamma isoform of the p63 protein, and identified all other molluscan p53 family sequences as p63 genes or their expression isoforms. Our results also indicate p63 as the ancestral gene of the p53 family as well as the only gene of the family present in non-chordate metazoan species.

  14. Insights from amphioxus into the evolution of vertebrate cartilage.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel Meulemans

    Full Text Available Central to the story of vertebrate evolution is the origin of the vertebrate head, a problem difficult to approach using paleontology and comparative morphology due to a lack of unambiguous intermediate forms. Embryologically, much of the vertebrate head is derived from two ectodermal tissues, the neural crest and cranial placodes. Recent work in protochordates suggests the first chordates possessed migratory neural tube cells with some features of neural crest cells. However, it is unclear how and when these cells acquired the ability to form cellular cartilage, a cell type unique to vertebrates. It has been variously proposed that the neural crest acquired chondrogenic ability by recruiting proto-chondrogenic gene programs deployed in the neural tube, pharynx, and notochord. To test these hypotheses we examined the expression of 11 amphioxus orthologs of genes involved in neural crest chondrogenesis. Consistent with cellular cartilage as a vertebrate novelty, we find that no single amphioxus tissue co-expresses all or most of these genes. However, most are variously co-expressed in mesodermal derivatives. Our results suggest that neural crest-derived cartilage evolved by serial cooption of genes which functioned primitively in mesoderm.

  15. Gene regulation in amphioxus: An insight from transgenic studies in amphioxus and vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kozmikova, Iryna; Kozmik, Zbynek

    2015-12-01

    Cephalochordates, commonly known as amphioxus or lancelets, are the most basal subphylum of chordates. Cephalochordates are thus key to understanding the origin of vertebrates and molecular mechanisms underlying vertebrate evolution. The evolution of developmental control mechanisms during invertebrate-to-vertebrate transition involved not only gene duplication events, but also specific changes in spatial and temporal expression of many genes. To get insight into the spatiotemporal regulation of gene expression during invertebrate-to-vertebrate transition, functional studies of amphioxus gene regulatory elements are highly warranted. Here, we review transgenic studies performed in amphioxus and vertebrates using promoters and enhancers derived from the genome of Branchiostoma floridae. We describe the current methods of transgenesis in amphioxus, provide evidence of Tol2 transposon-generated transgenic embryos of Branchiostoma lanceolatum and discuss possible future directions. We envision that comparative transgenic analysis of gene regulatory sequences in the context of amphioxus and vertebrate embryos will likely provide an important mechanistic insight into the evolution of vertebrate body plan.

  16. Testing the evolutionary conservation of vocal motoneurons in vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albersheim-Carter, Jacob; Blubaum, Aleksandar; Ballagh, Irene H; Missaghi, Kianoush; Siuda, Edward R; McMurray, George; Bass, Andrew H; Dubuc, Réjean; Kelley, Darcy B; Schmidt, Marc F; Wilson, Richard J A; Gray, Paul A

    2016-04-01

    Medullary motoneurons drive vocalization in many vertebrate lineages including fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals. The developmental history of vocal motoneuron populations in each of these lineages remains largely unknown. The highly conserved transcription factor Paired-like Homeobox 2b (Phox2b) is presumed to be expressed in all vertebrate hindbrain branchial motoneurons, including laryngeal motoneurons essential for vocalization in humans. We used immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization to examine Phox2b protein and mRNA expression in caudal hindbrain and rostral spinal cord motoneuron populations in seven species across five chordate classes. Phox2b was present in motoneurons dedicated to sound production in mice and frogs (bullfrog, African clawed frog), but not those in bird (zebra finch) or bony fish (midshipman, channel catfish). Overall, the pattern of caudal medullary motoneuron Phox2b expression was conserved across vertebrates and similar to expression in sea lamprey. These observations suggest that motoneurons dedicated to sound production in vertebrates are not derived from a single developmentally or evolutionarily conserved progenitor pool.

  17. Protochordate amphioxus is an emerging model organism for comparative immunology

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Shicui Zhang; Yujun Liang; Guangdong Jia; Zhimeng Zhuang

    2009-01-01

    Protochordate amphioxus is an extant invertebrate regarded quite recently as a basal chordate. It has a vertebrate-like body plan including a circulation system with an organization similar to that of vertebrates. However, amphioxus is less complex than vertebrates for having a genome uncomplicated by extensive genomic duplication, and lacking lymphoid organs and free circulating blood cells.Recent studies on immunity have demonstrated the presence in amphioxus of both the constituent elements of key molecules involved in adaptive immunity such as proto-major histocompatibility complex (proto-MHC), V region-containing chitin-binding protein (VCBP)and V and C domain-bearing protein (VCP), and the complement system operating via the alternative and lectin pathways resembling those seen in vertebrates. In addition, the acute phase response profile in amphioxus has been shown to be similar to that observed in vertebrates. These findings together with the relative structural and genomic simplicity make amphioxus an ideal organism for gaining insights into the origin and evolution of the vertebrate immune system, especially adaptive immunity, and the composition and mech-anisms of the vertebrate innate immunity.

  18. Evolution and the origin of the visual retinoid cycle in vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kusakabe, Takehiro G; Takimoto, Noriko; Jin, Minghao; Tsuda, Motoyuki

    2009-10-12

    Absorption of a photon by visual pigments induces isomerization of 11-cis-retinaldehyde (RAL) chromophore to all-trans-RAL. Since the opsins lacking 11-cis-RAL lose light sensitivity, sustained vision requires continuous regeneration of 11-cis-RAL via the process called 'visual cycle'. Protostomes and vertebrates use essentially different machinery of visual pigment regeneration, and the origin and early evolution of the vertebrate visual cycle is an unsolved mystery. Here we compare visual retinoid cycles between different photoreceptors of vertebrates, including rods, cones and non-visual photoreceptors, as well as between vertebrates and invertebrates. The visual cycle systems in ascidians, the closest living relatives of vertebrates, show an intermediate state between vertebrates and non-chordate invertebrates. The ascidian larva may use retinochrome-like opsin as the major isomerase. The entire process of the visual cycle can occur inside the photoreceptor cells with distinct subcellular compartmentalization, although the visual cycle components are also present in surrounding non-photoreceptor cells. The adult ascidian probably uses RPE65 isomerase, and trans-to-cis isomerization may occur in distinct cellular compartments, which is similar to the vertebrate situation. The complete transition to the sophisticated retinoid cycle of vertebrates may have required acquisition of new genes, such as interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein, and functional evolution of the visual cycle genes.

  19. Growth patterns in Onychophora (velvet worms: lack of a localised posterior proliferation zone

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Landman Kerry A

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background During embryonic development of segmented animals, body segments are thought to arise from the so-called "posterior growth zone" and the occurrence of this "zone" has been used to support the homology of segmentation between arthropods, annelids, and vertebrates. However, the term "posterior growth zone" is used ambiguously in the literature, mostly referring to a region of increased proliferation at the posterior end of the embryo. To determine whether such a localised posterior proliferation zone is an ancestral feature of Panarthropoda (Onychophora + Tardigrada + Arthropoda, we examined cell division patterns in embryos of Onychophora. Results Using in vivo incorporation of the DNA replication marker BrdU (5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine and anti-phospho-histone H3 immunolabelling, we found that a localised posterior region of proliferating cells does not occur at any developmental stage in onychophoran embryos. This contrasts with a localised pattern of cell divisions at the posterior end of annelid embryos, which we used as a positive control. Based on our data, we present a mathematical model, which challenges the paradigm that a localised posterior proliferation zone is necessary for segment patterning in short germ developing arthropods. Conclusions Our findings suggest that a posterior proliferation zone was absent in the last common ancestor of Onychophora and Arthropoda. By comparing our data from Onychophora with those from annelids, arthropods, and chordates, we suggest that the occurrence of a "posterior growth zone" currently cannot be used to support the homology of segmentation between these three animal groups.

  20. The sea lamprey meiotic map improves resolution of ancient vertebrate genome duplications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Jeramiah J; Keinath, Melissa C

    2015-08-01

    It is generally accepted that many genes present in vertebrate genomes owe their origin to two whole-genome duplications that occurred deep in the ancestry of the vertebrate lineage. However, details regarding the timing and outcome of these duplications are not well resolved. We present high-density meiotic and comparative genomic maps for the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), a representative of an ancient lineage that diverged from all other vertebrates ∼550 million years ago. Linkage analyses yielded a total of 95 linkage groups, similar to the estimated number of germline chromosomes (1n ∼ 99), spanning a total of 5570.25 cM. Comparative mapping data yield strong support for the hypothesis that a single whole-genome duplication occurred in the basal vertebrate lineage, but do not strongly support a hypothetical second event. Rather, these comparative maps reveal several evolutionarily independent segmental duplications occurring over the last 600+ million years of chordate evolution. This refined history of vertebrate genome duplication should permit more precise investigations of vertebrate evolution.

  1. Multiple independent fusions of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase with enzymes in the pentose phosphate pathway.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas A Stover

    Full Text Available Fusions of the first two enzymes in the pentose phosphate pathway, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD and 6-phosphogluconolactonase (6PGL, have been previously described in two distant clades, chordates and species of the malarial parasite Plasmodium. We have analyzed genome and expressed sequence data from a variety of organisms to identify the origins of these gene fusion events. Based on the orientation of the domains and range of species in which homologs can be found, the fusions appear to have occurred independently, near the base of the metazoan and apicomplexan lineages. Only one of the two metazoan paralogs of G6PD is fused, showing that the fusion occurred after a duplication event, which we have traced back to an ancestor of choanoflagellates and metazoans. The Plasmodium genes are known to contain a functionally important insertion that is not seen in the other apicomplexan fusions, highlighting this as a unique characteristic of this group. Surprisingly, our search revealed two additional fusion events, one that combined 6PGL and G6PD in an ancestor of the protozoan parasites Trichomonas and Giardia, and another fusing G6PD with phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6PGD in a species of diatoms. This study extends the range of species known to contain fusions in the pentose phosphate pathway to many new medically and economically important organisms.

  2. Eumetazoan cryptochrome phylogeny and evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    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.

  3. An Evolutionarily Conserved Network Mediates Development of the zona limitans intrathalamica, a Sonic Hedgehog-Secreting Caudal Forebrain Signaling Center

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elena Sena

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Recent studies revealed new insights into the development of a unique caudal forebrain-signaling center: the zona limitans intrathalamica (zli. The zli is the last brain signaling center to form and the first forebrain compartment to be established. It is the only part of the dorsal neural tube expressing the morphogen Sonic Hedgehog (Shh whose activity participates in the survival, growth and patterning of neuronal progenitor subpopulations within the thalamic complex. Here, we review the gene regulatory network of transcription factors and cis-regulatory elements that underlies formation of a shh-expressing delimitated domain in the anterior brain. We discuss evidence that this network predates the origin of chordates. We highlight the contribution of Shh, Wnt and Notch signaling to zli development and discuss implications for the fact that the morphogen Shh relies on primary cilia for signal transduction. The network that underlies zli development also contributes to thalamus induction, and to its patterning once the zli has been set up. We present an overview of the brain malformations possibly associated with developmental defects in this gene regulatory network (GRN.

  4. Melanopsin-expressing amphioxus photoreceptors transduce light via a phospholipase C signaling cascade.

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    Juan Manuel Angueyra

    Full Text Available Melanopsin, the receptor molecule that underlies light sensitivity in mammalian 'circadian' receptors, is homologous to invertebrate rhodopsins and has been proposed to operate via a similar signaling pathway. Its downstream effectors, however, remain elusive. Melanopsin also expresses in two distinct light-sensitive cell types in the neural tube of amphioxus. This organism is the most basal extant chordate and can help outline the evolutionary history of different photoreceptor lineages and their transduction mechanisms; moreover, isolated amphioxus photoreceptors offer unique advantages, because they are unambiguously identifiable and amenable to single-cell physiological assays. In the present study whole-cell patch clamp recording, pharmacological manipulations, and immunodetection were utilized to investigate light transduction in amphioxus photoreceptors. A G(q was identified and selectively localized to the photosensitive microvillar membrane, while the pivotal role of phospholipase C was established pharmacologically. The photocurrent was profoundly depressed by IP₃ receptor antagonists, highlighting the importance of IP₃ receptors in light signaling. By contrast, surrogates of diacylglycerol (DAG, as well as poly-unsaturated fatty acids failed to activate a membrane conductance or to alter the light response. The results strengthen the notion that calcium released from the ER via IP₃-sensitive channels may fulfill a key role in conveying--directly or indirectly--the melanopsin-initiated light signal to the photoconductance; moreover, they challenge the dogma that microvillar photoreceptors and phoshoinositide-based light transduction are a prerogative of invertebrate eyes.

  5. VKORC1 and VKORC1L1: Why do Vertebrates Have Two Vitamin K 2,3-Epoxide Reductases?

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    Johannes Oldenburg

    2015-07-01

    Full Text Available Among all cellular life on earth, with the exception of yeasts, fungi, and some prokaryotes, VKOR family homologs are ubiquitously encoded in nuclear genomes, suggesting ancient and important biological roles for these enzymes. Despite single gene and whole genome duplications on the largest evolutionary timescales, and the fact that most gene duplications eventually result in loss of one copy, it is surprising that all jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes have retained two paralogous VKOR genes. Both VKOR paralogs function as entry points for nutritionally acquired and recycled K vitamers in the vitamin K cycle. Here we present phylogenetic evidence that the human paralogs likely arose earlier than gnathostomes, possibly in the ancestor of crown chordates. We ask why gnathostomes have maintained these paralogs throughout evolution and present a current summary of what we know. In particular, we look to published studies about tissue- and developmental stage-specific expression, enzymatic function, phylogeny, biological roles and associated pathways that together suggest subfunctionalization as a major influence in evolutionary fixation of both paralogs. Additionally, we investigate on what evolutionary timescale the paralogs arose and under what circumstances in order to gain insight into the biological raison d’être for both VKOR paralogs in gnathostomes.

  6. Unusually long palindromes are abundant in mitochondrial control regions of insects and nematodes.

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    K P Arunkumar

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Palindromes are known to be involved in a variety of biological processes. In the present investigation we carried out a comprehensive analysis of palindromes in the mitochondrial control regions (CRs of several animal groups to study their frequency, distribution and architecture to gain insights into the origin of replication of mtDNA. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Many species of Arthropoda, Nematoda, Mollusca and Annelida harbor palindromes and inverted repeats (IRs in their CRs. Lower animals like cnidarians and higher animal groups like chordates are almost devoid of palindromes and IRs. The study revealed that palindrome occurrence is positively correlated with the AT content of CRs, and that IRs are likely to give rise to longer palindromes. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The present study attempts to explain possible reasons and gives in silico evidence for absence of palindromes and IRs from CR of vertebrate mtDNA and acquisition and retention of the same in insects. Study of CRs of different animal phyla uncovered unique architecture of this locus, be it high abundance of long palindromes and IRs in CRs of Insecta and Nematoda, or short IRs of 10-20 nucleotides with a spacer region of 12-14 bases in subphylum Chelicerata, or nearly complete of absence of any long palindromes and IRs in Vertebrata, Cnidaria and Echinodermata.

  7. Functional evolution of ADAMTS genes: Evidence from analyses of phylogeny and gene organization

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    Van Meir Erwin G

    2005-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The ADAMTS (A Disintegrin-like and Metalloprotease with Thrombospondin motifs proteins are a family of metalloproteases with sequence similarity to the ADAM proteases, that contain the thrombospondin type 1 sequence repeat motifs (TSRs common to extracellular matrix proteins. ADAMTS proteins have recently gained attention with the discovery of their role in a variety of diseases, including tissue and blood disorders, cancer, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer's and the genetic syndromes Weill-Marchesani syndrome (ADAMTS10, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (ADAMTS13, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type VIIC (ADAMTS2 in humans and belted white-spotting mutation in mice (ADAMTS20. Results Phylogenetic analysis and comparison of the exon/intron organization of vertebrate (Homo, Mus, Fugu, chordate (Ciona and invertebrate (Drosophila and Caenorhabditis ADAMTS homologs has elucidated the evolutionary relationships of this important gene family, which comprises 19 members in humans. Conclusions The evolutionary history of ADAMTS genes in vertebrate genomes has been marked by rampant gene duplication, including a retrotransposition that gave rise to a distinct ADAMTS subfamily (ADAMTS1, -4, -5, -8, -15 that may have distinct aggrecanase and angiogenesis functions.

  8. Acoel flatworms are not platyhelminthes: evidence from phylogenomics.

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    Hervé Philippe

    Full Text Available Acoel flatworms are small marine worms traditionally considered to belong to the phylum Platyhelminthes. However, molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest that acoels are not members of Platyhelminthes, but are rather extant members of the earliest diverging Bilateria. This result has been called into question, under suspicions of a long branch attraction (LBA artefact. Here we re-examine this problem through a phylogenomic approach using 68 different protein-coding genes from the acoel Convoluta pulchra and 51 metazoan species belonging to 15 different phyla. We employ a mixture model, named CAT, previously found to overcome LBA artefacts where classical models fail. Our results unequivocally show that acoels are not part of the classically defined Platyhelminthes, making the latter polyphyletic. Moreover, they indicate a deuterostome affinity for acoels, potentially as a sister group to all deuterostomes, to Xenoturbellida, to Ambulacraria, or even to chordates. However, the weak support found for most deuterostome nodes, together with the very fast evolutionary rate of the acoel Convoluta pulchra, call for more data from slowly evolving acoels (or from its sister-group, the Nemertodermatida to solve this challenging phylogenetic problem.

  9. Acoel flatworms are not platyhelminthes: evidence from phylogenomics.

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    Philippe, Hervé; Brinkmann, Henner; Martinez, Pedro; Riutort, Marta; Baguñà, Jaume

    2007-08-08

    Acoel flatworms are small marine worms traditionally considered to belong to the phylum Platyhelminthes. However, molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest that acoels are not members of Platyhelminthes, but are rather extant members of the earliest diverging Bilateria. This result has been called into question, under suspicions of a long branch attraction (LBA) artefact. Here we re-examine this problem through a phylogenomic approach using 68 different protein-coding genes from the acoel Convoluta pulchra and 51 metazoan species belonging to 15 different phyla. We employ a mixture model, named CAT, previously found to overcome LBA artefacts where classical models fail. Our results unequivocally show that acoels are not part of the classically defined Platyhelminthes, making the latter polyphyletic. Moreover, they indicate a deuterostome affinity for acoels, potentially as a sister group to all deuterostomes, to Xenoturbellida, to Ambulacraria, or even to chordates. However, the weak support found for most deuterostome nodes, together with the very fast evolutionary rate of the acoel Convoluta pulchra, call for more data from slowly evolving acoels (or from its sister-group, the Nemertodermatida) to solve this challenging phylogenetic problem.

  10. Preservation and phylogeny of Cambrian ecdysozoans tested by experimental decay of Priapulus

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    Sansom, Robert S.

    2016-09-01

    The exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossil record provides unique insight into the early evolutionary history of animals. Understanding of the mechanisms of exceptional soft tissue preservation frames all interpretations of the fauna and its evolutionary significance. This is especially true for recent interpretations of preserved nervous tissues in fossil ecdysozoans. However, models of soft tissue preservation lack empirical support from actualistic studies. Here experimental decay of the priapulid Priapulus reveal consistent bias towards rapid loss of internal non-cuticular anatomy compared with recalcitrant cuticular anatomy. This is consistent with models of Burgess Shale-type preservation and indicates that internal tissues are unlikely to be preserved with fidelity if organically preserved. This pattern, along with extreme body margin distortion, is consistent with onychophoran decay, and is therefore resolved as general for early ecdysozoans. Application of these patterns to phylogenetic data finds scalidophoran taxa to be very sensitive to taphonomically informed character coding, but not panarthropodan taxa. Priapulid decay also have unexpected relevance for interpretation of myomeres in fossil chordates. The decay data presented serve not only as a test of models of preservation but also a framework with which to interpret ecdysozoan fossil anatomies, and the subsequent evolutionary inferences drawn from them.

  11. Highly variable rates of genome rearrangements between hemiascomycetous yeast lineages.

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    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Hemiascomycete yeasts cover an evolutionary span comparable to that of the entire phylum of chordates. Since this group currently contains the largest number of complete genome sequences it presents unique opportunities to understand the evolution of genome organization in eukaryotes. We inferred rates of genome instability on all branches of a phylogenetic tree for 11 species and calculated species-specific rates of genome rearrangements. We characterized all inversion events that occurred within synteny blocks between six representatives of the different lineages. We show that the rates of macro- and microrearrangements of gene order are correlated within individual lineages but are highly variable across different lineages. The most unstable genomes correspond to the pathogenic yeasts Candida albicans and Candida glabrata. Chromosomal maps have been intensively shuffled by numerous interchromosomal rearrangements, even between species that have retained a very high physical fraction of their genomes within small synteny blocks. Despite this intensive reshuffling of gene positions, essential genes, which cluster in low recombination regions in the genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, tend to remain syntenic during evolution. This work reveals that the high plasticity of eukaryotic genomes results from rearrangement rates that vary between lineages but also at different evolutionary times of a given lineage.

  12. Natural variation of model mutant phenotypes in Ciona intestinalis.

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    Paolo Sordino

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The study of ascidians (Chordata, Tunicata has made a considerable contribution to our understanding of the origin and evolution of basal chordates. To provide further information to support forward genetics in Ciona intestinalis, we used a combination of natural variation and neutral population genetics as an approach for the systematic identification of new mutations. In addition to the significance of developmental variation for phenotype-driven studies, this approach can encompass important implications in evolutionary and population biology. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we report a preliminary survey for naturally occurring mutations in three geographically interconnected populations of C. intestinalis. The influence of historical, geographical and environmental factors on the distribution of abnormal phenotypes was assessed by means of 12 microsatellites. We identified 37 possible mutant loci with stereotyped defects in embryonic development that segregate in a way typical of recessive alleles. Local populations were found to differ in genetic organization and frequency distribution of phenotypic classes. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Natural genetic polymorphism of C. intestinalis constitutes a valuable source of phenotypes for studying embryonic development in ascidians. Correlating genetic structure and the occurrence of abnormal phenotypes is a crucial focus for understanding the selective forces that shape natural finite populations, and may provide insights of great importance into the evolutionary mechanisms that generate animal diversity.

  13. Molecular cloning and expression patterns of the Vasa gene from Rana nigromaculata (Amphibia: Anura

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    Rui Jia

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available The Vasa protein is a member of the DEAD (Asp-Glu-Alu-Asp box family of ATP-dependent RNA helicases. The Vasa gene is specifically expressed in germ-line cells of many metazoans and is known to play a critical role in gametogenesis and reproductive regulation. In this paper, we isolate the full length cDNA sequence of the Vasa gene from the frog Rana nigromaculata Hallowell, 1861. The open reading frame (ORF encoding 398 amino acid residues has nine conserved motifs. According to the similarities at the amino acid sequenceythe phylogenetic analysis of Vasa gene was consistent with the evolution relationships from chordates to mammals. Furthermore, the expression pattern analysis of RnVasa mRNA, using the technique of Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR, showed a high level of transcripts in testis, ovary and kidney, whereas little to no signal was detected in other tissues, which suggests that it may play a role during gametogenesis.

  14. [Regulatory elements in the skin epithelium of Saccoglossus mereschkowskii (Enteropneusta, Hemichordata): electron microscopic and immunocytochemical study].

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    Stoliarova, M V; Val'kovich, E I

    2013-01-01

    The aim of this investigation was to demonstrate the regulatory elements in the skin epithelium of Enteropneusta which are supposed to be related to the chordate ancestors. Using electron microscopy, it was found that in the skin epithelium of a representative of enteropneusts Saccoglossus mereschkowskii, the basal parts of some epitheliocytes took part in formation of a nerve layer. These cells were considered as receptor ciliated cells. The granular epithelial cells were shown to release secretion according to both exocrine and endocrine mechanism; these cells were characterized as endocrine-like regulatory cells. Fine granular cells possibly represent special receptor-endocrine-like cell type. The immunocytochemical detection of FMRFamid neuropeptide localization in histological sections confirmed the electron microscopic data on the presence of receptor and endocrine-like cells in the epithelium. It is suggested that the skin epithelium of Enteropneusta contains a peculiar neuro-endocrine regulatory system that is represented by receptor cells, receptor-endocrine-like cells of an open type and nerve elements of the nerve layer.

  15. [Structure-functional organization of eukaryotic high-affinity copper importer CTR1 determines its ability to transport copper, silver and cisplatin].

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    Skvortsov, A N; Zatulovskiĭ, E A; Puchkova, L V

    2012-01-01

    It was shown recently, that high affinity Cu(I) importer eukaryotic protein CTR1 can also transport in vitro abiogenic Ag(I) ions and anticancer drug cisplatin. At present there is no rational explanation how CTR1 can transfer platinum group, which is different by coordination properties from highly similar Cu(I) and Ag(I). To understand this phenomenon we analyzed 25 sequences of chordate CTR1 proteins, and found out conserved patterns of organization of N-terminal extracellular part of CTR1 which correspond to initial metal binding. Extracellular copper-binding motifs were qualified by their coordination properties. It was shown that relative position of Met- and His-rich copper-binding motifs in CTR1 predisposes the extracellular CTR1 part to binding of copper, silver and cisplatin. Relation between tissue-specific expression of CTR1 gene, steady-state copper concentration, and silver and platinum accumulation in organs of mice in vivo was analyzed. Significant positive but incomplete correlation exists between these variables. Basing on structural and functional peculiarities of N-terminal part of CTR1 a hypothesis of coupled transport of copper and cisplatin has been suggested, which avoids the disagreement between CTR1-mediated cisplatin transport in vitro, and irreversible binding of platinum to Met-rich peptides.

  16. Evolution of the relaxin/insulin-like gene family in placental mammals: implications for its early evolution.

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    Hoffmann, Federico G; Opazo, Juan C

    2011-01-01

    The relaxin (RLN) and insulin-like (INSL) gene family is a group of genes involved in a variety of physiological roles that includes bone formation, testicular descent, trophoblast development, and cell differentiation. This family appears to have expanded in vertebrates relative to non-vertebrate chordates, but the relative contribution of whole genome duplications (WGDs) and tandem duplications to the observed diversity of genes is still an open question. Results from our comparative analyses favor a model of divergence post vertebrate WGDs in which a single-copy progenitor found in the last common ancestor of vertebrates experienced two rounds of WGDs before the functional differentiation that gave rise to the RLN and INSL genes. One of the resulting paralogs was subsequently lost, resulting in three proto-RLN/INSL genes on three separate chromosomes. Subsequent rounds of tandem gene duplication and divergence originated the set of paralogs found on a given cluster in extant vertebrates. Our study supports the hypothesis that differentiation of the RLN and INSL genes took place independently in each RLN/INSL cluster after the two WGDs during the evolutionary history of vertebrates. In addition, we show that INSL4 represents a relatively old gene that has been apparently lost independently in all Euarchontoglires other than apes and Old World monkeys, and that RLN2 derives from an ape-specific duplication.

  17. The biology of the germ line in echinoderms.

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    Wessel, Gary M; Brayboy, Lynae; Fresques, Tara; Gustafson, Eric A; Oulhen, Nathalie; Ramos, Isabela; Reich, Adrian; Swartz, S Zachary; Yajima, Mamiko; Zazueta, Vanessa

    2014-08-01

    The formation of the germ line in an embryo marks a fresh round of reproductive potential. The developmental stage and location within the embryo where the primordial germ cells (PGCs) form, however, differs markedly among species. In many animals, the germ line is formed by an inherited mechanism, in which molecules made and selectively partitioned within the oocyte drive the early development of cells that acquire this material to a germ-line fate. In contrast, the germ line of other animals is fated by an inductive mechanism that involves signaling between cells that directs this specialized fate. In this review, we explore the mechanisms of germ-line determination in echinoderms, an early-branching sister group to the chordates. One member of the phylum, sea urchins, appears to use an inherited mechanism of germ-line formation, whereas their relatives, the sea stars, appear to use an inductive mechanism. We first integrate the experimental results currently available for germ-line determination in the sea urchin, for which considerable new information is available, and then broaden the investigation to the lesser-known mechanisms in sea stars and other echinoderms. Even with this limited insight, it appears that sea stars, and perhaps the majority of the echinoderm taxon, rely on inductive mechanisms for germ-line fate determination. This enables a strongly contrasted picture for germ-line determination in this phylum, but one for which transitions between different modes of germ-line determination might now be experimentally addressed.

  18. Echinoderms: potential model systems for studies on muscle regeneration.

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    García-Arrarás, José E; Dolmatov, Igor Yu

    2010-01-01

    Organisms of the phylum Echinodermata show some of the most impressive regenerative feats within the animal kingdom. Following injury or self-induced autotomy, species in this phylum can regenerate most tissues and organs, being the regeneration of the muscular systems one of the best studied. Even though echinoderms are closely related to chordates, they are little known in the biomedical field, and therefore their uses to study pharmacological effects on muscle formation and/or regeneration have been extremely limited. In order to rectify this lack of knowledge, we describe here the echinoderm muscular systems, particularly the somatic and visceral muscle components. In addition, we provide details of the processes that are known to take place during muscle regeneration, namely dedifferentiation, myogenesis and new muscle formation. Finally, we provide the available information on molecular and pharmacological studies that involve echinoderm muscle regeneration. We expect that by making this information accessible, researchers consider the use of echinoderms as model systems for pharmacological studies in muscle development and regeneration.

  19. Environmental Induction of Polyembryony in Echinoid Echinoderms.

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    Allen, Jonathan D; Armstrong, Anne Frances; Ziegler, Shelby L

    2015-12-01

    Polyembryony, or the production of multiple offspring from a single zygote, is a widespread phenomenon in the animal kingdom. Various types of polyembryony have been described in arthropods, bryozoans, chordates, cnidarians, echinoderms, and platyhelminthes. We describe the induction of polyembryony in embryos of the sand dollar Echinarachnius parma and the pencil urchin Eucidaris tribuloides in response to elevated temperature and reduced salinity. Data on the environmental variation in temperature and salinity that normally occurs during the spawning season, combined with the range of laboratory conditions over which polyembryony was induced, suggest that polyembryony may occur frequently in these species under natural conditions. We tested an additional two species of echinoids for similar responses, but found little evidence for polyembryony in the green urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis or the variegated urchin Lytechinus variegatus, suggesting that polyembryony is not a universal response of echinoids to fluctuations in temperature and salinity. The unexpected developmental changes that we observed in response to present-day fluctuations in temperature and salinity suggest that ongoing and future environmental shifts may drive substantial changes in marine invertebrate developmental patterns, and that these changes will be different across taxa.

  20. Cambrian cinctan echinoderms shed light on feeding in the ancestral deuterostome.

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    Rahman, Imran A; Zamora, Samuel; Falkingham, Peter L; Phillips, Jeremy C

    2015-11-07

    Reconstructing the feeding mode of the latest common ancestor of deuterostomes is key to elucidating the early evolution of feeding in chordates and allied phyla; however, it is debated whether the ancestral deuterostome was a tentaculate feeder or a pharyngeal filter feeder. To address this, we evaluated the hydrodynamics of feeding in a group of fossil stem-group echinoderms (cinctans) using computational fluid dynamics. We simulated water flow past three-dimensional digital models of a Cambrian fossil cinctan in a range of possible life positions, adopting both passive tentacular feeding and active pharyngeal filter feeding. The results demonstrate that an orientation with the mouth facing downstream of the current was optimal for drag and lift reduction. Moreover, they show that there was almost no flow to the mouth and associated marginal groove under simulations of passive feeding, whereas considerable flow towards the animal was observed for active feeding, which would have enhanced the transport of suspended particles to the mouth. This strongly suggests that cinctans were active pharyngeal filter feeders, like modern enteropneust hemichordates and urochordates, indicating that the ancestral deuterostome employed a similar feeding strategy.

  1. On the sites of secondary podia formation in a juvenile echinoid: growth of the body types in echinoderms.

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    Morris, Valerie B

    2009-12-01

    The growth of the adult echinoderm body is addressed here in the echinoid Holopneustes purpurescens in a study of the early development of the secondary podia along the five radial canals of the adult rudiment. At a stage when the first four secondary podia have formed along each radius oral to the primary podium, two podia are on one side of the radius and two are on the other side, all at a different distance from the primary podium. The pattern of the connexions of these secondary podia to the radial canals changes in successive radii in a manner similar to Lovén's law for skeletal plates and matches the reported sequence in the times at which the first ambulacral skeletal plates form in the adult echinoid rudiment. A similar pattern is described for the reported origins of the secondary podia in apodid holothurians. A common plan for the growth of the body types is described for echinoids, asteroids, holothurians and concentricycloids. The five metameric series of secondary podia formed in echinoderms have a coelomic developmental origin like the single metameric series of somites formed in the axial structures of chordates.

  2. Focusing on Ciona intestinalis (Tunicata innate immune system. Evolutionary implications

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    N Parrinello

    2009-03-01

    Full Text Available Phylogenetic analyses based on molecular data provide compelling evidence that ascidians are of critical importance for studying chordate immune system evolution. The Ciona intestinalis draft genome sequence allows searches for phylogenetic relationships, gene cloning and expression of immunorelevant molecules. Acidians lack of the pivotal components of the vertebrate recombinatory adaptive immunity, i.e., MHC, TCRs and dimeric immunoglobulins. However, bioinformatic sequence analyses recognized genic elements indicating the essential features of the Ig superfamily and ancestor proto-MHC genes, suggesting a primitive pre-duplication and pre-recombination status. C. intestinalis genes for individuality in the absence of MHC could encode diverse molecular markers, including a wide panel of complement factors that could be responsible for self-nonself discrimination. Genome analysis reveals a number of innate immunity vertebrate-like genes which encode Toll-like and virus receptors, complement pathways components and receptors, CD94/NK-receptor-like, lectins, TNF, IL1-R, collagens. However, pure homology seeking for vertebrate-specific immunorelevant molecules is of limited value, and functional screening methods may be a more promising approach for tracing the immune system evolution. C. intestinalis, which displays acute and chronic inflammatory reactions, is a model organism for studying innate immunity genes expression and functions.

  3. INFLUENCE OF HEAVY METALS ON GAMETOPHYTE DIFFERENTIATION IN TWO DRYOPTERIS SPECIES IN ROMANIA’S FLORA

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    Oana Alexandra Drăghiceanu

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available In this work we aimed to study the influence of Zn, Cu and Pb compounds on spore germination and gametophyte development in the species Dryopteris affinis (Lowe Fraser-Jenkins and Dryopteris filix-mas (L. Schott. The following initial variants were prepared: V1Cu 140 mg•L-1 Knop solution, V1Zn 300 mg•L-1 Knop solution, V1Pb 300 mg•L-1 Knop solution. From these variants we considered V2 and V32 as the concentrations, respectively, 5 and 10 times higher than the initial ones. The percentage of spores germinated was noted to decrease with the increase in the metal concentration in the solution so that there are significant differences between the control and metal variants; in some variants there was no germination reported: in V3Pb in both species and in V2Pb in the Dryopteris filix-mas. With regard to the gametophyte differentiation in very few variants, the stage of chordate prothallus was reached (C, V1Pb, V1Zn: in the two species. In V2 and V3, regardless of the species and metal, the spores and filaments turn to necrosis.

  4. Deep Sequencing of Mixed Total DNA without Barcodes Allows Efficient Assembly of Highly Plastic Ascidian Mitochondrial Genomes

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    Rubinstein, Nimrod D.; Feldstein, Tamar; Shenkar, Noa; Botero-Castro, Fidel; Griggio, Francesca; Mastrototaro, Francesco; Delsuc, Frédéric; Douzery, Emmanuel J.P.; Gissi, Carmela; Huchon, Dorothée

    2013-01-01

    Ascidians or sea squirts form a diverse group within chordates, which includes a few thousand members of marine sessile filter-feeding animals. Their mitochondrial genomes are characterized by particularly high evolutionary rates and rampant gene rearrangements. This extreme variability complicates standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based techniques for molecular characterization studies, and consequently only a few complete Ascidian mitochondrial genome sequences are available. Using the standard PCR and Sanger sequencing approach, we produced the mitochondrial genome of Ascidiella aspersa only after a great effort. In contrast, we produced five additional mitogenomes (Botrylloides aff. leachii, Halocynthia spinosa, Polycarpa mytiligera, Pyura gangelion, and Rhodosoma turcicum) with a novel strategy, consisting in sequencing the pooled total DNA samples of these five species using one Illumina HiSeq 2000 flow cell lane. Each mitogenome was efficiently assembled in a single contig using de novo transcriptome assembly, as de novo genome assembly generally performed poorly for this task. Each of the new six mitogenomes presents a different and novel gene order, showing that no syntenic block has been conserved at the ordinal level (in Stolidobranchia and in Phlebobranchia). Phylogenetic analyses support the paraphyly of both Ascidiacea and Phlebobranchia, with Thaliacea nested inside Phlebobranchia, although the deepest nodes of the Phlebobranchia–Thaliacea clade are not well resolved. The strategy described here thus provides a cost-effective approach to obtain complete mitogenomes characterized by a highly plastic gene order and a fast nucleotide/amino acid substitution rate. PMID:23709623

  5. Regulatory roles of conserved intergenic domains in vertebrate Dlx bigene clusters.

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    Ghanem, Noël; Jarinova, Olga; Amores, Angel; Long, Qiaoming; Hatch, Gary; Park, Byung Keon; Rubenstein, John L R; Ekker, Marc

    2003-04-01

    Dlx homeobox genes of vertebrates are generally arranged as three bigene clusters on distinct chromosomes. The Dlx1/Dlx2, Dlx5/Dlx6, and Dlx3/Dlx7 clusters likely originate from duplications of an ancestral Dlx gene pair. Overlaps in expression are often observed between genes from the different clusters. To determine if the overlaps are a result of the conservation of enhancer sequences between paralogous clusters, we compared the Dlx1/2 and the Dlx5/Dlx6 intergenic regions from human, mouse, zebrafish, and from two pufferfish, Spheroides nephelus and Takifugu rubripes. Conservation between all five vertebrates is limited to four sequences, two in Dlx1/Dlx2 and two in Dlx5/Dlx6. These noncoding sequences are >75% identical over a few hundred base pairs, even in distant vertebrates. However, when compared to each other, the four intergenic sequences show a much more limited similarity. Each intergenic sequence acts as an enhancer when tested in transgenic animals. Three of them are active in the forebrain with overlapping patterns despite their limited sequence similarity. The lack of sequence similarity between paralogous intergenic regions and the high degree of sequence conservation of orthologous enhancers suggest a rapid divergence of Dlx intergenic regions early in chordate/vertebrate evolution followed by fixation of cis-acting regulatory elements.

  6. The functional relationship between ectodermal and mesodermal segmentation in the crustacean, Parhyale hawaiensis.

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    Hannibal, Roberta L; Price, Alivia L; Patel, Nipam H

    2012-01-15

    In arthropods, annelids and chordates, segmentation of the body axis encompasses both ectodermal and mesodermal derivatives. In vertebrates, trunk mesoderm segments autonomously and induces segmental arrangement of the ectoderm-derived nervous system. In contrast, in the arthropod Drosophila melanogaster, the ectoderm segments autonomously and mesoderm segmentation is at least partially dependent on the ectoderm. While segmentation has been proposed to be a feature of the common ancestor of vertebrates and arthropods, considering vertebrates and Drosophila alone, it is impossible to conclude whether the ancestral primary segmented tissue was the ectoderm or the mesoderm. Furthermore, much of Drosophila segmentation occurs before gastrulation and thus may not accurately represent the mechanisms of segmentation in all arthropods. To better understand the relationship between segmented germ layers in arthropods, we asked whether segmentation is an intrinsic property of the ectoderm and/or the mesoderm in the crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis by ablating either the ectoderm or the mesoderm and then assaying for segmentation in the remaining tissue layer. We found that the ectoderm segments autonomously. However, mesoderm segmentation requires at least a permissive signal from the ectoderm. Although mesodermal stem cells undergo normal rounds of division in the absence of ectoderm, they do not migrate properly in respect to migration direction and distance. In addition, their progeny neither divide nor express the mesoderm segmentation markers Ph-twist and Ph-Even-skipped. As segmentation is ectoderm-dependent in both Parhyale and holometabola insects, we hypothesize that segmentation is primarily a property of the ectoderm in pancrustacea.

  7. The gut of geographically disparate Ciona intestinalis harbors a core microbiota.

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    Larry J Dishaw

    Full Text Available It is now widely understood that all animals engage in complex interactions with bacteria (or microbes throughout their various life stages. This ancient exchange can involve cooperation and has resulted in a wide range of evolved host-microbial interdependencies, including those observed in the gut. Ciona intestinalis, a filter-feeding basal chordate and classic developmental model that can be experimentally manipulated, is being employed to help define these relationships. Ciona larvae are first exposed internally to microbes upon the initiation of feeding in metamorphosed individuals; however, whether or not these microbes subsequently colonize the gut and whether or not Ciona forms relationships with specific bacteria in the gut remains unknown. In this report, we show that the Ciona gut not only is colonized by a complex community of bacteria, but also that samples from three geographically isolated populations reveal striking similarity in abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs consistent with the selection of a core community by the gut ecosystem.

  8. Characterization of a gene coding for a putative adenosine deaminase-related growth factor by RNA interference in the basidiomycete Flammulina velutipes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sekiya, Shuichi; Yamada, Masato; Shibata, Kou; Okuhara, Toru; Yoshida, Masumi; Inatomi, Satoshi; Taguchi, Goro; Shimosaka, Makoto

    2013-04-01

    A full-length cDNA coding for a putative adenosine deaminase (Fv-ada) was isolated from the basidiomycete Flammulina velutipes. Fv-ada encodes a polypeptide consisting of 537 amino acid residues, which has a consensus sequence conserved among adenosine deaminase-related growth factors (ADGF) found in several metazoa, including chordates and insects. Fv-ada transcript was detected at all stages of growth in dikaryotic F. velutipes cells, with a peak at the primordial stage. Heterologous expression of Fv-ada in the yeast Pichia pastoris produced recombinant Fv-ADA that catalyzed the conversion of adenosine to inosine. Dikaryotic mycelia from F. velutipes were transformed with the binary plasmid pFungiway-Fv-ada, which was designed to suppress the expression of Fv-ada through RNA interference. The growth rates of the resulting transformants were retarded in response to the degree of suppression, indicating that Fv-ada plays an important role in the mycelial growth of F. velutipes. These results suggested that ADGF could function as growth factors in fungi, as is seen in other eukaryotes.

  9. Pannexin 3 is a novel target for Runx2, expressed by osteoblasts and mature growth plate chondrocytes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bond, Stephen R; Lau, Alice; Penuela, Silvia; Sampaio, Arthur V; Underhill, T Michael; Laird, Dale W; Naus, Christian C

    2011-12-01

    Pannexins are a class of chordate channel proteins identified by their homology to insect gap junction proteins. The pannexin family consists of three members, Panx1, Panx2, and Panx3, and the role each of these proteins plays in cellular processes is still under investigation. Previous reports of Panx3 expression indicate enrichment in skeletal tissues, so we have further investigated this distribution by surveying the developing mouse embryo with immunofluorescence. High levels of Panx3 were detected in intramembranous craniofacial flat bones, as well as long bones of the appendicular and axial skeleton. This distribution is the result of expression in both osteoblasts and hypertrophic chondrocytes. Furthermore, the Panx3 promoter contains putative binding sites for transcription factors involved in bone formation, and we show that the sequence between bases -275 and -283 is responsive to Runx2 activation. Taken together, our data suggests that Panx3 may serve an important role in bone development, and is a novel target for Runx2-dependent signaling.

  10. Evolutionary developmental pathology and anthropology: A new field linking development, comparative anatomy, human evolution, morphological variations and defects, and medicine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Diogo, Rui; Smith, Christopher M; Ziermann, Janine M

    2015-11-01

    We introduce a new subfield of the recently created field of Evolutionary-Developmental-Anthropology (Evo-Devo-Anth): Evolutionary-Developmental-Pathology-and-Anthropology (Evo-Devo-P'Anth). This subfield combines experimental and developmental studies of nonhuman model organisms, biological anthropology, chordate comparative anatomy and evolution, and the study of normal and pathological human development. Instead of focusing on other organisms to try to better understand human development, evolution, anatomy, and pathology, it places humans as the central case study, i.e., as truly model organism themselves. We summarize the results of our recent Evo-Devo-P'Anth studies and discuss long-standing questions in each of the broader biological fields combined in this subfield, paying special attention to the links between: (1) Human anomalies and variations, nonpentadactyly, homeotic transformations, and "nearest neighbor" vs. "find and seek" muscle-skeleton associations in limb+facial muscles vs. other head muscles; (2) Developmental constraints, the notion of "phylotypic stage," internalism vs. externalism, and the "logic of monsters" vs. "lack of homeostasis" views about human birth defects; (3) Human evolution, reversions, atavisms, paedomorphosis, and peromorphosis; (4) Scala naturae, Haeckelian recapitulation, von Baer's laws, and parallelism between phylogeny and development, here formally defined as "Phylo-Devo parallelism"; and (5) Patau, Edwards, and Down syndrome (trisomies 13, 18, 21), atavisms, apoptosis, heart malformations, and medical implications.

  11. Characteristic and functional analysis of toll-like receptors (TLRs in the lophotrocozoan, Crassostrea gigas, reveals ancient origin of TLR-mediated innate immunity.

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    Yang Zhang

    Full Text Available The evolution of TLR-mediated innate immunity is a fundamental question in immunology. Here, we report the characterization and functional analysis of four TLR members in the lophotrochozoans Crassostreagigas (CgTLRs. All CgTLRs bear a conserved domain organization and have a close relationship with TLRs in ancient non-vertebrate chordates. In HEK293 cells, every CgTLR could constitutively activate NF-κB responsive reporter, but none of the PAMPs tested could stimulate CgTLR-activated NF-κB induction. Subcellular localization showed that CgTLR members have similar and dual distribution on late endosomes and plasma membranes. Moreover, CgTLRs and CgMyD88 mRNA show a consistent response to multiple PAMP challenges in oyster hemocytes. As CgTLR-mediated NF-κB activation is dependent on CgMyD88, we designed a blocking peptide for CgTLR signaling that would inhibit CgTLR-CgMyD88 dependent NF-κB activation. This was used to demonstrate that a Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection-induced enhancement of degranulation and increase of cytokines TNF mRNA in hemocytes, could be inhibited by blocking CgTLR signaling. In summary, our study characterized the primitive TLRs in the lophotrocozoan C. gigas and demonstrated a fundamental role of TLR signaling in infection-induced hemocyte activation. This provides further evidence for an ancient origin of TLR-mediated innate immunity.

  12. Comparative biology of the pentraxin protein family: evolutionarily conserved component of innate immune system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Armstrong, Peter B

    2015-01-01

    The immune system is based on the actions of the collection of specialized immune defense cells and their secreted proteins and peptides that defend the host against infection by parasites. Parasites are organisms that live part or all of their lives in close physical association with the host and extract nutrients from the host and, by releasing toxins and virulence factors, cause disease with the potential for injury and premature death of that host. Parasites of the metazoa can be viruses, eubacteria, fungi, protozoans, and other metazoans. The immune system operates to kill or eliminate parasites and eliminate or detoxify their toxins and virulence factors. Although some of the elements of immune systems are specific to a particular phylum of metazoans, others show extensive evolutionary conservation, being present in several or all major phyla of the metazoa. The pentraxins display this latter character in their roles in immune defense. Pentraxins have been documented in vertebrates, nonvertebrate chordates, arthropods, and mollusks and may be present in other taxa of metazoans. Presumably the pentraxins appeared early in the evolution of metazoa, prior to their evolutionary divergence in the Precambrian epoch into many phyla present today, and have been preserved for the 542 million years since that explosive evolutionary radiation. The fidelity with which these phyla have preserved the pentraxins suggests that the functions of these proteins are important for survival of the members of these diverse taxa of animals.

  13. Resource allocation to reproduction in animals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kooijman, Sebastiaan A L M; Lika, Konstadia

    2014-11-01

    The standard Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model assumes that a fraction κ of mobilised reserve is allocated to somatic maintenance plus growth, while the rest is allocated to maturity maintenance plus maturation (in embryos and juveniles) or reproduction (in adults). All DEB parameters have been estimated for 276 animal species from most large phyla and all chordate classes. The goodness of fit is generally excellent. We compared the estimated values of κ with those that would maximise reproduction in fully grown adults with abundant food. Only 13% of these species show a reproduction rate close to the maximum possible (assuming that κ can be controlled), another 4% have κ lower than the optimal value, and 83% have κ higher than the optimal value. Strong empirical support hence exists for the conclusion that reproduction is generally not maximised. We also compared the parameters of the wild chicken with those of races selected for meat and egg production and found that the latter indeed maximise reproduction in terms of κ, while surface-specific assimilation was not affected by selection. We suggest that small values of κ relate to the down-regulation of maximum body size, and large values to the down-regulation of reproduction. We briefly discuss the ecological context for these findings.

  14. A single three-dimensional chromatin compartment in amphioxus indicates a stepwise evolution of vertebrate Hox bimodal regulation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Acemel, Rafael D; Tena, Juan J; Irastorza-Azcarate, Ibai; Marlétaz, Ferdinand; Gómez-Marín, Carlos; de la Calle-Mustienes, Elisa; Bertrand, Stéphanie; Diaz, Sergio G; Aldea, Daniel; Aury, Jean-Marc; Mangenot, Sophie; Holland, Peter W H; Devos, Damien P; Maeso, Ignacio; Escrivá, Hector; Gómez-Skarmeta, José Luis

    2016-03-01

    The HoxA and HoxD gene clusters of jawed vertebrates are organized into bipartite three-dimensional chromatin structures that separate long-range regulatory inputs coming from the anterior and posterior Hox-neighboring regions. This architecture is instrumental in allowing vertebrate Hox genes to pattern disparate parts of the body, including limbs. Almost nothing is known about how these three-dimensional topologies originated. Here we perform extensive 4C-seq profiling of the Hox cluster in embryos of amphioxus, an invertebrate chordate. We find that, in contrast to the architecture in vertebrates, the amphioxus Hox cluster is organized into a single chromatin interaction domain that includes long-range contacts mostly from the anterior side, bringing distant cis-regulatory elements into contact with Hox genes. We infer that the vertebrate Hox bipartite regulatory system is an evolutionary novelty generated by combining ancient long-range regulatory contacts from DNA in the anterior Hox neighborhood with new regulatory inputs from the posterior side.

  15. Refining the Ciona intestinalis model of central nervous system regeneration.

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    Carl Dahlberg

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: New, practical models of central nervous system regeneration are required and should provide molecular tools and resources. We focus here on the tunicate Ciona intestinalis, which has the capacity to regenerate nerves and a complete adult central nervous system, a capacity unusual in the chordate phylum. We investigated the timing and sequence of events during nervous system regeneration in this organism. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We developed techniques for reproducible ablations and for imaging live cellular events in tissue explants. Based on live observations of more than 100 regenerating animals, we subdivided the regeneration process into four stages. Regeneration was functional, as shown by the sequential recovery of reflexes that established new criteria for defining regeneration rates. We used transgenic animals and labeled nucleotide analogs to describe in detail the early cellular events at the tip of the regenerating nerves and the first appearance of the new adult ganglion anlage. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The rate of regeneration was found to be negatively correlated with adult size. New neural structures were derived from the anterior and posterior nerve endings. A blastemal structure was implicated in the formation of new neural cells. This work demonstrates that Ciona intestinalis is as a useful system for studies on regeneration of the brain, brain-associated organs and nerves.

  16. The retinoic acid machinery in invertebrates: ancestral elements and vertebrate innovations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Albalat, Ricard

    2009-12-10

    Recent discoveries have changed our view of the evolutionary history of retinoic acid (RA) machinery. It is no longer considered a vertebrate or chordate invention but rather a common genetic toolkit of diverse lineages of metazoans. In particular, the basic machinery of RA-metabolizing enzymes, retinoid-binding proteins and RA-binding nuclear receptors has been identified in protostome and deuterostome lineages. Moreover, the retinoid content and the effects of RA treatment have been described in a number of invertebrates, although the physiological role of RA signaling outside vertebrates is still not fully understood. This review summarizes the evidence gathered over many years on the invertebrate RA system, highlighting the ancient origin of the RA genetic machinery and a basic role in neuronal differentiation. Comparison of invertebrate and vertebrate RA toolkits suggests some innovations in the RA machinery of vertebrates that might have contributed to improving the physiological control of retinoid homeostasis, compensating for vitamin A fluctuations in this lineage. Analysis of the RA machinery in invertebrates also reveals independent losses of RA components during evolution, which might be related to changes in embryonic developmental modes and the absence of the temporal collinearity of hox clusters. Additional studies analyzing the biochemical and functional characteristics of the invertebrate RA genetic machinery are warranted to lend experimental support to the hypotheses sketched in this review. These hypotheses open, however, new perspectives toward understanding how the RA genetic machinery evolved to suit the physiological and developmental requirements of metazoans.

  17. Exploiting the extraordinary genetic polymorphism of ciona for developmental genetics with whole genome sequencing.

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    Abdul-Wajid, Sarah; Veeman, Michael T; Chiba, Shota; Turner, Thomas L; Smith, William C

    2014-05-01

    Studies in tunicates such as Ciona have revealed new insights into the evolutionary origins of chordate development. Ciona populations are characterized by high levels of natural genetic variation, between 1 and 5%. This variation has provided abundant material for forward genetic studies. In the current study, we make use of deep sequencing and homozygosity mapping to map spontaneous mutations in outbred populations. With this method we have mapped two spontaneous developmental mutants. In Ciona intestinalis we mapped a short-tail mutation with strong phenotypic similarity to a previously identified mutant in the related species Ciona savignyi. Our bioinformatic approach mapped the mutation to a narrow interval containing a single mutated gene, α-laminin3,4,5, which is the gene previously implicated in C. savignyi. In addition, we mapped a novel genetic mutation disrupting neural tube closure in C. savignyi to a T-type Ca(2+) channel gene. The high efficiency and unprecedented mapping resolution of our study is a powerful advantage for developmental genetics in Ciona, and may find application in other outbred species.

  18. 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

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Homeobox genes are a superclass of transcription factors with diverse developmental regulatory functions, which are found in plants, fungi and animals. In animals, several Antennapedia (ANTP-class homeobox genes reside in extremely ancient gene clusters (for example, the Hox, ParaHox, and NKL clusters and the evolution of these clusters has been implicated in the morphological diversification of animal bodyplans. By contrast, similarly ancient gene clusters have not been reported among the other classes of homeobox genes (that is, the LIM, POU, PRD and SIX classes. Results Using a combination of in silico queries and phylogenetic analyses, we found that a cluster of three PRD-class homeobox genes (Homeobrain (hbn, Rax (rx and Orthopedia (otp is present in cnidarians, insects and mollusks (a partial cluster comprising hbn and rx is present in the placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens. We failed to identify this 'HRO' cluster in deuterostomes; in fact, the Homeobrain gene appears to be missing from the chordate genomes we examined, although it is present in hemichordates and echinoderms. To illuminate the ancestral organization and function of this ancient cluster, we mapped the constituent genes against the assembled genome of a model cnidarian, the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, and characterized their spatiotemporal expression using in situ hybridization. In N. vectensis, these genes reside in a span of 33 kb with the same gene order as previously reported in insects. Comparisons of genomic sequences and expressed sequence tags revealed the presence of alternative transcripts of Nv-otp and two highly unusual protein-coding polymorphisms in the terminal helix of the Nv-rx homeodomain. A population genetic survey revealed the Rx polymorphisms to be widespread in natural populations. During larval development, all three genes are expressed in the ectoderm, in non-overlapping territories along the oral-aboral axis, with distinct

  19. Elongated polyproline motifs facilitate enamel evolution through matrix subunit compaction.

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    Tianquan Jin

    2009-12-01

    repeat fragment assemblies and the evolution and the design of vertebrate mineralized tissue microstructures. Our findings reveal that in the greater context of chordate evolution, the biological control of apatite growth by polyproline-based matrix assemblies provides a molecular basis for the evolution of the vertebrate body plan.

  20. SETDB1 is involved in postembryonic DNA methylation and gene silencing in Drosophila.

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    Dawei Gou

    Full Text Available DNA methylation is fundamental for the stability and activity of genomes. Drosophila melanogaster and vertebrates establish a global DNA methylation pattern of their genome during early embryogenesis. Large-scale analyses of DNA methylation patterns have uncovered revealed that DNA methylation patterns are dynamic rather than static and change in a gene-specific fashion during development and in diseased cells. However, the factors and mechanisms involved in dynamic, postembryonic DNA methylation remain unclear. Methylation of lysine 9 in histone H3 (H3-K9 by members of the Su(var3-9 family of histone methyltransferases (HMTs triggers embryonic DNA methylation in Arthropods and Chordates. Here, we demonstrate that Drosophila SETDB1 (dSETDB1 can mediate DNA methylation and silencing of genes and retrotransposons. We found that dSETDB1 tri-methylates H3-K9 and binds methylated CpA motifs. Tri-methylation of H3-K9 by dSETDB1 mediates recruitment of DNA methyltransferase 2 (Dnmt2 and Su(var205, the Drosophila ortholog of mammalian "Heterochromatin Protein 1", to target genes for dSETDB1. By enlisting Dnmt2 and Su(var205, dSETDB1 triggers DNA methylation and silencing of genes and retrotransposons in Drosophila cells. DSETDB1 is involved in postembryonic DNA methylation and silencing of Rt1b{} retrotransposons and the tumor suppressor gene retinoblastoma family protein 1 (Rb in imaginal discs. Collectively, our findings implicate dSETDB1 in postembryonic DNA methylation, provide a model for silencing of the tumor suppressor Rb, and uncover a role for cell type-specific DNA methylation in Drosophila development.

  1. Evolutionary origins of C-terminal (GPPn 3-hydroxyproline formation in vertebrate tendon collagen.

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    David M Hudson

    Full Text Available Approximately half the proline residues in fibrillar collagen are hydroxylated. The predominant form is 4-hydroxyproline, which helps fold and stabilize the triple helix. A minor form, 3-hydroxyproline, still has no clear function. Using peptide mass spectrometry, we recently revealed several previously unknown molecular sites of 3-hydroxyproline in fibrillar collagen chains. In fibril-forming A-clade collagen chains, four new partially occupied 3-hydroxyproline sites were found (A2, A3, A4 and (GPPn in addition to the fully occupied A1 site at Pro986. The C-terminal (GPPn motif has five consecutive GPP triplets in α1(I, four in α2(I and three in α1(II, all subject to 3-hydroxylation. The evolutionary origins of this substrate sequence were investigated by surveying the pattern of its 3-hydroxyproline occupancy from early chordates through amphibians, birds and mammals. Different tissue sources of type I collagen (tendon, bone and skin and type II collagen (cartilage and notochord were examined by mass spectrometry. The (GPPn domain was found to be a major substrate for 3-hydroxylation only in vertebrate fibrillar collagens. In higher vertebrates (mouse, bovine and human, up to five 3-hydroxyproline residues per (GPPn motif were found in α1(I and four in α2(I, with an average of two residues per chain. In vertebrate type I collagen the modification exhibited clear tissue specificity, with 3-hydroxyproline prominent only in tendon. The occupancy also showed developmental changes in Achilles tendon, with increasing 3-hydroxyproline levels with age. The biological significance is unclear but the level of 3-hydroxylation at the (GPPn site appears to have increased as tendons evolved and shows both tendon type and developmental variations within a species.

  2. A new mechanistic scenario for the origin and evolution of vertebrate cartilage.

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    Maria Cattell

    Full Text Available The appearance of cellular cartilage was a defining event in vertebrate evolution because it made possible the physical expansion of the vertebrate "new head". Despite its central role in vertebrate evolution, the origin of cellular cartilage has been difficult to understand. This is largely due to a lack of informative evolutionary intermediates linking vertebrate cellular cartilage to the acellular cartilage of invertebrate chordates. The basal jawless vertebrate, lamprey, has long been considered key to understanding the evolution of vertebrate cartilage. However, histological analyses of the lamprey head skeleton suggest it is composed of modern cellular cartilage and a putatively unrelated connective tissue called mucocartilage, with no obvious transitional tissue. Here we take a molecular approach to better understand the evolutionary relationships between lamprey cellular cartilage, gnathostome cellular cartilage, and lamprey mucocartilage. We find that despite overt histological similarity, lamprey and gnathostome cellular cartilage utilize divergent gene regulatory networks (GRNs. While the gnathostome cellular cartilage GRN broadly incorporates Runx, Barx, and Alx transcription factors, lamprey cellular cartilage does not express Runx or Barx, and only deploys Alx genes in certain regions. Furthermore, we find that lamprey mucocartilage, despite its distinctive mesenchymal morphology, deploys every component of the gnathostome cartilage GRN, albeit in different domains. Based on these findings, and previous work, we propose a stepwise model for the evolution of vertebrate cellular cartilage in which the appearance of a generic neural crest-derived skeletal tissue was followed by a phase of skeletal tissue diversification in early agnathans. In the gnathostome lineage, a single type of rigid cellular cartilage became dominant, replacing other skeletal tissues and evolving via gene cooption to become the definitive cellular cartilage of

  3. A new mechanistic scenario for the origin and evolution of vertebrate cartilage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cattell, Maria; Lai, Su; Cerny, Robert; Medeiros, Daniel Meulemans

    2011-01-01

    The appearance of cellular cartilage was a defining event in vertebrate evolution because it made possible the physical expansion of the vertebrate "new head". Despite its central role in vertebrate evolution, the origin of cellular cartilage has been difficult to understand. This is largely due to a lack of informative evolutionary intermediates linking vertebrate cellular cartilage to the acellular cartilage of invertebrate chordates. The basal jawless vertebrate, lamprey, has long been considered key to understanding the evolution of vertebrate cartilage. However, histological analyses of the lamprey head skeleton suggest it is composed of modern cellular cartilage and a putatively unrelated connective tissue called mucocartilage, with no obvious transitional tissue. Here we take a molecular approach to better understand the evolutionary relationships between lamprey cellular cartilage, gnathostome cellular cartilage, and lamprey mucocartilage. We find that despite overt histological similarity, lamprey and gnathostome cellular cartilage utilize divergent gene regulatory networks (GRNs). While the gnathostome cellular cartilage GRN broadly incorporates Runx, Barx, and Alx transcription factors, lamprey cellular cartilage does not express Runx or Barx, and only deploys Alx genes in certain regions. Furthermore, we find that lamprey mucocartilage, despite its distinctive mesenchymal morphology, deploys every component of the gnathostome cartilage GRN, albeit in different domains. Based on these findings, and previous work, we propose a stepwise model for the evolution of vertebrate cellular cartilage in which the appearance of a generic neural crest-derived skeletal tissue was followed by a phase of skeletal tissue diversification in early agnathans. In the gnathostome lineage, a single type of rigid cellular cartilage became dominant, replacing other skeletal tissues and evolving via gene cooption to become the definitive cellular cartilage of modern jawed

  4. Evolution of the insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGFBP) family.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daza, Daniel Ocampo; Sundström, Görel; Bergqvist, Christina A; Duan, Cunming; Larhammar, Dan

    2011-06-01

    The evolution of the IGF binding protein (IGFBP) gene family has been difficult to resolve. Both chromosomal and serial duplications have been suggested as mechanisms for the expansion of this gene family. We have identified and annotated IGFBP sequences from a wide selection of vertebrate species as well as Branchiostoma floridae and Ciona intestinalis. By combining detailed sequence analysis with sequence-based phylogenies and chromosome information, we arrive at the following scenario: the ancestral chordate IGFBP gene underwent a local gene duplication, resulting in a gene pair adjacent to a HOX cluster. Subsequently, the gene family expanded in the two basal vertebrate tetraploidization (2R) resulting in the six IGFBP types that are presently found in placental mammals. The teleost fish ancestor underwent a third tetraploidization (3R) that further expanded the IGFBP repertoire. The five sequenced teleost fish genomes retain 9-11 of IGFBP genes. This scenario is supported by the phylogenies of three adjacent gene families in the HOX gene regions, namely the epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) and the Ikaros and distal-less (DLX) transcription factors. Our sequence comparisons show that several important structural components in the IGFBPs are ancestral vertebrate features that have been maintained in all orthologs, for instance the integrin interaction motif Arg-Gly-Asp in IGFBP-2. In contrast, the Arg-Gly-Asp motif in IGFBP-1 has arisen independently in mammals. The large degree of retention of IGFBP genes after the ancient expansion of the gene family strongly suggests that each gene evolved distinct and important functions early in vertebrate evolution.

  5. The ‘Tully monster’ is a vertebrate

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    McCoy, Victoria E.; Saupe, Erin E.; Lamsdell, James C.; Tarhan, Lidya G.; McMahon, Sean; Lidgard, Scott; Mayer, Paul; Whalen, Christopher D.; Soriano, Carmen; Finney, Lydia; Vogt, Stefan; Clark, Elizabeth G.; Anderson, Ross P.; Petermann, Holger; Locatelli, Emma R.; Briggs, Derek E. G.

    2016-04-01

    Problematic fossils, extinct taxa of enigmatic morphology that cannot be assigned to a known major group, were once a major issue in palaeontology. A long-favoured solution to the ‘problem of the problematica’, particularly the ‘weird wonders’ of the Cambrian Burgess Shale, was to consider them representatives of extinct phyla. A combination of new evidence and modern approaches to phylogenetic analysis has now resolved the affinities of most of these forms. Perhaps the most notable exception is Tullimonstrum gregarium, popularly known as the Tully monster, a large soft-bodied organism from the late Carboniferous Mazon Creek biota (approximately 309-307 million years ago) of Illinois, USA, which was designated the official state fossil of Illinois in 1989. Its phylogenetic position has remained uncertain and it has been compared with nemerteans, polychaetes, gastropods, conodonts, and the stem arthropod Opabinia. Here we review the morphology of Tullimonstrum based on an analysis of more than 1,200 specimens. We find that the anterior proboscis ends in a buccal apparatus containing teeth, the eyes project laterally on a long rigid bar, and the elongate segmented body bears a caudal fin with dorsal and ventral lobes. We describe new evidence for a notochord, cartilaginous arcualia, gill pouches, articulations within the proboscis, and multiple tooth rows adjacent to the mouth. This combination of characters, supported by phylogenetic analysis, identifies Tullimonstrum as a vertebrate, and places it on the stem lineage to lampreys (Petromyzontida). In addition to increasing the known morphological disparity of extinct lampreys, a chordate affinity for T. gregarium resolves the nature of a soft-bodied fossil which has been debated for more than 50 years.

  6. The 'Tully monster' is a vertebrate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCoy, Victoria E; Saupe, Erin E; Lamsdell, James C; Tarhan, Lidya G; McMahon, Sean; Lidgard, Scott; Mayer, Paul; Whalen, Christopher D; Soriano, Carmen; Finney, Lydia; Vogt, Stefan; Clark, Elizabeth G; Anderson, Ross P; Petermann, Holger; Locatelli, Emma R; Briggs, Derek E G

    2016-04-28

    Problematic fossils, extinct taxa of enigmatic morphology that cannot be assigned to a known major group, were once a major issue in palaeontology. A long-favoured solution to the 'problem of the problematica', particularly the 'weird wonders' of the Cambrian Burgess Shale, was to consider them representatives of extinct phyla. A combination of new evidence and modern approaches to phylogenetic analysis has now resolved the affinities of most of these forms. Perhaps the most notable exception is Tullimonstrum gregarium, popularly known as the Tully monster, a large soft-bodied organism from the late Carboniferous Mazon Creek biota (approximately 309-307 million years ago) of Illinois, USA, which was designated the official state fossil of Illinois in 1989. Its phylogenetic position has remained uncertain and it has been compared with nemerteans, polychaetes, gastropods, conodonts, and the stem arthropod Opabinia. Here we review the morphology of Tullimonstrum based on an analysis of more than 1,200 specimens. We find that the anterior proboscis ends in a buccal apparatus containing teeth, the eyes project laterally on a long rigid bar, and the elongate segmented body bears a caudal fin with dorsal and ventral lobes. We describe new evidence for a notochord, cartilaginous arcualia, gill pouches, articulations within the proboscis, and multiple tooth rows adjacent to the mouth. This combination of characters, supported by phylogenetic analysis, identifies Tullimonstrum as a vertebrate, and places it on the stem lineage to lampreys (Petromyzontida). In addition to increasing the known morphological disparity of extinct lampreys, a chordate affinity for T. gregarium resolves the nature of a soft-bodied fossil which has been debated for more than 50 years.

  7. The cullin protein family.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sarikas, Antonio; Hartmann, Thomas; Pan, Zhen-Qiang

    2011-01-01

    Cullin proteins are molecular scaffolds that have crucial roles in the post-translational modification of cellular proteins involving ubiquitin. The mammalian cullin protein family comprises eight members (CUL1 to CUL7 and PARC), which are characterized by a cullin homology domain. CUL1 to CUL7 assemble multi-subunit Cullin-RING E3 ubiquitin ligase (CRL) complexes, the largest family of E3 ligases with more than 200 members. Although CUL7 and PARC are present only in chordates, other members of the cullin protein family are found in Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, Arabidopsis thaliana and yeast. A cullin protein tethers both a substrate-targeting unit, often through an adaptor protein, and the RING finger component in a CRL. The cullin-organized CRL thus positions a substrate close to the RING-bound E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, which catalyzes the transfer of ubiquitin to the substrate. In addition, conjugation of cullins with the ubiquitin-like molecule Nedd8 modulates activation of the corresponding CRL complex, probably through conformational regulation of the interactions between cullin's carboxy-terminal tail and CRL's RING subunit. Genetic studies in several model organisms have helped to unravel a multitude of physiological functions associated with cullin proteins and their respective CRLs. CRLs target numerous substrates and thus have an impact on a range of biological processes, including cell growth, development, signal transduction, transcriptional control, genomic integrity and tumor suppression. Moreover, mutations in CUL7 and CUL4B genes have been linked to hereditary human diseases.

  8. Molecular evolutionary analysis of ABCB5: the ancestral gene is a full transporter with potentially deleterious single nucleotide polymorphisms.

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    Karobi Moitra

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: ABCB5 is a member of the ABC protein superfamily, which includes the transporters ABCB1, ABCC1 and ABCG2 responsible for causing drug resistance in cancer patients and also several other transporters that have been linked to human disease. The ABCB5 full transporter (ABCB5.ts is expressed in human testis and its functional significance is presently unknown. Another variant of this transporter, ABCB5 beta possess a "half-transporter-like" structure and is expressed in melanoma stem cells, normal melanocytes, and other types of pigment cells. ABCB5 beta has important clinical implications, as it may be involved with multidrug resistance in melanoma stem cells, allowing these stem cells to survive chemotherapeutic regimes. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We constructed and examined in detail topological structures of the human ABCB5 protein and determined in-silico the cSNPs (coding single nucleotide polymorphisms that may affect its function. Evolutionary analysis of ABCB5 indicated that ABCB5, ABCB1, ABCB4, and ABCB11 share a common ancestor, which began duplicating early in the evolutionary history of chordates. This suggests that ABCB5 has evolved as a full transporter throughout its evolutionary history. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: From our in-silco analysis of cSNPs we found that a large number of non-synonymous cSNPs map to important functional regions of the protein suggesting that these SNPs if present in human populations may play a role in diseases associated with ABCB5. From phylogenetic analyses, we have shown that ABCB5 evolved as a full transporter throughout its evolutionary history with an absence of any major shifts in selection between the various lineages suggesting that the function of ABCB5 has been maintained during mammalian evolution. This finding would suggest that ABCB5 beta may have evolved to play a specific role in human pigment cells and/or melanoma cells where it is predominantly expressed.

  9. Sociocultural Variables That Impact High School Students' Perceptions of Native Fauna: a Study on the Species Component of the Biodiversity Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bermudez, Gonzalo M. A.; Battistón, Luisina V.; García Capocasa, María C.; De Longhi, Ana L.

    2015-11-01

    This study investigates the influence of school sector (private versus state schools) and student gender on knowledge of native fauna. Our main objectives were (a) to describe the knowledge of high school students from the province of Cordoba, Argentina with respect to native animal species, (b) to determine if any exotic species (introduced or domestic) are considered native, and (c) to analyze the effects of school sector and gender on the students' knowledge of the native fauna. In total, 321 students aged 15-18 from 14 urban schools (8 state and 6 private schools) were asked to write down ten animals native to Córdoba, Argentina, in a free-list questionnaire. Relative frequencies and Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM) were used to analyze the categorized (animal names) and continuous answers (quantity of responses, number of native animals, etc.), with the 25 most frequently mentioned species showing a predominance of native ones, of which "Puma" (Puma concolor) and "Andean condor" (Vultur gryphus) were the most prominent. An overrepresentation of mammalian species compared to other classes of chordates was also found, with high school students mentioning native and domestic species higher on the free-list. Using GLMM, we found that school sector had a significant effect on the number of native animals mentioned at both national and local levels, and on domestic and mixed species. Finally, male students mentioned more species and more native animals than their female counterparts. These findings were interpreted and discussed in light of sociocultural and traditional ecological knowledge theories, from which several implications arose related to research and practice.

  10. The complex multidomain organization of SCO-spondin protein is highly conserved in mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meiniel, Olivier; Meiniel, Annie

    2007-02-01

    The multidomain organization of SCO-spondin protein is a special feature of the chordate phylum. This protein is expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) from the time a dorsal neural tube appears in the course of phylogenetical evolution. With the advance of the systematic whole genomes sequencing, we were able to determine the SCO-spondin amino acid sequence in four mammalian species using the Wise2 software. From the ClustalW alignment of bovine (Bos taurus), human (Homo sapiens), murine (Mus musculus) and rat (Rattus norvegicus) proteins, a consensus sequence for mammalian SCO-spondin was determined and further validated with the dog (Canis familiaris) SCO-spondin sequence. The analysis of this consensus sequence is consistent with a very high degree of conservation in the amino acids composition and multidomain organization of SCO-spondin in mammals. In addition, the identification of conserved domains, namely, Emilin (EMI), von Willebrand factor D (vWD), low-density lipoprotein receptor type A (LDLrA) domains, SCO repeats (SCOR), thrombospondin type 1 repeats (TSR), a coagulation factor 5/8 type C (FA5-8C) or discoidin motif and a C-terminal cystine knot (CTCK) domain, provides a greater insight into the putative function of this multidomain protein. SCO-spondin belongs to the TSR superfamily given the presence of a great number of TSR (26). A finer classification of the TSR motifs in groups 1, 2 and 3 is proposed on the basis of different cysteine patterns. Interestingly, group 2 TSR are present in a number of CNS developmental proteins including R-spondins, F-spondins and Mindins.

  11. Identification of novel target genes for safer and more specific control of root-knot nematodes from a pan-genome mining.

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    Etienne G J Danchin

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Root-knot nematodes are globally the most aggressive and damaging plant-parasitic nematodes. Chemical nematicides have so far constituted the most efficient control measures against these agricultural pests. Because of their toxicity for the environment and danger for human health, these nematicides have now been banned from use. Consequently, new and more specific control means, safe for the environment and human health, are urgently needed to avoid worldwide proliferation of these devastating plant-parasites. Mining the genomes of root-knot nematodes through an evolutionary and comparative genomics approach, we identified and analyzed 15,952 nematode genes conserved in genomes of plant-damaging species but absent from non target genomes of chordates, plants, annelids, insect pollinators and mollusks. Functional annotation of the corresponding proteins revealed a relative abundance of putative transcription factors in this parasite-specific set compared to whole proteomes of root-knot nematodes. This may point to important and specific regulators of genes involved in parasitism. Because these nematodes are known to secrete effector proteins in planta, essential for parasitism, we searched and identified 993 such effector-like proteins absent from non-target species. Aiming at identifying novel targets for the development of future control methods, we biologically tested the effect of inactivation of the corresponding genes through RNA interference. A total of 15 novel effector-like proteins and one putative transcription factor compatible with the design of siRNAs were present as non-redundant genes and had transcriptional support in the model root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita. Infestation assays with siRNA-treated M. incognita on tomato plants showed significant and reproducible reduction of the infestation for 12 of the 16 tested genes compared to control nematodes. These 12 novel genes, showing efficient reduction of parasitism when

  12. NK4 antagonizes Tbx1/10 to promote cardiac versus pharyngeal muscle fate in the ascidian second heart field.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Wei; Razy-Krajka, Florian; Siu, Eric; Ketcham, Alexandra; Christiaen, Lionel

    2013-12-01

    The heart and head muscles share common developmental origins and genetic underpinnings in vertebrates, including humans. Parts of the heart and cranio-facial musculature derive from common mesodermal progenitors that express NKX2-5, ISL1, and TBX1. This ontogenetic kinship is dramatically reflected in the DiGeorge/Cardio-Velo-Facial syndrome (DGS/CVFS), where mutations of TBX1 cause malformations in the pharyngeal apparatus and cardiac outflow tract. Cardiac progenitors of the first heart field (FHF) do not require TBX1 and segregate precociously from common progenitors of the second heart field (SHF) and pharyngeal muscles. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern heart versus pharyngeal muscle specification within this lineage remain elusive. Here, we harness the simplicity of the ascidian larva to show that, following asymmetric cell division of common progenitors, NK4/NKX2-5 promotes GATAa/GATA4/5/6 expression and cardiac specification in the second heart precursors by antagonizing Tbx1/10-mediated inhibition of GATAa and activation of Collier/Olf/EBF (COE), the determinant of atrial siphon muscle (ASM) specification. Our results uncover essential regulatory connections between the conserved cardio-pharyngeal factor Tbx1/10 and muscle determinant COE, as well as a mutual antagonism between NK4 and Tbx1/10 activities upstream of GATAa and COE. The latter cross-antagonism underlies a fundamental heart versus pharyngeal muscle fate choice that occurs in a conserved lineage of cardio-pharyngeal progenitors. We propose that this basic ontogenetic motif underlies cardiac and pharyngeal muscle development and evolution in chordates.

  13. NK4 antagonizes Tbx1/10 to promote cardiac versus pharyngeal muscle fate in the ascidian second heart field.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wei Wang

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available The heart and head muscles share common developmental origins and genetic underpinnings in vertebrates, including humans. Parts of the heart and cranio-facial musculature derive from common mesodermal progenitors that express NKX2-5, ISL1, and TBX1. This ontogenetic kinship is dramatically reflected in the DiGeorge/Cardio-Velo-Facial syndrome (DGS/CVFS, where mutations of TBX1 cause malformations in the pharyngeal apparatus and cardiac outflow tract. Cardiac progenitors of the first heart field (FHF do not require TBX1 and segregate precociously from common progenitors of the second heart field (SHF and pharyngeal muscles. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern heart versus pharyngeal muscle specification within this lineage remain elusive. Here, we harness the simplicity of the ascidian larva to show that, following asymmetric cell division of common progenitors, NK4/NKX2-5 promotes GATAa/GATA4/5/6 expression and cardiac specification in the second heart precursors by antagonizing Tbx1/10-mediated inhibition of GATAa and activation of Collier/Olf/EBF (COE, the determinant of atrial siphon muscle (ASM specification. Our results uncover essential regulatory connections between the conserved cardio-pharyngeal factor Tbx1/10 and muscle determinant COE, as well as a mutual antagonism between NK4 and Tbx1/10 activities upstream of GATAa and COE. The latter cross-antagonism underlies a fundamental heart versus pharyngeal muscle fate choice that occurs in a conserved lineage of cardio-pharyngeal progenitors. We propose that this basic ontogenetic motif underlies cardiac and pharyngeal muscle development and evolution in chordates.

  14. Characterization of the cDNAs encoding three GnRH forms in the pejerrey fish Odontesthes bonariensis (Atheriniformes) and the evolution of GnRH precursors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guilgur, Leonardo G; Ortí, Guillermo; Strobl-Mazzulla, Pablo H; Fernandino, Juan I; Miranda, Leandro A; Somoza, Gustavo M

    2007-06-01

    Most vertebrates express two gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) variants in brain tissue but there is an increasing number of fish species for which a third GnRH form has been detected. We characterized the precursors (cDNAs) of all three forms expressed in the brain of the pejerrey (silverside) fish, Odontesthes bonariensis (Atheriniformes): type I (GnRH-I; 440 bp), type II (GnRH-II; 529 bp), and type III (GnRH-III; 515 bp). The expression of these GnRHs precursors was also observed in peripheral tissues related to reproduction (gonads), visual and chemical senses (eye and olfactory epithelium), and osmoregulation (gill), suggesting that in teleost fish and possibly other vertebrates GnRH mediates directly or indirectly many other functions besides reproduction. We also present a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis including representatives of all chordate GnRH precursors characterized to date that supports the idea of two main paralogous GnRH lineages with different function. A "forebrain lineage" separates evolutionarily from the "midbrain lineage" as a result of an ancient duplication (ca. 600 million years ago). A third, fish-only clade of GnRH genes seems to have originated before the divergence of fish and tetrapods but retained only in fish. Phylogenetic analyses of GnRH precursors (DNA and protein sequences) under different optimality criteria converge on this result. Although alternative scenarios could not be statistically rejected in this study due to the relatively short size of the analyzed molecules, this hypothesis also receives support from chromosomal studies of synteny around the GnRH genes in vertebrates.

  15. Sociocultural Variables That Impact High School Students' Perceptions of Native Fauna: a Study on the Species Component of the Biodiversity Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bermudez, Gonzalo M. A.; Battistón, Luisina V.; García Capocasa, María C.; De Longhi, Ana L.

    2017-02-01

    This study investigates the influence of school sector (private versus state schools) and student gender on knowledge of native fauna. Our main objectives were (a) to describe the knowledge of high school students from the province of Cordoba, Argentina with respect to native animal species, (b) to determine if any exotic species (introduced or domestic) are considered native, and (c) to analyze the effects of school sector and gender on the students' knowledge of the native fauna. In total, 321 students aged 15-18 from 14 urban schools (8 state and 6 private schools) were asked to write down ten animals native to Córdoba, Argentina, in a free-list questionnaire. Relative frequencies and Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM) were used to analyze the categorized (animal names) and continuous answers (quantity of responses, number of native animals, etc.), with the 25 most frequently mentioned species showing a predominance of native ones, of which "Puma" ( Puma concolor) and "Andean condor" ( Vultur gryphus) were the most prominent. An overrepresentation of mammalian species compared to other classes of chordates was also found, with high school students mentioning native and domestic species higher on the free-list. Using GLMM, we found that school sector had a significant effect on the number of native animals mentioned at both national and local levels, and on domestic and mixed species. Finally, male students mentioned more species and more native animals than their female counterparts. These findings were interpreted and discussed in light of sociocultural and traditional ecological knowledge theories, from which several implications arose related to research and practice.

  16. Differences in retinoid levels and metabolism among gastropod lineages: imposex-susceptible gastropods lack the ability to store retinoids in the form of retinyl esters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gesto, Manuel; Castro, L Filipe C; Santos, Miguel Machado

    2013-10-15

    The presence of a complex retinoid system was long believed to be a chordate/vertebrate novelty. However, recent findings indicate otherwise since the gastropod mollusk Osilinus lineatus was found to have the capacity to store retinoids in the form of retinyl esters (REs), a key feature to maintain a homeostatic control of retinoid levels. Here, we investigated whether such a complex retinoid system is widely distributed among gastropod lineages. Additionally, since one of the most spectacular examples of endocrine disruption in the wild, the masculinization of female gastropods (imposex) by the retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonist, tributyltin (TBT), has been linked with perturbed retinoid signaling, we also investigated if retinoid storage mechanisms in the form of retinyl esters were present in imposex-susceptible gastropods. Initially, we determined the presence of both polar (active retinoic acid isomers) and nonpolar retinoids (retinol, REs) in selected gastropod species: the limpet Patella depressa and the imposex-susceptible whelks Nucella lapillus and Nassarius reticulatus. Although all species presented active retinoid forms, N. lapillus and N. reticulatus were shown to lack nonpolar retinoids. The absence of REs, which are the common retinoid storage form found in vertebrates and in O. lineatus suggest that those species are unable to use them to maintain a homeostatic control of their retinoid levels. In order to further clarify the retinoid metabolic pathways in imposex-susceptible gastropods, a retinoid exposure study was carried out with N. lapillus. The results demonstrate that although N. lapillus is able to metabolize several retinoid precursors, it lacks the capacity to store retinoids as REs. Whether the lack of retinoid storage mechanisms in the form of REs in imposex-susceptible gastropods plays an important role in the susceptibility to RXR agonists warrants additional studies.

  17. A Hox regulatory network of hindbrain segmentation is conserved to the base of vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parker, Hugo J; Bronner, Marianne E; Krumlauf, Robb

    2014-10-23

    A defining feature governing head patterning of jawed vertebrates is a highly conserved gene regulatory network that integrates hindbrain segmentation with segmentally restricted domains of Hox gene expression. Although non-vertebrate chordates display nested domains of axial Hox expression, they lack hindbrain segmentation. The sea lamprey, a jawless fish, can provide unique insights into vertebrate origins owing to its phylogenetic position at the base of the vertebrate tree. It has been suggested that lamprey may represent an intermediate state where nested Hox expression has not been coupled to the process of hindbrain segmentation. However, little is known about the regulatory network underlying Hox expression in lamprey or its relationship to hindbrain segmentation. Here, using a novel tool that allows cross-species comparisons of regulatory elements between jawed and jawless vertebrates, we report deep conservation of both upstream regulators and segmental activity of enhancer elements across these distant species. Regulatory regions from diverse gnathostomes drive segmental reporter expression in the lamprey hindbrain and require the same transcriptional inputs (for example, Kreisler (also known as Mafba), Krox20 (also known as Egr2a)) in both lamprey and zebrafish. We find that lamprey hox genes display dynamic segmentally restricted domains of expression; we also isolated a conserved exonic hox2 enhancer from lamprey that drives segmental expression in rhombomeres 2 and 4. Our results show that coupling of Hox gene expression to segmentation of the hindbrain is an ancient trait with origin at the base of vertebrates that probably led to the formation of rhombomeric compartments with an underlying Hox code.

  18. Origins, Innovations, and Diversification of Suction Feeding in Vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wainwright, Peter C; McGee, Matthew D; Longo, Sarah J; Hernandez, L Patricia

    2015-07-01

    We review the origins, prominent innovations, and major patterns of diversification in suction feeding by vertebrates. Non-vertebrate chordates and larval lamprey suspension-feed by capturing small particles in pharyngeal mucous. In most of these lineages the gentle flows that transport particles are generated by buccal cilia, although larval lamprey and thaliacean urochordates have independently evolved a weak buccal pump to generate an oscillating flow of water that is powered by elastic recovery of the pharynx following compression by buccal muscles. The evolution of jaws and the hyoid facilitated powerful buccal expansion and high-performance suction feeding as found today throughout aquatic vertebrates. We highlight three major innovations in suction feeding. Most vertebrate suction feeders have mechanisms that occlude the corners of the open mouth during feeding. This produces a planar opening that is often nearly circular in shape. Both features contribute to efficient flow of water into the mouth and help direct the flow to the area directly in front of the mouth's aperture. Among several functions that have been identified for protrusion of the upper jaw, is an increase in the hydrodynamic forces that suction feeders exert on their prey. Protrusion of the upper jaw has evolved five times in ray-finned fishes, including in two of the most successful teleost radiations, cypriniforms and acanthomorphs, and is found in about 60% of living teleost species. Diversification of the mechanisms of suction feeding and of feeding behavior reveals that suction feeders with high capacity for suction rarely approach their prey rapidly, while slender-bodied predators with low capacity for suction show the full range of attack speeds. We hypothesize that a dominant axis of diversification among suction feeders involves a trade-off between the forces that are exerted on prey and the volume of water that is ingested.

  19. Characterization and transcription studies of a phytochelatin synthase gene from the solitary tunicate Ciona intestinalis exposed to cadmium

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Franchi, Nicola [Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova (Italy); Department of Biological, Chemical, Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, University of Palermo, Palermo (Italy); Piccinni, Ester [Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova (Italy); Ferro, Diana [Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova (Italy); Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster (Germany); Basso, Giuseppe [Department of Woman and Child Health, University of Padova, Padova (Italy); Spolaore, Barbara [CRIBI Biotechnology Centre, University of Padova, Padova (Italy); Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova, Padova (Italy); Santovito, Gianfranco, E-mail: gianfranco.santovito@unipd.it [Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova (Italy); Ballarin, Loriano [Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova (Italy)

    2014-07-01

    Highlights: • Ciona intestinalis have a functional phytochelatin synthase (PCS) gene (cipcs). • CiPCS amino acid sequence is phylogentically related to other metazoan PCSs. • CiPCS catalyze the synthesis of PC2. • cipcs are mostly transcribed in circulating hemocytes, in both tunic and blood lacunae. • Cadmium exposure results in a significant increase of cipcs and cipcna transcription. - Abstract: The major thiol-containing molecules involved in controlling the level of intracellular ROS in eukaryotes, acting as a nonenzymatic detoxification system, are metallothioneins (MTs), glutathione (GSH) and phytochelatins (PCs). Both MTs and GSH are well-known in the animal kingdom. PC was considered a prerogative of the plant kingdom but, in 2001, a phytochelatin synthase (PCS) gene was described in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans; additional genes encoding this enzyme were later described in the earthworm Eisenia fetida and in the parasitic nematode Schistosoma mansoni but scanty data are available, up to now, for Deuterostomes. Here, we describe the molecular characteristics and transcription pattern, in the presence of Cd, of a PCS gene from the invertebrate chordate Ciona intestinalis, a ubiquitous solitary tunicate and demonstrate the presence of PCs in tissue extracts. We also studied mRNA localization by in situ hybridization. In addition, we analyzed the behavior of hemocytes and tunic cells consequent to Cd exposure as well as the transcription pattern of the Ciona orthologous for proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), usually considered a proliferation marker, and observed that cell proliferation occurs after 96 h of Cd treatment. This matches the hypothesis of Cd-induced cell proliferation, as already suggested by previous data on the expression of a metallothionein gene in the same animal.

  20. A paleontological perspective of vertebrate origin

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2003-01-01

    The Early Cambrian Haikouichthys and Haikouella have been claimed to be related to contribute in an important way to our understanding of vertebrate origin, but there have been heated debates about how exactly they are to be interpreted. New discoveries of numerous specimens of Haikouichthys not only confirm the identity of previously described structures such as the dorsal and the ventral fins, and chevron-shaped myomeres, but also reveal many new important characteristics, including sensory organs of the head (e.g. large eyes), and a prominent notochord with differentiated vertebral elements. This "first fish" appears, however, to retain primitive reproductive features of acraniates, suggesting that it is a stem-group craniates. A new order (Myllokunmingiida) and a new family (Myllokunmingiidae) are erected, and a new species, Zhongjianichthys rostratus (gen. et sp. nov.), is described herein. Over 1400 newly-discovered specimens of Haikouella provide a wealth of anatomical information on this organism. It differs from chordates in many organs and organ systems, including the skin, muscles, respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems. In contrast, its body-design resembles that of vetulicolians, and the presence of a "transitional" nervous system with both dorsal and ventral nerve cords suggests an affinity with living hemichordates. On the basis of these and other recent findings of fossil deuterostomes, a five-step hypothesis for vertebrate origin is proposed, intended to bridge the long- standing gap between protostomes and vertebrates. Four of the five steps accord with established ideas current in modern evolutionary zoology. Evidence for the first step is obtainable only from fossils, and specifically from fossils found from South China, hence the crucial importance of S. China sites for our understanding of early vertebrate origins and evolution. Accordingly, South China is suggested as the oldest-known birthplace of the whole vertebrates.

  1. A study of neural-related microRNAs in the developing amphioxus

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    Candiani Simona

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs regulating expression of protein coding genes at post-transcriptional level and controlling several biological processes. At present microRNAs have been identified in various metazoans and seem also to be involved in brain development, neuronal differentiation and subtypes specification. An approach to better understand the role of microRNAs in animal gene expression is to determine temporal and tissue-specific expression patterns of microRNAs in different model organisms. Therefore, we have investigated the expression of six neural related microRNAs in amphioxus, an organism having an important phylogenetic position in terms of understanding the origin and evolution of chordates. Results In amphioxus, all the microRNAs we examined are expressed in specific regions of the CNS, and some of them are correlated with specific cell types. In addition, miR-7, miR-137 and miR-184 are also expressed in endodermal and mesodermal tissues. Several potential targets expressed in the nervous system of amphioxus have been identified by computational prediction and some of them are coexpressed with one or more miRNAs. Conclusion We identified six miRNAs that are expressed in the nervous system of amphioxus in a variety of patterns. miR-124 is found in both differentiating and mature neurons, miR-9 in differentiated neurons, miR-7, miR-137 and miR-184 in restricted CNS regions, and miR-183 in cells of sensory organs. Therefore, such amphioxus miRNAs may play important roles in regional patterning and/or specification of neuronal cell types.

  2. Comparative genomic analysis of slc39a12/ZIP12: insight into a zinc transporter required for vertebrate nervous system development.

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    Winyoo Chowanadisai

    Full Text Available The zinc transporter ZIP12, which is encoded by the gene slc39a12, has previously been shown to be important for neuronal differentiation in mouse Neuro-2a neuroblastoma cells and primary mouse neurons and necessary for neurulation during Xenopus tropicalis embryogenesis. However, relatively little is known about the biochemical properties, cellular regulation, or the physiological role of this gene. The hypothesis that ZIP12 is a zinc transporter important for nervous system function and development guided a comparative genetics approach to uncover the presence of ZIP12 in various genomes and identify conserved sequences and expression patterns associated with ZIP12. Ortholog detection of slc39a12 was conducted with reciprocal BLAST hits with the amino acid sequence of human ZIP12 in comparison to the human paralog ZIP4 and conserved local synteny between genomes. ZIP12 is present in the genomes of almost all vertebrates examined, from humans and other mammals to most teleost fish. However, ZIP12 appears to be absent from the zebrafish genome. The discrimination of ZIP12 compared to ZIP4 was unsuccessful or inconclusive in other invertebrate chordates and deuterostomes. Splice variation, due to the inclusion or exclusion of a conserved exon, is present in humans, rats, and cows and likely has biological significance. ZIP12 also possesses many putative di-leucine and tyrosine motifs often associated with intracellular trafficking, which may control cellular zinc uptake activity through the localization of ZIP12 within the cell. These findings highlight multiple aspects of ZIP12 at the biochemical, cellular, and physiological levels with likely biological significance. ZIP12 appears to have conserved function as a zinc uptake transporter in vertebrate nervous system development. Consequently, the role of ZIP12 may be an important link to reported congenital malformations in numerous animal models and humans that are caused by zinc deficiency.

  3. Comparative genomic analysis of slc39a12/ZIP12: insight into a zinc transporter required for vertebrate nervous system development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chowanadisai, Winyoo

    2014-01-01

    The zinc transporter ZIP12, which is encoded by the gene slc39a12, has previously been shown to be important for neuronal differentiation in mouse Neuro-2a neuroblastoma cells and primary mouse neurons and necessary for neurulation during Xenopus tropicalis embryogenesis. However, relatively little is known about the biochemical properties, cellular regulation, or the physiological role of this gene. The hypothesis that ZIP12 is a zinc transporter important for nervous system function and development guided a comparative genetics approach to uncover the presence of ZIP12 in various genomes and identify conserved sequences and expression patterns associated with ZIP12. Ortholog detection of slc39a12 was conducted with reciprocal BLAST hits with the amino acid sequence of human ZIP12 in comparison to the human paralog ZIP4 and conserved local synteny between genomes. ZIP12 is present in the genomes of almost all vertebrates examined, from humans and other mammals to most teleost fish. However, ZIP12 appears to be absent from the zebrafish genome. The discrimination of ZIP12 compared to ZIP4 was unsuccessful or inconclusive in other invertebrate chordates and deuterostomes. Splice variation, due to the inclusion or exclusion of a conserved exon, is present in humans, rats, and cows and likely has biological significance. ZIP12 also possesses many putative di-leucine and tyrosine motifs often associated with intracellular trafficking, which may control cellular zinc uptake activity through the localization of ZIP12 within the cell. These findings highlight multiple aspects of ZIP12 at the biochemical, cellular, and physiological levels with likely biological significance. ZIP12 appears to have conserved function as a zinc uptake transporter in vertebrate nervous system development. Consequently, the role of ZIP12 may be an important link to reported congenital malformations in numerous animal models and humans that are caused by zinc deficiency.

  4. Pattern and morphogenesis of presumptive superficial mesoderm in two closely related species, Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shook, David R; Majer, Christina; Keller, Ray

    2004-06-01

    The mesoderm, comprising the tissues that come to lie entirely in the deep layer, originates in both the superficial epithelial and the deep mesenchymal layers of the early amphibian embryo. Here, we characterize the mechanisms by which the superficial component of the presumptive mesoderm ingresses into the underlying deep mesenchymal layer in Xenopus tropicalis and extend our previous findings for Xenopus laevis. Fate mapping the superficial epithelium of pregastrula stage embryos demonstrates ingression of surface cells into both paraxial and axial mesoderm (including hypochord), in similar patterns and amounts in both species. Superficial presumptive notochord lies medially, flanked by presumptive hypochord and both overlie the deep region of the presumptive notochord. These tissues are flanked laterally by superficial presumptive somitic mesoderm, the anterior tip of which also appears to overlay the presumptive deep notochord. Time-lapse recordings show that presumptive somitic and notochordal cells move out of the roof of the gastrocoel and into the deep region during neurulation, whereas hypochordal cells ingress after neurulation. Scanning electron microscopy at the stage and position where ingression occurs suggests that superficial presumptive somitic cells in X. laevis ingress into the deep region as bottle cells whereas those in X. tropicalis ingress by "relamination" (e.g., [Dev. Biol. 174 (1996) 92]). In both species, the superficially derived presumptive somitic cells come to lie in the medial region of the presumptive somites during neurulation. By the early tailbud stages, these cells lie at the horizontal myoseptum of the somites. The morphogenic pathway of these cells strongly resembles that of the primary slow muscle pioneer cells of the zebrafish. We present a revised fate map of Xenopus, and we discuss the conservation of superficial mesoderm within amphibians and across the chordates and its implications for the role of this tissue in

  5. Evolution of the CNS myelin gene regulatory program.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Huiliang; Richardson, William D

    2016-06-15

    Myelin is a specialized subcellular structure that evolved uniquely in vertebrates. A myelinated axon conducts action potentials many times faster than an unmyelinated axon of the same diameter; for the same conduction speed, the unmyelinated axon would need a much larger diameter and volume than its myelinated counterpart. Hence myelin speeds information transfer and saves space, allowing the evolution of a powerful yet portable brain. Myelination in the central nervous system (CNS) is controlled by a gene regulatory program that features a number of master transcriptional regulators including Olig1, Olig2 and Myrf. Olig family genes evolved from a single ancestral gene in non-chordates. Olig2, which executes multiple functions with regard to oligodendrocyte identity and development in vertebrates, might have evolved functional versatility through post-translational modification, especially phosphorylation, as illustrated by its evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine phospho-acceptor sites and its accumulation of serine residues during more recent stages of vertebrate evolution. Olig1, derived from a duplicated copy of Olig2 in early bony fish, is involved in oligodendrocyte development and is critical to remyelination in bony vertebrates, but is lost in birds. The origin of Myrf orthologs might be the result of DNA integration between an invading phage or bacterium and an early protist, producing a fusion protein capable of self-cleavage and DNA binding. Myrf seems to have adopted new functions in early vertebrates - initiation of the CNS myelination program as well as the maintenance of mature oligodendrocyte identity and myelin structure - by developing new ways to interact with DNA motifs specific to myelin genes. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Myelin Evolution.

  6. Breakdown of phylogenetic signal: a survey of microsatellite densities in 454 shotgun sequences from 154 non model eukaryote species.

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    Emese Meglécz

    Full Text Available Microsatellites are ubiquitous in Eukaryotic genomes. A more complete understanding of their origin and spread can be gained from a comparison of their distribution within a phylogenetic context. Although information for model species is accumulating rapidly, it is insufficient due to a lack of species depth, thus intragroup variation is necessarily ignored. As such, apparent differences between groups may be overinflated and generalizations cannot be inferred until an analysis of the variation that exists within groups has been conducted. In this study, we examined microsatellite coverage and motif patterns from 454 shotgun sequences of 154 Eukaryote species from eight distantly related phyla (Cnidaria, Arthropoda, Onychophora, Bryozoa, Mollusca, Echinodermata, Chordata and Streptophyta to test if a consistent phylogenetic pattern emerges from the microsatellite composition of these species. It is clear from our results that data from model species provide incomplete information regarding the existing microsatellite variability within the Eukaryotes. A very strong heterogeneity of microsatellite composition was found within most phyla, classes and even orders. Autocorrelation analyses indicated that while microsatellite contents of species within clades more recent than 200 Mya tend to be similar, the autocorrelation breaks down and becomes negative or non-significant with increasing divergence time. Therefore, the age of the taxon seems to be a primary factor in degrading the phylogenetic pattern present among related groups. The most recent classes or orders of Chordates still retain the pattern of their common ancestor. However, within older groups, such as classes of Arthropods, the phylogenetic pattern has been scrambled by the long independent evolution of the lineages.

  7. Ensembl variation resources

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    Marin-Garcia Pablo

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The maturing field of genomics is rapidly increasing the number of sequenced genomes and producing more information from those previously sequenced. Much of this additional information is variation data derived from sampling multiple individuals of a given species with the goal of discovering new variants and characterising the population frequencies of the variants that are already known. These data have immense value for many studies, including those designed to understand evolution and connect genotype to phenotype. Maximising the utility of the data requires that it be stored in an accessible manner that facilitates the integration of variation data with other genome resources such as gene annotation and comparative genomics. Description The Ensembl project provides comprehensive and integrated variation resources for a wide variety of chordate genomes. This paper provides a detailed description of the sources of data and the methods for creating the Ensembl variation databases. It also explores the utility of the information by explaining the range of query options available, from using interactive web displays, to online data mining tools and connecting directly to the data servers programmatically. It gives a good overview of the variation resources and future plans for expanding the variation data within Ensembl. Conclusions Variation data is an important key to understanding the functional and phenotypic differences between individuals. The development of new sequencing and genotyping technologies is greatly increasing the amount of variation data known for almost all genomes. The Ensembl variation resources are integrated into the Ensembl genome browser and provide a comprehensive way to access this data in the context of a widely used genome bioinformatics system. All Ensembl data is freely available at http://www.ensembl.org and from the public MySQL database server at ensembldb.ensembl.org.

  8. 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.

  9. Functional Authentication of a Novel Gastropod Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Receptor Reveals Unusual Features and Evolutionary Insight.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kavanaugh, Scott I; Tsai, Pei-San

    2016-01-01

    A gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-like molecule was previously identified in a gastropod, Aplysia californica, and named ap-GnRH. In this study, we cloned the full-length cDNA of a putative ap-GnRH receptor (ap-GnRHR) and functionally authenticated this receptor as a bona fide ap-GnRHR. This receptor contains two potential translation start sites, each accompanied by a Kozak sequence, suggesting the translation of a long and a short form of the receptor is possible. The putative ap-GnRHR maintains the conserved structural motifs of GnRHR-like receptors and shares 45% sequence identity with the octopus GnRHR. The expression of the putative ap-GnRHR short form is ubiquitous in all tissues examined, whereas the long form is only expressed in parts of the central nervous system, osphradium, small hermaphroditic duct, and ovotestis. The cDNA encoding the long or the short receptor was transfected into the Drosophila S2 cell line and subject to a radioreceptor assay using 125I-labeled ap-GnRH as the radioligand. Further, the transfected cells were treated with various concentrations of ap-GnRH and measured for the accumulation of cAMP and inositol monophosphate (IP1). Radioreceptor assay revealed that only the long receptor bound specifically to the radioligand. Further, only the long receptor responded to ap-GnRH with an increased accumulation of IP1, but not cAMP. Our studies show that despite the more prevalent expression of the short receptor, only the long receptor is the functional ap-GnRHR. Importantly, this is only the second report on the authentication of a protostome GnRHR, and based on the function and the phylogenetic grouping of ap-GnRHR, we suggest that this receptor is more similar to protostome corazonin receptors than chordate GnRHRs.

  10. Widespread divergence of the CEACAM/PSG genes in vertebrates and humans suggests sensitivity to selection.

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    Chia Lin Chang

    Full Text Available In mammals, carcinoembryonic antigen cell adhesion molecules (CEACAMs and pregnancy-specific glycoproteins (PSGs play important roles in the regulation of pathogen transmission, tumorigenesis, insulin signaling turnover, and fetal-maternal interactions. However, how these genes evolved and to what extent they diverged in humans remain to be investigated specifically. Based on syntenic mapping of chordate genomes, we reveal that diverging homologs with a prototypic CEACAM architecture-including an extracellular domain with immunoglobulin variable and constant domain-like regions, and an intracellular domain containing ITAM motif-are present from cartilaginous fish to humans, but are absent in sea lamprey, cephalochordate or urochordate. Interestingly, the CEACAM/PSG gene inventory underwent radical divergence in various vertebrate lineages: from zero in avian species to dozens in therian mammals. In addition, analyses of genetic variations in human populations showed the presence of various types of copy number variations (CNVs at the CEACAM/PSG locus. These copy number polymorphisms have 3-80% frequency in select populations, and encompass single to more than six PSG genes. Furthermore, we found that CEACAM/PSG genes contain a significantly higher density of nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP compared to the chromosome average, and many CEACAM/PSG SNPs exhibit high population differentiation. Taken together, our study suggested that CEACAM/PSG genes have had a more dynamic evolutionary history in vertebrates than previously thought. Given that CEACAM/PSGs play important roles in maternal-fetal interaction and pathogen recognition, these data have laid the groundwork for future analysis of adaptive CEACAM/PSG genotype-phenotypic relationships in normal and complicated pregnancies as well as other etiologies.

  11. Functional Authentication of a Novel Gastropod Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Receptor Reveals Unusual Features and Evolutionary Insight

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kavanaugh, Scott I.

    2016-01-01

    A gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-like molecule was previously identified in a gastropod, Aplysia californica, and named ap-GnRH. In this study, we cloned the full-length cDNA of a putative ap-GnRH receptor (ap-GnRHR) and functionally authenticated this receptor as a bona fide ap-GnRHR. This receptor contains two potential translation start sites, each accompanied by a Kozak sequence, suggesting the translation of a long and a short form of the receptor is possible. The putative ap-GnRHR maintains the conserved structural motifs of GnRHR-like receptors and shares 45% sequence identity with the octopus GnRHR. The expression of the putative ap-GnRHR short form is ubiquitous in all tissues examined, whereas the long form is only expressed in parts of the central nervous system, osphradium, small hermaphroditic duct, and ovotestis. The cDNA encoding the long or the short receptor was transfected into the Drosophila S2 cell line and subject to a radioreceptor assay using 125I-labeled ap-GnRH as the radioligand. Further, the transfected cells were treated with various concentrations of ap-GnRH and measured for the accumulation of cAMP and inositol monophosphate (IP1). Radioreceptor assay revealed that only the long receptor bound specifically to the radioligand. Further, only the long receptor responded to ap-GnRH with an increased accumulation of IP1, but not cAMP. Our studies show that despite the more prevalent expression of the short receptor, only the long receptor is the functional ap-GnRHR. Importantly, this is only the second report on the authentication of a protostome GnRHR, and based on the function and the phylogenetic grouping of ap-GnRHR, we suggest that this receptor is more similar to protostome corazonin receptors than chordate GnRHRs. PMID:27467252

  12. Negative effect of Hox gene expression on the development of the neural crest-derived facial skeleton.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Creuzet, Sophie; Couly, Gérard; Vincent, Christine; Le Douarin, Nicole M

    2002-09-01

    Diencephalic, mesencephalic and metencephalic neural crest cells are skeletogenic and derive from neural folds that do not express Hox genes. In order to examine the influence of Hox gene expression on skull morphogenesis, expression of Hoxa2, Hoxa3 and Hoxb4 in conjunction with that of the green fluorescent protein has been selectively targeted to the Hox-negative neural folds of the avian embryo prior to the onset of crest cell emigration. Hoxa2 expression precludes the development of the entire facial skeleton. Transgenic Hoxa2 embryos such as those from which the Hox-negative domain of the cephalic neural crest has been removed have no upper or lower jaws and no frontonasal structures. Embryos subjected to the forced expression of Hoxa3 and Hoxb4 show severe defects in the facial skeleton but not a complete absence of facial cartilage. Hoxa3 prevents the formation of the skeleton derived from the first branchial arch, but allows the development (albeit reduced) of the nasal septum. Hoxb4, by contrast, hampers the formation of the nasal bud-derived skeleton, while allowing that of a proximal (but not distal) segment of the lower jaw. The combined effect of Hoxa3 and Hoxb4 prevents the formation of facial skeletal structures, comparable with Hoxa2. None of these genes impairs the formation of neural derivatives of the crest. These results suggest that over the course of evolution, the absence of Hox gene expression in the anterior part of the chordate embryo was crucial in the vertebrate phylum for the development of a face, jaws and brain case, and, hence, also for that of the forebrain.

  13. Pm-miR-133 hosting in one potential lncRNA regulates RhoA expression in pearl oyster Pinctada martensii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, Zhe; Huang, RongLian; Tian, RongRong; Jiao, Yu; Du, Xiaodong

    2016-10-15

    Long non-coding RNAs (LncRNAs) are abundant in the genome of higher forms of eukaryotes and implicated in regulating the diversity of biological processes partly because they host microRNAs (miRNAs), which are repressors of target gene expression. In vertebrates, miR-133 regulates the differentiation and proliferation of cardiac and skeletal muscles. Pinctada martensii miR-133 (pm-miR-133) was identified in our previous research through Solexa deep sequencing. In the present study, the precise sequence of mature pm-miR-133 was validated through miR-RACE. Stem loop qRT-PCR analysis demonstrated that mature pm-miR-133 was constitutively expressed in the adductor muscle, gonad, hepatopancreas, mantle, foot, and gill of P. martensii. Among these tissues, the adductor muscle exhibited the highest pm-miR-133 expression. Target analysis indicated that pm-RhoA was the potential regulatory target of pm-miR-133. Bioinformatics analyses revealed that a potential LncRNA (designated as Lnc133) with a mature pm-miR-133 could generate a hairpin structure that was highly homologous to that of Lottia gigantea. Lnc133 was also highly expressed in the adductor muscle, gill, hepatopancreas, and gonad. Phylogenetic analysis further showed that the miR-133s derived from chordate and achordate were separated into two classes. Therefore, Lnc133 hosting pm-miR-133 could be involved in regulating the cell proliferation of adductor muscles by targeting pm-RhoA.

  14. Hox cluster organization in the jawless vertebrate Petromyzon marinus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Force, Allan; Amores, Angel; Postlethwait, John H

    2002-04-15

    Large-scale gene amplifications may have facilitated the evolution of morphological innovations that accompanied the origin of vertebrates. This hypothesis predicts that the genomes of extant jawless fish, scions of deeply branching vertebrate lineages, should bear a record of these events. Previous work suggests that nonvertebrate chordates have a single Hox cluster, but that gnathostome vertebrates have four or more Hox clusters. Did the duplication events that produced multiple vertebrate Hox clusters occur before or after the divergence of agnathan and gnathostome lineages? Can investigation of lamprey Hox clusters illuminate the origins of the four gnathostome Hox clusters? To approach these questions, we cloned and sequenced 13 Hox cluster genes from cDNA and genomic libraries in the lamprey, Petromyzon marinus. The results suggest that the lamprey has at least four Hox clusters and support the model that gnathostome Hox clusters arose by a two-round-no-cluster-loss mechanism, with tree topology [(AB)(CD)]. A three-round model, however, is not rigorously excluded by the data and, for this model, the tree topologies [(D(C(AB))] and [(C(D(AB))] are most parsimonious. Gene phylogenies suggest that at least one Hox cluster duplication occurred in the lamprey lineage after it diverged from the gnathostome lineage. The results argue against two or more rounds of duplication before the divergence of agnathan and gnathostome vertebrates. If Hox clusters were duplicated in whole-genome duplication events, then these data suggest that, at most, one whole genome duplication occurred before the evolution of vertebrate developmental innovations.

  15. Evolution of developmental regulation in the vertebrate FgfD subfamily.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jovelin, Richard; Yan, Yi-Lin; He, Xinjun; Catchen, Julian; Amores, Angel; Canestro, Cristian; Yokoi, Hayato; Postlethwait, John H

    2010-01-15

    Fibroblast growth factors (Fgfs) encode small signaling proteins that help regulate embryo patterning. Fgfs fall into seven families, including FgfD. Nonvertebrate chordates have a single FgfD gene; mammals have three (Fgf8, Fgf17, and Fgf18); and teleosts have six (fgf8a, fgf8b, fgf17, fgf18a, fgf18b, and fgf24). What are the evolutionary processes that led to the structural duplication and functional diversification of FgfD genes during vertebrate phylogeny? To study this question, we investigated conserved syntenies, patterns of gene expression, and the distribution of conserved noncoding elements (CNEs) in FgfD genes of stickleback and zebrafish, and compared them with data from cephalochordates, urochordates, and mammals. Genomic analysis suggests that Fgf8, Fgf17, Fgf18, and Fgf24 arose in two rounds of whole genome duplication at the base of the vertebrate radiation; that fgf8 and fgf18 duplications occurred at the base of the teleost radiation; and that Fgf24 is an ohnolog that was lost in the mammalian lineage. Expression analysis suggests that ancestral subfunctions partitioned between gene duplicates and points to the evolution of novel expression domains. Analysis of CNEs, at least some of which are candidate regulatory elements, suggests that ancestral CNEs partitioned between gene duplicates. These results help explain the evolutionary pathways by which the developmentally important family of FgfD molecules arose and the deduced principles that guided FgfD evolution are likely applicable to the evolution of developmental regulation in many vertebrate multigene families.

  16. Observing Evolutionary Entropy in Relation to Body Size Over Time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Idgunji, S.; Zhang, H.; Payne, J.; Heim, N. A.

    2015-12-01

    The Second Law of Thermodynamics, according to Clausius, states that entropy will always increase in the universe, meaning systems will break down and become simple and chaotic. However, this is seemingly contradicted by the existence of living organisms, which can have highly complex and organized systems. Furthermore, there is a greater contradiction in the theory of evolution, which sees organisms growing larger and becoming more complex over time. Our research project revolved around whether organisms actually became more complex over time, and correlating these findings with the body size of these organisms. We analyzed the relationship between body size and cell types of five different marine phyla: arthropods, brachiopods, chordates, echinoderms, and mollusks. We attempted to find a relation between the biovolume of these different phyla and the number of specialized cell types that they had, which is a common measure of biocomplexity. In addition, we looked at the metabolic intensity, which is the mass-specific rate of energy processing applied to an organism's size, because it is also correlated to genetic complexity. Using R programming, we tested for correlations between these factors. After applying a Pearson correlation test, we discovered a generally positive correlation between the body sizes, number of cell types, and metabolic intensities of these phyla. However, one exception is that there is a negative correlation between the body size and metabolic intensity of echinoderms. Overall, we can see that marine organisms tend to evolve larger and more complex over time, and that is a very interesting find. Our discovery yielded many research questions and problems that we would like to solve, such as how the environment is thermodynamically affected by these organisms.

  17. Comparative toxicity of cis-cypermethrin in rainbow trout, frog, mouse, and quail.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, R; Millburn, P; Hutson, D H

    1986-07-01

    The synthetic alpha-cyano-phenoxybenzyl-containing pyrethroid insecticides act on the CNS of vertebrates and show a species-selective toxicity in the order fish greater than amphibians much greater than mammals greater than birds. Concentrations of [14C]cis-cypermethrin in the brains of representative members of each of these classes of chordates were measured at toxic signs (an onset of hyperactivity followed by seizures and loss of balance/equilibrium) as an indicator of target organ sensitivity. The concentration of cis-cypermethrin in brain, associated with toxic signs, in micrograms per gram (mean +/- SE) as determined by high-performance liquid chromatography was 0.08 +/- 0.03 (frog), 0.23 +/- 0.05 (trout), 1.71 +/- 0.33 (mouse), and 3.94 +/- 0.88 (quail). Trout brain was equally sensitive to the cis and trans isomers of cypermethrin. In both mouse and quail, some 90% of the radioactivity in the brain was parent pyrethroid. Trout and frog, however, afforded only 56 and 32%, respectively, of the brain 14C as cypermethrin, with the remaining radioactivity in both extractable and nonextractable metabolites, including 4'-hydroxy-cis-cypermethrin, which is potentially neuroactive. Following oral administration, cis-cypermethrin was readily absorbed and metabolized by quail. Intestinal uptake was far less rapid in trout and mouse, with unchanged cypermethrin dispersed in secreted bile, being readily eliminated from the intestines of fish. The uptake and metabolism of cis-cypermethrin and the brain sensitivities of these animals to the pyrethroid account for the observed differences in acute toxicity.

  18. 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

  19. Identification of novel target genes for safer and more specific control of root-knot nematodes from a pan-genome mining.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Danchin, Etienne G J; Arguel, Marie-Jeanne; Campan-Fournier, Amandine; Perfus-Barbeoch, Laetitia; Magliano, Marc; Rosso, Marie-Noëlle; Da Rocha, Martine; Da Silva, Corinne; Nottet, Nicolas; Labadie, Karine; Guy, Julie; Artiguenave, François; Abad, Pierre

    2013-10-01

    Root-knot nematodes are globally the most aggressive and damaging plant-parasitic nematodes. Chemical nematicides have so far constituted the most efficient control measures against these agricultural pests. Because of their toxicity for the environment and danger for human health, these nematicides have now been banned from use. Consequently, new and more specific control means, safe for the environment and human health, are urgently needed to avoid worldwide proliferation of these devastating plant-parasites. Mining the genomes of root-knot nematodes through an evolutionary and comparative genomics approach, we identified and analyzed 15,952 nematode genes conserved in genomes of plant-damaging species but absent from non target genomes of chordates, plants, annelids, insect pollinators and mollusks. Functional annotation of the corresponding proteins revealed a relative abundance of putative transcription factors in this parasite-specific set compared to whole proteomes of root-knot nematodes. This may point to important and specific regulators of genes involved in parasitism. Because these nematodes are known to secrete effector proteins in planta, essential for parasitism, we searched and identified 993 such effector-like proteins absent from non-target species. Aiming at identifying novel targets for the development of future control methods, we biologically tested the effect of inactivation of the corresponding genes through RNA interference. A total of 15 novel effector-like proteins and one putative transcription factor compatible with the design of siRNAs were present as non-redundant genes and had transcriptional support in the model root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita. Infestation assays with siRNA-treated M. incognita on tomato plants showed significant and reproducible reduction of the infestation for 12 of the 16 tested genes compared to control nematodes. These 12 novel genes, showing efficient reduction of parasitism when silenced, constitute

  20. Hox gene clusters in the Indonesian coelacanth, Latimeria menadoensis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koh, Esther G L; Lam, Kevin; Christoffels, Alan; Erdmann, Mark V; Brenner, Sydney; Venkatesh, Byrappa

    2003-02-01

    The Hox genes encode transcription factors that play a key role in specifying body plans of metazoans. They are organized into clusters that contain up to 13 paralogue group members. The complex morphology of vertebrates has been attributed to the duplication of Hox clusters during vertebrate evolution. In contrast to the single Hox cluster in the amphioxus (Branchiostoma floridae), an invertebrate-chordate, mammals have four clusters containing 39 Hox genes. Ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) such as zebrafish and fugu possess more than four Hox clusters. The coelacanth occupies a basal phylogenetic position among lobe-finned fishes (Sarcopterygii), which gave rise to the tetrapod lineage. The lobe fins of sarcopterygians are considered to be the evolutionary precursors of tetrapod limbs. Thus, the characterization of Hox genes in the coelacanth should provide insights into the origin of tetrapod limbs. We have cloned the complete second exon of 33 Hox genes from the Indonesian coelacanth, Latimeria menadoensis, by extensive PCR survey and genome walking. Phylogenetic analysis shows that 32 of these genes have orthologs in the four mammalian HOX clusters, including three genes (HoxA6, D1, and D8) that are absent in ray-finned fishes. The remaining coelacanth gene is an ortholog of hoxc1 found in zebrafish but absent in mammals. Our results suggest that coelacanths have four Hox clusters bearing a gene complement more similar to mammals than to ray-finned fishes, but with an additional gene, HoxC1, which has been lost during the evolution of mammals from lobe-finned fishes.

  1. Thyroid hormone receptor orthologues from invertebrate species with emphasis on Schistosoma mansoni

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Niles Edward G

    2007-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background: Thyroid hormone receptors (TRs function as molecular switches in response to thyroid hormone to regulate gene transcription. TRs were previously believed to be present only in chordates. Results: We isolated two TR genes from the Schistosoma mansoni and identified TR orthologues from other invertebrates: the platyhelminths, S. japonium and Schmidtea mediterranea, the mollusc, Lottia gigantean and the arthropod Daphnia pulex. Phylogenetic analysis of the DNA binding domain and/or ligand binding domain shows that invertebrate and vertebrate TRs cluster together, TRs from the vertebrates and from the jawless vertebrate (lamprey clustered within separate subgroups, Platyhelminth TRs cluster outside of the vertebrate TR subgroups and that the schistosome TRs and S. mediterranea TRs clustered within separate subgroups. Alignment of the C-terminus of the A/B domain revealed a conserved TR-specific motif, termed TR 'N-terminus signature sequence', with a consensus sequence of (G/PYIPSY(M/LXXXGPE(D/EX. Heterodimer formation between S. mansoni TRs and SmRXR1 suggests that the invertebrate TR protein gained the ability to form a heterodimer with RXR. ESMA analysis showed that SmTRα could bind to a conserved DNA core motif as a monomer or homodimer. Conclusion: Vertebrate TR genes originated from a common ancestor of the Bilateria. TR genes underwent duplication independently in the Protostomia and Deuterostomia. The duplication of TRs in deuterostomes occurred after the split of jawless and jawed vertebrates. In protostomes, TR genes underwent duplication in Platyhelminths, occurring independently in trematode and turbellarian lineages. Using S. mansoni TRs as an example, invertebrate TRs exhibited the ability to form a dimer with RXR prior to the emergence of the vertebrate TRs and were able to bind to vertebrate TR core DNA elements as a monomer or homodimer.

  2. Metal dealing at the origin of the Chordata phylum: the metallothionein system and metal overload response in amphioxus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Guirola

    Full Text Available Non-vertebrate chordates, specifically amphioxus, are considered of the utmost interest for gaining insight into the evolutionary trends, i.e. differentiation and specialization, of gene/protein systems. In this work, MTs (metallothioneins, the most important metal binding proteins, are characterized for the first time in the cephalochordate subphylum at both gene and protein level, together with the main features defining the amphioxus response to cadmium and copper overload. Two MT genes (BfMT1 and BfMT2 have been identified in a contiguous region of the genome, as well as several ARE (antioxidant response element and MRE (metal response element located upstream the transcribed region. Their corresponding cDNAs exhibit identical sequence in the two lancelet species (B. floridae and B. lanceolatum, BfMT2 cDNA resulting from an alternative splicing event. BfMT1 is a polyvalent metal binding peptide that coordinates any of the studied metal ions (Zn, Cd or Cu rendering complexes stable enough to last in physiological environments, which is fully concordant with the constitutive expression of its gene, and therefore, with a metal homeostasis housekeeping role. On the contrary, BfMT2 exhibits a clear ability to coordinate Cd(II ions, while it is absolutely unable to fold into stable Cu (I complexes, even as mixed species. This identifies it as an essential detoxification agent, which is consequently only induced in emergency situations. The cephalochordate MTs are not directly related to vertebrate MTs, neither by gene structure, protein similarity nor metal-binding behavior of the encoded peptides. The closest relative is the echinoderm MT, which confirm proposed phylogenetic relationships between these two groups. The current findings support the existence in most organisms of two types of MTs as for their metal binding preferences, devoted to different biological functions: multivalent MTs for housekeeping roles, and specialized MTs that evolve

  3. An updated 18S rRNA phylogeny of tunicates based on mixture and secondary structure models

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    Shenkar Noa

    2009-08-01

    suggest a sister-group relationship between Salpida and Pyrosomatida within Thaliacea. Conclusion An updated phylogenetic framework for tunicates is provided based on phylogenetic analyses using the most realistic evolutionary models currently available for ribosomal molecules and an unprecedented taxonomic sampling. Detailed analyses of the 18S rRNA gene allowed a clear definition of the major tunicate groups and revealed contrasting evolutionary dynamics among major lineages. The resolving power of this gene nevertheless appears limited within the clades composed of Phlebobranchia + Thaliacea + Aplousobranchia and Pyuridae + Styelidae, which were delineated as spots of low resolution. These limitations underline the need to develop new nuclear markers in order to further resolve the phylogeny of this keystone group in chordate evolution.

  4. The evolutionary history of mitochondrial porins

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    Hausner Georg

    2007-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Mitochondrial porins, or voltage-dependent anion-selective channels (VDAC allow the passage of small molecules across the mitochondrial outer membrane, and are involved in complex interactions regulating organellar and cellular metabolism. Numerous organisms possess multiple porin isoforms, and initial studies indicated an intriguing evolutionary history for these proteins and the genes that encode them. Results In this work, the wealth of recent sequence information was used to perform a comprehensive analysis of the evolutionary history of mitochondrial porins. Fungal porin sequences were well represented, and newly-released sequences from stramenopiles, alveolates, and seed and flowering plants were analyzed. A combination of Neighbour-Joining and Bayesian methods was used to determine phylogenetic relationships among the proteins. The aligned sequences were also used to reassess the validity of previously described eukaryotic porin motifs and to search for signature sequences characteristic of VDACs from plants, animals and fungi. Secondary structure predictions were performed on the aligned VDAC primary sequences and were used to evaluate the sites of intron insertion in a representative set of the corresponding VDAC genes. Conclusion Our phylogenetic analysis clearly shows that paralogs have appeared several times during the evolution of VDACs from the plants, metazoans, and even the fungi, suggesting that there are no "ancient" paralogs within the gene family. Sequence motifs characteristic of the members of the crown groups of organisms were identified. Secondary structure predictions suggest a common 16 β-strand framework for the transmembrane arrangement of all porin isoforms. The GLK (and homologous or analogous motifs and the eukaryotic porin motifs in the four representative Chordates tend to be in exons that appear to have changed little during the evolution of these metazoans. In fact there is phase

  5. Zebrafish brd2a and brd2b are paralogous members of the bromodomain-ET (BET family of transcriptional coregulators that show structural and expression divergence

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    Bee Katharine J

    2008-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Brd2 belongs to the bromodomain-extraterminal domain (BET family of transcriptional co-regulators, and functions as a pivotal histone-directed recruitment scaffold in chromatin modification complexes affecting signal-dependent transcription. Brd2 facilitates expression of genes promoting proliferation and is implicated in apoptosis and in egg maturation and meiotic competence in mammals; it is also a susceptibility gene for juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME in humans. The brd2 ortholog in Drosophila is a maternal effect, embryonic lethal gene that regulates several homeotic loci, including Ultrabithorax. Despite its importance, there are few systematic studies of Brd2 developmental expression in any organism. To help elucidate both conserved and novel gene functions, we cloned and characterized expression of brd2 cDNAs in zebrafish, a vertebrate system useful for genetic analysis of development and disease, and for study of the evolution of gene families and functional diversity in chordates. Results We identify cDNAs representing two paralogous brd2 loci in zebrafish, brd2a on chromosome 19 and brd2b on chromosome 16. By sequence similarity, syntenic and phylogenetic analyses, we present evidence for structural divergence of brd2 after gene duplication in fishes. brd2 paralogs show potential for modular domain combinations, and exhibit distinct RNA expression patterns throughout development. RNA in situ hybridizations in oocytes and embryos implicate brd2a and brd2b as maternal effect genes involved in egg polarity and egg to embryo transition, and as zygotic genes important for development of the vertebrate nervous system and for morphogenesis and differentiation of the digestive tract. Patterns of brd2 developmental expression in zebrafish are consistent with its proposed role in Homeobox gene regulation. Conclusion Expression profiles of zebrafish brd2 paralogs support a role in vertebrate developmental patterning and

  6. Characterization of the neurohypophysial hormone gene loci in elephant shark and the Japanese lamprey: origin of the vertebrate neurohypophysial hormone genes

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    Brenner Sydney

    2009-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Vasopressin and oxytocin are mammalian neurohypophysial hormones with distinct functions. Vasopressin is involved mainly in osmoregulation and oxytocin is involved primarily in parturition and lactation. Jawed vertebrates contain at least one homolog each of vasopressin and oxytocin, whereas only a vasopressin-family hormone, vasotocin, has been identified in jawless vertebrates. The genes encoding vasopressin and oxytocin are closely linked tail-to-tail in eutherian mammals whereas their homologs in chicken, Xenopus and coelacanth (vasotocin and mesotocin are linked tail-to-head. In contrast, their pufferfish homologs, vasotocin and isotocin, are located on the same strand of DNA with isotocin located upstream of vasotocin and separated by five genes. These differences in the arrangement of the two genes in different bony vertebrate lineages raise questions about their origin and ancestral arrangement. To trace the origin of these genes, we have sequenced BAC clones from the neurohypophysial gene loci in a cartilaginous fish, the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii, and in a jawless vertebrate, the Japanese lamprey (Lethenteron japonicum. We have also analyzed the neurohypophysial hormone gene locus in an invertebrate chordate, the amphioxus (Branchiostoma floridae. Results The elephant shark neurohypophysial hormone genes encode vasotocin and oxytocin, and are linked tail-to-head like their homologs in coelacanth and non-eutherian tetrapods. Besides the hypothalamus, the two genes are also expressed in the ovary. In addition, the vasotocin gene is expressed in the kidney, rectal gland and intestine. These expression profiles indicate a paracrine role for the two hormones. The lamprey locus contains a single neurohypophysial hormone gene, the vasotocin. The synteny of genes in the lamprey locus is conserved in elephant shark, coelacanth and tetrapods but disrupted in teleost fishes. The amphioxus locus encodes a single

  7. Circuits regulating pleasure and happiness: the evolution of reward-seeking and misery-fleeing behavioral mechanisms in vertebrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loonen, Anton J M; Ivanova, Svetlana A

    2015-01-01

    The very first free-moving animals in the oceans over 540 million years ago must have been able to obtain food, territory, and shelter, as well as reproduce. Therefore, they would have needed regulatory mechanisms to induce movements enabling achievement of these prerequisites for survival. It can be useful to consider these mechanisms in primitive chordates, which represent our earliest ancestors, to develop hypotheses addressing how these essential parts of human behavior are regulated and relate to more sophisticated behavioral manifestations such as mood. An animal comparable to lampreys was the earliest known vertebrate with a modern forebrain consisting of old and new cortical parts. Lampreys have a separate dorsal pallium, the forerunner of the most recently developed part of the cerebral cortex. In addition, the lamprey extrapyramidal system (EPS), which regulates movement, is modern. However, in lampreys and their putative forerunners, the hagfishes, the striatum, which is the input part of this EPS, probably corresponds to the human centromedial amygdala, which in higher vertebrates is part of a system mediating fear and anxiety. Both animals have well-developed nuclear habenulae, which are involved in several critical behaviors; in lampreys this system regulates the reward system that reinforces appetitive-seeking behavior or the avoidance system that reinforces flight behavior resulting from negative inputs. Lampreys also have a distinct glutamatergic nucleus, the so-called habenula-projection globus pallidus, which receives input from glutamatergic and GABAergic signals and gives output to the lateral habenula. Via this route, this nucleus influences midbrain monoaminergic nuclei and regulates the food acquisition system. These various structures involved in motor regulation in the lampreys may be conserved in humans and include two complementary mechanisms for reward reinforcement and avoidance behaviors. The first system is associated with

  8. Characterization and metal-induced gene transcription of two new copper zinc superoxide dismutases in the solitary ascidian Ciona intestinalis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ferro, Diana [Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova (Italy); Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster (Germany); Franchi, Nicola [Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova (Italy); Department of Biological, Chemical, Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, University of Palermo, Palermo (Italy); Mangano, Valentina [Department of Biological, Chemical, Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, University of Palermo, Palermo (Italy); Bakiu, Rigers [Department of Crop Production, Agricultural University of Tirana, Tirana (Albania); Cammarata, Matteo; Parrinello, Nicolò [Department of Biological, Chemical, Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, University of Palermo, Palermo (Italy); Santovito, Gianfranco, E-mail: gianfranco.santovito@unipd.it [Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova (Italy); Ballarin, Loriano [Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova (Italy)

    2013-09-15

    Highlights: •Ciona intestinalis express two copper-zinc superoxide dismutases (Cu,Zn SODs), one extracellular (Ci-SODa) and one intracellular isoform (Ci-SODb). •Promoters contain consensus sequences similar to mammalian MRE. •Metal exposure results in a significant increase of gene transcription: ci-soda is induced especially by copper and zinc, the increase of ci-sodb transcription is more evident after cadmium exposure. •Genes are mostly transcribed in circulating hemocytes and in ovarian follicular cells. -- Abstract: Antioxidant enzymes are known to protect living organisms against the oxidative stress risk, also induced by metals. In the present study, we describe the purification and molecular characterization of two Cu,Zn superoxide dismutases (SODs), referred to as Ci-SODa and Ci-SODb, from Ciona intestinalis, a basal chordate widely distributed in temperate shallow seawater. The putative amino acid sequences were compared with Cu,Zn SODs from other metazoans and phylogenetic analyses indicate that the two putative Ci-SODs are more related to invertebrate SODs than vertebrate ones. Both phylogenetic and preliminary homology modeling analyses suggest that Ci-SODa and Ci-SODb are extracellular and intracellular isoform, respectively. The mRNA of the two Cu,Zn SODs was localized in hemocytes and in ovarian follicular cells, as revealed by in situ hybridization. The time course of SOD mRNA levels in the presence of three different metals showed upregulation of ci-soda and inhibition of ci-sodb. Spectrophotometric analysis confirms the presence of SOD activity in Ciona tissues. Our in silico analyses of the ci-soda promoter region revealed putative consensus sequences similar to mammalian metal-responsive elements (MRE), suggesting that the transcription of these genes directly depends on metals. These data emphasize the importance of complex metal regulation of ci-soda and ci-sodb transcription, as components of an efficient detoxification pathway

  9. Regulation and functions of the lms homeobox gene during development of embryonic lateral transverse muscles and direct flight muscles in Drosophila.

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    Dominik Müller

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Patterning and differentiation of developing musculatures require elaborate networks of transcriptional regulation. In Drosophila, significant progress has been made into identifying the regulators of muscle development and defining their interactive networks. One major family of transcription factors involved in these processes consists of homeodomain proteins. In flies, several members of this family serve as muscle identity genes to specify the fates of individual muscles, or groups thereof, during embryonic and/or adult muscle development. Herein, we report on the expression and function of a new Drosophila homeobox gene during both embryonic and adult muscle development. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The newly described homeobox gene, termed lateral muscles scarcer (lms, which has yet uncharacterized orthologs in other invertebrates and primitive chordates but not in vertebrates, is expressed exclusively in subsets of developing muscle tissues. In embryos, lms is expressed specifically in the four lateral transverse (LT muscles and their founder cells in each hemisegment, whereas in larval wing imaginal discs, it is expressed in myoblasts that develop into direct flight muscles (DFMs, which are important for proper wing positioning. We have analyzed the regulatory inputs of various other muscle identity genes with overlapping or complementary expression patterns towards the cell type specific regulation of lms expression. Further we demonstrate that lms null mutants exhibit reduced numbers of embryonic LT muscles, and null mutant adults feature held-out-wing phenotypes. We provide a detailed description of the pattern and morphology of the direct flight muscles in the wild type and lms mutant flies by using the recently-developed ultramicroscopy and show that, in the mutants, all DFMs are present and present normal morphologies. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We have identified the homeobox gene lms as a new muscle identity gene

  10. TRPML2 and the evolution of mucolipins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flores, Emma N; García-Añoveros, Jaime

    2011-01-01

    TRPML2, the polypeptide product of the gene Trpml2 (aka Mcoln2), is a member of the TRPML or mucolipin branch of the TRP super family of ion channels. Although no known agonists have been discovered, the wild type channel gives basal currents when heterologously expressed in Drosophila (S2) cells and is constitutively active in mammalian cells when bearing a cell degeneration-causing, proline to alanine substitution in the fifth trans-membrane domain. TRPML2 forms channels that are inwardly rectifying and permeable to Ca(+2), Na(+), and Fe(+2). Localization studies indicate TRPML2 is present in lysosomes, late endosomes, recycling endosomes and, at a lower level, the plasma membrane. Tissue and organ distribution of TRPML2 is solely reported through RT-PCR and it is uncertain which cell types express this channel. However, various studies suggest that lymphoid cells express TRPML2. Although the function of TRPML2 is not known, distribution and channel properties suggest it could play roles in calcium release from endolysosomes, perhaps to mediate calcium-dependent events such as vesicle fusion, or to release calcium from intracellular acidic stores. However, TRPML2 may also function in the plasma membrane and its abundance in vesicles of the endocytic pathaway might occur because its presence in the cell surface is regulated by endocytosis and exocytosis. An evolutionary analysis of Trpml2 and its relatives reveals that vertebrate and invertebrate chordates have only one Trpml gene, that Trpml1 and Trpml2 are common to vertebrates, and that Trpml3 is only found in tetrapods. Ray-finned fishes contain another isoform, which we term Trpml4 or Mcoln4 (and its product TRPML4). Trpml2 is next to Trpml3 in all tetrapod genomes except that of the frog Xenopus tropicalis and of the domesticated pig, which seems to lack most of the Trpml3 gene. This close linkage across species implies that it is maintained by selective pressure and suggests that the regulation of both

  11. Bioinformatic analysis of the neprilysin (M13 family of peptidases reveals complex evolutionary and functional relationships

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    Pinney John W

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The neprilysin (M13 family of endopeptidases are zinc-metalloenzymes, the majority of which are type II integral membrane proteins. The best characterised of this family is neprilysin, which has important roles in inactivating signalling peptides involved in modulating neuronal activity, blood pressure and the immune system. Other family members include the endothelin converting enzymes (ECE-1 and ECE-2, which are responsible for the final step in the synthesis of potent vasoconstrictor endothelins. The ECEs, as well as neprilysin, are considered valuable therapeutic targets for treating cardiovascular disease. Other members of the M13 family have not been functionally characterised, but are also likely to have biological roles regulating peptide signalling. The recent sequencing of animal genomes has greatly increased the number of M13 family members in protein databases, information which can be used to reveal evolutionary relationships and to gain insight into conserved biological roles. Results The phylogenetic analysis successfully resolved vertebrate M13 peptidases into seven classes, one of which appears to be specific to mammals, and insect genes into five functional classes and a series of expansions, which may include inactive peptidases. Nematode genes primarily resolved into groups containing no other taxa, bar the two nematode genes associated with Drosophila DmeNEP1 and DmeNEP4. This analysis reconstructed only one relationship between chordate and invertebrate clusters, that of the ECE sub-group and the DmeNEP3 related genes. Analysis of amino acid utilisation in the active site of M13 peptidases reveals a basis for their biochemical properties. A relatively invariant S1' subsite gives the majority of M13 peptidases their strong preference for hydrophobic residues in P1' position. The greater variation in the S2' subsite may be instrumental in determining the specificity of M13 peptidases for their substrates

  12. The molecular evolution of the p120-catenin subfamily and its functional associations.

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    Robert H Carnahan

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: p120-catenin (p120 is the prototypical member of a subclass of armadillo-related proteins that includes δ-catenin/NPRAP, ARVCF, p0071, and the more distantly related plakophilins 1-3. In vertebrates, p120 is essential in regulating surface expression and stability of all classical cadherins, and directly interacts with Kaiso, a BTB/ZF family transcription factor. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To clarify functional relationships between these proteins and how they relate to the classical cadherins, we have examined the proteomes of 14 diverse vertebrate and metazoan species. The data reveal a single ancient δ-catenin-like p120 family member present in the earliest metazoans and conserved throughout metazoan evolution. This single p120 family protein is present in all protostomes, and in certain early-branching chordate lineages. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that gene duplication and functional diversification into "p120-like" and "δ-catenin-like" proteins occurred in the urochordate-vertebrate ancestor. Additional gene duplications during early vertebrate evolution gave rise to the seven vertebrate p120 family members. Kaiso family members (i.e., Kaiso, ZBTB38 and ZBTB4 are found only in vertebrates, their origin following that of the p120-like gene lineage and coinciding with the evolution of vertebrate-specific mechanisms of epigenetic gene regulation by CpG island methylation. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The p120 protein family evolved from a common δ-catenin-like ancestor present in all metazoans. Through several rounds of gene duplication and diversification, however, p120 evolved in vertebrates into an essential, ubiquitously expressed protein, whereas loss of the more selectively expressed δ-catenin, p0071 and ARVCF are tolerated in most species. Together with phylogenetic studies of the vertebrate cadherins, our data suggest that the p120-like and δ-catenin-like genes co-evolved separately with non-neural (E- and P

  13. Comparative genomics of the syndecans defines an ancestral genomic context associated with matrilins in vertebrates

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    Adams Josephine C

    2006-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The syndecans are the major family of transmembrane proteoglycans in animals and are known for multiple roles in cell interactions and growth factor signalling during development, inflammatory response, wound-repair and tumorigenesis. Although syndecans have been cloned from several invertebrate and vertebrate species, the extent of conservation of the family across the animal kingdom is unknown and there are gaps in our knowledge of chordate syndecans. Here, we develop a new level of knowledge for the whole syndecan family, by combining molecular phylogeny of syndecan protein sequences with analysis of the genomic contexts of syndecan genes in multiple vertebrate organisms. Results We identified syndecan-encoding sequences in representative Cnidaria and throughout the Bilateria. The C1 and C2 regions of the cytoplasmic domain are highly conserved throughout the animal kingdom. We identified in the variable region a universally-conserved leucine residue and a tyrosine residue that is conserved throughout the Bilateria. Of all the genomes examined, only tetrapod and fish genomes encode multiple syndecans. No syndecan-1 was identified in fish. The genomic context of each vertebrate syndecan gene is syntenic between human, mouse and chicken, and this conservation clearly extends to syndecan-2 and -3 in T. nigroviridis. In addition, tetrapod syndecans were found to be encoded from paralogous chromosomal regions that also contain the four members of the matrilin family. Whereas the matrilin-3 and syndecan-1 genes are adjacent in tetrapods, this chromosomal region appears to have undergone extensive lineage-specific rearrangements in fish. Conclusion Throughout the animal kingdom, syndecan extracellular domains have undergone rapid change and elements of the cytoplasmic domains have been very conserved. The four syndecan genes of vertebrates are syntenic across tetrapods, and synteny of the syndecan-2 and -3 genes is apparent

  14. Body Size Preference of Marine Animals in Relation to Extinction Selectivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sriram, A.; Idgunji, S.; Heim, N. A.; Payne, J.

    2014-12-01

    Our project encompasses an extremely specific aspect in relation to the five mass extinctions in geologic history. We asked ourselves whether larger or smaller body sizes would be better suited for surviving a mass extinction. To conduct research for our project, we used the body sizes of 17,172 marine animal genera as our primary data. These animals include echinoderms, arthropods, chordates, mollusks, and brachiopods. These creatures are perfect model organisms in terms of finding data on them because they have an excellent fossil record, and are well documented. We focused on the mean body size of these animals before and after each of the five mass extinctions (end-Ordovician, Late Devonian, end-Permian, end-Triassic, and end-Cretaceous). Our hypothesis was that the average biovolume of animals increased after each of the extinctions, with the mean size being greater after than it was before. Our size data is from the Ellis & Messina Catalogue of Ostracoda and the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. We obtained stratigraphic range data The Treatise and Sepkoski (2002). In our analyses, we compared the mean size of the different animal genera before and after each extinction event. We further partitioned size change across mass extinction boundaries into three categories: the surviving genera, the extinct genera, and the newly originating genera that came about after the extinction. According to our analyses, the mean sizes did not change significantly from the genera living during the stages before the extinctions and after the extinctions. From our results, we can assume that there were not enough major increases in the overall volume of the organisms to warrant a definite conclusion that extinctions lead to larger body sizes. Further support for our findings came from the T-tests in our R code. Only the Cretaceous period showed true evidence for size changing because of the extinction; in this case, the mean size decreased. T-tests for the Cretaceous

  15. NALCN ion channels have alternative selectivity filters resembling calcium channels or sodium channels.

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    Adriano Senatore

    Full Text Available NALCN is a member of the family of ion channels with four homologous, repeat domains that include voltage-gated calcium and sodium channels. NALCN is a highly conserved gene from simple, extant multicellular organisms without nervous systems such as sponges and placozoans and mostly remains a single gene compared to the calcium and sodium channels which diversified into twenty genes in humans. The single NALCN gene has alternatively-spliced exons at exons 15 or exon 31 that splices in novel selectivity filter residues that resemble calcium channels (EEEE or sodium channels (EKEE or EEKE. NALCN channels with alternative calcium, (EEEE and sodium, (EKEE or EEKE -selective pores are conserved in simple bilaterally symmetrical animals like flatworms to non-chordate deuterostomes. The single NALCN gene is limited as a sodium channel with a lysine (K-containing pore in vertebrates, but originally NALCN was a calcium-like channel, and evolved to operate as both a calcium channel and sodium channel for different roles in many invertebrates. Expression patterns of NALCN-EKEE in pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis suggest roles for NALCN in secretion, with an abundant expression in brain, and an up-regulation in secretory organs of sexually-mature adults such as albumen gland and prostate. NALCN-EEEE is equally abundant as NALCN-EKEE in snails, but is greater expressed in heart and other muscle tissue, and 50% less expressed in the brain than NALCN-EKEE. Transfected snail NALCN-EEEE and NALCN-EKEE channel isoforms express in HEK-293T cells. We were not able to distinguish potential NALCN currents from background, non-selective leak conductances in HEK293T cells. Native leak currents without expressing NALCN genes in HEK-293T cells are NMDG(+ impermeant and blockable with 10 µM Gd(3+ ions and are indistinguishable from the hallmark currents ascribed to mammalian NALCN currents expressed in vitro by Lu et al. in Cell. 2007 Apr 20;129(2:371-83.

  16. Molecular characterization, gene expression and dependence on thyroid hormones of two type I keratin genes (sseKer1 and sseKer2 in the flatfish Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis Kaup

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    Cañavate José

    2007-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Keratins make up the largest subgroup of intermediate filaments, and, in chordates, represent the most abundant proteins in epithelial cells. They have been associated with a wide range of functions in the cell, but little information is still available about their expression profile and regulation during flatfish metamorphosis. Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis is a commercially important flatfish in which no keratin gene has been described yet. Results The development of large-scale genomics of Senegalese sole has facilitated the identification of two different type I keratin genes referred to as sseKer1 and sseKer2. Main characteristics and sequence identities with other fish and mammal keratins are described. Phylogenetic analyses grouped sseKer1 and sseKer2 in a significant clade with other teleost epidermal type I keratins, and have allowed for the identification of sseKer2 as a novel keratin. The expression profile of both genes was studied during larval development and in tissues using a real-time approach. sseKer1 and sseKer2 mRNA levels were significantly higher in skin than in other tissues examined. During metamorphosis, sseKer1 transcripts increased significantly at first stages, and reduced thereafter. In contrast, sseKer2 mRNA levels did not change during early metamorphosis although a significant drop at metamorphosis climax and late metamorphosis was also detected. To study the possible regulation of sseKer gene expressions by thyroid hormones (THs, larvae were exposed to the goitrogen thiourea (TU. TU-treated larvae exhibited higher sseKer1 and sseKer2 mRNA levels than untreated control at both 11 and 15 days after treatment. Moreover, addition of exogenous T4 hormone to TU-treated larvae restored or even reduced the steady-state levels with respect to the untreated control, demonstrating that expression of both genes is negatively regulated by THs. Conclusion We have identified two keratin genes, referred

  17. 文昌鱼SMYD家族基因的系统进化分析%Phylogenetic Analysis of the Amphioxus SMYD Gene Family

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    郭泉阳; 李红岩

    2015-01-01

    SMYD( SET and MYND domain containing,SMYD) are a class of proteins containing the SET func-tional domains. They play an important role in the regulation of chromosomal gene expression,cell cycle con-trol, cell division, differentiation and development. It is known that drosophila and vertebrates contain Smyd genes and scholars have done much research on the expression, function and evolution of these genes. Howev-er, research on the chordate SMYD family genes is limited. This article searched the cephalochordate amphioxus genome and found that amphioxus had six possible Smyd genes. Analysis of the functional domains of these Smyd genes showed that:amphioxus-related genes and those of other studied species,such as drosophi-la,xenopus,mouse,human are alike,all in different chromosomes. Analysis of gene structures shows that 3 Smyd genes of the amphioxus,2 of zebrafish and 4 of human have a SCOP functional domain in addition to the SET functional domains. Analysis of gene structure show that the genetic structure of vertebrates is conserva-tive,but invertebrates and chordata are less conservative. The results of phylogenetic analysis show that only two of the six amphioxus Smyd genes are high homologous with other species and the other four are relatively low. This paper aims to conduct a preliminary phylogenetic analysis of amphioxus SMYD family. What roles the Smyd genes in chordate amphioxus perform,and how they realize their functions still need further studies.%SMYD( SET and MYND domain containing,SMYD)是一类含有SET功能域的蛋白,在染色体的调节、基因的表达、细胞生长周期的控制、细胞的分裂、分化及发育等方面具有重要作用。目前已知在果蝇、脊椎动物中均含有Smyd基因,且这些基因的进化、表达及功能均有很多研究,但关于脊索动物SMYD家族基因的研究则很少。本文对头索动物文昌鱼的基因组进行搜索,发现文昌鱼有6个可能的Smyd基因。对Smyd基因在

  18. Using whole mount in situ hybridization to link molecular and organismal biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacobs, Nicole L; Albertson, R Craig; Wiles, Jason R

    2011-03-31

    Whole mount in situ hybridization (WISH) is a common technique in molecular biology laboratories used to study gene expression through the localization of specific mRNA transcripts within whole mount specimen. This technique (adapted from Albertson and Yelick, 2005) was used in an upper level undergraduate Comparative Vertebrate Biology laboratory classroom at Syracuse University. The first two thirds of the Comparative Vertebrate Biology lab course gave students the opportunity to study the embryology and gross anatomy of several organisms representing various chordate taxa primarily via traditional dissections and the use of models. The final portion of the course involved an innovative approach to teaching anatomy through observation of vertebrate development employing molecular techniques in which WISH was performed on zebrafish embryos. A heterozygous fibroblast growth factor 8 a (fgf8a) mutant line, ace, was used. Due to Mendelian inheritance, ace intercrosses produced wild type, heterozygous, and homozygous ace/fgf8a mutants in a 1:2:1 ratio. RNA probes with known expression patterns in the midline and in developing anatomical structures such as the heart, somites, tailbud, myotome, and brain were used. WISH was performed using zebrafish at the 13 somite and prim-6 stages, with students performing the staining reaction in class. The study of zebrafish embryos at different stages of development gave students the ability to observe how these anatomical structures changed over ontogeny. In addition, some ace/fgf8a mutants displayed improper heart looping, and defects in somite and brain development. The students in this lab observed the normal development of various organ systems using both external anatomy as well as gene expression patterns. They also identified and described embryos displaying improper anatomical development and gene expression (i.e., putative mutants). For instructors at institutions that do not already own the necessary equipment or where

  19. Advances in fish melanocortin receptor family research%鱼类黑素皮质素受体(MCR)研究进展

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    董晶晶; 谢骏; 习丙文

    2014-01-01

    The melanocortin receptor family, with seven transmembrane alpha-helixs, is a member of the smallest G-protein-coupled receptor and of great importance in chordate physiological function. The melanocortin receptor fam-ily has five subtypes (MC1R, MC2R, MC3R, MC4R and MC5R) in mammalian and tetrapod, with rather diverse func-tions. It has been confirmed that MCRs are involved in diverse number of physiological functions, including pigmenta-tion, steroidogenesis, energy homeostasis, inflammation and sexual function. In recent years, fish MCRs have gained more and more concern of researchers. Different MCR subtypes have been cloned and analyzed in several fish species. The MCRs of fish, the earliest vertebrates in evolution, is highly conserved compared with mammalian in molecular characterization and physiology fuction. Meanwhile they have some special features of their own. Thorough research on MCRs will contribute to our understanding of vertebrate MCRs evolution and its regulation functions in fish physiology. To facilitate the study on MCRs, we provide a review about clone, molecular characterization, pharmacology and phys-iological function of fish melanocortin receptors and highlight progress made in these areas.%黑素皮质素受体(melanocortin receptor, MCR)家族属于最小的G蛋白偶联受体家族之一,具有7个跨膜的α螺旋,在脊索动物生理活动中具有重要作用。在哺乳类及四肢类动物的MCR研究中共发现有5种不同功能的同源基因(MC1R、MC2R、MC3R、MC4R、MC5R),它们在机体色素沉积、摄食行为、能量平衡、类固醇合成和性行为等方面发挥重要功能。近年来,鱼类 MCRs 的研究逐渐得到学者们的普遍关注,一些鱼类的 MCRs 亚型相继被克隆,并对其功能进行了分析。鱼类作为脊椎动物进化中较为原始的类群,具有与哺乳动物 MCRs 相似的保守特征,同时也具有其特殊性。对鱼类MCRs的深入研究有利于揭示MCRs在脊椎动物

  20. p53 Superfamily proteins in marine bivalve cancer and stress biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walker, Charles W; Van Beneden, Rebecca J; Muttray, Annette F; Böttger, S Anne; Kelley, Melissa L; Tucker, Abraham E; Thomas, W Kelley

    2011-01-01

    transcriptional target genes exist in molluscan genomes (missing are ARF, CIP1 and BH3 only proteins) and (f) p53 is demonstrably involved in bivalve haemocyte and germinoma cancers. We usually do not know enough about the molecular biology of marine invertebrates to address molecular mechanisms that characterize particular diseases. Understanding the molecular basis of naturally occurring diseases in marine bivalves is a virtually unexplored aspect of toxicoproteomics and genomics and related drug discovery. Additionally, increases in coastal development and concomitant increases in aquatic pollutants have driven interest in developing models appropriate for evaluating potential hazardous compounds or conditions found in the aquatic environment. Data reviewed in this study are coupled with recent developments in our understanding the molecular biology of the marine bivalve p53 superfamily. Taken together, they suggest that both structurally and functionally, bivalve p53 family proteins are the most highly conserved members of this gene superfamily so far identified outside of higher vertebrates and invertebrate chordates. Marine bivalves provide some of the most relevant and best understood models currently available for experimental studies by biomedical and marine environmental researchers.

  1. Evolution of Innate Immunity: Clues from Invertebrates via Fish to Mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchmann, Kurt

    2014-01-01

    Host responses against invading pathogens are basic physiological reactions of all living organisms. Since the appearance of the first eukaryotic cells, a series of defense mechanisms have evolved in order to secure cellular integrity, homeostasis, and survival of the host. Invertebrates, ranging from protozoans to metazoans, possess cellular receptors, which bind to foreign elements and differentiate self from non-self. This ability is in multicellular animals associated with presence of phagocytes, bearing different names (amebocytes, hemocytes, coelomocytes) in various groups including animal sponges, worms, cnidarians, mollusks, crustaceans, chelicerates, insects, and echinoderms (sea stars and urchins). Basically, these cells have a macrophage-like appearance and function and the repair and/or fight functions associated with these cells are prominent even at the earliest evolutionary stage. The cells possess pathogen recognition receptors recognizing pathogen-associated molecular patterns, which are well-conserved molecular structures expressed by various pathogens (virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoans, helminths). Scavenger receptors, Toll-like receptors, and Nod-like receptors (NLRs) are prominent representatives within this group of host receptors. Following receptor-ligand binding, signal transduction initiates a complex cascade of cellular reactions, which lead to production of one or more of a wide array of effector molecules. Cytokines take part in this orchestration of responses even in lower invertebrates, which eventually may result in elimination or inactivation of the intruder. Important innate effector molecules are oxygen and nitrogen species, antimicrobial peptides, lectins, fibrinogen-related peptides, leucine rich repeats (LRRs), pentraxins, and complement-related proteins. Echinoderms represent the most developed invertebrates and the bridge leading to the primitive chordates, cephalochordates, and urochordates, in which many autologous genes

  2. An Analysis of the Causes of the Emerging Tricuspid Regurgitation after Minimally Invasive Transthoracic Closure of the Perimembranous Ventricular Septal Defects%膜周部室间隔缺损微创封堵术后新发三尖瓣反流程度变化的原因分析

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    万浩; 段书华; 周彩萍; 邢泉生

    2016-01-01

    Objective To analyze the cause of changes of emerging tricuspid regurgitation after minimally invasive transthoracic device closure of perimembranous ventricular septal defects (pmVSD).Methods 281 patients with pmVSD were selected to assess for tricuspid regurgitation with transesophageal echocardiography during preoperative and postoperative periods. Transthoracic echocardiography was used postoperatively during the 1-wk, 1-mo, 3-mo, 6-mo, 12-mo, 24-mo, 48-mo, 60-mo follow-up to evaluate the effectiveness and to assess for any complication emerging after the surgery.ResultsThere were 19 cases with tricuspid regurgitation with varying degrees of aggravation emerging immediately after closure. During the follow-ups, in the mild-relfux group, 12 patients’ relfux symptom mitigated;one case aggravated to mild to moderate relfux. In the mild to moderate relfux group, 2 cases alleviated to mild relfux; the other case aggravated to moderate relfux.Conclusion The aggravation of tricuspid regurgitation after minimally invasive transthoracic device closure of pmVSD may be caused by the occluder oppression on the tricuspid chordae or lealfets, tendons damage resulted fromdelivery sheath, and abnormal origin of part of the anterior tricuspid valve chordate. Mitigation of tricuspid regurgitation after surgery may be caused by remodeling of the occluder, which leads to oppressed chordae or lealfets to restore to the physiological state. Preoperative and postoperative ultrasound allows precise assessment of the position of tricuspid valve chordae and helps with understanding of the construction of the structure of defect edge tissues, which provides guidance for selecting the appropriate occluder and thus reduce or mitigate tricuspid regurgitation and other complications.%目的:分析经胸微创封堵膜周部室间隔缺损(pmVSD)术后三尖瓣反流程度的变化原因。方法对经胸微创封堵成功的281例pmVSD患儿进行术前、术后即用食道超声心