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Echinobase
ECB-ART-44460
Dev Genes Evol 2016 Jan 01;2261:37-45. doi: 10.1007/s00427-015-0527-y.
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Ancestral state reconstruction by comparative analysis of a GRN kernel operating in echinoderms.

Erkenbrack EM , Ako-Asare K , Miller E , Tekelenburg S , Thompson JR , Romano L .


Abstract
Diverse sampling of organisms across the five major classes in the phylum Echinodermata is beginning to reveal much about the structure and function of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) in development and evolution. Sea urchins are the most studied clade within this phylum, and recent work suggests there has been dramatic rewiring at the top of the skeletogenic GRN along the lineage leading to extant members of the euechinoid sea urchins. Such rewiring likely accounts for some of the observed developmental differences between the two major subclasses of sea urchins-cidaroids and euechinoids. To address effects of topmost rewiring on downstream GRN events, we cloned four downstream regulatory genes within the skeletogenic GRN and surveyed their spatiotemporal expression patterns in the cidaroid Eucidaris tribuloides. We performed phylogenetic analyses with homologs from other non-vertebrate deuterostomes and characterized their spatiotemporal expression by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and whole-mount in situ hybridization (WMISH). Our data suggest the erg-hex-tgif subcircuit, a putative GRN kernel, exhibits a mesoderm-specific expression pattern early in Eucidaris development that is directly downstream of the initial mesodermal GRN circuitry. Comparative analysis of the expression of this subcircuit in four echinoderm taxa allowed robust ancestral state reconstruction, supporting hypotheses that its ancestral function was to stabilize the mesodermal regulatory state and that it has been co-opted and deployed as a unit in mesodermal subdomains in distantly diverged echinoderms. Importantly, our study supports the notion that GRN kernels exhibit structural and functional modularity, locking down and stabilizing clade-specific, embryonic regulatory states.

PubMed ID: 26781941
Article link: Dev Genes Evol
Grant support: [+]

Genes referenced: erg LOC100887844 LOC575170 polr3a tgif2l

References [+] :
Davidson, Gene regulatory networks and the evolution of animal body plans. 2006, Pubmed