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Genome Biol 2007 Jan 01;85:R85. doi: 10.1186/gb-2007-8-5-r85.
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A global view of gene expression in lithium and zinc treated sea urchin embryos: new components of gene regulatory networks.

Poustka AJ , Kühn A , Groth D , Weise V , Yaguchi S , Burke RD , Herwig R , Lehrach H , Panopoulou G .

BACKGROUND: The genome of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus has recently been sequenced because it is a major model system for the study of gene regulatory networks. Embryonic expression patterns for most genes are unknown, however. RESULTS: Using large-scale screens on arrays carrying 50% to 70% of all genes, we identified novel territory-specific markers. Our strategy was based on computational selection of genes that are differentially expressed in lithium-treated embryos, which form excess endomesoderm, and in zinc-treated embryos, in which endomesoderm specification is blocked. Whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH) analysis of 700 genes indicates that the apical organ region is eliminated in lithium-treated embryos. Conversely, apical and specifically neural markers are expressed more broadly in zinc-treated embryos, whereas endomesoderm signaling is severely reduced. Strikingly, the number of serotonergic neurons is amplified by at least tenfold in zinc-treated embryos. WISH analysis further indicates that there is crosstalk between the Wnt (wingless int), Notch, and fibroblast growth factor signaling pathways in secondary mesoderm cell specification and differentiation, similar to signaling cascades that function during development of presomitic mesoderm in mouse embryogenesis. We provide differential expression data for more than 4,000 genes and WISH patterns of more than 250 genes, and more than 2,400 annotated WISH images. CONCLUSION: Our work provides tissue-specific expression patterns for a large fraction of the sea urchin genes that have not yet been included in existing regulatory networks and await functional integration. Furthermore, we noted neuron-inducing activity of zinc on embryonic development; this is the first observation of such activity in any organism.

PubMed ID: 17506889
PMC ID: PMC1929154
Article link: Genome Biol

Species referenced: Echinodermata
Genes referenced: chrd endo16 fgf fgfr3 foxa1 foxe3l gata6 irx4 LOC100887844 LOC100888622 LOC105438994 LOC115919910 LOC115925415 LOC115926321 LOC578814 LOC593805 LOC594353 meox1 onecut2 pole polr3a prox1 six1 six6 snai2 SpP19L srpl tbx3l wnt7al

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References [+] :
Adjaye, Primary differentiation in the human blastocyst: comparative molecular portraits of inner cell mass and trophectoderm cells. 2005, Pubmed