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Development 2018 Dec 18;14524:. doi: 10.1242/dev.167288.
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Conserved regulatory state expression controlled by divergent developmental gene regulatory networks in echinoids.

Erkenbrack EM , Davidson EH , Peter IS .

Evolution of the animal body plan is driven by changes in developmental gene regulatory networks (GRNs), but how networks change to control novel developmental phenotypes remains, in most cases, unresolved. Here, we address GRN evolution by comparing the endomesoderm GRN in two echinoid sea urchins, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and Eucidaris tribuloides, with at least 268 million years of independent evolution. We first analyzed the expression of twelve transcription factors and signaling molecules of the S. purpuratus GRN in E. tribuloides embryos, showing that orthologous regulatory genes are expressed in corresponding endomesodermal cell fates in the two species. However, perturbation of regulatory genes revealed that important regulatory circuits of the S. purpuratus GRN are significantly different in E. tribuloides For example, mesodermal Delta/Notch signaling controls exclusion of alternative cell fates in E. tribuloides but controls mesoderm induction and activation of a positive feedback circuit in S. purpuratus These results indicate that the architecture of the sea urchin endomesoderm GRN evolved by extensive gain and loss of regulatory interactions between a conserved set of regulatory factors that control endomesodermal cell fate specification.

PubMed ID: 30470703
PMC ID: PMC6307887
Article link: Development

Genes referenced: LOC100887844 LOC115919910 LOC115921237 LOC575170 LOC583082
Morpholinos: dll1 MO5 evxl MO2 gcml MO2 hbox7 MO4

References [+] :
Arendt, The origin and evolution of cell types. 2016, Pubmed