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Cell Tissue Res 2019 Sep 01;3773:445-458. doi: 10.1007/s00441-019-03093-9.
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Development and evolution of gut structures: from molecules to function.

Annunziata R , Andrikou C , Perillo M , Cuomo C , Arnone MI .

The emergence of a specialized system for food digestion and nutrient absorption was a crucial innovation for multicellular organisms. Digestive systems with different levels of complexity evolved in different animals, with the endoderm-derived one-way gut of most bilaterians to be the prevailing and more specialized form. While the molecular events regulating the early phases of embryonic tissue specification have been deeply investigated in animals occupying different phylogenetic positions, the mechanisms underlying gut patterning and gut-associated structures differentiation are still mostly obscure. In this review, we describe the main discoveries in gut and gut-associated structures development in echinoderm larvae (mainly for sea urchin and, when available, for sea star) and compare them with existing information in vertebrates. An impressive degree of conservation emerges when comparing the transcription factor toolkits recruited for gut cells and tissue differentiation in animals as diverse as echinoderms and vertebrates, thus suggesting that their function emerged in the deuterostome ancestor.

PubMed ID: 31446445
Article link: Cell Tissue Res
Grant support: [+]

Genes referenced: LOC100887844