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Divergent mechanisms regulate conserved cardiopharyngeal development and gene expression in distantly related ascidians
Stolfi, A.; Lowe, E.K.; Racioppi, C.; Ristoratore, F.; Brown, C.T.; Swalla, B.J.; Christiaen, L. (2014). Divergent mechanisms regulate conserved cardiopharyngeal development and gene expression in distantly related ascidians. eLIFE 3: e03728. https://hdl.handle.net/10.7554/eLife.03728
In: eLIFE. eLife Sciences Publications: Cambridge. ISSN 2050-084X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Marine Sciences
    Marine Sciences > Marine Genomics
    Scientific Community
    Scientific Publication
    Marine

Project Top | Authors 
  • Association of European marine biological laboratories, more

Authors  Top 
  • Stolfi, A.
  • Lowe, E.K.
  • Racioppi, C.
  • Ristoratore, F.
  • Brown, C.T.
  • Swalla, B.J.
  • Christiaen, L.

Abstract
    Ascidians present a striking dichotomy between conserved phenotypes and divergent genomes: embryonic cell lineages and gene expression patterns are conserved between distantly related species. Much research has focused on Ciona or Halocynthia spp. but development in other ascidians remains poorly characterized. In this study, we surveyed the multipotent myogenic B7.5 lineage in Molgula spp. Comparisons to the homologous lineage in Ciona revealed identical cell division and fate specification events that result in segregation of larval, cardiac, and pharyngeal muscle progenitors. Moreover, the expression patterns of key regulators are conserved, but cross-species transgenic assays uncovered incompatibility, or 'unintelligibility', of orthologous cis-regulatory sequences between Molgula and Ciona. These sequences drive identical expression patterns that are not recapitulated in cross-species assays. We show that this unintelligibility is likely due to changes in both cis- and trans-acting elements, hinting at widespread and frequent turnover of regulatory mechanisms underlying otherwise conserved aspects of ascidian embryogenesis.

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