Museum of Evolution, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 16, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden. firstname.lastname@example.org
Xenoturbella is an enigmatic animal that has puzzled science for almost a century. The eggs and embryos found in Xenoturbella have recently been interpreted as ingested prey. However, PCR on individual eggs as well as in situ hybridisation and in situ PCR unambiguously show that they are Xenoturbella's own. The eggs and embryos are individually enclosed within follicles with the same ultrastructure. The cortical granules in oocytes and eggs from Xenoturbella but not Nucula stained positively with an antiserum against Reissner's substance. The embryos incorporated 5-bromodeoxyuridine in vivo, i.e. they replicate their genome and are living.
Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK.
Since the discovery of the marine worm Xenoturbella bocki in 1915 by Sixten Bock and its first published description by Einar Westblad (Westblad,1949, Arkiv Zoologi 1:3-29), Xenoturbella was generally allied to the turbellarian flatworms, perhaps most closely to acoelomorphs. In 1997, however, analyses of ribosomal DNA (Norén and Jondelius, 1997, Nature 390:31-32) and developing oocytes (Israelsson, 1997, Nature 390:32)[and, subsequently, embryos (Israelsson, 1999, Proc R Soc Lond B 266:835-841)] recovered from Xenoturbella specimens led to the surprising conclusion that it was in fact a highly degenerate bivalve mollusc. Bourlat et al. showed in 2003 that this result was due to contamination from bivalves in its diet (Bourlat et al.,2003, Nature 424:925-928). Our analyses showed Xenoturbella is a deuterostome, related to the Ambulacraria (echinoderms and hemichordates). Subsequent work has shown that Xenoturbellida is a separate lineage from the Ambulacraria and therefore constitutes the fourth deuterostome phylum (Bourlat et al.,2006, Nature 444:85-88). I consider this phylogenetic position in the light of what is known of its genetics, morphology, and ontogeny. I examine what this phylogenetic position for Xenoturbella can tell us about its own evolution and what light this might shine on the common ancestor of the deuterostomes and hence on the origins of the chordates. genesis 0:1-7, 2008.(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Molecular genetic insights into deuterostome evolution from the direct-developing hemichordate Saccoglossus kowalevskii.
Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. email@example.com
Progress in developmental biology, phylogenomics and palaeontology over the past five years are all making major contributions to a long-enduring problem in comparative biology: the early origins of the deuterostome phyla. Recent advances in the developmental biology of hemichordates have given a unique insight into developmental similarities between this phylum and chordates. Transcriptional and signalling gene expression patterns between the two groups during the early development of the anteroposterior and dorsoventral axes reveal close similarities, despite large morphological disparity between the body plans. These genetic networks have been proposed to play conserved roles in patterning centralized nervous systems in metazoans, yet seem to play a conserved role in patterning the diffusely organized basiepithelial nerve net of the hemichordates. Developmental genetic data are providing a unique insight into early deuterostome evolution, revealing a complexity of genetic regulation previously attributed only to vertebrates. While these data allow for key insights into the development of early deuterostomes, their utility for reconstructing ancestral morphologies is less certain, and morphological, palaeontological and molecular datasets should all be considered carefully when speculating about ancestral deuterostome features.
Guido Fritzsch, Manja U Böhme, Mike Thorndyke, Hiroaki Nakano, Olle Israelsson, Thomas Stach, Martin Schlegel, Thomas Hankeln, Peter F Stadler
Xenoturbella bocki has recently been identified as one of the most basal deuterostomes, although an even more basal phylogenetic position cannot be ruled out. Here we report on a polymerase chain reaction survey of partial Hox homeobox sequences of X. bocki. Surprisingly, we did not find evidence for more than five Hox genes, one clear labial/PG1 ortholog, one posterior gene most similar to the PG9/10 genes of Ambulacraria, and three central group genes whose precise assignment to a specific paralog group remains open. We furthermore report on a re-evaluation of the available published evidence of Hox genes in other basal deuterostomes. J. Exp. Zool.(Mol. Dev. Evol.) 310B, 2007.(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Marleen Perseke, Thomas Hankeln, Bettina Weich, Guido Fritzsch, Peter F Stadler, Olle Israelsson, Detlef Bernhard, Martin Schlegel
The phylogenetic position of Xenoturbella bocki has been a matter of controversy since its description in 1949. We sequenced a second complete mitochondrial genome of this species and performed phylogenetic analyses based on the amino acid sequences of all 13 mitochondrial protein-coding genes and on its gene order. Our results confirm the deuterostome relationship of Xenoturbella. However, in contrast to a recently published study (Bourlat et al. in Nature 444:85-88, 2006), our data analysis suggests a more basal branching of Xenoturbella within the deuterostomes, rather than a sister-group relationship to the Ambulacraria (Hemichordata and Echinodermata).
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BMC Dev Biol. 2012 May 17;12 (1):15 22595029
Expression of pair rule gene orthologs in the blastoderm of a myriapod: evidence for pair rule-like mechanisms?
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: A hallmark of Drosophila segmentation is the stepwise subdivision of the body into smaller and smaller units, and finally into the segments. This is achieved by the function of the well-understood segmentation gene cascade. The first molecular sign of a segmented body appears with the action of the pair rule genes, which are expressed as transversal stripes in alternating segments. Drosophila development, however, is derived, and in most other arthropods only the anterior body is patterned (almost) simultaneously from a pre-existing field of cells; posterior segments are added sequentially from a posterior segment addition zone. A long-standing question is to what extent segmentation mechanisms known from Drosophila may be conserved in short-germ arthropods. Despite the derived developmental modes, it appears more likely that conserved mechanisms can be found in anterior patterning. RESULTS: Expression analysis of pair rule gene orthologs in the blastoderm of the pill millipede Glomeris marginata (Myriapoda: Diplopoda) suggests that these genes are generally involved in segmenting the anterior embryo. We find that the Glomeris pairberry-1 (pby-1) gene is expressed in a pair rule pattern that is also found in insects and a chelicerate, the mite Tetraynchus urticae. Other Glomeris pair rule gene orthologs are expressed in double segment wide domains in the blastoderm, which at subsequent stages split into two stripes in adjacent segments. CONCLUSIONS: The expression patterns of the millipede pair rule gene orthologs resemble pair rule patterning in Drosophila and other insects, and thus represent evidence for the presence of an ancestral pair rule-like mechanism in myriapods. We discuss the possibilities that blastoderm patterning may be conserved in long-germ and short-germ arthropods, and that a posterior double segmental mechanism may be present in short-germ arthropods.
Curr Biol. 2011 Dec 6;21 (23):R964-6 22153168
Department of Genetics Evolution and Environment, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
While the seven classes within the phylum Mollusca are clearly defined morphologically and molecularly, relationships between them have long been contentious. Two recent phylogenomic studies take an important step forward with intriguing implications for their evolution.
Dev Biol. 2011 Sep 1;357 (1):64-72 21658375
Uppsala University, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology, Uppsala, Sweden. email@example.com
Segmentation, i.e. the subdivision of the body into serially homologous units, is one of the hallmarks of the arthropods. Arthropod segmentation is best understood in the fly Drosophila melanogaster. But different from the situation in most arthropods in this species all segments are formed from the early blastoderm (so called long-germ developmental mode). In most other arthropods only the anterior segments are formed in a similar way (so called short-germ developmental mode). Posterior segments are added one at a time or in pairs of two from a posterior segment addition zone. The segmentation mechanisms are not universally conserved among arthropods and only little is known about the genetic patterning of the anterior segments. Here we present the expression patterns of the insect head patterning gene orthologs hunchback (hb), orthodenticle (otd), buttonhead-like (btdl), collier (col), cap-n-collar (cnc) and crocodile (croc), and the trunk gap gene Krüppel (Kr) in the myriapod Glomeris marginata. Conserved expression of these genes in insects and a myriapod suggests that the anterior segmentation system may be conserved in at least these two classes of arthropods. This finding implies that the anterior patterning mechanism already existed in the last common ancestor of insects and myriapods.
Uppsala University, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology, Villavägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden. firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABSTRACT: Segmentation is a hallmark of the arthropods; most knowledge about the molecular basis of arthropod segmentation comes from work on the fly Drosophila melanogaster. In this species a hierarchic cascade of segmentation genes subdivides the blastoderm stepwise into single segment wide regions. However, segmentation in the fly is a derived feature since all segments form virtually simultaneously. Conversely, in the vast majority of arthropods the posterior segments form one at a time from a posterior pre-segmental zone. The pair rule genes (PRGs) comprise an important level of the Drosophila segmentation gene cascade and are indeed the first genes that are expressed in typical transverse stripes in the early embryo. Information on expression and function of PRGs outside the insects, however, is scarce. Here we present the expression of the pair rule gene orthologs in the pill millipede Glomeris marginata (Myriapoda: Diplopoda). We find evidence that these genes are involved in segmentation and that components of the hierarchic interaction of the gene network as found in insects may be conserved. We further provide evidence that segments are formed in a single-segment periodicity rather than in pairs of two like in another myriapod, the centipede Strigamia maritima. Finally we show that decoupling of dorsal and ventral segmentation in Glomeris appears already at the level of the PRGs. Although the pair rule gene network is partially conserved among insects and myriapods, some aspects of PRG interaction are, as suggested by expression pattern analysis, convergent, even within the Myriapoda. Conserved expression patterns of PRGs in insects and myriapods, however, may represent ancestral features involved in segmenting the arthropod ancestor.
Expression of collier in the premandibular segment of myriapods: support for the traditional Atelocerata concept or a case of convergence?
Uppsala University, Department of Earth Sciences, Villavägen 16, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden. email@example.com
A recent study on expression and function of the ortholog of the Drosophila collier (col) gene in various arthropods including insects, crustaceans and chelicerates suggested a de novo function of col in the development of the appendage-less intercalary segment of insects. However, this assumption was made on the background of the now widely-accepted Pancrustacea hypothesis that hexapods represent an in-group of the crustaceans. It was therefore assumed that the expression of col in myriapods would reflect the ancestral state like in crustaceans and chelicerates, i.e. absence from the premandibular/intercalary segment and hence no function in its formation. We find that col in myriapods is expressed at early developmental stages in the same anterior domain in the head, the parasegment 0, as in insects. Comparable early expression of col is not present in the anterior head of an onychophoran that serves as an out-group species closely related to the arthropods. Our findings suggest either that i) the function of col in head development has been conserved between insects and myriapods, and that these two classes of arthropods may be closely related supporting the traditional Atelocerata (or Tracheata) hypothesis; or ii) alternatively col function could have been lost in early head development in crustaceans, or may indeed have evolved convergently in insects and myriapods.
Conservation, loss, and redeployment of Wnt ligands in protostomes: implications for understanding the evolution of segment formation.
Ralf Janssen, Martine Le Gouar, Matthias Pechmann, Francis Poulin, Renata Bolognesi, Evelyn E Schwager, Corinna Hopfen, John K Colbourne, Graham E Budd, Susan J Brown, Nikola-Michael Prpic, Carolin Kosiol, Michel Vervoort, Wim G M Damen, Guillaume Balavoine, Alistair P McGregor
Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology, Villavägen 16, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden.
Gene expression suggests conserved aspects of Hox gene regulation in arthropods and provides additional support for monophyletic Myriapoda.
Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology, Villavägen 16, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden. firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABSTRACT: Antisense transcripts of Ultrabithorax (aUbx) in the millipede Glomeris and the centipede Lithobius are expressed in patterns complementary to that of the Ubx sense transcripts. A similar complementary expression pattern has been described for non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) of the bithoraxoid (bxd) locus in Drosophila, in which the transcription of bxd ncRNAs represses Ubx via transcriptional interference. We discuss our findings in the context of possibly conserved mechanisms of Ubx regulation in myriapods and the fly.Bicistronic transcription of Ubx and Antennapedia (Antp) has been reported previously for a myriapod and a number of crustaceans. In this paper, we show that Ubx/Antp bicistronic transcripts also occur in Glomeris and an onychophoran, suggesting further conserved mechanisms of Hox gene regulation in arthropods.Myriapod monophyly is supported by the expression of aUbx in all investigated myriapods, whereas in other arthropod classes, including the Onychophora, aUbx is not expressed. Of the two splice variants of Ubx/Antp only one could be isolated from myriapods, representing a possible further synapomorphy of the Myriapoda.
Gene expression patterns in an onychophoran reveal that regionalization predates limb segmentation in pan-arthropods.
Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden. email@example.com
In arthropods, such as Drosophila melanogaster, the leg gap genes homothorax (hth), extradenticle (exd), dachshund (dac), and Distal-less (Dll) regionalize the legs in order to facilitate the subsequent segmentation of the legs. We have isolated homologs of all four leg gap genes from the onychophoran Euperipatoides kanangrensis and have studied their expression. We show that leg regionalization takes place in the legs of onychophorans even though they represent simple and nonsegmented appendages. This implies that leg regionalization evolved for a different function and was only later co-opted for a role in leg segmentation. We also show that the leg gap gene patterns in onychophorans (especially of hth and exd) are similar to the patterns in crustaceans and insects, suggesting that this is the plesiomorphic state in arthropods. The reversed hth and exd patterns in chelicerates and myriapods are therefore an apomorphy for this group, the Myriochelata, lending support to the Myriochelata and Tetraconata clades in arthropod phylogeny.
Head patterning and Hox gene expression in an onychophoran and its implications for the arthropod head problem.
University Museum of Zoology and Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
The arthropod head problem has puzzled zoologists for more than a century. The head of adult arthropods is a complex structure resulting from the modification, fusion and migration of an uncertain number of segments. In contrast, onychophorans, which are the probable sister group to the arthropods, have a rather simple head comprising three segments that are well defined during development, and give rise to the adult head with three pairs of appendages specialised for sensory and food capture/manipulative purposes. Based on the expression pattern of the anterior Hox genes labial, proboscipedia, Hox3 and Deformed, we show that the third of these onychophoran segments, bearing the slime papillae, can be correlated to the tritocerebrum, the most anterior Hox-expressing arthropod segment. This implies that both the onychophoran antennae and jaws are derived from a more anterior, Hox-free region corresponding to the proto and deutocerebrum of arthropods. Our data provide molecular support for the proposal that the onychophoran head possesses a well-developed appendage that corresponds to the anterior, apparently appendage-less region of the arthropod head.
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Department of Functional Genomics and Proteomics, Institute of Experimental Biology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlárská 2, CZ-61137, Brno, Czech Republic.
The organisation of dinoflagellate chromosomes is exceptional among eukaryotes. Their genomes are the largest in the Eukarya domain, chromosomes lack histones and may exist in liquid crystalline state. Therefore, the study of the structural and functional properties of dinoflagellate chromosomes is of high interest. In this work, we have analysed the telomeres and telomerase in two Dinoflagellata species, Karenia papilionacea and Crypthecodinium cohnii. Active telomerase, synthesising exclusively Arabidopsis-type telomere sequences, was detected in cell extracts. The terminal position of TTTAGGG repeats was determined by in situ hybridisation and BAL31 digestion methods and provides evidence for the linear characteristic of dinoflagellate chromosomes. The length of telomeric tracts, 25-80 kb, is the largest among unicellular eukaryotic organisms to date. Both the presence of long arrays of perfect telomeric repeats at the ends of dinoflagellate chromosomes and the existence of active telomerase as the primary tool for their high-fidelity maintenance demonstrate the general importance of these structures throughout eukaryotes. We conclude that whilst chromosomes of dinoflagellates are unique in many aspects of their structure and composition, their telomere maintenance follows the most common scenario.
Laboratories of The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.
1. Living phagocytes are able to protect ingested organisms from the action of destructive substances in the surrounding fluid, and even from a strong homologous antiserum. 2. There is evidence that the protection by phagocytes is largely if not entirely conditioned on their being alive. 3. These facts should be taken into consideration in the study of diseases caused by infectious agents capable of living within tissue cells.
Physiological suppression of the larval parasitoid Glyptapanteles pallipes by the polyembryonic parasitoid Copidosoma floridanum.
Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Saiwai-cho, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan.
Precocious larvae, clonally produced together with reproductive siblings in the polyembryonic parasitoid Copidosoma floridanum, are known to physically attack competitors in multiparasitized hosts. In this study, we show that physiological suppression by C. floridanum, as well as precocious larval activity, causes death of the larval parasitoid Glyptapanteles pallipes. Approximately 70% of the hosts multiparasitized by C. floridanum and G. pallipes produced C. floridanum offspring, irrespective of the interval of multiparasitism. G. pallipes eggs or larvae died even in multiparasitized hosts that did not contain precocious larvae of C. floridanum. An injection of C. floridanum-parasitized or multiparasitized-host hemolymph into G. pallipes singly-parasitized hosts paralyzed almost all G. pallipes larvae within 70 h. In vitro analysis showed that the hemolymph factor toxic to G. pallipes eggs and larvae was present in C. floridanum-parasitized hosts through their larval stages. Heating or proteinase treatment reduced its toxicity, suggesting that the factor is a protein.
Acta Biol Hung. 2005 ;56:67-74 15813215
Transgenic mice, carrying an expressed anti-HIV ribozyme in their genome, show no sign of phenotypic alterations.
Transgenic mice are suitable model animals for testing the in vivo functionality of custom-tailored ribozymes. Transgenic experiments can demonstrate whether a ribozyme is able to cleave any RNA transcript of the host animal or not. Most probably, this kind of cleavage activity gives rise to phenotypic alterations in mice. In the present paper we demonstrate that an anti-HIV ribozyme does not cause any detectable phenotypic effect in mice carrying and expressing it. Our transgenic mice developed well and were indistinguishable from their wild type counterparts.
INRA, BP 86510, 21065 Dijon Cedex, France. email@example.com
Oxyphytosterols (OPS) were fed to hamsters, at different concentrations, in order to observe their eventual incorporation into plasma, aorta, liver, kidneys and heart. The animals receiving the very high level (2500 ppm) presented 7beta-hydroxycampesterol, beta-epoxycampesterol, campestanetriol, 7-ketocampesterol, 7beta-hydroxysitosterol, beta-epoxysitosterol, sitostanetriol and 7-ketositosterol in all tissues. The same compounds were observed in the tissues of animals receiving 500 ppm of OPS in their diet, but with much lower levels. In hamsters fed 100 ppm of OPS, as well as in control animals, in most cases, the only observed OPS was sitostanetriol, which seems to be difficult to eliminate from the animal.
Tsitologiia. 2003 ;45 (1):5-13 12683231
Biological Research Institute, St. Petersburg State University, and Institute of Cytology RAS, St. Petersburg. firstname.lastname@example.org
Yolk globules in developing oocytes of Tilapia mosambique are formed by two processes: 1) biosynthetical activity of oocyte organoides; 2) vitellogenin migration by micropinocytosis and its further transformation. Undoubtedly, yolk globules of endogenic and exogenic origin are fused. The primary yolk globules are spherical, and the secondary ones are lobular. The latter originate by incorporating the former. The fast growth of the late vitellogenic stage oocytes occurs as a result of active migration of primary yolk globules into the central part of the oocyte and as their association with the secondary yolk globules. In vitellogenic oocytes of T. mosambique no yolk vesicles (cortical granules), were found by any existing methods.
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA. email@example.com
Germ cells are essential for reproduction, yet the molecular mechanisms that underlie their unique development are only beginning to be understood. Here we review important events that lead to the establishment of the germline and the initiation of meiotic development in C. elegans. Formation of the germline begins in the pregastrulation embryo, where it depends on polarization along the anterior/posterior axis and on the asymmetric segregation of P granules and associated factors. During postembryonic development, the germline expands using the GLP-1/Notch signaling pathway to promote proliferation and regulate entry into meiosis. Throughout their development, germ cells also employ unique "silencing" mechanisms to regulate their genome and protect themselves against unwanted expression from repetitive sequences including transposable elements. Together these mechanisms preserve the health and reproductive potential of the germline.
Some safety aspects of Salmonella vaccines for poultry: in vivo study of the genetic stability of three Salmonella typhimurium live vaccines.
AFSSA-Ploufragan, Unit HQPAP, P.O. Box 53, Zoopôle, 22440, Ploufragan, France.
Live vaccine strains of Salmonella should be avirulent, immunogenic and genetically stable. Some isolates of three commercially available live vaccine strains of Salmonella typhimurium, sampled during a study on their persistence in a vaccinated flock of chickens, were analyzed for genetic stability using macrorestriction analysis of their genome. Two out of the three vaccine strains showed genetic instabilities. Two of the 51 isolates of Zoosaloral vaccine strain and nine of the 32 analyzed isolates of chi(3985), a genetically modified organism, were variants and showed different macrorestriction profiles.
Department of Crop Protection, Waite Agricultural Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Glen Osmond, South Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Virus particles were reassembled in vitro from tomato aspermy virus strain V (V-TAV) RNA and a mixture of subunits prepared from V-TAV and 35S-labelled cucumber mosaic virus strain T (T-CMV). Immunodiffusion tests showed that the reassembled particles reacted with polyclonal antisera raised against both V-TAV and T-CMV. Radioactivity was found in the precipitin line formed between the reassembled particles and antiserum raised against T-CMV as well as in the precipitin line formed between the reassembled particles and antiserum raised against V-TAV. This shows that 35S-labelled T-CMV protein subunits were incorporated with V-TAV protein subunits into the same particles. Thus, coat proteins of V-TAV and T-CMV can co-assemble and form mixed-subunit capsids in vitro.
Indiana University School of Medicine, Terre Haute Center for Medical Education, Terre Haute 47809.
The localization of the intracerebral microtubule-associated proteins tau (MAP-tau) has been compared to that of amyloid P component (AP), an extracerebral protein, by single- and double-antigen immunohistochemistry in neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer's brains. The results show that, individually, MAP-tau and AP may be observed in all stages of neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) formation. However, NFT labeled by MAP-tau and those labeled by AP largely do not overlap in their distribution. Furthermore, within the few NFT double-labeled by MAP-tau and AP, there was an inverse relationship between the immunoreactivity to MAP-tau and to AP. It is suggested that MAP-tau and AP are incorporated at different times into NFT and that this difference in the timing of NFT expression of these 2 proteins may be useful in the study of progressive NFT formation.