Mar 3, 2020

A single-cell analysis of the molecular lineage of chordate embryogenesis

Tengjiao ZhangZhirong Bao


In multicellular organisms, a single zygote develops along divergent lineages to produce distinct cell types. What governs these processes is central to the understanding of cell fate specification and stem cell engineering. Here we used the protochordate model Ciona savignyi to determine gene expression profiles of every cell of single embryos from fertilization through the onset of gastrulation and provided a comprehensive map of chordate early embryonic lineage specification. We identified 47 cell types across 8 developmental stages up to the 110-cell stage in wild type embryos and 8 fate transformations at the 64-cell stage upon FGF-MAPK inhibition. The identities of all cell types were evidenced by in situ expression pattern of marker genes and expected number of cells based on the invariant lineage. We found that, for the majority of asymmetrical cell divisions, the bipotent mother cell shows predominantly the gene signature of one of the daughter fates, with the other daughter being induced by subsequent signaling. Our data further indicated that the asymmetric segregation of mitochondria in some of these divisions does not depend on the concurrent fate inducing FGF-MAPK signaling. In the notochord, which is an evolution...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Protein Expression
Theileria brachyuri
Gene Regulatory Networks
Gene Expression

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