Dec 18, 2013

Spatiotemporal development of the embryonic nervous system of Saccoglossus kowalevskii

Developmental Biology
Doreen Cunningham, Elena Silva Casey


Defining the organization and temporal onset of key steps in neurogenesis in invertebrate deuterostomes is critical to understand the evolution of the bilaterian and deuterostome nervous systems. Although recent studies have revealed the organization of the nervous system in adult hemichordates, little attention has been paid to neurogenesis during embryonic development in this third major phylum of deuterostomes. We examine the early events of neural development in the enteropneust hemichordate Saccoglossus kowalevskii by analyzing the expression of 11 orthologs of key genes associated with neurogenesis in an expansive range of bilaterians. Using in situ hybridization (ISH) and RT-PCR, we follow the course of neural development to track the transition of the early embryonic diffuse nervous system to the more regionalized midline nervous system of the adult. We show that in Saccoglossus, neural progenitor markers are expressed maternally and broadly encircle the developing embryo. An increase in their expression and the onset of pan neural markers, indicate that neural specification occurs in late blastulae - early gastrulae. By mid-gastrulation, punctate expression of markers of differentiating neurons encircling the embryo in...Continue Reading

  • References39
  • Citations14


Mentioned in this Paper

Phylum Hemichordata
SOX1 gene
Chordata, Nonvertebrate
RNA, Small Interfering

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