Transcriptomic analysis of Nodal- and BMP-associated genes during juvenile development of the sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma.
Understanding the unusual radial body plan of echinoderms and its relationship to the bilateral plan of other deuterostomes remains a challenge. The molecular processes of embryonic and early larval development in sea urchins are well characterised, but those giving rise to the adult and its radial body remain poorly studied. We used the developmental transcriptome generated for Heliocidaris erythrogramma, a species that forms the juvenile soon after gastrulation, to investigate changes in gene expression underlying radial body development. As coelomogenesis is key to the development of pentamery and juvenile formation on the left side of the larva, we focussed on genes associated with the nodal and BMP2/4 network that pattern this asymmetry. We identified 46 genes associated with this Nodal and BMP2/4 signalling network, and determined their expression profiles from the gastrula, through to rudiment development, metamorphosis and the fully formed juvenile. Genes associated with Nodal signalling shared similar expression profiles, indicating that they may have a regulatory relationship in patterning morphogenesis of the juvenile sea urchin. Similarly, many genes associated with BMP2/4 signalling had similar expression profiles through juvenile development. Further examination of the roles of Nodal- and BMP2/4-associated genes is required to determine function and whether the gene expression profiles seen in H. erythrogramma are due to ongoing activity of gene networks established during early development, or to redeployment of regulatory cassettes to pattern the adult radial body plan.
Byrne, M; Koop, D; Cisternas, P; Strbenac, D; Yang, JYH; Wray, GA
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