Developmental origin of peripheral ciliary band neurons in the sea urchin embryo.
In the sea urchin larva, most neurons lie within an ectodermal region called the ciliary band. Our understanding of the mechanisms of specification and patterning of these peripheral ciliary band neurons is incomplete. Here, we first examine the gene regulatory landscape from which this population of neural progenitors arise in the neuroectoderm. We show that ciliary band neural progenitors first appear in a bilaterally symmetric pattern on the lateral edges of chordin expression in the neuroectoderm. Later in development, these progenitors appear in a salt-and-pepper pattern in the ciliary band where they express soxC, and prox, which are markers of neural specification, and begin to express synaptotagminB, a marker of differentiated neurons. We show that the ciliary band expresses the acid sensing ion channel gene asicl, which suggests that ciliary band neurons control the larva's ability to discern touch sensitivity. Using a chemical inhibitor of MAPK signaling, we show that this signaling pathway is required for proper specification and patterning of ciliary band neurons. Using live imaging, we show that these neural progenitors undergo small distance migrations in the embryo. We then show that the normal swimming behavior of the larvae is compromised if the neurogenesis pathway is perturbed. The developmental sequence of ciliary band neurons is very similar to that of neural crest-derived sensory neurons in vertebrates and may provide insights into the evolution of sensory neurons in deuterostomes.
Slota, LA; Miranda, E; Peskin, B; McClay, DR
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