Novel origins of lineage founder cells in the direct-developing sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma.
The lineage and fate of each blastomere in the 32-cell embryo of the direct-developing sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma have been traced by microinjection of tetramethylrhodamine-dextran. The results reveal substantive evolutionary modifications of the ancestral cell lineage pattern of indirect sea urchin development. Significant among these modifications are changes in the time and order of cell lineage segregation: vegetal ectodermal founder cells consistently arise earlier than during indirect development, while internal founder cells generally segregate later and in a different sequence. Modifications have also arisen in proportions of the embryo fated to become various cell types and larval structures. Ectodermal fates, particularly vestibular ectoderm, comprise a greater proportion of the total cellular volume in H. erythrogramma. Among internal cell types, coelom consumes more and endoderm less of the remaining cellular volume than during indirect sea urchin development. Evolutionary modifications are also apparent in the positional origin of larval cell types and structures in H. erythrogramma. These include an apparent tilt in the axis of prospective cell fate relative to the animal-vegetal axis as defined by cleavage planes. Together these evolutionary changes in the cell lineage of H. erythrogramma produce an accelerated loss of dorsoventral symmetry in cell fate relative to indirect development. The extent and diversity of rearrangements in its cell lineage indicate that the non-feeding larva of H. erythrogramma is a highly modified, novel form rather than a degenerate pluteus larva. These same modifications underscore the evolutionarily flexible relationship between cell lineage, gene expression, and larval morphology in sea urchin development.
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