Ascidians present a striking dichotomy between conserved phenotypes and divergent genomes: embryonic cell lineages and gene expression patterns are conserved between distantly related species. Much research has focused on Ciona or Halocynthia spp. but development in other ascidians remains poorly characterized. Here we surveyed the multipotent myogenic B7.5 lineage in Molgula spp. Comparisons to the homologous lineage in Ciona revealed identical cell division and fate specification events that result in segregation of larval, cardiac, and pharyngeal muscle progenitors. Moreover, the expression patterns of key regulators are conserved, but cross-species transgenic assays uncovered incompatibility, or "unintelligibility", of orthologous cis-regulatory sequences between Molgula and Ciona. These sequences drive identical expression patterns that are not recapitulated in cross-species assays. We show that this unintelligibility is likely due to changes in both cis- and trans-actingelements, hinting at widespread and frequent turnover of regulatory mechanisms underlying otherwise conserved aspects of ascidian embryogenesis.
- Margaret Buckingham, Institut Pasteur, France
© 2014, Stolfi et al.
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The study of color patterns in the animal integument is a fundamental question in biology, with many lepidopteran species being exemplary models in this endeavor due to their relative simplicity and elegance. While significant advances have been made in unraveling the cellular and molecular basis of lepidopteran pigmentary coloration, the morphogenesis of wing scale nanostructures involved in structural color production is not well understood. Contemporary research on this topic largely focuses on a few nymphalid model taxa (e.g., Bicyclus, Heliconius), despite an overwhelming diversity in the hierarchical nanostructural organization of lepidopteran wing scales. Here, we present a time-resolved, comparative developmental study of hierarchical scale nanostructures in Parides eurimedes and five other papilionid species. Our results uphold the putative conserved role of F-actin bundles in acting as spacers between developing ridges, as previously documented in several nymphalid species. Interestingly, while ridges are developing in P. eurimedes, plasma membrane manifests irregular mesh-like crossribs characteristic of Papilionidae, which delineate the accretion of cuticle into rows of planar disks in between ridges. Once the ridges have grown, disintegrating F-actin bundles appear to reorganize into a network that supports the invagination of plasma membrane underlying the disks, subsequently forming an extruded honeycomb lattice. Our results uncover a previously undocumented role for F-actin in the morphogenesis of complex wing scale nanostructures, likely specific to Papilionidae.
The hippocampus executes crucial functions from declarative memory to adaptive behaviors associated with cognition and emotion. However, the mechanisms of how morphogenesis and functions along the hippocampal dorsoventral axis are differentiated and integrated are still largely unclear. Here, we show that Nr2f1 and Nr2f2 genes are distinctively expressed in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus, respectively. The loss of Nr2f2 results in ectopic CA1/CA3 domains in the ventral hippocampus. The deficiency of Nr2f1 leads to the failed specification of dorsal CA1, among which there are place cells. The deletion of both Nr2f genes causes almost agenesis of the hippocampus with abnormalities of trisynaptic circuit and adult neurogenesis. Moreover, Nr2f1/2 may cooperate to guarantee appropriate morphogenesis and function of the hippocampus by regulating the Lhx5-Lhx2 axis. Our findings revealed a novel mechanism that Nr2f1 and Nr2f2 converge to govern the differentiation and integration of distinct characteristics of the hippocampus in mice.