Dorsoventral pattering relies on Toll and BMP signalling in all insects studied so far, with variations in the relative contributions of both pathways. Drosophila and the beetle Tribolium share extensive dependence on Toll, while representatives of more distantly related lineages like the wasp Nasonia and bug Oncopeltus rely more strongly on BMP signalling. Here, we show that in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus, an evolutionarily distant outgroup, Toll has, like in Drosophila, a direct patterning role for the ventral half of the embryo. In addition, Toll polarizes BMP signalling, although this does not involve the conserved BMP inhibitor Sog/Chordin. Finally, Toll activation relies on ovarian patterning mechanisms with striking similarity to Drosophila. Our data suggest two surprising hypotheses: 1) that Toll's patterning function in Gryllus and Drosophila is the result of convergent evolution or 2) a Drosophila-like system arose early in insect evolution, and was extensively altered in multiple independent lineages.
- Matthias Pechmann
- Yen-Ta Chen
- Thomas Buchta
- Thomas Buchta
- Orhan Özüak
- Jeremy A Lynch
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Patricia J Wittkopp, University of Michigan, United States
© 2021, Pechmann et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The process of brain folding is thought to play an important role in the development and organisation of the cerebrum and the cerebellum. The study of cerebellar folding is challenging due to the small size and abundance of its folia. In consequence, little is known about its anatomical diversity and evolution. We constituted an open collection of histological data from 56 mammalian species and manually segmented the cerebrum and the cerebellum. We developed methods to measure the geometry of cerebellar folia and to estimate the thickness of the molecular layer. We used phylogenetic comparative methods to study the diversity and evolution of cerebellar folding and its relationship with the anatomy of the cerebrum. Our results show that the evolution of cerebellar and cerebral anatomy follows a stabilising selection process. We observed 2 groups of phenotypes changing concertedly through evolution: a group of 'diverse' phenotypes - varying over several orders of magnitude together with body size, and a group of 'stable' phenotypes varying over less than 1 order of magnitude across species. Our analyses confirmed the strong correlation between cerebral and cerebellar volumes across species, and showed in addition that large cerebella are disproportionately more folded than smaller ones. Compared with the extreme variations in cerebellar surface area, folial anatomy and molecular layer thickness varied only slightly, showing a much smaller increase in the larger cerebella. We discuss how these findings could provide new insights into the diversity and evolution of cerebellar folding, the mechanisms of cerebellar and cerebral folding, and their potential influence on the organisation of the brain across species.
Cephalochordates and tunicates represent the only two groups of invertebrate chordates, and extant cephalochordates – commonly known as amphioxus or lancelets – are considered the best proxy for the chordate ancestor, from which they split around 520 million years ago. Amphioxus has been an important organism in the fields of zoology and embryology since the 18th century, and the morphological and genomic simplicity of cephalochordates (compared to vertebrates) makes amphioxus an attractive model for studying chordate biology at the cellular and molecular levels. Here we describe the life cycle of amphioxus, and discuss the natural histories and habitats of the different species of amphioxus. We also describe their use as laboratory animal models, and discuss the techniques that have been developed to study different aspects of amphioxus.