Anteroposterior patterning of the epidermis by inductive influences from the vegetal hemisphere cells in the ascidian embryo

Shuichi Wada, You Katsuyama, Hidetoshi Saiga

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    35 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Patterning along the anteroposterior axis is a critical step during animal embryogenesis. Although mechanisms of anteroposterior patterning in the neural tube have been studied in various chordates, little is known about those of the epidermis. To approach this issue, we investigated patterning mechanisms of the epidermis in the ascidian embryo. First we examined expression of homeobox genes (Hrdll-I, Hroth, HrHox-1 and Hrcad) in the epidermis. Hrdll-1 is expressed in the anterior tip of the epidermis that later forms the adhesive papillae, while Hroth is expressed in the anterior part of the trunk epidermis. HrHox-1 and Hrcad are expressed in middle and posterior parts of the epidermis, respectively. These data suggested that the epidermis of the ascidian embryo is patterned anteroposteriorly. In ascidian embryogenesis, the epidermis is exclusively derived from animal hemisphere cells. To investigate regulation of expression of the four homeobox genes in the epidermis by vegetal hemisphere cells, we next performed hemisphere isolation and cell ablation experiments. We showed that removal of the vegetal cells before the late 16-cell stage results in loss of expression of these homeobox genes in the animal hemisphere cells. Expression of Hrdll-1 and Hroth depends on contact with the anterior-vegetal (the A-line) cells, while expression of HrHox-1 and Hrcad requires contact with the posterior-vegetal (the B-line) cells. We also demonstrated that contact with the vegetal cells until the late 32-cell stage is sufficient for animal cells to express Hrdll-1, Hroth and Hrcad, while longer contact is necessary for HrHox-1 expression. Contact with the A-line cells until the late 32-cell stage is also sufficient for formation of the adhesive papillae. Our data indicate that the epidermis of the ascidian embryo is patterned along the anteroposterior axis by multiple inductive influences from the vegetal hemisphere cells and provide the first insight into mechanisms of epidermis patterning in the chordate embryos.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4955-4963
    Number of pages9
    JournalDevelopment
    Volume126
    Issue number22
    Publication statusPublished - 1999 Dec 1

    Keywords

    • Anteroposterior axis
    • Ascidian
    • Epidermis
    • Inductive influence
    • Patterning
    • Vegetal hemisphere cell

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Molecular Biology
    • Developmental Biology

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