The expression patterns of Brachyury (Bra) orthologs in the development of four species of sand dollars (order: Clypeasteroida), including a direct-developing species, and of a sea urchin species (order: Echinoida) were investigated during the period from blastula to the pluteus stage, with special attention paid to the relationship between the expression pattern and the mode of gastrulation. The sand dollar species shared two expression domains of the Bra orthologs with the Echinoida species, in the vegetal ring (the first domain) and the oral ectoderm (the second domain). The following heterotopic changes in the expression of the Bra genes were found among the sand dollar species and between the sand dollars and the Echinoida species. (1) The vegetal ring expressing Bra in the sand dollars was much wider and was located at a higher position along the AV axis, compared with that in the Echinoida species. The characteristic Bra expression in the vegetal ring of the sand dollar embryos was thought to be involved in the mode of gastrulation, in which involution continues from the beginning of invagination until the end of gastrulation. (2) Two of the three indirect-developing sand dollar species that were examined exhibited a third domain, in which Bra was expressed on the oral side of the archenteron. (3) In the direct-developing sand dollar embryos, Bra was expressed with an oral-aboral asymmetry in the vegetal ring and with a left-right asymmetry in the oral ectoderm. In the Echinoida species, Bra was expressed in the vestibule at the six-armed pluteus stage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology