The ascidian embryo: An experimental system for studying genetic circuitry for embryonic cell specification and morphogenesis

Noriyuki Satoh, Kazuhiro W. Makabe, You Katsuyama, Shuichi Wada, Hidetoshi Saiga

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    35 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Ascidians have served as an appropriate experimental system in developmental biology for more than a century. The fertilized egg develops quickly into a tadpole larva, which consists of a small number of tissues including the epidermis, central nervous system with two sensory organs, nerve cord, endoderm, mesenchyme, notochord and muscle. Lineage of these embryonic cells is completely described up to the gastrula stage. These features of the ascidian embryo provide an opportunity to study the mechanisms underlying the differentiation of tissues in development. To understand the molecular basis of ascidian embryogenesis, cloning of various genes has been performed, including those that exhibit a lineage-associated expression pattern and those encoding transcription factors, which are expected to be involved in differentiation of tissues, lineage specification, axis formation and regionalization in developmental fields. Here, we present recent advances in the isolation and characterization of these genes. We emphasize the advantages of the ascidian embryo as an experimental system to study genetic circuitries that are required for cellular differentiation and morphogenesis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)325-340
    Number of pages16
    JournalDevelopment Growth and Differentiation
    Volume38
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1996 Jan 1

    Keywords

    • ascidian embryos
    • cis-regulatory elements
    • lineage-specific expression
    • tissue-specific genes
    • transcription factors

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Developmental Biology
    • Cell Biology

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