, Volume 213, Issue 5-6, pp 273-283
Date: 10 May 2003

A genomewide survey of developmentally relevant genes in Ciona intestinalis

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In the present study, genes involved in the pathways that establish cell polarity and cascades regulating actin dynamics were identified in the completely sequenced genome of Ciona intestinalis, a basal chordate. It was revealed that the Ciona genome contains orthologous genes of each component of aPKC-Par and PCP pathways and WASP/WAVE/SCAR and ADF/cofilin cascades, with less redundancy than the vertebrate genomes, suggesting that the conserved pathways/cascades function in Ciona development. In addition, the present study found that the orthologous proteins of five gene groups (Tc10, WRCH, RhoD, PLC-L, and PSKH) are conserved in humans and Ciona but not in Drosophila melanogaster, suggesting a similarity in the gene composition of Ciona to that of vertebrates. Ciona intestinalis, therefore, may provide refined clues for the study of vertebrate development and evolution.

Edited by D. Tautz