A genomewide survey of developmentally relevant genes in Ciona intestinalis
Cell–cell interactions play important roles in a variety of developmental processes, and therefore molecules involved in the signaling pathways have been studied extensively. Recently, the draft genome sequence of the basal chordate, Ciona intestinalis, was determined. Here we annotated genes for the signaling pathways of Wnt, transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), Hedgehog, and JAK/STAT in the genome of Ciona intestinalis. The Ciona genome contains ten wnt genes, six frizzled genes, four sFRP genes, ten TGFβ family member genes, five TGFβ-receptor genes, and five Smad genes; most of the genes were found with less redundancy than in vertebrate genomes. The other genes in the signaling pathways are present as a single copy in the Ciona genome. In addition, all of the identified genes for the signaling pathway, except for a few genes, have EST evidence, and their cDNAs are available from the Ciona intestinalis gene collection. Therefore, Ciona intestinalis may provide an experimental system for exploring the basic genetic cascade associated with the signaling pathways in chordates.
KeywordsBasal chordates Ciona intestinalis Genomewide survey Hedgehog JAK/STAT TGFβ Wnt
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