Development Genes and Evolution

, Volume 216, Issue 12, pp 821–828 | Cite as

The expression of a hunchback ortholog in the polychaete annelid Platynereis dumerilii suggests an ancestral role in mesoderm development and neurogenesis

  • Pierre Kerner
  • Fabiola Zelada González
  • Martine Le Gouar
  • Valérie Ledent
  • Detlev Arendt
  • Michel Vervoort
Short Communication


Orthologs of the Drosophila gap gene hunchback have been isolated so far only in protostomes. Phylogenetic analysis of recently available genomic data allowed us to confirm that hunchback genes are widely found in protostomes (both lophotrochozoans and ecdysozoans). In contrast, no unequivocal hunchback gene can be found in the genomes of deuterostomes and non-bilaterians. We cloned hunchback in the marine polychaete annelid Platynereis dumerilii and analysed its expression during development. In this species, hunchback displays an expression pattern indicative of a role in mesoderm formation and neurogenesis, and similar to the expression found for hunchback genes in arthropods. These data suggest altogether that these functions are ancestral to protostomes.


Evolution Annelid Platynereis dumerilii hunchback Neurogenesis Mesoderm formation 



This work has been supported by the CNRS and the Ministère Français de la Recherche through its ACI ‘Jeunes chercheurs et jeunes chercheuses’ and ACI ‘Biologie et Physiologie du développement’ (to M.V.). F.Z.G. was financially supported during her Ph.D. thesis by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). P.K. holds a ‘Bourse pour Docteur-Ingénieur’ from the CNRS. V.L. was supported by the Belgian Science Policy.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Kerner
    • 1
  • Fabiola Zelada González
    • 2
    • 5
  • Martine Le Gouar
    • 1
  • Valérie Ledent
    • 3
  • Detlev Arendt
    • 2
  • Michel Vervoort
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratoire Evolution et Développement des protostomiensCentre de Génétique Moléculaire-CNRS UPR 2167, 1, av. de la terrasseGif-sur-Yvette cedexFrance
  2. 2.European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)HeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.Belgian EMBnet Node-Laboratoire de Bioinformatique, Institut de Biologie et de Médecine MoléculairesUniversité Libre de BruxellesGosseliesBelgium
  4. 4.UFR de Biologie et Sciences de la NatureUniversité Paris 7-Denis DiderotParis Cedex 05France
  5. 5.Centre d´Immunologie Marseille-Luminy (CIML)Parc Scientifique de Luminy. Case 906Marseille Cedex 09France

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