Characterization of twist and snail gene expression during mesoderm and nervous system development in the polychaete annelid Capitella sp. I

Dill, Kariena K.; Thamm, Katrin; Seaver, Elaine C.
June 2007
Development Genes & Evolution;Jun2007, Vol. 217 Issue 6, p435
Academic Journal
To investigate the evolutionary history of mesoderm in the bilaterian lineage, we are studying mesoderm development in the polychaete annelid, Capitella sp. I, a representative lophotrochozoan. In this study, we focus on the Twist and Snail families as candidate mesodermal patterning genes and report the isolation and in situ expression patterns of two twist homologs ( CapI-twt1 and CapI-twt2) and two snail homologs ( CapI-sna1 and CapI-sna2) in Capitella sp. I. CapI-twt1 is expressed in a subset of mesoderm derivatives during larval development, while CapI-twt2 shows more general mesoderm expression at the same stages. Neither twist gene is detected before the completion of gastrulation. The two snail genes have very distinct expression patterns. At cleavage and early gastrula stages, CapI-sna1 is broadly expressed in precursors of all three germ layers and becomes restricted to cells around the closing blastopore during late gastrulation; CapI-sna2 expression is not detected at these stages. After gastrulation, both snail genes are expressed in the developing central nervous system (CNS) at stages when neural precursor cells are internalized, and CapI-sna1 is also expressed laterally within the segmental mesoderm. Based on the expression patterns in this study, we suggest a putative function for Capitella sp. I twist genes in mesoderm differentiation and for snail genes in regulating CNS development and general cell migration during gastrulation.


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