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Evolutionary plasticity of developmental gene regulatory network architecture

Hinman, Veronica F. and Davidson, Eric H. (2007) Evolutionary plasticity of developmental gene regulatory network architecture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104 (49). pp. 19404-19409. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC2148302. doi:10.1073/pnas.0709994104.

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Sea stars and sea urchins evolved from a last common ancestor that lived at the end of the Cambrian, approximately half a billion years ago. In a previous comparative study of the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that embody the genomic program for embryogenesis in these animals, we discovered an almost perfectly conserved five-gene network subcircuit required for endoderm specification. We show here that the GRN structure upstream and downstream of the conserved network kernel has, by contrast, diverged extensively. Mesoderm specification is accomplished quite differently; the Delta–Notch signaling system is used in radically distinct ways; and various regulatory genes have been coopted to different functions. The conservation of the conserved kernel is thus the more remarkable. The results indicate types of network linkage subject to evolutionary change. An emergent theme is that subcircuit design may be preserved even while the identity of genes performing given roles changes because of alteration in their cis-regulatory control systems.

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Additional Information:© 2007 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Contributed by Eric H. Davidson, October 22, 2007 (received for review September 16, 2007). Published online before print November 27, 2007, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0709994104. We thank Kirsten Welge for help with the early characterization of delta in sea stars and Pat Leahy for collection and maintenance of adult animals. This work was funded by National Science Foundation Grant IOS-0641398. Author contributions: V.F.H. and E.H.D. designed research; V.F.H. performed research; V.F.H. and E.H.D. analyzed data; and V.F.H. and E.H.D. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article contains supporting information online at
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Subject Keywords:echinoderm; gene regulation; Asterina miniata; cis regulation; Delta
Issue or Number:49
PubMed Central ID:PMC2148302
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:HINpnas07
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11157
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:18 Jul 2008 23:48
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 21:33

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