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Spatial mechanisms of gene regulation in metazoan embryos

Davidson, Eric H. (1991) Spatial mechanisms of gene regulation in metazoan embryos. Development, 113 (1). pp. 1-26. ISSN 0950-1991.

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The basic characteristics of embryonic process throughout Metazoa are considered with focus on those aspects that provide insight into how cell specification occurs in the initial stages of development. There appear to be three major types of embryogenesis: Type 1, a general form characteristic of most invertebrate taxa of today, in which lineage plays an important role in the spatial organization of the early embryo, and cell specification occurs in situ, by both autonomous and conditional mechanisms; Type 2, the vertebrate form of embryogenesis, which proceeds by mechanisms that are essentially independent of cell lineage, in which diffusible morphogens and extensive early cell migration are particularly important; Type 3, the form exemplified by long germ band insects in which several different regulatory mechanisms are used to generate precise patterns of nuclear gene expression prior to cellularization. Evolutionary implications of the phylogenetic distribution of these types of embryogenesis are considered. Regionally expressed homeodomain regulators are utilized in all three types of embryo, in similar ways in later and postembryonic development, but in different ways in early embryonic development. A specific downstream molecular function for this class of regulator is proposed, based on evidence obtained in vertebrate systems. This provides a route by which to approach the comparative regulatory strategies underlying the three major types of embryogenesis.

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Additional Information:© 1991 The Company of Biologists Limited. Accepted 17 June 1991. Needless to say, I have relied heavily on the thoughtful critical advice, and the expert insights of many colleagues who generously expended their valuable time in reviewing drafts of this manuscript. I cannot too strongly express my appreciation to the following people: Frank Calzone, UC Irvine; Rick Firtel, UC San Diego; Gary Freeman, University of Texas; Antonio Garcia-Bellido, Centro de Biologia Molecular, Madrid; Mike Levine, UC San Diego; Andrew McMahon, Roche Institute; Jim Posakony, UC San Diego; Richard Whittaker, Marine Biological Laboratory; and Roy Britten, Andy Cameron, Scott Fraser, Barbara Hough-Evans, Howard Lipshitz, Ellen Rothenberg, and Paul Sternberg, all of Caltech. This work was partially supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (HD-05753).
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Subject Keywords:gene regulation, spatial mechanism, metazoa, cell lineage, cell specification
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120417-140044633
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:30140
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Apr 2012 21:10
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:47

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