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Published December 17, 2009 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Modularity and design principles in the sea urchin embryo gene regulatory network


The gene regulatory network (GRN) established experimentally for the pre-gastrular sea urchin embryo provides causal explanations of the biological functions required for spatial specification of embryonic regulatory states. Here we focus on the structure of the GRN which controls the progressive increase in complexity of territorial regulatory states during embryogenesis; and on the types of modular subcircuits of which the GRN is composed. Each of these subcircuit topologies executes a particular operation of spatial information processing. The GRN architecture reflects the particular mode of embryogenesis represented by sea urchin development. Network structure not only specifies the linkages constituting the genomic regulatory code for development, but also indicates the various regulatory requirements of regional developmental processes.

Additional Information

© 2009 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. Received 14 November 2009; accepted 16 November 2009. Available online 20 November 2009. Edited by Stefan Hohmann. Research was supported by NIH grant HD37105 and the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust. I.P. was supported by a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

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