Molecular regionalization of the developing amphioxus neural tube challenges major partitions of the vertebrate brain
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All vertebrate brains develop following a common Bauplan defined by anteroposterior (AP) and dorsoventral (DV) subdivisions, characterized by largely conserved differential expression of gene markers. However, it is still unclear how this Bauplan originated during evolution. We studied the relative expression of 48 genes with key roles in vertebrate neural patterning in a representative amphioxus embryonic stage. Unlike nonchordates, amphioxus develops its central nervous system (CNS) from a neural plate that is homologous to that of vertebrates, allowing direct topological comparisons. The resulting genoarchitectonic model revealed that the amphioxus incipient neural tube is unexpectedly complex, consisting of several AP and DV molecular partitions. Strikingly, comparison with vertebrates indicates that the vertebrate thalamus, pretectum, and midbrain domains jointly correspond to a single amphioxus region, which we termed Di-Mesencephalic primordium (DiMes). This suggests that these domains have a common developmental and evolutionary origin, as supported by functional experiments manipulating secondary organizers in zebrafish and mice.
Albuixech-Crespo , B , López-Blanch , L , Burguera , D , Maeso , I , Sánchez Arrones , L , Moreno-Bravo , J A , Somorjai , I , Pascual-Anaya , J , Puelles , E , Bovolenta , P , Garcia-Fernàndez , J , Puelles , L , Irimia , M & Ferran , J L 2017 , ' Molecular regionalization of the developing amphioxus neural tube challenges major partitions of the vertebrate brain ' PLoS Biology , vol 15 , no. 4 , e2001573 . DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2001573
© 2017 Albuixech-Crespo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS).
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