Treen N, Konishi S, Nishida H, Onuma TA, Sasakura Y.
Zic-r.b controls cell numbers in Ciona embryos by activating CDKN1B.
The control of cell numbers and the establishment of cell types are two processes that are essential in early embryonic development. We have a reasonable understanding of how these processes occur individually, but we have considerably less sophisticated understanding of how these processes are linked. Tunicates have fixed cell lineages with predictable cell cycles, making them well suited to investigate these processes. In the ascidian Ciona, we show that the transcription factor Zic-r.b, known to be involved in establishing several cell types in early development also activates the expression of the cell cycle inhibitor CDKN1B. Zic-r.b is a major missing component of the cell division clock establishing specific cell numbers. We also show that a larvacean homolog of Zic-r.b is expressed one cell cycle earlier than its Ciona counterpart. The early expression in larvaceans may explain why they have half as many notochord cells as ascidians and may illustrate a general mechanism to evolve changes in morphology.
Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
|C.intestinalis / (O.japonicus)
|Wild C. int