The ascidian tadpole represents the most simplified chordate body plan. It contains a notochord composed of just 40 cells, but as in vertebrates Brachyury is essential for notochord differentiation. Here, we show that the misexpression of the Brachyury gene (Ci-Bra) of Ciona intestinalis is sufficient to transform endoderm into notochord. Subtractive hybridization screens were conducted to identify potential Brachyury target genes that are induced upon Ci-Bra misexpression. Of 501 independent cDNA clones that were surveyed, 38 were specifically expressed in notochord cells. These potential Ci-Bra downstream genes appear to encode a broad spectrum of divergent proteins associated with notochord formation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology
- Downstream genes