Dynamic changes in developmental gene expression in the basal chordate Ciona intestinalis

Authors

  • Takeshi Kawashima,

    1. Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan, and
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    • These authors contributed equally to this study.

  • Yutaka Satou,

    1. Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan, and
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    • These authors contributed equally to this study.

  • Seiko D. Murakami,

    1. Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan, and
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  • Nori Satoh

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan, and
    2. CREST, Japan Science Technology Agency, Kawaguchi, Saitama 303-0003, Japan
      *Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
      Email: satoh@ascidian.zool.kyoto-u.ac.jp
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*Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
Email: satoh@ascidian.zool.kyoto-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Large-scale expressed sequence tags (EST) analysis was used to demonstrate a number of dynamic changes in the global gene expression profile of the basal chordate Ciona intestinalis over the course of its development. The fertilized egg was found to store a great variety of maternal transcripts and, as development proceeds, the organism expresses a progressively smaller repertoire of genes. In addition, a significant portion of genes involved in embryogenesis were observed to be downregulated during metamorphosis, at which point the adult appears to utilize a different set of genes to form its body. At least 25% of the genes involved in development were found to be used multiple times. This kind of information is essential to form a comprehensive understanding of the overarching expression-control plan by which the basic chordate body is formed.

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