Conservation, loss, and redeployment of Wnt ligands in protostomes: implications for understanding the evolution of segment formation

Ralf Janssen, Martine Le Gouar, Matthias Pechmann, Francis Poulin, Renata Bolognesi, Evelyn E Schwager, Corinna Hopfen, John K Colbourne, Graham E Budd, Susan J Brown, Nikola-Michael Prpic, Carolin Kosiol, Michel Vervoort, Wim G M Damen, Guillaume Balavoine, Alistair P McGregor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

The Wnt genes encode secreted glycoprotein ligands that regulate a wide range of developmental processes, including axis elongation and segmentation. There are thirteen subfamilies of Wnt genes in metazoans and this gene diversity appeared early in animal evolution. The loss of Wnt subfamilies appears to be common in insects, but little is known about the Wnt repertoire in other arthropods, and moreover the expression and function of these genes have only been investigated in a few protostomes outside the relatively Wnt-poor model species Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. To investigate the evolution of this important gene family more broadly in protostomes, we surveyed the Wnt gene diversity in the crustacean Daphnia pulex, the chelicerates Ixodes scapularis and Achaearanea tepidariorum, the myriapod Glomeris marginata and the annelid Platynereis dumerilii. We also characterised Wnt gene expression in the latter three species, and further investigated expression of these genes in the beetle Tribolium castaneum.
Original languageEnglish
Article number374
JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Annelida
  • Arthropods
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Multigene Family
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Synteny
  • Wnt Proteins

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