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Zoolog Sci. 2002 Jan;19(1):57-66.

Group B sox genes that contribute to specification of the vertebrate brain are expressed in the apical organ and ciliary bands of hemichordate larvae.

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


We have identified and characterized the sequence and expression of two Group B Sox genes in the acorn worm, Ptychodera flava. One sequence represents a Group B1 Sox gene and is designated Pf-SoxB1; the other is a Group B2 Sox gene and is designated Pf-SoxB2. Both genes encode polypeptides with an HMG domain in the N-terminal half. Whole-mount in situ hybridization to embryonic and larval stages of P. flava shows that the two genes are expressed in rather similar patterns at these stages. Expression is first detected in the cells of the blastula and subsequently localizes to the ectoderm during gastrulation. As the mouth forms, expression becomes concentrated in the stomodeum region. During morphogenesis of the tornaria larva, expression in the stomodeal ectoderm remains prominent around the mouth and under the oral hood. Later the genes are prominently upregulated in the ciliary bands and the apical organ. These results provide additional evidence that genes playing essential roles in the formation of the chordate dorsal central nervous system function in the development of the ciliary bands and apical organ, neural structures of this non-chordate deuterostome larva.

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