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Gene. 2004 Oct 13;340(2):291-301.

Comparative analysis of Brachyury T-domains, with the characterization of two new sponge sequences, from a hexactinellid and a calcisponge.

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Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6), Equipe Evolution et Developpement, UMR CNRS 7138 "Systématique, Adaptation, Evolution" Case 05, Bat. B, 7ème étage, pièce 7059 quai St Bernard, 75 005 Paris, France.


The Brachyury family of T-domain containing transcription factor has been recently the subject of a number of Evo-Devo studies, with expression data obtained from a wide sampling of eumetazans, pointing to a possible conserved role in the formation of the blastopore and the extremities of the digestive tract. Here we present a comparative analysis of Brachyury sequences at the metazoan scale, using published data and two new sponge Brachyury sequences. Alignment features, gene phylogeny, and the evolution of variable positions within the T-domain are discussed in the light of available data about functional constraints on the residues. Interestingly, the high sequence divergence observed in Brachyury T-domains from sponges appears to be mostly the consequence of autapomorphic changes within the sponge lineages, rather than the retention of primitive character states.

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