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Dev Biol. 2005 Aug 15;284(2):536-50.

Microarray analysis of localization of maternal transcripts in eggs and early embryos of the ascidian, Ciona intestinalis.

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


The establishment of body axes and specification of early embryonic cells depend on maternally supplied transcripts and/or proteins, several of which are localized at specific regions of fertilized eggs and early embryos. The ascidian is known to exhibit a mosaic mode of development, and this mode is largely dependent on localized maternal factors. Using blastomere isolation, microarray and whole-mount in situ hybridization, the present study of Ciona intestinalis demonstrates that maternal transcripts of a total of 17 genes are localized at the posterior-most region of fertilized eggs and early embryos. Ten of them are newly identified in the present study, while the remaining seven genes have already been characterized in previous studies. In addition, maternal transcripts of two genes, in addition to 14 genes encoded by the mitochondrial genome, showed a mitochondria-like distribution. Despite the present comprehensive approach, we could not identify maternal transcripts that are clearly localized to the animal-pole side, the vegetal-pole side, the anterior-side or other specific regions of the early embryo. Therefore, we concluded that the posterior-most localization and mitochondria-like distribution appear to be major specialized patterns of maternal transcripts in early Ciona embryos.

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