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Development. 2006 Nov;133(22):4539-47. Epub 2006 Oct 18.

brachyenteron is necessary for morphogenesis of the posterior gut but not for anteroposterior axial elongation from the posterior growth zone in the intermediate-germband cricket Gryllus bimaculatus.

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  • 1Department of Biological Science and Technology, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Tokushima, 2-1 Minami-Josanjima-cho, Tokushima City 770-8506, Japan.


In the long-germband insect Drosophila, all body segments and posterior terminal structures, including the posterior gut and anal pads, are specified at the blastoderm stage. In short- and intermediate-germband insects, however, posterior segments are sequentially produced from the posterior growth zone, a process resembling somitogenesis in vertebrates, and invagination of the posterior gut starts after anteroposterior (AP) axial elongation from the growth zone. The mechanisms underlying posterior segmentation and terminal patterning in these insects are poorly understood. In order to elucidate these mechanisms, we have investigated the roles of the Brachyury/brachyenteron (Bra/byn) homolog in the intermediate-germband cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Loss-of-function analysis by RNA interference (RNAi) revealed that Gryllus byn (Gb'byn) is not required for AP axial elongation or normal segment formation, but is required for specification of the posterior gut. We also analyzed Gryllus caudal (Gb'cad) RNAi embryos using in situ hybridization with a Gb'byn probe, and found that Gb'cad is required for internalization of the posterior gut primordium, in addition to AP axial elongation. These results suggest that the functions of byn and cad in posterior terminal patterning are highly conserved in Gryllus and Drosophila despite their divergent posterior patterning. Moreover, because it is thought that the progressive growth of the AP axis from the growth zone, controlled by a genetic program involving Cdx/cad and Bra/byn, might be ancestral to bilaterians, our data suggest that the function of Bra/byn in this process might have been lost in insects.

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