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Dev Biol. 2009 Jan 15;325(2):468-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.10.038. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Proteomic profiles of embryonic development in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis.

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Shimoda Marine Research Center, University of Tsukuba, 5-10-1 Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0025, Japan.


We report here proteomics-based protein profiles of three embryonic stages of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis revealed 416, 539, and 695 protein spots in the unfertilized eggs, 16 cell-stage embryos, and tadpole larvae, respectively. Comparative and quantitative analyses of the spot patterns identified proteins showing an increase or decrease in amount during embryonic development. Protein identification by MALDI-TOF/MS indicated not only the abundance and importance of metabolic enzymes and translation elongation factors but also the functional importance of actin-binding proteins and molecular chaperones during ascidian development. Global changes in spots for vitellogenin-like protein suggested post-translational modification or proteolytic digestion of this protein during embryogenesis. Comparison between mRNA and protein levels among unfertilized eggs, 16 cell-stage embryos and tadpole larvae indicated nonparallel expression patterns of genes and proteins. Ascidians provide an excellent system for studying gene expression and cell differentiation during development, and the present study should shed light on the associated molecular mechanism at the protein level.

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