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Dev Genes Evol. 2012 Sep;222(5):299-309. doi: 10.1007/s00427-012-0413-9. Epub 2012 Aug 18.

Segment polarity gene expression in a myriapod reveals conserved and diverged aspects of early head patterning in arthropods.

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Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Palaeobiology, Villav├Ągen 16, 75236 Uppsala, Sweden.


Arthropods show two kinds of developmental mode. In the so-called long germ developmental mode (as exemplified by the fly Drosophila), all segments are formed almost simultaneously from a preexisting field of cells. In contrast, in the so-called short germ developmental mode (as exemplified by the vast majority of arthropods), only the anterior segments are patterned similarly as in Drosophila, and posterior segments are added in a single or double segmental periodicity from a posterior segment addition zone (SAZ). The addition of segments from the SAZ is controlled by dynamic waves of gene activity. Recent studies on a spider have revealed that a similar dynamic process, involving expression of the segment polarity gene (SPG) hedgehog (hh), is involved in the formation of the anterior head segments. The present study shows that in the myriapod Glomeris marginata the early expression of hh is also in a broad anterior domain, but this domain corresponds only to the ocular and antennal segment. It does not, like in spiders, represent expression in the posterior adjacent segment. In contrast, the anterior hh pattern is conserved in Glomeris and insects. All investigated myriapod SPGs and associated factors are expressed with delay in the premandibular (tritocerebral) segment. This delay is exclusively found in insects and myriapods, but not in chelicerates, crustaceans and onychophorans. Therefore, it may represent a synapomorphy uniting insects and myriapods (Atelocerata hypothesis), contradicting the leading opinion that suggests a sister relationship of crustaceans and insects (Pancrustacea hypothesis). In Glomeris embryos, the SPG engrailed is first expressed in the mandibular segment. This feature is conserved in representatives of all arthropod classes suggesting that the mandibular segment may have a special function in anterior patterning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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