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Curr Biol. 2016 Mar 7;26(5):654-60. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.071. Epub 2016 Feb 25.

Formin Is Associated with Left-Right Asymmetry in the Pond Snail and the Frog.

Author information

1
School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK. Electronic address: angus.davison@nottingham.ac.uk.
2
Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, and Department of Biology, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA.
3
School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK.
4
Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.
5
Department for Biomedical Molecular Biology, Ghent University, and Inflammation Research Center (IRC), VIB, 9052 Ghent, Belgium.
6
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.
7
Community and Ecosystem Ecology, Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Aobayama, Sendai 980-8578, Japan.
8
Department of Geobiology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen 37077, Germany.
9
Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK; Edinburgh Genomics, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.

Abstract

While components of the pathway that establishes left-right asymmetry have been identified in diverse animals, from vertebrates to flies, it is striking that the genes involved in the first symmetry-breaking step remain wholly unknown in the most obviously chiral animals, the gastropod snails. Previously, research on snails was used to show that left-right signaling of Nodal, downstream of symmetry breaking, may be an ancestral feature of the Bilateria [1 and 2]. Here, we report that a disabling mutation in one copy of a tandemly duplicated, diaphanous-related formin is perfectly associated with symmetry breaking in the pond snail. This is supported by the observation that an anti-formin drug treatment converts dextral snail embryos to a sinistral phenocopy, and in frogs, drug inhibition or overexpression by microinjection of formin has a chirality-randomizing effect in early (pre-cilia) embryos. Contrary to expectations based on existing models [3, 4 and 5], we discovered asymmetric gene expression in 2- and 4-cell snail embryos, preceding morphological asymmetry. As the formin-actin filament has been shown to be part of an asymmetry-breaking switch in vitro [6 and 7], together these results are consistent with the view that animals with diverse body plans may derive their asymmetries from the same intracellular chiral elements [8].

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PMID:
26923788
PMCID:
PMC4791482
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.071
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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