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Genesis. 2018 Oct;56(10):e23253. doi: 10.1002/dvg.23253.

From genome to anatomy: The architecture and evolution of the skeletogenic gene regulatory network of sea urchins and other echinoderms.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


The skeletogenic gene regulatory network (GRN) of sea urchins and other echinoderms is one of the most intensively studied transcriptional networks in any developing organism. As such, it serves as a preeminent model of GRN architecture and evolution. This review summarizes our current understanding of this developmental network. We describe in detail the most comprehensive model of the skeletogenic GRN, one developed for the euechinoid sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, including its initial deployment by maternal inputs, its elaboration and stabilization through regulatory gene interactions, and its control of downstream effector genes that directly drive skeletal morphogenesis. We highlight recent comparative studies that have leveraged the euechinoid GRN model to examine the evolution of skeletogenic programs in diverse echinoderms, studies that have revealed both conserved and divergent features of skeletogenesis within the phylum. Last, we summarize the major insights that have emerged from analysis of the structure and evolution of the echinoderm skeletogenic GRN and identify key, unresolved questions as a guide for future work.


development; echinoderm; evolution; gene regulatory network; morphogenesis; primary mesenchyme; sea urchin; skeletogenesis; transcriptional network

[Available on 2019-10-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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