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Amphioxus and lamprey AP-2 genes: implications for neural crest evolution and migration patternsThe neural crest is a uniquely vertebrate cell type present in the most basal vertebrates, but not in cephalochordates. We have studied differences in regulation of the neural crest marker AP-2 across two evolutionary transitions: invertebrate to vertebrate, and agnathan to gnathostome. Isolation and comparison of amphioxus, lamprey and axolotl AP-2 reveals its extensive expansion in the vertebrate dorsal neural tube and pharyngeal arches, implying co-option of AP-2 genes by neural crest cells early in vertebrate evolution. Expression in non-neural ectoderm is a conserved feature in amphioxus and vertebrates, suggesting an ancient role for AP-2 genes in this tissue. There is also common expression in subsets of ventrolateral neurons in the anterior neural tube, consistent with a primitive role in brain development. Comparison of AP-2 expression in axolotl and lamprey suggests an elaboration of cranial neural crest patterning in gnathostomes. However, migration of AP-2-expressing neural crest cells medial to the pharyngeal arch mesoderm appears to be a primitive feature retained in all vertebrates. Because AP-2 has essential roles in cranial neural crest differentiation and proliferation, the co-option of AP-2 by neural crest cells in the vertebrate lineage was a potentially crucial event in vertebrate evolution.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Meulemans, Daniel
(California Institute of Technology Pasadena 91125, United States)
Bronner-Fraser, Marianne
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 2002
Publication Information
Publication: Development (Cambridge, England)
Volume: 129
Issue: 21
ISSN: 0950-1991
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Evolutionary Biology
Non-NASA Center

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