Comparative Study of Regulatory Circuits in Two Sea Urchin Species Reveals Tight Control of Timing and High Conservation of Expression Dynamics


Embryonic development necessitates a delicate balancing act. On one hand, precise regulation of the expression of developmental genes is crucial for the maintenance of morphology and function. On the other hand, these same regulatory networks must allow normal development to proceed through genetic variation and environmental changes. To learn how regulatory circuits operate robustly within natural variation, we study the temporal expression profiles of key regulatory genes in the Mediterranean sea urchin, Paracentrotus lividus, and compare them to those of its Pacific Ocean relative, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. These species shared a common ancestor about 40 million years ago and show highly similar embryonic morphologies. Our studies reveal highly reproducible gene initiation times that show lower variations than the variations in maximal mRNA levels within the species (Pl). We observe high interspecies conservation of the temporal order of gene activation within regulatory circuits and some cases of divergence. This conservation was even more profound when expression levels were normalized and scaled to the different developmental rates between the species. Our findings highlight that, despite genetic variations and different growth conditions, expression dynamics in developmental gene regulatory networks are extremely conserved over 40 million years of evolution.


Vyšlo v časopise: Comparative Study of Regulatory Circuits in Two Sea Urchin Species Reveals Tight Control of Timing and High Conservation of Expression Dynamics. PLoS Genet 11(7): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005435
Kategorie: Research Article
prolekare.web.journal.doi_sk: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005435

Souhrn

Embryonic development necessitates a delicate balancing act. On one hand, precise regulation of the expression of developmental genes is crucial for the maintenance of morphology and function. On the other hand, these same regulatory networks must allow normal development to proceed through genetic variation and environmental changes. To learn how regulatory circuits operate robustly within natural variation, we study the temporal expression profiles of key regulatory genes in the Mediterranean sea urchin, Paracentrotus lividus, and compare them to those of its Pacific Ocean relative, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. These species shared a common ancestor about 40 million years ago and show highly similar embryonic morphologies. Our studies reveal highly reproducible gene initiation times that show lower variations than the variations in maximal mRNA levels within the species (Pl). We observe high interspecies conservation of the temporal order of gene activation within regulatory circuits and some cases of divergence. This conservation was even more profound when expression levels were normalized and scaled to the different developmental rates between the species. Our findings highlight that, despite genetic variations and different growth conditions, expression dynamics in developmental gene regulatory networks are extremely conserved over 40 million years of evolution.


Zdroje

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