Molecular regionalization of the developing amphioxus neural tube challenges major partitions of the vertebrate brain

Beatriz Albuixech-Crespo, Laura López-Blanch, Demian Burguera, Ignacio Maeso, Luisa Sánchez Arrones, Juan Antonio Moreno-Bravo, Ildiko Somorjai, Juan Pascual-Anaya, Eduardo Puelles, Paola Bovolenta, Jordi Garcia-Fernàndez, Luis Puelles, Manuel Irimia, José Luis Ferran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

All vertebrate brains develop following a common Bauplan defined by anteroposterior (AP) and dorsoventral (DV) subdivisions, characterized by largely conserved differential expression of gene markers. However, it is still unclear how this Bauplan originated during evolution. We studied the relative expression of 48 genes with key roles in vertebrate neural patterning in a representative amphioxus embryonic stage. Unlike nonchordates, amphioxus develops its central nervous system (CNS) from a neural plate that is homologous to that of vertebrates, allowing direct topological comparisons. The resulting genoarchitectonic model revealed that the amphioxus incipient neural tube is unexpectedly complex, consisting of several AP and DV molecular partitions. Strikingly, comparison with vertebrates indicates that the vertebrate thalamus, pretectum, and midbrain domains jointly correspond to a single amphioxus region, which we termed Di-Mesencephalic primordium (DiMes). This suggests that these domains have a common developmental and evolutionary origin, as supported by functional experiments manipulating secondary organizers in zebrafish and mice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2001573
Number of pages34
JournalPLoS Biology
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2017

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