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Expression patterns of fork head and goosecoid homologues in the mollusc Patella vulgata supports the ancestry of the anterior mesendoderm across Bilateria

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Abstract.

We have characterised orthologues of the genes fork head and goosecoid in the gastropod Patella vulgata. In this species, the anterior-posterior (AP) axis is determined just before gastrulation, and leads to the specification of two mesodermal components on each side of the presumptive endoderm, one anterior (ectomesoderm), and one posterior (endomesoderm). Both fork head and goosecoid are expressed from the time the AP axis is specified, up to the end of gastrulation. fork head mRNA is detected in the whole endoderm, as well as in the anterior mesoderm, whereas goosecoid is only expressed anteriorly, in the three germ layers. The two genes are thus coexpressed in the anterior mesoderm, suggesting the latter's homology with vertebrate prechordal mesoderm. In addition, since prechordal plate is known to belong to an anterior, so called "head organiser", and since its inductive role is dependent on the function of the vertebrate fork head and goosecoid orthologues, we further suggest that the anterior mesoderm may also have a role in anterior inductive patterning in Spiralia. Finally, we propose that a mode of axial development involving two organisers, one anterior and one posterior, is ancestral to the Bilateria, and that both organisers evolved from the single head organiser of a putative hydra-like ancestor.

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Lartillot, N., Le Gouar, M. & Adoutte, A. Expression patterns of fork head and goosecoid homologues in the mollusc Patella vulgata supports the ancestry of the anterior mesendoderm across Bilateria. Dev Genes Evol 212, 551–561 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00427-002-0274-8

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  • fork head goosecoid Mollusc Gastrulation Ectomesoderm