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Zoological Research
Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
ISSN: 2095-8137
Vol. 37, No. 3, 2016, pp. 136-143
Bioline Code: zr16022
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Zoological Research, Vol. 37, No. 3, 2016, pp. 136-143

 en Expression analysis of eight amphioxus genes involved in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway
Wang, Jing; Li, Guang; Qian, Guang-Hui; Hua, Jun-Hao & Wang, Yi-Quan


The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays a crucial role in the embryonic development of metazoans. Although the pathway has been studied extensively in many model animals, its function in amphioxus, the most primitive chordate, remains largely uncharacterized. To obtain basic data for functional analysis, we identified and isolated seven genes (Lrp5/6, Dvl, APC, CkIα, CkIδ, Gsk3β, and Gro) of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway from the amphioxus ( Branchiostoma floridae check for this species in other resources ) genome. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that amphioxus had fewer members of each gene family than that found in vertebrates. Whole-mount in situ hybridization showed that the genes were maternally expressed and broadly distributed throughout the whole embryo at the cleavage and blastula stages. Among them, Dvl was expressed asymmetrically towards the animal pole, while the others were evenly distributed in all blastomeres. At the mid-gastrula stage, the genes were specifically expressed in the primitive endomesoderm, but displayed different patterns. When the embryo developed into the neurula stage, the gene expressions were mainly detected in either paraxial somites or the tail bud. With the development of the embryo, the expression levels further decreased gradually and remained only in some pharyngeal regions or the tail bud at the larva stage. Our results suggest that the Wnt/β-catenin pathway might be involved in amphioxus somite formation and posterior growth, but not in endomesoderm specification.

Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway; Gene expression; Amphioxus; Whole-mount in situ hybridization; Embryo

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