Changes occurring during evolution in the cis-regulatory landscapes of individual members of multigene families might impart diversification in their spatiotemporal expression and function. The archetypal member of the echinoid hbox12/pmar1/micro1 family is hbox12-a, a homeobox-containing gene expressed exclusively by dorsal blastomeres, where it governs the dorsal/ventral gene regulatory network during embryogenesis of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. Here we describe the inventory of the hbox12/pmar1/micro1 genes in P. lividus, highlighting that gene copy number variation occurs across individual sea urchins of the same species. We show that the various hbox12/pmar1/micro1 genes group into three subfamilies according to their spatiotemporal expression, which ranges from broad transcription throughout development to transient expression in either the animal hemisphere or micromeres of the early embryo. Interestingly, the promoter regions of those genes showing comparable expression patterns are highly similar, while differing from those of the other subfamilies. Strikingly, phylogenetic analysis suggests that the hbox12/pmar1/micro1 genes are species-specific, exhibiting extensive divergence in their noncoding, but not in their coding, sequences across three distinct sea urchin species. In spite of this, two micromere-specific genes of P. lividus possess a TCF/LEF-binding motif in a similar position, and their transcription relies on Wnt/ß-catenin signaling, similar to the pmar1 and micro1 genes, which in other sea urchin species are involved in micromere specification. Altogether, our findings suggest that the hbox12/pmar1/micro1 gene family evolved rather rapidly, generating paralogs whose cis-regulatory sequences diverged following multiple rounds of duplication from a common ancestor.
|Numero di pagine||0|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2017|
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