Gene Expression Patterns in the Notochord of Ciona intestinalis
Dr. Michael Veeman
The notochord is a hallmark organ of all chordates and plays key roles in early chordate development. The ascidian Ciona intestinalis is a useful model for studying notochord morphogenesis because it has a simple notochord of only 40 cells that can be visualized with subcellular detail in a single microscope image. RNA-seq studies in the Veeman lab have identified a large number of genes likely to be transcriptionally upregulated in the developing notochord. Here we report expression patterns by in situ hybridization for 20 of these putative notochord transcripts. 12/20 were confirmed to be strongly upregulated in the notochord, broadly validating the RNA-seq results. We identified 4 of these genes as being regionally expressed in the notochord, supporting our hypothesis that the notochord may contain functionally distinct cell identities.
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