Brachyury-downstream notochord genes and convergent extension in Ciona intestinalis embryos

Kohji Hotta, Shigehiro Yamada, Naoto Ueno, Nori Satoh, Hiroki Takahashi

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Formation of the chordate body is accomplished by a complex set of morphogenetic movements including convergent extension of notochord cells. In the ascidian Ciona intestinalis, Brachyury plays a key role in the formation of the notochord, and more than 30 Bra-downstream notochord genes have been identified. In the present study, we examined the effects of functional suppression of nine Bra-downstream notochord genes, which include Ci-PTP, Ci-ACL, Ci-prickle, Ci-netrin, Ci-trop, Ci-Noto3, Ci-ASAK, Ci-ERM and Ci-pellino. When the function of the first two genes (Ci-PTP and Ci-ACL) was suppressed with specific morpholinos, the notochord cells failed to converge, while functional suppression of Ci-prickle resulted in a failure of intercalation, and therefore the cells in these three types of embryo remained in the mid-dorsal region of the embryo. Functional suppression of the next four genes (Ci-netrin, Ci-trop, Ci-Noto3 and Ci-ASAK) resulted in the partial defect of intercalation, and the notochord did not consist of a single row. In addition, when the function of the last two genes (Ci-ERM and Ci-pellino) was suppressed, notochord cells failed to elongate in the embryo, even though convergence/extension took place normally. These results indicate that many Bra-downstream notochord genes are involved in convergence/extension of the embryo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-382
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment Growth and Differentiation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jun


  • Ascidians
  • Brachyury downstream genes
  • Convergent extension
  • Notochord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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