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Foxg specifies sensory neurons in the anterior neural plate border of the ascidian embryo

Liu B, Satou Y
Nat Comm. 2019;10:4911 doi:10.1038/s41467-019-12839-6
Foxg constitutes a regulatory loop with Fgf8 and plays an important role in the development of anterior placodes and the telencephalon in vertebrate embryos. Ascidians, which belong to Tunicata, the sister group of vertebrates, develop a primitive placode-like structure at the anterior boundary of the neural plate, but lack a clear counterpart of the telencephalon. In this animal, Foxg is expressed in larval palps, which are adhesive organs with sensory neurons. Here, we show that Foxg begins to be expressed in two separate rows of cells within the neural plate boundary region under the control of the MAPK pathway to pattern this region. However, Foxg is not expressed in the brain, and we find no evidence that knockdown of Foxg affects brain formation. Our data suggest that recruitment of Fgf to the downstream of Foxg might have been a critical evolutionary event for the telencephalon in the vertebrate lineage.
Organism or Cell Type: 
Ciona robusta (AKA C. intestinalis; ascidian)
Delivery Method: