About the Project
To address this issue, this project will examine the molecular mechanisms of vascular formation in the basal chordates, namely tunicates (C. intestinalis) and amphioxus (B. lanceolatum). They have recently emerged as significant models for exploring the evolutionary origins of vertebrate traits based on their key phylogenetic positions and morphologic/genomic simplicity. In fact, our laboratory is currently analysing the origin of vertebrate haematopoiesis in a related project using these models. We will first clone genes homologous to vertebrate angiogenic regulatory molecules, and determine their developmental expressions in these two species. Molecular functions of these genes will be then analysed using antisense morpholino oligos and siRNA. By comparison with the data from the zebrafish model, this project aims to reveal how the vertebrate vascular system has been established during the early evolutionary history of vertebrates.
This project will use molecular, cellular and developmental techniques including isolation of genomic and cDNA clones, in situ hybridisation, embryonic manipulations and in vivo live imaging of zebrafish, as well as comparative genomics.
Takahashi, T., McDougall, C., Troscianko, J., Chen, W., Jayaraman-Nagarajan, A., Shimeld, S. & Ferrier, D (2009). An EST screen from the annelid Pomatoceros lamarckii reveals patterns of gene loss and gain in animals. BMC Evol Biol, 9, 240.
Takahashi T. (2005). The evolutionary origins of vertebrate midbrain and MHB: insights from mouse, amphioxus and ascidian Dmbx homeobox genes. Brain research bulletin, 66(4-6), 510-7.
Holland PW, Takahashi T. (2005). The evolution of homeobox genes: Implications for the study of brain development. Brain research bulletin, 66(4-6), 484-90.
Takahashi T, Holland PW. (2004). Amphioxus and ascidian Dmbx homeobox genes give clues to the vertebrate origins of midbrain development. Development (Cambridge, England), 131(14), 3285-94.
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