Tunicate gastrulation.

TitleTunicate gastrulation.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsWinkley KM, Kourakis MJ, DeTomaso AW, Veeman MT, Smith WC
JournalCurr Top Dev Biol
Date Published2020

Tunicates are a diverse group of invertebrate marine chordates that includes the larvaceans, thaliaceans, and ascidians. Because of their unique evolutionary position as the sister group of the vertebrates, tunicates are invaluable as a comparative model and hold the promise of revealing both conserved and derived features of chordate gastrulation. Descriptive studies in a broad range of tunicates have revealed several important unifying traits that make them unique among the chordates, including invariant cell lineages through gastrula stages and an overall morphological simplicity. Gastrulation has only been studied in detail in ascidians such as Ciona and Phallusia, where it involves a simple cup-shaped gastrula driven primarily by endoderm invagination. This appears to differ significantly from vertebrate models, such as Xenopus, in which mesoderm convergent extension and epidermal epiboly are major contributors to involution. These differences may reflect the cellular simplicity of the ascidian embryo.

Alternate JournalCurr. Top. Dev. Biol.
PubMed ID31959289