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Accession IconSRP102812

Evolutionary recruitment of flexible Esrp-dependent splicing programs into diverse embryonic morphogenetic processes

Organism Icon Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, Danio rerio
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Technology Badge IconIllumina HiSeq 2500

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Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions are crucial for the development of multiple animal structures. Thus, unraveling how molecular tools are recruited in different lineages to control the interplay between these tissue types is key to understand morphogenetic evolution. Here, we studied Epithelial Splicing Regulatory Protein (Esrp) genes, which regulate extensive alternative splicing programs associated with cell adhesion and motility in human cells and are essential during mouse organogenesis. We found that Esrp genes are involved in the development of many structures in deuterostome organisms, often by conferring epithelial-associated cellular properties. However, this common employment of Esrp in morphogenetic functions was not mirrored at the exon level at the largest phylogenetic distances, as no Esrp-dependent exons appeared conserved between phyla. A remarkable phylum-specific event was observed in the Fgfr gene family, which was recruited as an Esrp target in stem chordates and subsequently co-opted into developmental programs of multiple novel traits in vertebrates. Overall design: mRNA profiles of zebrafish and purple sea urchin involving control and experimental impairment of Esrp genes functions during embryo development
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