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Identification of cnidarian-restricted and metazoan-conserved genes that regulate embryogenesis.

An unbiased, systematic search for developmental regulators in the jellyfish Clytia by comparative transcriptomics of Wnt-manipulated embryos allowed identification of genes coding for both evolutionarily conserved and novel proteins. Expression analysis and knockdown studies for a subset of these confirmed their involvement in regulating embryogenesis. In this image, morpholino–mediated knockdown of the novel, hydrozoan-restricted gene WegD1 is seen to cause severe disruption of larval morphology characterized by disruption of the basal lamina between the endoderm and ectoderm layers, as demonstrated by confocal microscopy following visualization of cell contours (blue) and nuclei (purple). See Lapébie et al.

Image Credit: Sandra Chevalier and Evelyn Houliston