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Dev Genes Evol 2024 Mar 13; doi: 10.1007/s00427-024-00714-4.
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Highly conserved and extremely evolvable: BMP signalling in secondary axis patterning of Cnidaria and Bilateria.

Mörsdorf D , Knabl P , Genikhovich G .

Bilateria encompass the vast majority of the animal phyla. As the name states, they are bilaterally symmetric, that is with a morphologically clear main body axis connecting their anterior and posterior ends, a second axis running between their dorsal and ventral surfaces, and with a left side being roughly a mirror image of their right side. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signalling has widely conserved functions in the formation and patterning of the second, dorso-ventral (DV) body axis, albeit to different extents in different bilaterian species. Whilst initial findings in the fruit fly Drosophila and the frog Xenopus highlighted similarities amongst these evolutionarily very distant species, more recent analyses featuring other models revealed considerable diversity in the mechanisms underlying dorsoventral patterning. In fact, as phylogenetic sampling becomes broader, we find that this axis patterning system is so evolvable that even its core components can be deployed differently or lost in different model organisms. In this review, we will try to highlight the diversity of ways by which BMP signalling controls bilaterality in different animals, some of which do not belong to Bilateria. Future research combining functional analyses and modelling is bound to give us some understanding as to where the limits to the extent of the evolvability of BMP-dependent axial patterning may lie.

PubMed ID: 38472535
Article link: Dev Genes Evol
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: chrd gsx2 msx1 nkx6-1 smad4
GO keywords: BMP signaling pathway

Article Images: [+] show captions