Brachyury downstream notochord differentiation in the ascidian embryo

Hiroki Takahashi, Kohji Hotta, Albert Erives, Anna Di Gregorio, Robert W. Zeller, Michael Levine, Nori Satoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ascidian tadpole represents the most simplified chordate body plan. It contains a notochord composed of just 40 cells, but as in vertebrates Brachyury is essential for notochord differentiation. Here, we show that the misexpression of the Brachyury gene (Ci-Bra) of Ciona intestinalis is sufficient to transform endoderm into notochord. Subtractive hybridization screens were conducted to identify potential Brachyury target genes that are induced upon Ci-Bra misexpression. Of 501 independent cDNA clones that were surveyed, 38 were specifically expressed in notochord cells. These potential Ci-Bra downstream genes appear to encode a broad spectrum of divergent proteins associated with notochord formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1519-1523
Number of pages5
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 1999


  • Ascidians
  • Brachyury
  • Differentiation
  • Downstream genes
  • Notochord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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