Fibroblast growth factor signalling controls nervous system patterning and pigment cell formation in Ciona intestinalis

Claudia Racioppi, Ashwani K. Kamal, Florian Razy-Krajka, Gennaro Gambardella, Laura Zanetti, Diego Di Bernardo, Remo Sanges, Lionel A. Christiaen, Filomena Ristoratore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

During the development of the central nervous system (CNS), combinations of transcription factors and signalling molecules orchestrate patterning, specification and differentiation of neural cell types. In vertebrates, three types of melanin-containing pigment cells, exert a variety of functional roles including visual perception. Here we analysed the mechanisms underlying pigment cell specification within the CNS of a simple chordate, the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Ciona tadpole larvae exhibit a basic chordate body plan characterized by a small number of neural cells. We employed lineage-specific transcription profiling to characterize the expression of genes downstream of fibroblast growth factor signalling, which govern pigment cell formation. We demonstrate that FGF signalling sequentially imposes a pigment cell identity at the expense of anterior neural fates. We identify FGF-dependent and pigment cell-specific factors, including the small GTPase, Rab32/38 and demonstrated its requirement for the pigmentation of larval sensory organs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5830
JournalNature communications
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Racioppi, C., Kamal, A. K., Razy-Krajka, F., Gambardella, G., Zanetti, L., Di Bernardo, D., Sanges, R., Christiaen, L. A., & Ristoratore, F. (2014). Fibroblast growth factor signalling controls nervous system patterning and pigment cell formation in Ciona intestinalis. Nature communications, 5, [5830]. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms5830