Paleontological and developmental evidence resolve the homology and dual embryonic origin of a mammalian skull bone, the interparietal.
ABSTRACT: The homologies of mammalian skull elements are now fairly well established, except for the controversial interparietal bone. A previous experimental study reported an intriguing mixed origin of the interparietal: the medial portion being derived from the neural crest cells, whereas the lateral portion from the mesoderm. The evolutionary history of such mixed origin remains unresolved, and contradictory reports on the presence or absence and developmental patterns of the interparietal among mammals have complicated the question of its homology. Here we provide an alternative perspective on the evolutionary identity of the interparietal, based on a comprehensive study across more than 300 extinct and extant taxa, integrating embryological and paleontological data. Although the interparietal has been regarded as being lost in various lineages, our investigation on embryos demonstrates its presence in all extant mammalian "orders." The generally accepted paradigm has regarded the interparietal as consisting of two elements that are homologized to the postparietals of basal amniotes. The tabular bones have been postulated as being lost during the rise of modern mammals. However, our results demonstrate that the interparietal consists not of two but of four elements. We propose that the tabulars of basal amniotes are conserved as the lateral interparietal elements, which quickly fuse to the medial elements at the embryonic stage, and that the postparietals are homologous to the medial elements. Hence, the dual developmental origin of the mammalian interparietal can be explained as the evolutionary consequence of the fusion between the crest-derived "postparietals" and the mesoderm-derived "tabulars."
Project description:The mammalian skull vault consists mainly of 5 flat bones, the paired frontals and parietals, and the unpaired interparietal. All of these bones are formed by intramembranous ossification within a layer of mesenchyme, the skeletogenic membrane, located between the dermal mesenchyme and the meninges surrounding the brain. While the frontal bones are of neural crest in origin, the parietal bones arise from mesoderm. The present study is a characterization of frontal and parietal bones at their molecular level, aiming to highlight distinct differences between the neural crest-derived frontal and mesodermal-derived parietal bone. We performed a detailed comparative gene expression profile of FGF ligands and their receptors known to play crucial role in skeletogenesis. This analysis revealed that a differential expression pattern of the major FGF osteogenic molecules and their receptors exists between the neural crest-derived frontal bone and the paraxial mesoderm-derived parietal bone. Particularly, the expression of ligands such as Fgf-2, Fgf-9 and Fgf-18 was upregulated in frontal bone on embryonic day 17.5, postnatal day 1 and postnatal day 60 mice. Frontal bone also elaborated higher levels of Fgf receptor 1, 2 and 3 transcripts versus parietal bone. Taken together, these data suggest that the frontal bone is a domain with higher FGF-signaling competence than parietal bone.
Project description:The evolutionary origin of the diaphragm remains unclear, due to the lack of a comparable structure in other extant taxa. However, recent researches into the developmental mechanism of this structure have yielded new insights into its origin. Here we summarize current understanding regarding the development of the diaphragm, and present a possible scenario for the evolutionary acquisition of this uniquely mammalian structure. Recent developmental analyses indicate that the diaphragm and forelimb muscles are derived from a shared cell population during embryonic development. Therefore, the embryonic positions of forelimb muscle progenitors, which correspond to the position of the brachial plexus, likely played an important role in the evolution of the diaphragm. We surveyed the literature to reexamine the position of the brachial plexus among living amniotes and confirmed that the cervico-thoracic transition in ribs reflects the brachial plexus position. Using this osteological correlate, we concluded that the anterior borders of the brachial plexuses in the stem synapsids were positioned at the level of the fourth spinal nerve, suggesting that the forelimb buds were laid in close proximity of the infrahyoid muscles. The topology of the phrenic and suprascapular nerves of mammals is similar to that of subscapular and supracoracoid nerves, respectively, of the other amniotes, suggesting that the diaphragm evolved from a muscle positioned medial to the pectoral girdle (cf. subscapular muscle). We hypothesize that the diaphragm was acquired in two steps: first, forelimb muscle cells were incorporated into tissues to form a primitive diaphragm in the stem synapsid grade, and second, the diaphragm in cynodonts became entrapped in the region controlled by pulmonary development.
Project description:In vertebrate embryos, cardiac precursor cells of the primary heart field are specified in the lateral mesoderm. These cells converge at the ventral midline to form the linear heart tube, and give rise to the atria and the left ventricle. The right ventricle and the outflow tract are derived from an adjacent population of precursors known as the second heart field. In addition, the cardiac neural crest contributes cells to the septum of the outflow tract to separate the systemic and the pulmonary circulations. The amphibian heart has a single ventricle and an outflow tract with an incomplete spiral septum; however, it is unknown whether the cardiac neural crest is also involved in outflow tract septation, as in amniotes. Using a combination of tissue transplantations and molecular analyses in Xenopus we show that the amphibian outflow tract is derived from a second heart field equivalent to that described in birds and mammals. However, in contrast to what we see in amniotes, it is the second heart field and not the cardiac neural crest that forms the septum of the amphibian outflow tract. In Xenopus, cardiac neural crest cells remain confined to the aortic sac and arch arteries and never populate the outflow tract cushions. This significant difference suggests that cardiac neural crest cell migration into the cardiac cushions is an amniote-specific characteristic, presumably acquired to increase the mass of the outflow tract septum with the evolutionary need for a fully divided circulation.
Project description:Paired fins are a defining feature of the jawed vertebrate body plan, but their evolutionary origin remains unresolved. Gegenbaur proposed that paired fins evolved as gill arch serial homologues, but this hypothesis is now widely discounted, owing largely to the presumed distinct embryonic origins of these structures from mesoderm and neural crest, respectively. Here, we use cell lineage tracing to test the embryonic origin of the pharyngeal and paired fin skeleton in the skate (Leucoraja erinacea). We find that while the jaw and hyoid arch skeleton derive from neural crest, and the pectoral fin skeleton from mesoderm, the gill arches are of dual origin, receiving contributions from both germ layers. We propose that gill arches and paired fins are serially homologous as derivatives of a continuous, dual-origin mesenchyme with common skeletogenic competence, and that this serial homology accounts for their parallel anatomical organization and shared responses to axial patterning signals.
Project description:The neural crest is a multipotent stem cell population that arises from the dorsal aspect of the neural tube and generates both non-ectomesenchymal (melanocytes, peripheral neurons and glia) and ectomesenchymal (skeletogenic, odontogenic, cartilaginous and connective tissue) derivatives. In amniotes, only cranial neural crest generates both classes, with trunk neural crest restricted to non-ectomesenchyme. By contrast, it has been suggested that anamniotes might generate derivatives of both classes at all axial levels, with trunk neural crest generating fin osteoblasts, scale mineral-forming cells and connective tissue cells; however, this has not been fully tested. The cause and evolutionary significance of this cranial/trunk dichotomy, and its absence in anamniotes, are debated. Recent experiments have disputed the contribution of fish trunk neural crest to fin osteoblasts and scale mineral-forming cells. This prompted us to test the contribution of anamniote trunk neural crest to fin connective tissue cells. Using genetics-based lineage tracing in zebrafish, we find that these fin mesenchyme cells derive entirely from the mesoderm and that neural crest makes no contribution. Furthermore, contrary to previous suggestions, larval fin mesenchyme cells do not generate the skeletogenic cells of the adult fin, but persist to form fibroblasts associated with adult fin rays. Our data demonstrate that zebrafish trunk neural crest does not generate ectomesenchymal derivatives and challenge long-held ideas about trunk neural crest fate. These findings have important implications for the ontogeny and evolution of the neural crest.
Project description:The vertebrate mineralized skeleton is known to have first emerged as an exoskeleton that extensively covered the fossil jawless fish. The evolutionary origin of this exoskeleton has long been attributed to the emergence of the neural crest, but experimental evaluation for this is still poor. Here we determine the embryonic origin of scales and fin rays of medaka (teleost trunk exoskeletons) by applying long-term cell labelling methods, and demonstrate that both tissues are mesodermal in origin. Neural crest cells, however, fail to contribute to these tissues. This result suggests that the trunk neural crest has no skeletogenic capability in fish, instead highlighting the dominant role of the mesoderm in the evolution of the trunk skeleton. This further implies that the role of the neural crest in skeletogenesis has been predominant in the cephalic region from the early stage of vertebrate evolution.
Project description:Background:The evolution of the head was one of the key events that marked the transition from invertebrates to vertebrates. With the emergence of structures such as eyes and jaws, vertebrates evolved an active and predatory life style and radiated into diversity of large-bodied animals. These organs are moved by cranial muscles that derive embryologically from head mesoderm. Compared with other embryonic components of the head, such as placodes and cranial neural crest cells, our understanding of cranial mesoderm is limited and is restricted to few species. Results:Here, we report the expression patterns of key genes in zebrafish head mesoderm at very early developmental stages. Apart from a basic anterior-posterior axis marked by a combination of pitx2 and tbx1 expression, we find that most gene expression patterns are poorly conserved between zebrafish and chick, suggesting fewer developmental constraints imposed than in trunk mesoderm. Interestingly, the gene expression patterns clearly show the early establishment of medial-lateral compartmentalisation in zebrafish head mesoderm, comprising a wide medial zone flanked by two narrower strips. Conclusions:In zebrafish head mesoderm, there is no clear molecular regionalisation along the anteroposterior axis as previously reported in chick embryos. In contrast, the medial-lateral regionalisation is formed at early developmental stages. These patterns correspond to the distinction between paraxial mesoderm and lateral plate mesoderm in the trunk, suggesting a common groundplan for patterning head and trunk mesoderm. By comparison of these expression patterns to that of amphioxus homologues, we argue for an evolutionary link between zebrafish head mesoderm and amphioxus anteriormost somites.
Project description:A major challenge in biology is to determine how evolutionarily novel characters originate, however, mechanistic explanations for the origin of novelties are almost completely unknown. The evolution of mammalian pregnancy is an excellent system in which to study the origin of novelties because extant mammals preserve major stages in the transition from egg-laying to live-birth. To determine the molecular bases of this transition we characterized the pregnant/gravid uterine transcriptome from tetrapods, including species in the three major mammalian lineages, and used ancestral transcriptome reconstruction to trace the evolutionary history of uterine gene expression. We show that thousands of genes evolved endometrial expression during the origins of mammalian pregnancy, including numerous genes that mediate maternal-fetal communication and immunotolerance.Furthermore we show that thousands of regulatory elements active in decidualized human endometrial stromal cells are derived from ancient mammalian transposable elements which provided binding sites for transcription factors that mediate decidualization and endometrial cell-type identity. Our results indicate that one of the defining mammalian novelties evolved via domestication of ancient mammalian transposable elements into hormone-responsive regulatory elements throughout the genome. Examination of histone modification and DNAse hypersensitivity in decidualized dESC
Project description:Classical hypotheses regarding the evolutionary origin of paired appendages propose transformation of precursor structures (gill arches and lateral fin folds) into paired fins. During development, gnathostome paired appendages form as outgrowths of body wall somatopleure, a tissue composed of somatic lateral plate mesoderm (LPM) and overlying ectoderm. In amniotes, LPM contributes connective tissue to abaxial musculature and forms ventrolateral dermis of the interlimb body wall. The phylogenetic distribution of this character is uncertain because lineage analyses of LPM have not been generated in anamniotes. We focus on the evolutionary history of the somatopleure to gain insight into the tissue context in which paired fins first appeared. Lampreys diverged from other vertebrates before the acquisition of paired fins and provide a model for investigating the preappendicular condition. We present vital dye fate maps that suggest the somatopleure is eliminated in lamprey as the LPM is separated from the ectoderm and sequestered to the coelomic linings during myotome extension. We also examine the distribution of postcranial mesoderm in catshark and axolotl. In contrast to lamprey, our findings support an LPM contribution to the trunk body wall of these taxa, which is similar to published data for amniotes. Collectively, these data lead us to hypothesize that a persistent somatopleure in the lateral body wall is a gnathostome synapomorphy, and the redistribution of LPM was a key step in generating the novel developmental module that ultimately produced paired fins. These embryological criteria can refocus arguments on paired fin origins and generate hypotheses testable by comparative studies on the source, sequence, and extent of genetic redeployment.
Project description:As a culmination of efforts over the last years, our knowledge of the embryonic origins of the mammalian frontal and parietal cranial bones is unambiguous. Progenitor cells that subsequently give rise to frontal bone are of neural crest origin, while parietal bone progenitors arise from paraxial mesoderm. Given the unique qualities of neural crest cells and the clear delineation of the embryonic origins of the calvarial bones, we sought to determine whether mouse neural crest derived frontal bone differs in biology from mesoderm derived parietal bone.BrdU incorporation, immunoblotting and osteogenic differentiation assays were performed to investigate the proliferative rate and osteogenic potential of embryonic and postnatal osteoblasts derived from mouse frontal and parietal bones. Co-culture experiments and treatment with conditioned medium harvested from both types of osteoblasts were performed to investigate potential interactions between the two different tissue origin osteoblasts. Immunoblotting techniques were used to investigate the endogenous level of FGF-2 and the activation of three major FGF signaling pathways. Knockdown of FGF Receptor 1 (FgfR1) was employed to inactivate the FGF signaling.Our results demonstrated that striking differences in cell proliferation and osteogenic differentiation between the frontal and parietal bone can be detected already at embryonic stages. The greater proliferation rate, as well as osteogenic capacity of frontal bone derived osteoblasts, were paralleled by an elevated level of FGF-2 protein synthesis. Moreover, an enhanced activation of FGF-signaling pathways was observed in frontal bone derived osteoblasts. Finally, the greater osteogenic potential of frontal derived osteoblasts was dramatically impaired by knocking down FgfR1.Osteoblasts from mouse neural crest derived frontal bone displayed a greater proliferative and osteogenic potential and endogenous enhanced activation of FGF signaling compared to osteoblasts from mesoderm derived parietal bone. FGF signaling plays a key role in determining biological differences between the two types of osteoblasts.