Insulin-like genes in ascidians

Findings in Ciona and hypotheses on the evolutionary origins of the pancreas

Jordan M. Thompson, Anna Di Gregorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Insulin plays an extensively characterized role in the control of sugar metabolism, growth and homeostasis in a wide range of organisms. In vertebrate chordates, insulin is mainly produced by the beta cells of the endocrine pancreas, while in non-chordate animals insulin-producing cells are mainly found in the nervous system and/or scattered along the digestive tract. However, recent studies have indicated the notochord, the defining feature of the chordate phylum, as an additional site of expression of insulin-like peptides. Here we show that two of the three insulin-like genes identified in Ciona intestinalis, an invertebrate chordate with a dual life cycle, are first expressed in the developing notochord during embryogenesis and transition to distinct areas of the adult digestive tract after metamorphosis. In addition, we present data suggesting that the transcription factor Ciona Brachyury is involved in the control of notochord expression of at least one of these genes, Ciona insulin-like 2. Finally, we review the information currently available on insulin-producing cells in ascidians and on pancreas-related transcription factors that might control their expression. genesis 53:82-104, 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-104
Number of pages23
JournalGenesis
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Fingerprint

Urochordata
Pancreas
Insulin
Notochord
Genes
Chordata
Nonvertebrate Chordata
Gastrointestinal Tract
Transcription Factors
Ciona intestinalis
Life Cycle Stages
Islets of Langerhans
Nervous System
Embryonic Development
Vertebrates
Homeostasis
Peptides
Growth

Keywords

  • Ascidian
  • Brachyury
  • Ciona
  • cis-regulatory module
  • Insulin
  • Notochord
  • Pancreas
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Insulin-like genes in ascidians : Findings in Ciona and hypotheses on the evolutionary origins of the pancreas. / Thompson, Jordan M.; Di Gregorio, Anna.

In: Genesis, Vol. 53, No. 1, 01.01.2015, p. 82-104.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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