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Title: Lessons from a transcription factor: Alx1 provides insights into gene regulatory networks, cellular reprogramming, and cell type evolution
The skeleton-forming cells of sea urchins and other echinoderms have been studied by developmental biologists as models of cell specification and morphogenesis for many decades. The gene regulatory network (GRN) deployed in the embryonic skeletogenic cells of euechinoid sea urchins is one of the best understood in any developing animal. Recent comparative studies have leveraged the information contained in this GRN, bringing renewed attention to the diverse patterns of skeletogenesis within the phylum and the evolutionary basis for this diversity. The homeodomain-containing transcription factor, Alx1, was originally shown to be a core component of the skeletogenic GRN of the sea urchin embryo. Alx1 has since been found to be key regulator of skeletal cell identity throughout the phylum. As such, Alx1 is currently serving as a lens through which multiple developmental processes are being investigated. These include not only GRN organization and evolution, but also cell reprogramming, cell type evolution, and the gene regulatory control of morphogenesis. This review summarizes our current state of knowledge concerning Alx1 and highlights the insights it is yielding into these important developmental and evolutionary processes.
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
2004952
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10342098
Journal Name:
Current topics in developmental biology
Volume:
146
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
113-148
ISSN:
1557-8933
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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