A tolloid homologue from the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas

TitleA tolloid homologue from the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsHerpin, A, Lelong, C, Becker, T, Favrel, P, Cunningham, C
JournalGene Expression Patterns

The genes governing mesoderm specification have been extensively studied in vertebrates, arthropods and nematodes. The latter two phyla belong to the Ecdysozoan clade but little is understood of the role that these genes might play in the development of the other major protostomal clade, the Lophotrochozoa. As part of a wider project to analyze the functions associated with transforming growth factor beta superfamily members in Lophotrochozoa, we have cloned a gene encoding a tolloid homologue from the bivalve mollusc Crassostrea gigas. Tolloid is a key developmental protein that regulates the activity of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). We have determined the intron-exon structure of the gene encoding C. gigas tolloid and have compared it with those of homologous genes from both protostomes and deuterostomes. In order to analyze the functionality of oyster tolloid the zebrafish embryo has been employed as a reporter organism and we show that over-expression of this protein results in the ventralization of zebrafish embryos at 24h post fertilization. The expression of the C. gigas tolloid gene during embryonic and larval development as well as in adult tissues is also explored.