Gene expression profiles in Ciona intestinalis tailbud embryos

Y. Satou, N. Takatori, L. Yamada, Y. Mochizuki, M. Hamaguchi, H. Ishikawa, S. Chiba, K. Imai, S. Kano, S. D. Murakami, A. Nakayama, A. Nishino, Y. Sasakura, G. Satoh, T. Shimotori, T. Shin-i, E. Shoguchi, M. M. Suzuki, N. Takada, N. UtsumiN. Yoshida, H. Saiga, Y. Kohara, N. Satoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


A set of 3423 expressed sequence tags derived from the Ciona intestinalis tailbud embryos was categorized into 1213 independent clusters. When compared with DNA Data Bank of Japan database, 502 clusters of them showed significant matches to reported proteins with distinct function, whereas 184 lacked sufficient information to be categorized (including reported proteins with undefined function) and 527 had no significant similarities to known proteins. Sequence similarity analyses of the 502 clusters in relation to the biosynthetic function, as well as the structure of the message population at this stage, demonstrated that 390 of them were associated with functions that many kinds of cells use, 85 with cell-cell communication and 27 with transcription factors and other gene regulatory proteins. All of the 1213 clusters were subjected to whole-mount in situ hybridization to analyze the gene expression profiles at this stage. A total of 387 clusters showed expression specific to a certain tissue or organ; 149 showed epidermis-specific expression; 34 were specific to the nervous system; 29 to endoderm; 112 to mesenchyme; 32 to notochord; and 31 to muscle. Many genes were also specifically expressed in multiple tissues. The study also highlighted characteristic gene expression profiles dependent on the tissues. In addition, several genes showed intriguing expression patterns that have not been reported previously; for example, four genes were expressed specifically in the nerve cord cells and one gene was expressed only in the posterior part of muscle cells. This study provides molecular markers for each of the tissues and/or organs that constitutes the Ciona tailbud embryo. The sequence information will also be used for further genome scientific approach to explore molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of one of the most primitive chordate body plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2893-2904
Number of pages12
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2001


  • Ciona intestinalis
  • ESTs
  • Gene expression profiles
  • Tailbud embryos
  • cDNA project


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