Meeting Abstract

P3.58  Friday, Jan. 6  Gene Regulatory Networks in Nematostella: Old Questions - New Approaches FISCHER, AHL*; TULIN, S; SMITH, J; MBL, Woods Hole; MBL, Woods Hole; MBL, Woods Hole

The phylogenetic position of the starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, offers a unique window into fundamental developmental programs, such as axis specification, gastrulation, germ layer specification and embryonic patterning. Nematostella is exceptionally tractable for studying developmental Gene Regulatory Networks (GRNs). The Nematostella genome is sequenced and annotated, transgenesis and RNAi are established tools and it is easy to culture and to induce gametogenesis. Five specific technologies will put Nematostella at the forefront of molecular developmental studies: (1) rapid identification of differential gene expression by RNA-seq; (2) large scale, quantitative perturbation analysis using the Nanostring nCounter; (3) rapid profiling of spatial expression patterns using a novel method, TRIP-seq (Translating Ribosome Immunoprecipitation followed by deep sequencing), and employing BAC recombinants; (4) real-time spatial readout of gene expression using BAC reporter constructs, and thus permitting rapid cis-regulatory analysis; (5) global identification of cis-acting elements through a modified application of ChIP-seq methods. This set of quantitative and high-throughput techniques puts the goal of defining GRNs for complex systems within reach, even in emerging model systems. We seek to determine the complete GRN of early Nematostella development in a faster and more inclusive manner than previously known. The obtained results will then be compared to known interactions in other organisms to gain a deeper understanding about evolutionary changes of the developmental program across metazoans.