Meeting Abstract

P2.73  Thursday, Jan. 5  Rudiment Formation in the Sea Urchin Lytechinus variegatus WYGODA, Jennifer*; WRAY, Greg; MCCLAY, David; Duke University; Duke University; Duke University

Sea urchin metamorphosis is dramatic process. In a matter of minutes, a bilaterally symmetric larva transforms into a radially symmetric juvenile urchin. Prior to this radical change in body plan, a group of cells organize to form the imaginal rudiment on the left side of the larval body. However, the identities of the larval cells that contribute to this rudiment, as well as the molecular mechanisms that establish the rudiment’s pentaradial symmetry, are poorly understood. My thesis research focuses on these questions, as well as how the embryonic gene regulatory network of the sea urchin is adapted to specify development of the juvenile body plan. Currently, I am cloning several candidate genes from Lytechinus variegatus, including Distal-less. DLX protein has been shown to specifically localize to the developing rudiment in sea urchins (Lowe et al. 2002), and it has long been known to affect the formation of imaginal discs in Drosophila. I plan to make in situ hybridization probes from Distal-less and other candidate genes known to be involved in Drosophila imaginal disc patterning in order to examine the role of these genes in rudiment development.