Novel genes involved in canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in early Ciona intestinalis embryos

Shuichi Wada, Mayuko Hamada, Kenji Kobayashi, Nori Satoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


We report here characterization of five genes for novel components of the canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. These genes were identified in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis through a loss-of-function screening for genes required for embryogenesis with morpholinos, and four of them have counterparts in vertebrates. The five genes we studied are as follows: Ci-PGAP1, a Ciona orthologue of human PGAP1, which encodes GPI (glycosylphosphatidylinositol) inositol-deacylase, Ci-ZF278, a gene encoding a C2H2 zinc-finger protein, Ci-C10orf11, a Ciona orthologue of human C10orf11 that encodes a protein with leucine-rich repeats, Ci-Spatial/C4orf17, a single counterpart for two human genes Spatial and C4orf17, and Ci-FLJ10634, a Ciona orthologue of human FLJ10634 that encodes a member of the J-protein family. Knockdown of each of the genes mimicked β-catenin knockdown and resulted in suppression of the expression of β-catenin downstream genes (Ci-FoxD, Ci-Lhx3, Ci-Otx and Ci-Fgf9/16/20) and subsequent endoderm formation. For every gene, defects in knockdown embryos were rescued by overexpression of a constitutively active form, but not wild-type, of Ci-β-catenin. Dosage-sensitive interactions were found between Ci-β-catenin and each of the genes. These results suggest that these five genes act upstream of or parallel to Ci-β-catenin in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in early Ciona embryos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-227
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopment Growth and Differentiation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Ciona intestinalis
  • Endoderm specification
  • Novel genes
  • Signaling pathways
  • β-catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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