Cell specification and the role of the polar lobe in the gastropod mollusc Crepidula fornicata

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A small polar lobe forms at the first and second cleavage divisions in the gastropod mollusc Crepidula fornicata. These lobes normally fuse with the blastomeres that give rise to the D quadrant at the two- and four-cell stages (cells ultimately generating the 4d mesentoblast and D quadrant organizer). Significantly, removal of the small polar lobe had no noticeable effect on subsequent development of the veliger larva. The behavior of the polar lobe and characteristic early cell shape changes involving protrusion of the 3D macromere at the 24-cell suggest that the D quadrant is specified prior to the sixth cleavage division. On the other hand, blastomere deletion experiments indicate that the D quadrant is not determined until the time of formation of the 4d blastomere (mesentoblast). In fact, embryos can undergo regulation to form normal-appearing larvae if the prospective D blastomere or 3D macromere is removed. Removal of the 4d mesentoblast leads to highly disorganized, radial development. Removal of the first quartet micromeres at the 8-cell stage also leads to the development of radialized larvae. These findings indicate that the embryos of C. fornicata follow the mode of development exhibited by equal-cleaving spiralians, which involves conditional specification of the D quadrant organizer via inductive interactions, presumably from the first quartet micromeres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-307
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 15 2006


  • D quadrant
  • Evolution
  • Gastropoda
  • Induction
  • Mollusca
  • Polar lobe
  • Spiralian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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