Inductive interactions and embryonic equivalence groups in a basal metazoan, the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi

Jonathan Q. Henry, Mark Q. Martindale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ctenophores undergo locomotion via the metachronal beating of eight longitudinally arrayed rows of comb plate cilia. These cilia are normally derived from two embryonic lineages, which include both daughters of the four e1 micromeres (e11 and e12) and a single daughter of the four m1 micromeres (the m12 micromeres). Although the e1 lineage is established autonomously, the m 1 lineage requires an inductive interaction from the e1 lineage to contribute to comb plate formation. Successive removal of the e 1 progeny at later stages of development indicates that this interaction takes place after the 32-cell stage and likely proceeds over a prolonged period of development. Normally, the e11 cell lies in closest proximity to the m12 cell that generates comb plate cilia; however, either of the e1 daughters (e11 or e 12) is capable of emitting the signal required for m1 descendants to form comb plates. Previous cell lineage analyses indicate that the two e1 daughters generate the same suite of cell fates. On the other hand, the m1 daughters (m11 and m12) normally give rise to different cell fates. Reciprocal m1 daughter deletions show that in the absence of one daughter, the other cell can generate all the cell types normally formed by the missing cell. Together, these findings demonstrate that the two m1 daughters (m11 and m12) represent an embryonic equivalence group or field and that differences in the fates of the two m1 daughters are normally controlled by cell-cell interactions. These combined properties of ctenophore development, including the utilization of deterministic cleavage divisions, inductive interactions, and the establishment of embryonic fields or equivalence groups, are remarkably similar to those present in the development of various bilaterian metazoans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalEvolution and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Developmental Biology

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