Jakob W, Schierwater B (2007)
Changing Hydrozoan Bauplans by Silencing Hox-Like Genes.
PLoS ONE 2(8): e694. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000694
Regulatory genes of the Antp class have been a major factor for the invention and radiation of animal bauplans. One of the most diverse animal phyla are the Cnidaria, which are close to the root of metazoan life and which often appear in two distinct generations and a remarkable variety of body forms. Hox-like genes have been known to be involved in axial patterning in the Cnidaria and have been suspected to play roles in the genetic control of many of the observed bauplan changes. Unfortunately RNAi mediated gene silencing studies have not been satisfactory for marine invertebrate organisms thus far. No direct evidence supporting Hox-like gene induced bauplan changes in cnidarians have been documented as of yet. Herein, we report a protocol for RNAi transfection of marine invertebrates and demonstrate that knock downs of Hox-like genes in Cnidaria create substantial bauplan alterations, including the formation of multiple oral poles (“heads”) by Cnox-2 and Cnox-3 inhibition, deformation of the main body axis by Cnox-5 inhibition and duplication of tentacles by Cnox-1 inhibition. All phenotypes observed in the course of the RNAi studies were identical to those obtained by morpholino antisense oligo experiments and are reminiscent of macroevolutionary bauplan changes. The reported protocol will allow routine RNAi studies in marine invertebrates to be established.
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