Info

Figure 8 Metazoan phylogenies. a, The traditional phylogeny based on morphology and embryology. b, The new molecule-based phylogeny. Reproduced from Adoutte, A., Balavoine, G., Lartillot, N., Lespinet, O., Prud'homme, B., and de Rosa, R. 2000. The new animal phylogeny: Reliability and implications. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97, 4453-4456. Copyright 2000 National Academy of Sciences, USA, with permission.

the evolutionary origin of nervous system centralization and brain formation cannot be deduced from molecular phylogenetic data alone (see Origin and Evolution of the First Nervous System). This means that in terms of nervous system organization of the last common ancestor of modern bilateral animals, current molecular phylogeny is compatible with a number of possibilities (see, for example, Arendt and Nubler-Jung, 1997; Adoutte et al., 2000; Gerhart, 2000; Shankland and Seaver, 2000; Meinhardt, 2002; Erwin and Davidson, 2002; Holland, 2003; and references therein).

1.04.5.2 Do Specialized Gene Expression Patterns Predict Specialized Brain Structures?

Since molecular phylogeny does not support preferentially either of the two hypotheses for the evolutionary origin of the CNS, we are left with the molecular data provided by comparative developmental genetic studies. Given the conserved molecular patterning mechanisms, or at least the conserved gene expression patterns, that characterize brain development in all bilaterians examined, what inferences can be made about the evolution of the CNS? The hypothesis of a mono-phyletic origin of the CNS is underscored by the notion that specialized developmental patterning mechanisms and patterned anatomical complexity evolved together (Tautz, 2003). Since comparative developmental genetics indicates that a complex set of conserved and specialized anteroposterior and dorsoventral patterning genes were operative in the nervous system of the urbilaterian ancestor of pro-tostomes and deuterostomes, it is reasonable to assume that these genes generated an urbilaterian nervous system that also manifested complex anatomical specializations along the anteroposterior and dorsoventral axes (Hirth and Reichert, 1999; Arendt and Nubler-Jung, 1999; Reichert and Simeone, 2001). Thus, the conservation of expression and function of the dorsoventral columnar genes, including their dorsoventral inversion, provides strong evidence for the existence of an urbilaterian nervous system that was already dorso-ventrally regionalized. Moreover, the observed dorsoventral inverted expression of these genes in the CNS of insects versus vertebrates is precisely what would be predicted by the body axis inversion hypothesis, which in turn is substantiated by independent molecular evidence from gene expression data on heart development and gastrulation (e.g., Cripps and Olson, 2002; Arendt and Nubler-Jung, 1997).

Alternative scenarios for the evolution of centralized nervous systems in protostomes and deuterostomes have been proposed in which the CNSs occurred independently, after the split of the two groups, and without a dorsoventral inversion (reviewed in Gerhart, 2000; Holland, 2003; Lacalli, 2003). An implicit assumption of these proposals is that the bilaterian ancestor did not exert a dorso-ventrally centralized nervous system but instead already had a structured map of patterning gene expression, which was then independently used for generating the CNS in different phyla. In the Auricularia hypothesis originally put forward by Garstang (1894; see also Nielsen, 1999), the evolutionary origins of the chordate nervous system are thought to be found in the ciliary bands of a deuterostome dipleurula-type larval ancestor resembling an echinoderm Auricularia larva. During the evolution of the chordate CNS, bilateral rows of cilia and the associated nerves were said to have converged through complex morphogenetic movements to the dorsal midline and fused to form the neural tube. Evidence for this view was found in comparative anatomical studies between echinoderms (particularly Auricularia larvae), hemichordates, and urochordates, and data show that a number of genes involved in chordate CNS development, including SoxB3, Nkx2.1, and Otx, are expressed in ciliary bands of larval hemichordates and/or echi-noderms (Taguchi et al., 2002; Takacs et al., 2002; Tagawa et al., 2001). Thus far, however, the ciliary band derivatives have not been shown to give rise to cells of the adult nervous system after metamorphosis. Furthermore, the Auricularia hypothesis does not take into account the molecular genetic similarities between the CNS of protostomes and that of chordates.

A comparative study on an enteropneust hemichordate has shown that the anteroposterior expression pattern of a large number of genes, which are involved in axial patterning of the vertebrate and arthropod CNS, is conserved in the apparently diffuse nervous system of the enteropneust acorn worm. The body-encircling basiepithelial nerve net of the directly developing hemichordate Saccoglossus kowalevskii expresses a complex set of regulatory genes in circumferential networks (Lowe et al., 2003). Among these are the orthologues of the otd/Otx, tll/Tlx, ems/Emx, unpg/Gbx, dll/Dlx, Pax, En, Lim, Hox, and other highly conserved gene families, which reveal an anteroposterior order of domains that is remarkably similar to the insect and mammalian gene expression patterns (Figure 9). Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about the expression of hemichordate dpp/BMP-4 and sog/Chd homologues and whether they might possess a neural/ antineural antagonism that could limit and/or condense the nerve net into a CNS to one side of the body. Only in the indirectly developing hemichordate Ptychodera flava has a BMP2/4 homologue been described; however, no expression was observed during embryogenesis, suggesting that it is not involved in axis formation (Harada et al.,

2002). Moreover, little is currently known about vnd/Nkx, ind/Gsh, and msh/Msx orthologous gene expression and whether these genes might possess any early dorsoventral patterning functions in longitudinal column formation of the hemichor-date nervous system. Thus far, only the expression of a hemichordate Nkx2.1 homologue, which is specifically expressed in a ventral sector of the anterior ectoderm, is known (Lowe et al.,

Based on the gene expression studies in Saccoglossus, Lowe and co-workers have proposed that the nervous system of the deuterostome ancestor of hemichordates and chordates was also organized in a diffuse, body-encircling, basiepithe-lial nerve net (Lowe et al., 2003). According to molecular phylogeny, this indicates that the bilater-ian ancestor preceding protostomes and deutero-stomes also possessed a diffuse, body-encircling, basiepithelial nerve net. Independent centralization events in protostomes and deutero-stomes without dorsoventral inversion could then have resulted in anteroposteriorly oriented CNSs with similar gene expression domains (Holland, 2003).

Alternatively, the diffuse nervous system of Saccoglossus may represent the secondary loss of a centralized nervous system. Like cnidarians and cte-nophores, hemichordates exhibit only neuro-epidermal fibers without organized ganglia, brain, or other obvious specialized neural structures. Indeed, most of the data of Lowe et al. (2003) are equally compatible with a secondary reduction scenario, in which the ancestor of the deuterostomes would have had a centralized nervous system, which was lost in the hemichordates due to their peculiar lifestyle as sediment-burrowing worms. Moreover, the apparently simple, nerve net-like

Figure 9 Comparison of the neural gene domain maps of hemichordates, chordates, and Drosophila. In addition to individual gene domains, the color gradient in each panel indicates general similarities of gene expression domains. a, Representation of the general organizational features of the CNSs of chordates and arthropods and the diffuse nervous system of hemichordates arranged on a phylogram. The compass indicates the axial orientation of each model. b, Representation of a dorsal view of a vertebrate neural plate (see Rubenstein et al., 1998). p1/2, prosomeres 1 and 2; p3/4, prosomeres 3 and 4; p5/6, prosomeres 5 and 6; M, midbrain; r1/2, rhombomeres 1 and 2. The discontinuous domain represents the postanal territory of the nerve cord. All 22 expression domains are shown. c, Drosophila late stage 12 embryo model with 14 expression domains shown (lateral view, post-germ-band retraction, before head involution). All models are positioned with anterior to the left. d, The acorn worm (lateral view), with its diffuse nervous system, is shown with a blue color gradient of expression in the ectoderm; the anterior domains, the midlevel domains, the posterior domains, and the postanal territory are color matched to the anteroposterior dimension of the chordate model. Reproduced from Lowe, C. J., Wu, M., Salic, A., et al. 2003. Anteroposterior patterning in hemichordates and the origins of the chordate nervous system. Cell 113, 853-865, with permission from Elsevier.

Figure 9 Comparison of the neural gene domain maps of hemichordates, chordates, and Drosophila. In addition to individual gene domains, the color gradient in each panel indicates general similarities of gene expression domains. a, Representation of the general organizational features of the CNSs of chordates and arthropods and the diffuse nervous system of hemichordates arranged on a phylogram. The compass indicates the axial orientation of each model. b, Representation of a dorsal view of a vertebrate neural plate (see Rubenstein et al., 1998). p1/2, prosomeres 1 and 2; p3/4, prosomeres 3 and 4; p5/6, prosomeres 5 and 6; M, midbrain; r1/2, rhombomeres 1 and 2. The discontinuous domain represents the postanal territory of the nerve cord. All 22 expression domains are shown. c, Drosophila late stage 12 embryo model with 14 expression domains shown (lateral view, post-germ-band retraction, before head involution). All models are positioned with anterior to the left. d, The acorn worm (lateral view), with its diffuse nervous system, is shown with a blue color gradient of expression in the ectoderm; the anterior domains, the midlevel domains, the posterior domains, and the postanal territory are color matched to the anteroposterior dimension of the chordate model. Reproduced from Lowe, C. J., Wu, M., Salic, A., et al. 2003. Anteroposterior patterning in hemichordates and the origins of the chordate nervous system. Cell 113, 853-865, with permission from Elsevier.

nervous system of hemichordates may display further substructures, including CNS elements, as suggested by earlier neuroanatomical analyses: nerve fiber tracts are formed in the epithelium, including major ventral and dorsal tracts (Bullock, 1945; Knight-Jones, 1952).

1.04.5.3 A Simple Nerve Net at the Base of Nervous System Evolution?

There is some evidence that a basiepithelial, noncentralized nerve net, perhaps comparable to those found in extant hemichordates, may indeed represent the basal evolutionary state from which bilaterian nervous systems evolved. Basiepithelial nervous systems exist in some gastroneuralians, and the subepithelial nervous systems, as in insects, often go through a basiepithelial state during their development (Nielsen, 1995; Arendt and Nubler-Jung, 1999). However, the question remains of how such a simple nerve net condensed into a centralized nervous system and when this occurred in evolution. Paleontological evidence can provide a reasonable estimate of when CNSs were already formed in protostome and deuterostome animals. A conservative estimate is a date of 530-540Mya in the early Cambrium, when a complex variety of bilaterian forms representing most of the modern major animal groups was present (Grotzinger et al., 1995; Conway-Morris, 2000). These forms included arthropods such as trilobites and early agnathan-like stem vertebrates and the fossil record for both of these animal forms indicates that they already had brains and CNS with features typical for arthropods and vertebrates (Fortey, 2000; Holland and Chen, 2001). Thus, centralization of nervous systems must have occurred earlier, probably after the split between the cnidarians and the bilaterians, which is thought to have occurred between 600 and

630Mya (Peterson et al., 2004). If this is the case, then the cnidarian nervous system might be more informative of early CNS evolution in stem Bilateria than that of hemichordates.

The basic organization of the nervous system in cnidarians (and ctenophores) is that of a diffuse nerve net that can also manifest centralized elements such as nerve rings and ganglionic centers. Moreover, many of the conserved developmental control genes that operate in the insect and vertebrate nervous system are also present in Cnidaria and thus at least some of these differentiation gene batteries date to the last common ancestor of cnidarians and bilater-ians (Finnerty et al., 2004; Ball et al., 2004; Finnerty, 2003; Galliot, 2000). Among these are anterior and posterior Hox genes, an asymmetrically expressed dpp gene, and an Otx gene. However, the expression patterns of these genes differ among cnidarian species and are inconclusive as far as anteroposterior or dorsoventral axis determination is concerned (Yanze et al., 2001; Finnerty et al., 2004). For example, the typical bilaterian head gene Otx is expressed along the entire primary body axis in cnidarians. In Hydra, the CnOtx gene is expressed at a low level in the ectodermal epithelial cells of the body, during early budding in the region of the parental body column from which cells will migrate into the developing bud, and CnOtx is strongly upregulated during reaggregation, in contrast to head or foot regeneration where it is downregulated (Smith et al., 1999). In Podocoryne, the Otx gene displays two types of expression: in the gonozooid polyp at every developmental stage of the budding medusa and in the mature medusa, restricted to the striated muscle cells (Muller et al., 1999). These data suggest that Otx is not involved in axis determination or head specification in Hydra and Podocoryne. Thus, ambiguous species-specific gene expression data in cnidarians make comparisons between cnidarian and bilateral nervous systems difficult and thus far are inconclusive concerning CNS evolution.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment