Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 25361580
Biol Open 2014;3(11):1098-107
In order to gain insight into the impact of yolk increase on endoderm development, we have analyzed the mechanisms of endoderm formation in the catshark S. canicula, a species exhibiting telolecithal eggs and a distinct yolk sac. We show that in this species, endoderm markers are expressed in two distinct tissues, the deep mesenchyme, a mesenchymal population of deep blastomeres lying beneath the epithelial-like superficial layer, already specified at early blastula stages, and the involuting mesendoderm layer, which appears at the blastoderm posterior margin at the onset of gastrulation. Formation of the deep mesenchyme involves cell internalizations from the superficial layer prior to gastrulation, by a movement suggestive of ingressions. These cell movements were observed not only at the posterior margin, where massive internalizations take place prior to the start of involution, but also in the center of the blastoderm, where internalizations of single cells prevail. Like the adjacent involuting mesendoderm, the posterior deep mesenchyme expresses anterior mesendoderm markers under the control of Nodal/activin signaling. Comparisons across vertebrates support the conclusion that endoderm is specified in two distinct temporal phases in the catshark as in all major osteichthyan lineages, in line with an ancient origin of a biphasic mode of endoderm specification in gnathostomes. They also highlight unexpected similarities with amniotes, such as the occurrence of cell ingressions from the superficial layer prior to gastrulation. These similarities may correspond to homoplastic traits fixed separately in amniotes and chondrichthyans and related to the increase in egg yolk mass.