Comparative analysis of embryonic cell lineage between Caenorhabditis briggsae and Caenorhabditis elegans

Zhongying Zhao*, Thomas J. Boyle, Zhirong Bao, John I. Murray, Barbara Mericle, Robert H. Waterston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Comparative genomic analysis of important signaling pathways in Caenorhabditis briggsae and Caenorhabditis elegans reveals both conserved features and also differences. To build a framework to address the significance of these features we determined the C. briggsae embryonic cell lineage, using the tools StarryNite and AceTree. We traced both cell divisions and cell positions for all cells through all but the last round of cell division and for selected cells through the final round. We found the lineage to be remarkably similar to that of C. elegans. Not only did the founder cells give rise to similar numbers of progeny, the relative cell division timing and positions were largely maintained. These lineage similarities appear to give rise to similar cell fates as judged both by the positions of lineally equivalent cells and by the patterns of cell deaths in both species. However, some reproducible differences were seen, e.g., the P4 cell cycle length is more than 40% longer in C. briggsae than that in C. elegans (p < 0.01). The extensive conservation of embryonic development between such divergent species suggests that substantial evolutionary distance between these two species has not altered these early developmental cellular events, although the developmental defects of transpecies hybrids suggest that the details of the underlying molecular pathways have diverged sufficiently so as to not be interchangeable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume314
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

User-Defined Keywords

  • C. briggsae
  • C. elegans
  • Embryo
  • Cell lineage
  • Signaling pathway

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