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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
MeSH Review


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Disease relevance of Urochordata

  • A chlorophyll c-like pigment, similar to magnesium-3,8-divinyl pheoporphyrin a5 monomethyl ester, has been isolated from Prochloron sp. obtained from five species of didemnid ascidians from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, and from Palau, Micronesia [1].
  • In contrast to other sensory cells of ascidians, the coronal hair cells are secondary sensory cells, since they lack axonal processes directed towards the cerebral ganglion [2].

Psychiatry related information on Urochordata

  • Fluorescent analogues (DB1 and TA1) of the secondary metabolites didemnin B (DB) and tamandarin A (TA) were synthesized to investigate the potential chemical defense mechanisms of tunicates in the family Didemnidae [3].

High impact information on Urochordata

  • In addition to its presence in advanced species, MASP also exists in primitive life forms such as tunicates and may be an evolutionary prototype of this family [4].
  • Complement-related serine proteases in tunicates and vertebrates [4].
  • Studies of the tailless larvae of anural ascidians have resulted in the identification of Manx, a gene that may control tail development and evolution [5].
  • Sera from tunicates down on the chordate line of evolution and sera from all tested animals on the arthropod line of development were negative [6].
  • The lack of cellulose biosynthesis in all other groups of metazoans and the similarity of the C. savignyi cellulose synthase to enzymes from cellulose-producing organisms support the hypothesis that the urochordates acquired the cellulose biosynthetic pathway by horizontal transfer [7].

Biological context of Urochordata


Anatomical context of Urochordata


Associations of Urochordata with chemical compounds

  • To elucidate further the components and function of the pre-vertebrate complement system, we attempted to isolate an ascidian (urochordata) C3 convertase [18].
  • In the genus Ascidia, N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) is the ligand to which sperm bind [19].
  • Vanadium K-edge x-ray absorption spectroscopy reveals species differences within the same ascidian genera. A comparison of whole blood from Ascidia nigra and Ascidia ceratodes [20].
  • Occurrence of heparin in the invertebrate styela plicata (Tunicata) is restricted to cell layers facing the outside environment. An ancient role in defense [21]?
  • Among sulfated polysaccharides, those in the tunic of ascidians are unique: their major constituent sugar is galactose, which occurs exclusively in the L-enantiomeric form [22].

Gene context of Urochordata

  • Identification and phylogenetic analyses of the protein arginine methyltransferase gene family in fish and ascidians [23].
  • Expression patterns of Ci-GnRHR1 and Ci-GnRHR2 suggest that a GnRH signaling system is involved in regulation of neuronal and reproductive processes as well as in other physiological functions in ascidians [24].
  • Single members of the BMP2/4 class have been found in invertebrates such as cnidarians, arthropods, nematodes, echinoderms, ascidians, and cephalochordates [25].
  • RESULTS: Cortactin homologues exist in sponges, worms, shrimps, insects, urochordates, fishes, amphibians, birds and mammalians, whereas HS1 exists in vertebrates only, suggesting that both genes have been derived from an ancestor cortactin gene by duplication [26].
  • To understand development and molecular regionalization of the brain in a different deeply diverging chordate clade, we isolated and determined the expression patterns of orthologs of vertebrate CNS markers (otxa, otxb, otxc, pax6, pax2/5/8a, pax2/5/8b, engrailed, and hox1) in Oikopleura dioica (Subphylum Urochordata, Class Larvacea) [27].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of Urochordata


  1. Light-harvesting chlorophyll c-like pigment in Prochloron. Larkum, A.W., Scaramuzzi, C., Cox, G.C., Hiller, R.G., Turner, A.G. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1994) [Pubmed]
  2. Novel, secondary sensory cell organ in ascidians: in search of the ancestor of the vertebrate lateral line. Burighel, P., Lane, N.J., Fabio, G., Stefano, T., Zaniolo, G., Carnevali, M.D., Manni, L. J. Comp. Neurol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  3. Chemical defense in ascidians of the didemnidae family. Joullié, M.M., Leonard, M.S., Portonovo, P., Liang, B., Ding, X., La Clair, J.J. Bioconjug. Chem. (2003) [Pubmed]
  4. Complement-related serine proteases in tunicates and vertebrates. Matsushita, M., Endo, Y., Nonaka, M., Fujita, T. Curr. Opin. Immunol. (1998) [Pubmed]
  5. Chasing tails in ascidians: developmental insights into the origin and evolution of chordates. Satoh, N., Jeffery, W.R. Trends Genet. (1995) [Pubmed]
  6. Phylogenetic analysis of platelet-derived growth factor by radio-receptor assay. Singh, J.P., Chaikin, M.A., Stiles, C.D. J. Cell Biol. (1982) [Pubmed]
  7. A functional cellulose synthase from ascidian epidermis. Matthysse, A.G., Deschet, K., Williams, M., Marry, M., White, A.R., Smith, W.C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2004) [Pubmed]
  8. Isolation and expression of a Pax-6 gene in the regenerating and intact Planarian Dugesia(G)tigrina. Callaerts, P., Munoz-Marmol, A.M., Glardon, S., Castillo, E., Sun, H., Li, W.H., Gehring, W.J., Salo, E. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1999) [Pubmed]
  9. Sperm-induced calcium oscillations at fertilisation in ascidians are controlled by cyclin B1-dependent kinase activity. Levasseur, M., McDougall, A. Development (2000) [Pubmed]
  10. Making very similar embryos with divergent genomes: conservation of regulatory mechanisms of Otx between the ascidians Halocynthia roretzi and Ciona intestinalis. Oda-Ishii, I., Bertrand, V., Matsuo, I., Lemaire, P., Saiga, H. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  11. Notochord morphogenesis: a prickly subject for ascidians. Tada, M. Curr. Biol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  12. Allorecognition in colonial tunicates: protection against predatory cell lineages? Magor, B.G., De Tomaso, A., Rinkevich, B., Weissman, I.L. Immunol. Rev. (1999) [Pubmed]
  13. The absence of nidogen 1 does not affect murine basement membrane formation. Murshed, M., Smyth, N., Miosge, N., Karolat, J., Krieg, T., Paulsson, M., Nischt, R. Mol. Cell. Biol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  14. Identification of a cytoskeletal protein localized in the myoplasm of ascidian eggs: localization is modified during anural development. Swalla, B.J., Badgett, M.R., Jeffery, W.R. Development (1991) [Pubmed]
  15. Isolation, purification, and amino acid composition of the tunicate hemocyte Thy-1 homolog. Mansour, M.H., DeLange, R., Cooper, E.L. J. Biol. Chem. (1985) [Pubmed]
  16. Sperm binding to eggs of Ciona intestinalis. Role of Ca2+. Casazza, G., De Santis, R., Pinto, M.R. Exp. Cell Res. (1984) [Pubmed]
  17. An evolutionary change in the muscle lineage of an anural ascidian embryo is restored by interspecific hybridization with a urodele ascidian. Jeffery, W.R., Swalla, B.J. Dev. Biol. (1991) [Pubmed]
  18. Ancient origin of the complement lectin pathway revealed by molecular cloning of mannan binding protein-associated serine protease from a urochordate, the Japanese ascidian, Halocynthia roretzi. Ji, X., Azumi, K., Sasaki, M., Nonaka, M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1997) [Pubmed]
  19. Ascidian eggs release glycosidase activity which aids in the block against polyspermy. Lambert, C.C. Development (1989) [Pubmed]
  20. Vanadium K-edge x-ray absorption spectroscopy reveals species differences within the same ascidian genera. A comparison of whole blood from Ascidia nigra and Ascidia ceratodes. Frank, P., Hodgson, K.O., Kustin, K., Robinson, W.E. J. Biol. Chem. (1998) [Pubmed]
  21. Occurrence of heparin in the invertebrate styela plicata (Tunicata) is restricted to cell layers facing the outside environment. An ancient role in defense? Cavalcante, M.C., Allodi, S., Valente, A.P., Straus, A.H., Takahashi, H.K., Mourão, P.A., Pavão, M.S. J. Biol. Chem. (2000) [Pubmed]
  22. Trehalose as a possible precursor of the sulfated L-galactan in the ascidian tunic. Mourão, P.A., Assreuy, A.M. J. Biol. Chem. (1995) [Pubmed]
  23. Identification and phylogenetic analyses of the protein arginine methyltransferase gene family in fish and ascidians. Hung, C.M., Li, C. Gene (2004) [Pubmed]
  24. Structure, expression, and cluster organization of genes encoding gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptors found in the neural complex of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Kusakabe, T., Mishima, S., Shimada, I., Kitajima, Y., Tsuda, M. Gene (2003) [Pubmed]
  25. Conservation and divergence of BMP2/4 genes in the lamprey: expression and phylogenetic analysis suggest a single ancestral vertebrate gene. McCauley, D.W., Bronner-Fraser, M. Evol. Dev. (2004) [Pubmed]
  26. Comparative genome analysis of cortactin and HS1: the significance of the F-actin binding repeat domain. van Rossum, A.G., Schuuring-Scholtes, E., van Buuren-van Seggelen, V., Kluin, P.M., Schuuring, E. BMC Genomics (2005) [Pubmed]
  27. Development of the central nervous system in the larvacean Oikopleura dioica and the evolution of the chordate brain. Cañestro, C., Bassham, S., Postlethwait, J. Dev. Biol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  28. Brachyury expression in tailless Molgulid ascidian embryos. Takada, N., York, J., Davis, J.M., Schumpert, B., Yasuo, H., Satoh, N., Swalla, B.J. Evol. Dev. (2002) [Pubmed]
  29. Relaxin-like peptide in ascidians. II. Bioassay and immunolocalization with anti-porcine relaxin in three species. Georges, D., Viguier-Martinez, M.C., Poirier, J.C. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. (1990) [Pubmed]
  30. Accumulation of vanadium during embryogenesis in the vanadium-rich ascidian, Ascidia gemmata. Michibata, H., Uchiyama, J., Seki, Y., Numakunai, T., Uyama, T. Biological trace element research. (1992) [Pubmed]
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