Inducing heterochronic shift in Ciona intestinalis

Bonnie Colantuono, University of Rhode Island


Solitary and colonial ascidians show heterochrony in the development of adult organs. This project is a first step towards reproducing this heterochronic shift and gaining insight into the number of genes in this process. An inducible transgene was constructed to reproduce the shift. The transgene was designed with a heat shock protein (HSP70) promoter to induce the expression of a gene at any time in development. A control transgene was constructed, but after two experiments, the transgene did not show the ability to be induced. With a possible mutation in the promoter, future experiments will address this issue and create a functional inducible transgene. The second part of this project is the development of an easy and reliable protocol for inducing early metamorphosis. Potassium chloride (KCl) and heat shock were used to induce early metamorphosis in the solitary ascidian, Ciona intestinalis. KCl was unable to induce early metamorphosis. The heat shock experiments look to be a promising way to induce early metamorphosis. To create a reliable protocol, more trials need to be performed.

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Recommended Citation

Bonnie Colantuono, "Inducing heterochronic shift in Ciona intestinalis" (2014). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1600253.