Mesoderm and ectoderm lineages in the crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis display intra-germ layer compensation

Dev Biol. 2010 May 1;341(1):256-66. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.12.006. Epub 2009 Dec 21.


In Parhyale hawaiensis, the first three divisions are holoblastic and asymmetric, resulting in an embryo comprised of eight cells-four macromeres and four micromeres. Lineage studies performed at this stage demonstrate that the progeny of each cell contribute to specific portions of different germ layers. However, it is not known if this lineage pattern means a given blastomere is committed to its specific fate, indicative of mosaic development, or if regulation can occur between blastomere progeny so that the loss of a blastomere could be compensated for during development. Furthermore, if compensation occurs, what would be the source of such replacement? To investigate these possibilities, we performed ablation experiments at the eight-cell stage. We find that loss of blastomeres results in compensation. To determine the compensation pattern, we combined ablation and cell lineage tracing to reveal that progeny of mesoderm and ectoderm producing blastomeres display intra-germ layer compensation. Furthermore, by ablating lineages later in development, we identify a key interval between gastrulation and germband elongation after which compensation no longer occurs. Our results suggest that Parhyale possesses a mechanism to assess the status of mesoderm and ectoderm formation and alter development to replace the missing portions of these lineages.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Crustacea / cytology
  • Crustacea / embryology*
  • Gastrulation
  • Germ Layers / cytology