Members of the TGF‐β superfamily of signaling molecules are widespread in metazoans, but the evolutionary origin of particular subclasses of signaling mechanisms is poorly defined. The DPP/BMP class, for example, is implicated in dorsal‐ventral patterning, neural patterning, and limb development. Here we report the presence of several components of a DPP/BMP‐specific signal transduction cascade in a nonbilateral animal, the coral Acropora millepora. The discovery of these components, a putative type I receptor and two putative receptor‐activated Smads, suggests that DPP/BMP signaling predates both dorsal‐ventral pattern formation and limb development. We postulate that an ancestral role in neuroepithelial patterning may account for the high level of conservation between DPP/BMP signaling components found in this nonbilateral animal and the more complex triploblastic organisms of the arthropod and chordate phyla.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||EVOLUTION & DEVELOPMENT|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2001|