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In addition to the canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway, at least two noncanonical Wnt/Fz pathways have been described: the planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway in Drosophila [1] and the Wnt/calcium pathway in vertebrate embryos [2]. Recent work suggests that a vertebrate pathway homologous to the PCP pathway acts to regulate the convergent extension(More)
The Ciona notochord displays planar cell polarity (PCP), with anterior localization of Prickle (Pk) and Strabismus (Stbm). We report that a myosin is polarized anteriorly in these cells and strongly colocalizes with Stbm. Disruption of the actin/myosin machinery with cytochalasin or blebbistatin disrupts polarization of Pk and Stbm, but not of myosin(More)
Here we use in toto imaging together with computational segmentation and analysis methods to quantify the shape of every cell at multiple stages in the development of a simple organ: the notochord of the ascidian Ciona savignyi. We find that cell shape in the intercalated notochord depends strongly on anterior-posterior (AP) position, with cells in the(More)
Ascidian larvae have a hollow, dorsal central nervous system that shares many morphological features with vertebrate nervous systems yet is composed of very few cells. We show here that a null mutation in the gene dmrt1 in the ascidian Ciona savignyi results in profound abnormalities in the development of the sensory vesicle (brain), as well as other(More)
We present a model for the automated segmentation of cells from confocal microscopy volumes of biological samples. The segmentation task for these images is exceptionally challenging due to weak boundaries and varying intensity during the imaging process. To tackle this, a two step pruning process based on the Fast Marching Method is first applied to obtain(More)
The relative positions of the brain and mouth are of central importance for models of chordate evolution. The dorsal hollow neural tube and the mouth have often been thought of as developmentally distinct structures that may have followed independent evolutionary paths. In most chordates however, including vertebrates and ascidians, the mouth primordia have(More)
We address the problem of cell segmentation in confocal microscopy membrane volumes of the ascidian Ciona used in the study of morphogenesis. The primary challenges are non-uniform and patchy membrane staining and faint spurious boundaries from other organelles (e.g. nuclei). Traditional segmentation methods incorrectly attach to faint boundaries producing(More)
Developmental biology relies heavily on microscopy to image the finely controlled cell behaviors that drive embryonic development. Most embryos are large enough that a field of view with the resolution and magnification needed to resolve single cells will not span more than a small region of the embryo. Ascidian embryos, however, are sufficiently small that(More)
We have developed a method to automatically segment notochord cell boundaries from differential interference contrast (DIC) timelapse images of the elongating ascidian tail. The method is based on a specialized parametric active contour, the network snake, which can be initialized as a network of arbitrary but fixed topology and provides an effective(More)
Studies in tunicates such as Ciona have revealed new insights into the evolutionary origins of chordate development. Ciona populations are characterized by high levels of natural genetic variation, between 1 and 5%. This variation has provided abundant material for forward genetic studies. In the current study, we make use of deep sequencing and(More)