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Expression of AmHNF6, a sea star orthologue of a transcription factor with multiple distinct roles in sea urchin development.
The sea urchin transcription factor SpHNF6 is an early activator of differentiation genes in skeletogenic lineages and regulatory genes in the oral ectoderm. We report here the cloning and the expression of an orthologue of this gene, AmHNF6, from the sea star Asterina miniata. The vertebrate and the echinoderm hnf6 and onecut genes belong to the novel ONECUT homeo domain class of transcription factors. In blastula stage sea star embryos, AmHNF6 is expressed everywhere except around the vegetal pole. As is observed in sea urchin, by the end of gastrulation, the expression of AmHNF6 is distinctly localized to the ciliary bands. This terminal phase of expression has remained unchanged since the divergence of these two taxa half a billion years ago.