Bebenek, I.G., Gates, R.D., Morris, J., Hartenstein, V., and Jacobs, D.K. (2004) sine oculis in basal Metazoa. Development genes and evolution. 214(7):342-351.
We report the recovery of homologs of Six1/2/sine oculis (so), a homeodomain-containing member of the Six-gene family, from a diverse set of basal Metazoa, including representatives of the poriferan classes Demospongia, Calcarea and Hexactinellida, the cnidarian classes Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa and Anthozoa, as well as a ctenophore. so sequences were also recovered from a platyhelminth, an echiurid and two bivalve molluscs, members of the super-phyletic group Lophotrochozoa. In the case of the platyhelminth, multiple distinct so sequences were recovered, as well as a member of the related group Six4/5/D-Six4. Extended sequences of the so gene were recovered from the demosponge, Haliclona sp., and the scyphozoan Aurelia aurita via PCR, and 3' RACE. The affinities of all recovered sequences were assessed using a parsimony analysis based on both nucleic and amino acid sequence and using successive character weighting. Our results indicate that so is highly conserved across the animal kingdom. Preliminary expression data for Aurelia reveal that transcripts of the so homolog are present in the manubrium as well as in the rhopalia, which contain the statocyst and eyes, in the free-swimming ephyra and juvenile stages of these jellyfish.