Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 5, pp 987–996 | Cite as

Fine structure of naive and allogeneic challenged ampullae in Botrylloides subpopulation I from the Mediterranean coast of Israel

  • N. Simon-BlecherEmail author
  • J. Hanania
  • Y. Achituv
  • B. Rinkevich
Research Article


The external peripheral termini of vasculature in botryllid ascidians (ampullae) are important in the expression of effector mechanisms during histocompatibility reactions. We study here morphological changes to the microstructure during allorecognition in Botrylloides subpopulation I (SP1) from the Mediterranean coast of Israel, where special giant ampullae, called megaloampullae are developed hours after first allogeneic challenge. The basal part of each naive ampulla consists of a sheath of continuous squamous epithelial cells (1 μm×20 μm). At the tip of the ampullae, about 130 epithelial cells become columnar with wide apical pads (15 μm×5–10 μm), that contain electron-opaque “adhesive vesicles”. Foci of crystallizations were observed within the vesicles of some columnar cells. Ampullar epithelial cells develop internal folds that support tight attachments between circulating blood cells (most of them are pigment cells) and ampullar epithelium. During the histoincompatibility process, the tunic peripheral edge at the interaction area becomes highly convoluted. Filaments (up to 1.16 μm) accumulate in the interaction tunic matrix. Some of these filaments encircle destructed cells. Fragmented cell membranes are also found next to the reacting ampullae. The most characteristic feature of the Botrylloides SP1 rejection reaction is dilation of the ampullae. The ampullar epithelium becomes “curly” when megaloampullae are formed. Within the curly region, about 30% of the squamous epithelial cells are further stretched, up to 33 μm in length. Some additional mechanisms are suggested to explain the fast increase (up to seven times) in ampullar width that is recorded within a few hours from the first allogeneic contact.


Columnar Cell Mediterranean Coast Squamous Epithelial Cell Circulate Blood Cell Rejection Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The study was supported by the US–Israel Binational Science Foundation and by the Israel Science Foundation (456/01). N.S.-B. was a doctoral fellow of the Charles Clore Foundation. This study is part of N.S.-B.’s PhD dissertation at Bar-Ilan University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Simon-Blecher
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • J. Hanania
    • 1
  • Y. Achituv
    • 1
  • B. Rinkevich
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Life SciencesBar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  2. 2.National Institute of OceanographyIsrael Oceanography and Limnological ResearchHaifaIsrael

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