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Loss of test cells leads to the formation of new tunic surface cells and abnormal metamorphosis in larvae of Ciona intestinalis (Chordata, Ascidiacea)

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Abstract 

The larvae of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis from which the chorion with the test cells and follicle cells were removed developed normally without the test cells until the early tailbud stage. A number of round-shaped cells morphologically similar to the test cells but with different lectin affinities and autofluorescence, then appeared on the neck region of the demembranated embryos. The new cells had three different types: round, particulate, and granular, and these cells increased in number after the late tailbud stage. The morphology of the adhesive papillae, tunic layers and epidermis of the demembranated larvae was similar to that of control larvae; however, the affinity to lectins was different in the swimming period. Control larvae attached to the substratum after the swimming period, resorbed the tail completely and underwent rotation of the visceral organs. Conversely, rotation occurred before completion of tail resorption in the demembranated larvae. Furthermore, the metamorphic events progressed more slowly in the demembranated larvae. These results suggest that the test cells play important roles in normal development and morphogenesis of ascidian larvae.

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Received: 4 December 1998 / Accepted: 9 April 1999

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Sato, Y., Morisawa, M. Loss of test cells leads to the formation of new tunic surface cells and abnormal metamorphosis in larvae of Ciona intestinalis (Chordata, Ascidiacea). Dev Gene Evol 209, 592–600 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004270050293

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  • Key words Test cell
  • Demembranated larva
  • Metamorphosis
  • Lectin
  • Ascidian