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Morphogenesis accompanying larval metamorphosis in Plakina trilopha (Porifera, Homoscleromorpha)

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Morphological investigations of morphogenesis accompanying the metamorphosis of the cinctoblastula larva of poriferan Plakina trilopha (Homoscleromorpha) have been made. The larva possesses a distinct columnar epithelium which subdivides into three cellular areas: antero-lateral, postero-lateral, and posterior one. Characteristic morphological features of the cells in each area can be used as natural markers when tracing the fate of larval cells during metamorphosis. The ciliated epithelium of the larva is transformed directly into choanoderm and pinacoderm, without losing its organization. This transformation is a peculiar feature of the metamorphosis in Homoscleromorpha. Metamorphosis in P. trilopha is based on epithelial morphogenesis and includes the mechanisms of flattening of the exopinacoderm, evagination and invagination of larval epithelium in the course of the development of the rhagon aquiferous system. The flattening of larval cells during exopinacoderm formation in metamorphosing P. trilopha is a common change of cell shape during epithelial morphogenesis of this species. The separation of proximal fragments of cells has been observed here. This phenomenon, that we have called “cytoplasmic shedding”, appears to play an important role in the change of epithelial cell shape in P. trilopha. Mechanism of epithelial–mesenchymal transition, i.e., ingression of epithelial ciliated cells into the cavity of the metamorphosing larva of P. trilopha participates in mesohylar cell origin.

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The author is warmly grateful to Dr. Nicole Boury-Esnault, Dr. Carole Borchiellini, Dr Jean Vacelet and Dr. Thierry Perez Centre d’Océanologie de Marseille, for helpful discussions, to Chantal Bézac, Centre d’Océanologie de Marseille, for technical assistance and Thierry Perez, Roland Graille and Pierre Chevaldonné for diving assistance. This work was also financially supported partially by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grants no. 06-04-48660 and 09-04-00337) and by grant of Marie Curie IIF MIF1-CT-2006-040065 PHENOMED.

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Correspondence to Alexander V. Ereskovsky.

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Ereskovsky, A.V., Konyukov, P.Y. & Tokina, D.B. Morphogenesis accompanying larval metamorphosis in Plakina trilopha (Porifera, Homoscleromorpha). Zoomorphology 129, 21–31 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00435-009-0097-5

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  • Morphogenesis
  • Metamorphosis
  • Porifera
  • Ultrastructure
  • Larva
  • Plakina
  • Homoscleromorpha