Fibrous component of the blastocoelic extracellular matrix shapes epithelia in concert with mesenchyme cells in starfish embryos. (1/18)

By using a monoclonal antibody (4H11 Mab), we have investigated morphogenetic functions of a fibrous component of the blastocoelic extracellular matrix in relation to cellular activities during early development of the starfish Asterina pectinifera. The 4H11 fibers fill the blastocoele from the late-cleavage to late-gastrula stage and contain the 370-kDa proteinaceous molecule secreted only by the epithelial cells. When 4H11 Mab is introduced into the blastocoele of blastulae, the embryos reveal three distinct morphological abnormalities after the mid-gastrula stage: (1) Distribution of mesenchyme cells confined near the tip of the archenteron, (2) swelling of the posterior ectoderm, and (3) suppressed growth of the mouth, esophagus, and coelomic pouches. These abnormalities occur together with alterations in the distribution of the 4H11 fibers. In embryos recovering from the effect of 4H11 Mab, the mesenchyme cells rearrange the 4H11 fibers. We propose that 4H11 fibers play direct roles in the morphogenesis of starfish embryos by providing a dynamic scaffold not only for the mesenchyme cells but also for the epithelial cells. Moreover, 4H11 fibers have a resist force from within, in concert with the mesenchyme cells, to counter the bulging force intrinsic to the epithelia and hold the epithelia in specific positions, once the positions have been decided.  (+info)

Centrosome destined to decay in starfish oocytes. (2/18)

In contrast to the somatic cell cycle, duplication of the centrioles does not occur in the second meiotic cycle. Previous studies have revealed that in starfish each of the two centrosomes in fully-grown immature oocytes consists of two centrioles with different destinies: one survives and retains its reproductive capacity, and the other is lost after completion of meiosis. In this study, we investigated whether this heterogeneity of the meiotic centrioles is already determined before the re-initiation of meiosis. We prepared a small fragment of immature oocyte containing the four centrioles and fused it electrically with a mature egg in order to transfer two sets of the premeiotic centrioles into the mature cytoplasm. Two asters were present in this conjugate, and in each of them only a single centriole was detected by electron microscopy. In the first mitosis of the conjugate artificially activated without sperm, two division poles formed, each of which doubled in each subsequent round of mitosis. These results indicate that only two of the four premeiotic centrioles survived in the mature cytoplasm and that they retained their reproductive capacity, which suggests that the heterogeneity of the maternal centrioles is determined well before re-initiation of meiosis, and that some factor in the mature cytoplasm is responsible for suppressing the reproductive capacity of the centrioles destined to decay.  (+info)

Complete mitochondrial genome sequences for Crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster planci and Acanthaster brevispinus. (3/18)

BACKGROUND: The crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci (L.), has been blamed for coral mortality in a large number of coral reef systems situated in the Indo-Pacific region. Because of its high fecundity and the long duration of the pelagic larval stage, the mechanism of outbreaks may be related to its meta-population dynamics, which should be examined by larval sampling and population genetic analysis. However, A. planci larvae have undistinguished morphological features compared with other asteroid larvae, hence it has been difficult to discriminate A. planci larvae in plankton samples without species-specific markers. Also, no tools are available to reveal the dispersal pathway of A. planci larvae. Therefore the development of highly polymorphic genetic markers has the potential to overcome these difficulties. To obtain genomic information for these purposes, the complete nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial genome of A. planci and its putative sibling species, A. brevispinus were determined and their characteristics discussed. RESULTS: The complete mtDNA of A. planci and A. brevispinus are 16,234 bp and 16,254 bp in size, respectively. These values fall within the length variation range reported for other metazoan mitochondrial genomes. They contain 13 proteins, 2 rRNA, and 22 tRNA genes and the putative control region in the same order as the asteroid, Asterina pectinifera. The A + T contents of A. planci and A. brevispinus on their L strands that encode the majority of protein-coding genes are 56.3% and 56.4% respectively and are lower than that of A. pectinifera (61.2%). The percent similarity of nucleotide sequences between A. planci and A. brevispinus is found to be highest in the CO2 and CO3 regions (both 90.6%) and lowest in ND2 gene (84.2%) among the 13 protein-coding genes. In the deduced putative amino acid sequences, CO1 is highly conserved (99.2%), and ATP8 apparently evolves faster any of the other protein-coding gene (85.2%). CONCLUSION: The gene arrangement, base composition, codon usage and tRNA structure of A. planci are similar to those of A. brevispinus. However, there are significant variations between A. planci and A. brevispinus. Complete mtDNA sequences are useful for the study of phylogeny, larval detection and population genetics.  (+info)

p90Rsk is required for G1 phase arrest in unfertilized starfish eggs. (4/18)

The cell cycle in oocytes generally arrests at a particular meiotic stage to await fertilization. This arrest occurs at metaphase of meiosis II (meta-II) in frog and mouse, and at G1 phase after completion of meiosis II in starfish. Despite this difference in the arrest phase, both arrests depend on the same Mos-MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) pathway, indicating that the difference relies on particular downstream effectors. Immediately downstream of MAPK, Rsk (p90 ribosomal S6 kinase, p90(Rsk)) is required for the frog meta-II arrest. However, the mouse meta-II arrest challenges this requirement, and no downstream effector has been identified in the starfish G1 arrest. To investigate the downstream effector of MAPK in the starfish G1 arrest, we used a neutralizing antibody against Rsk and a constitutively active form of Rsk. Rsk was activated downstream of the Mos-MAPK pathway during meiosis. In G1 eggs, inhibition of Rsk activity released the arrest and initiated DNA replication without fertilization. Conversely, maintenance of Rsk activity prevented DNA replication following fertilization. In early embryos, injection of Mos activated the MAPK-Rsk pathway, resulting in G1 arrest. Moreover, inhibition of Rsk activity during meiosis I led to parthenogenetic activation without meiosis II. We conclude that immediately downstream of MAPK, Rsk is necessary and sufficient for the starfish G1 arrest. Although CSF (cytostatic factor) was originally defined for meta-II arrest in frog eggs, we propose to distinguish ;G1-CSF' for starfish from ;meta-II-CSF' for frog and mouse. The present study thus reveals a novel role of Rsk for G1-CSF.  (+info)

Adaptations to benthic development: functional morphology of the attachment complex of the brachiolaria larva in the sea star Asterina gibbosa. (5/18)

The asteroid Asterina gibbosa lives all its life in close relation to the sea bottom. Indeed, this sea star possesses an entirely benthic, lecithotrophic development. The embryos adhere to the substratum due to particular properties of their jelly coat, and hatching occurs directly at the brachiolaria stage. Brachiolariae have a hypertrophied, bilobed attachment complex comprising two asymmetrical brachiolar arms and a central adhesive disc. This study aims at describing the ultrastructure of the attachment complex and possible adaptations, at the cellular level, to benthic development. Immediately after hatching, early brachiolariae attach by the arms. All along the anterior side of each arm, the epidermis encloses several cell types, such as secretory cells of two types (A and B), support cells, and sensory cells. Like their equivalents in planktotrophic larvae, type A and B secretory cells are presumably involved in a duo-glandular system in which the former are adhesive and the latter de-adhesive in function. Unlike what is observed in planktotrophic larvae, the sensory cells are unspecialized and presumably not involved in substratum testing. During the larval period, the brachiolar arms progressively increase in size and the adhesive disc becomes more prominent. At the onset of metamorphosis, brachiolariae cement themselves strongly to the substratum with the adhesive disc. The disc contains two main cell types, support cells and secretory cells, the latter being responsible for the cement release. During this metamorphosis, the brachiolar arms regress while post-metamorphic structures grow considerably, especially the tube feet, which take over the role of attachment to the substratum. The end of this period corresponds to the complete regression of the external larval structures, which also coincides with the opening of the mouth. This sequence of stages, each possessing its own adhesive strategy, is common to all asteroid species having a benthic development. In A. gibbosa, morphological adaptations to this mode of development include the hypertrophic growth of the attachment complex, its bilobed shape forming an almost completely adhesive sole, and the regression of the sensory equipment.  (+info)

Increase in multidrug transport activity is associated with oocyte maturation in sea stars. (6/18)

In this study, we report on the presence of efflux transporter activity before oocyte maturation in sea stars and its upregulation after maturation. This activity is similar to the multidrug resistance (MDR) activity mediated by ATP binding cassette (ABC) efflux transporters. In sea star oocytes the efflux activity, as measured by exclusion of calcein-am, increased two-fold 3 h post-maturation. Experiments using specific and non-specific dyes and inhibitors demonstrated that the increase in transporter activity involves an ABCB protein, P-glycoprotein (P-gp), and an ABCC protein similar to the MDR-associated protein (MRP)-like transporters. Western blots using an antibody directed against mammalian P-gp recognized a 45 kDa protein in sea star oocytes that increased in abundance during maturation. An antibody directed against sea urchin ABCC proteins (MRP) recognized three proteins in immature oocytes and two in mature oocytes. Experiments using inhibitors suggest that translation and microtubule function are both required for post-maturation increases in transporter activity. Immunolabeling revealed translocation of stored ABCB proteins to the plasma cell membrane during maturation, and this translocation coincided with increased transport activity. These MDR transporters serve protective roles in oocytes and eggs, as demonstrated by sensitization of the oocytes to the maturation inhibitor, vinblastine, by MRP and PGP-specific transporter inhibitors.  (+info)

Caught in the evolutionary act: precise cis-regulatory basis of difference in the organization of gene networks of sea stars and sea urchins. (7/18)

The regulatory control of otxbeta1/2 in the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and the sea star Asterina miniata provides an exceptional opportunity to determine the genomic basis of evolutionary change in gene regulatory network (GRN) architectures. Network perturbation analyses in both taxa show that Otx regulates the transcription factors gatae and krox/blimp1 and both of these transcription factors also feed back and regulate otx. The otx gene also autoregulates. This three way interaction is an example of a GRN kernel. It has been conserved for 500 million years since these two taxa last shared a common ancestor. Amid this high level of conservation we show here one significant regulatory change. Tbrain is required for correct otxbeta1/2 expression in the sea star but not in the sea urchin. In sea urchin, tbrain is not co-expressed with otxbeta1/2 and instead has an essential role in specification of the embryonic skeleton. Tbrain in these echinoderms is thus a perfect example of an orthologous gene co-opted for entirely different developmental processes. We isolate and test the sea star otxbeta1/2 cis-regulatory module and demonstrate functional binding sites for each of the predicted inputs, including Tbrain. We compare it to the logic processing operating in the sea urchin otxbeta1/2 cis-regulatory module and present an evolutionary scenario of the change in Tbrain dependence. Finally, inter-specific gene transfer experiments confirm this scenario and demonstrate evolution occurring at the level of sequence changes to the cis-regulatory module.  (+info)

Transfer of a large gene regulatory apparatus to a new developmental address in echinoid evolution. (8/18)