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The development and neuronal complexity of bipinnaria larvae of the sea star Asterias rubens

Carter, HF; Thompson, JR; Elphick, MR; Oliveri, P; (2021) The development and neuronal complexity of bipinnaria larvae of the sea star Asterias rubens. Integrative and Comparative Biology 10.1093/icb/icab103. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Free-swimming planktonic larvae are a key stage in the development of many marine phyla, and studies of these organisms have contributed to our understanding of major genetic and evolutionary processes. Although transitory, these larvae often attain a remarkable degree of tissue complexity, with well-defined musculature and nervous systems. Amongst the best studied are larvae belonging to the phylum Echinodermata, but with work largely focused on the pleuteus larvae of sea urchins (class Echinoidea). The greatest diversity of larval strategies amongst echinoderms is found in the class Asteroidea (sea-stars), organisms that are rapidly emerging as experimental systems for genetic and developmental studies. However, the bipinnaria larvae of sea stars have only been studied in detail in a small number of species and although they have been relatively well described neuro-anatomically, they are poorly understood neuro-chemically. Here we have analysed embryonic development and bipinnaria larval anatomy in the common North Atlantic sea-star Asterias rubens, employing use of a variety of staining methods in combination with confocal microscopy. Importantly, the chemical complexity of the nervous system of bipinnaria larvae was revealed with a diverse set of antibodies, with identification of at least three centres with different neuro-chemical signature within the previously described nervous system: the anterior apical organ, oral region and ciliary bands. Furthermore, the anatomy of the musculature and sites of cell division in bipinnaria larvae were analysed. Comparisons of developmental progression and molecular anatomy across the Echinodermata provided a basis for hypotheses on the shared evolutionary and developmental processes that have shaped this group of animals. We conclude that bipinnaria larvae appear to be remarkably conserved across ∼200 million years of evolutionary time and may represent a strong evolutionary and/or developmental constraint for species utilizing this larval strategy.

Type: Article
Title: The development and neuronal complexity of bipinnaria larvae of the sea star Asterias rubens
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/icb/icab103
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/icab103
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: echinoderms, indirect development, muscle, neurogenesis, neuropeptides
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10130825
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