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Title: In Amphioxus Embryos, Some Neural Tube Cells Resemble Differentiating Coronet Cells of Fishes and Tunicates
For neurula embryos of amphioxus (chordate subphylum Cephalochordata), the anterior region of the neural tube was studied with transmission electron microscopy. This survey demonstrated previously unreported cells, each characterized by a cilium bearing on its shaft a protruding lateral bubble packed with vesicles. Such cilia resemble those known from immature coronet cells in other chordates-namely, fishes in the Vertebrata and ascidians and appendicularians in the Tunicata. This wide occurrence of coronet-like cells raises questions about their possible homologies within the phylum Chordata. When considered at the level of the whole cell, such homology is not well supported. For example, the fish cells are generally thought to be glia, while the tunicate cells are considered to be neurons; moreover, cytoplasmic smooth endoplasmic reticulum, which is predominant in the former, is undetectable in the latter. In contrast, a more convincing case for homology can be made by limiting comparisons to the cell apices with their modified cilia. In addition to the fine-structural similarities between fishes and tunicates already mentioned, nonvisual opsins have been found associated with the vesicles in the modified cilia of both groups. Such opsins are thought to link photoreception to endocrine output controlling behavior. Further work would be needed to test the idea that the amphioxus diencephalic cells with lateral bubble cilia might similarly be opsin rich and could provide insights into the evolutionary history of the coronet cells within the phylum Chordata.  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Biological Bulletin
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1 to 8
Subject(s) / Keyword(s):
["amphioxus","nervous system","coronet cells"]
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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