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The Composition and Cellular Sources of CSPGs in the Glial Scar After Spinal Cord Injury in the LampreyAxon regrowth after spinal cord injury (SCI) is inhibited by several types of inhibitory extracellular molecules in the central nervous system (CNS), including chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs), which also are components of perineuronal nets (PNNs). The axons of lampreys regenerate following SCI, even though their spinal cords contain CSPGs, and their neurons are enwrapped by PNNs. Previously, we showed that by 2 weeks after spinal cord transection in the lamprey, expression of CSPGs increased in the lesion site, and thereafter, decreased to pre-injury levels by 10 weeks. Enzymatic digestion of CSPGs in the lesion site with chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) enhanced axonal regeneration after SCI and reduced retrograde neuronal death. Lecticans (aggrecan, versican, neurocan, and brevican) are the major CSPG family in the CNS. Previously, we cloned a cDNA fragment that lies in the most conserved link-domain of the lamprey lecticans and found that lectican mRNAs are expressed widely in lamprey glia and neurons. Because of the lack of strict one-to-one orthology with the jawed vertebrate lecticans, the four lamprey lecticans were named simply A, B, C, and D. Using probes that distinguish these four lecticans, we now show that they all are expressed in glia and neurons but at differentmore »
A Comprehensive Analysis of Fibrillar Collagens in Lamprey Suggests a Conserved Role in Vertebrate Musculoskeletal EvolutionVertebrates have distinct tissues which are not present in invertebrate chordates nor other metazoans. The rise of these tissues also coincided with at least one round of whole-genome duplication as well as a suite of lineage-specific segmental duplications. Understanding whether novel genes lead to the origin and diversification of novel cell types, therefore, is of great importance in vertebrate evolution. Here we were particularly interested in the evolution of the vertebrate musculoskeletal system, the muscles and connective tissues that support a diversity of body plans. A major component of the musculoskeletal extracellular matrix (ECM) is fibrillar collagens, a gene family which has been greatly expanded upon in vertebrates. We thus asked whether the repertoire of fibrillar collagens in vertebrates reflects differences in the musculoskeletal system. To test this, we explored the diversity of fibrillar collagens in lamprey, a jawless vertebrate which diverged from jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes) more than five hundred million years ago and has undergone its own gene duplications. Some of the principal components of vertebrate hyaline cartilage are the fibrillar collagens type II and XI, but their presence in cartilage development across all vertebrate taxa has been disputed. We particularly emphasized the characterization of genes in the lampreymore »
Comparative Approaches in Vertebrate Cartilage Histogenesis and Regulation: Insights from Lampreys and HagfishesJawed vertebrates (gnathostomes) have been the dominant lineage of deuterostomes for nearly three hundred fifty million years. Only a few lineages of jawless vertebrates remain in comparison. Composed of lampreys and hagfishes (cyclostomes), these jawless survivors are important systems for understanding the evolution of vertebrates. One focus of cyclostome research has been head skeleton development, as its evolution has been a driver of vertebrate morphological diversification. Recent work has identified hyaline-like cartilage in the oral cirri of the invertebrate chordate amphioxus, making cyclostomes critical for understanding the stepwise acquisition of vertebrate chondroid tissues. Our knowledge of cyclostome skeletogenesis, however, has lagged behind gnathostomes due to the difficulty of manipulating lamprey and hagfish embryos. In this review, we discuss and compare the regulation and histogenesis of cyclostome and gnathostome skeletal tissues. We also survey differences in skeletal morphology that we see amongst cyclostomes, as few elements can be confidently homologized between them. A recurring theme is the heterogeneity of skeletal morphology amongst living vertebrates, despite conserved genetic regulation. Based on these comparisons, we suggest a model through which these mesenchymal connective tissues acquired distinct histologies and that histological flexibility in cartilage existed in the last common ancestor of modern vertebrates.