Science.gov

Sample records for flatworm schmidtea polychroa

  1. Proteomic profiling of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea and its mucous reveals similarities with human secretions and those predicted for parasitic flatworms.

    PubMed

    Bocchinfuso, Donald G; Taylor, Paul; Ross, Eric; Ignatchenko, Alex; Ignatchenko, Vladimir; Kislinger, Thomas; Pearson, Bret J; Moran, Michael F

    2012-09-01

    The freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea has been used in research for over 100 years, and is an emerging stem cell model because of its capability of regenerating large portions of missing body parts. Exteriorly, planarians are covered in mucous secretions of unknown composition, implicated in locomotion, predation, innate immunity, and substrate adhesion. Although the planarian genome has been sequenced, it remains mostly unannotated, challenging both genomic and proteomic analyses. The goal of the current study was to annotate the proteome of the whole planarian and its mucous fraction. The S. mediterranea proteome was analyzed via mass spectrometry by using multidimensional protein identification technology with whole-worm tryptic digests. By using a proteogenomics approach, MS data were searched against an in silico translated planarian transcript database, and by using the Swiss-Prot BLAST algorithm to identify proteins similar to planarian queries. A total of 1604 proteins were identified. The mucous subproteome was defined through analysis of a mucous trail fraction and an extract obtained by treating whole worms with the mucolytic agent N-acetylcysteine. Gene Ontology analysis confirmed that the mucous fractions were enriched with secreted proteins. The S. mediterranea proteome is highly similar to that predicted for the trematode Schistosoma mansoni associated with intestinal schistosomiasis, with the mucous subproteome particularly highly conserved. Remarkably, orthologs of 119 planarian mucous proteins are present in human mucosal secretions and tear fluid. We suggest planarians have potential to be a model system for the characterization of mucous protein function and relevant to parasitic flatworm infections and diseases underlined by mucous aberrancies, such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, and other lung diseases. PMID:22653920

  2. Proteomic Profiling of the Planarian Schmidtea mediterranea and Its Mucous Reveals Similarities with Human Secretions and Those Predicted for Parasitic Flatworms*

    PubMed Central

    Bocchinfuso, Donald G.; Taylor, Paul; Ross, Eric; Ignatchenko, Alex; Ignatchenko, Vladimir; Kislinger, Thomas; Pearson, Bret J.; Moran, Michael F.

    2012-01-01

    The freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea has been used in research for over 100 years, and is an emerging stem cell model because of its capability of regenerating large portions of missing body parts. Exteriorly, planarians are covered in mucous secretions of unknown composition, implicated in locomotion, predation, innate immunity, and substrate adhesion. Although the planarian genome has been sequenced, it remains mostly unannotated, challenging both genomic and proteomic analyses. The goal of the current study was to annotate the proteome of the whole planarian and its mucous fraction. The S. mediterranea proteome was analyzed via mass spectrometry by using multidimensional protein identification technology with whole-worm tryptic digests. By using a proteogenomics approach, MS data were searched against an in silico translated planarian transcript database, and by using the Swiss-Prot BLAST algorithm to identify proteins similar to planarian queries. A total of 1604 proteins were identified. The mucous subproteome was defined through analysis of a mucous trail fraction and an extract obtained by treating whole worms with the mucolytic agent N-acetylcysteine. Gene Ontology analysis confirmed that the mucous fractions were enriched with secreted proteins. The S. mediterranea proteome is highly similar to that predicted for the trematode Schistosoma mansoni associated with intestinal schistosomiasis, with the mucous subproteome particularly highly conserved. Remarkably, orthologs of 119 planarian mucous proteins are present in human mucosal secretions and tear fluid. We suggest planarians have potential to be a model system for the characterization of mucous protein function and relevant to parasitic flatworm infections and diseases underlined by mucous aberrancies, such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, and other lung diseases. PMID:22653920

  3. Phylogeography of competing sexual and parthenogenetic forms of a freshwater flatworm: patterns and explanations

    PubMed Central

    Pongratz, Norbert; Storhas, Martin; Carranza, Salvador; Michiels, Nicolaas K

    2003-01-01

    Background Models of the maintenance of sex predict that one reproductive strategy, sexual or parthenogenetic, should outcompete the other. Distribution patterns may reflect the outcome of this competition as well as the effect of chance and historical events. We review the distribution data of sexual and parthenogenetic biotypes of the planarian Schmidtea polychroa. Results S. polychroa lives in allopatry or sympatry across Europe except for Central and North-Western Europe, where sexual individuals have never been reported. A phylogenetic relationship between 36 populations based on a 385 bp fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene revealed that haplotypes were often similar over large geographic distances. In North Italian lakes, however, diversity was extreme, with sequence differences of up to 5% within the same lake in both sexuals and parthenogens. Mixed populations showed "endemic" parthenogenetic lineages that presumably originated from coexisting sexuals, and distantly related ones that probably result from colonization by parthenogens independent from sexuals. Conclusions Parthenogens originated repeatedly from sexuals, mainly in Italy, but the same may apply to other Mediterranean regions (Spain, Greece). The degree of divergence between populations suggests that S. polychroa survived the ice ages in separate ice-free areas in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe and re-colonised Europe after the retreat of the major glaciers. Combining these results with those based on nuclear markers, the data suggest that repeated hybridisation between sexuals and parthenogenetic lineages in mixed populations maintains high levels of genetic diversity in parthenogens. This can explain why parthenogens persist in populations that were originally sexual. Exclusive parthenogenesis in central and western populations suggests better colonisation capacity, possibly because of inbreeding costs as well as hybridisation of sexuals with parthenogens. PMID

  4. Aggregations in Flatworms.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Liffen, C. L.; Hunter, M.

    1980-01-01

    Described is a school project to investigate aggregations in flatworms which may be influenced by light intensity, temperature, and some form of chemical stimulus released by already aggregating flatworms. Such investigations could be adopted to suit many educational levels of science laboratory activities. (DS)

  5. The adaptive evolution divergence of triosephosphate isomerases between parasitic and free-living flatworms and the discovery of a potential universal target against flatworm parasites.

    PubMed

    Chen, Bing; Wen, Jian-Fan

    2011-08-01

    Triosephosphate isomerase (TIM) is an important drug target or vaccine candidate for pathogenetic organisms such as schistosomes. Parasitic and free-living flatworms shared their last common ancestor but diverged from each other for adapting to parasitic and free-living lives afterwards, respectively. Therefore, adaptive evolution divergence must have occurred between them. Here, for the first time, TIMs were identified from three free-living planarian flatworms, namely Dugesia japonica, Dugesia ryukyuensis, and Schmidtea mediterranea. When these were compared with parasitic flatworms and other organisms, the following results were obtained: (1) planarian TIM genes each contain only one intron, while parasitic flatworm genes each contain other four introns, which are usually present in common metazoans, suggesting planarian-specific intron loss must have occurred; (2) planarian TIM protein sequences are more similar to those of vertebrates rather than to their parasitic relatives or other invertebrates. This implies that relatively rapid evolution occurred in parasitic flatworm TIMs; (3) All the investigated parasitic flatworm TIMs contain a unique tripeptide insert (SXD/E), which may imply its insertion importance to the adaptation of parasitic life. Moreover, our homology modeling results showed the insert region was largely surface-exposed and predicted to be of a B cell epitope location. Finally, the insert is located within one of the three regions previously suggested to be promising immunogenic epitopes in Schistosoma mansoni TIM. Therefore, this unique insert might be significant to developing new effective vaccines or specific drugs against all parasitic flatworm diseases such as schistosomiasis and taeniosis/cysticercosis. PMID:21246382

  6. Preparation of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea for high-resolution histology and transmission electron microscopy

    PubMed Central

    Brubacher, John L.; Vieira, Ana P.; Newmark, Phillip A.

    2014-01-01

    The flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea is an emerging model species in such fields as stem-cell biology, regeneration, and evolutionary biology. Excellent molecular tools have been developed for S. mediterranea, but ultrastructural techniques have received far less attention. Processing specimens for histology and transmission electron microscopy is notoriously idiosyncratic for particular species or specimen types. Unfortunately however, most methods for S. mediterranea described in the literature lack numerous essential details, and those few that do provide them rely on specialized equipment that may not be readily available. Here we present an optimized protocol for ultrastructural preparation of S. mediterranea. The protocol can be completed in six days, much of which is “hands-off” time. To aid with troubleshooting, we also illustrate the significant effects of seemingly minor variations in fixative, buffer concentration, and dehydration steps. This procedure will be useful for all planarian researchers, particularly those with relatively little experience in tissue processing. PMID:24556788

  7. SmedGD 2.0: The Schmidtea mediterranea genome database

    PubMed Central

    Robb, Sofia M.C.; Gotting, Kirsten; Ross, Eric; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2016-01-01

    Planarians have emerged as excellent models for the study of key biological processes such as stem cell function and regulation, axial polarity specification, regeneration, and tissue homeostasis among others. The most widely used organism for these studies is the free-living flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea. In 2007, the Schmidtea mediterranea Genome Database (SmedGD) was first released to provide a much needed resource for the small, but growing planarian community. SmedGD 1.0 has been a depository for genome sequence, a draft assembly, and related experimental data (e.g., RNAi phenotypes, in situ hybridization images, and differential gene expression results). We report here a comprehensive update to SmedGD (SmedGD 2.0) that aims to expand its role as an interactive community resource. The new database includes more recent, and up-to-date transcription data, provides tools that enhance interconnectivity between different genome assemblies and transcriptomes, including next generation assemblies for both the sexual and asexual biotypes of S. mediterranea. SmedGD 2.0 (http://smedgd.stowers.org) not only provides significantly improved gene annotations, but also tools for data sharing, attributes that will help both the planarian and biomedical communities to more efficiently mine the genomics and transcriptomics of S. mediterranea. PMID:26138588

  8. SmedGD 2.0: The Schmidtea mediterranea genome database.

    PubMed

    Robb, Sofia M C; Gotting, Kirsten; Ross, Eric; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2015-08-01

    Planarians have emerged as excellent models for the study of key biological processes such as stem cell function and regulation, axial polarity specification, regeneration, and tissue homeostasis among others. The most widely used organism for these studies is the free-living flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea. In 2007, the Schmidtea mediterranea Genome Database (SmedGD) was first released to provide a much needed resource for the small, but growing planarian community. SmedGD 1.0 has been a depository for genome sequence, a draft assembly, and related experimental data (e.g., RNAi phenotypes, in situ hybridization images, and differential gene expression results). We report here a comprehensive update to SmedGD (SmedGD 2.0) that aims to expand its role as an interactive community resource. The new database includes more recent, and up-to-date transcription data, provides tools that enhance interconnectivity between different genome assemblies and transcriptomes, including next-generation assemblies for both the sexual and asexual biotypes of S. mediterranea. SmedGD 2.0 (http://smedgd.stowers.org) not only provides significantly improved gene annotations, but also tools for data sharing, attributes that will help both the planarian and biomedical communities to more efficiently mine the genomics and transcriptomics of S. mediterranea. PMID:26138588

  9. Basal bodies across eukaryotes series: basal bodies in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Azimzadeh, Juliette; Basquin, Cyril

    2016-01-01

    The freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea has recently emerged as a valuable model system to study basal bodies (BBs) and cilia. Planarians are free-living flatworms that use cilia beating at the surface of their ventral epidermis for gliding along substrates. The ventral epidermis is composed of multiciliated cells (MCCs) that are similar to the MCCs in the respiratory airways, the brain ventricles, and the oviducts in vertebrates. In the planarian epidermis, each cell assembles approximately eighty cilia that beat in a coordinate fashion across the tissue. The BBs that nucleate these cilia all assemble de novo during terminal differentiation of MCCs. The genome of the planarian S. mediterranea has been sequenced and efficient methods for targeting gene expression by RNA interference are available. Defects induced by perturbing the expression of BB proteins can be detected simply by analyzing the locomotion of planarians. BBs are present in large numbers and in predictable orientation, which greatly facilitates analyses by immunofluorescence and electron microscopy. The great ease in targeting gene expression and analyzing associated defects allowed to identify a set of proteins required for BB assembly and function in planarian MCCs. Future technological developments, including methods for transgenic expression in planarians and in related species, will achieve turning free-living flatworms into powerful model systems to study MCCs and the associated human pathologies. PMID:26998257

  10. Mass Spectrometry Imaging and Identification of Peptides Associated with Cephalic Ganglia Regeneration in Schmidtea mediterranea*

    PubMed Central

    Ong, Ta-Hsuan; Romanova, Elena V.; Roberts-Galbraith, Rachel H.; Yang, Ning; Zimmerman, Tyler A.; Collins, James J.; Lee, Ji Eun; Kelleher, Neil L.; Newmark, Phillip A.; Sweedler, Jonathan V.

    2016-01-01

    Tissue regeneration is a complex process that involves a mosaic of molecules that vary spatially and temporally. Insights into the chemical signaling underlying this process can be achieved with a multiplex and untargeted chemical imaging method such as mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), which can enable de novo studies of nervous system regeneration. A combination of MSI and multivariate statistics was used to differentiate peptide dynamics in the freshwater planarian flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea at different time points during cephalic ganglia regeneration. A protocol was developed to make S. mediterranea tissues amenable for MSI. MS ion images of planarian tissue sections allow changes in peptides and unknown compounds to be followed as a function of cephalic ganglia regeneration. In conjunction with fluorescence imaging, our results suggest that even though the cephalic ganglia structure is visible after 6 days of regeneration, the original chemical composition of these regenerated structures is regained only after 12 days. Differences were observed in many peptides, such as those derived from secreted peptide 4 and EYE53-1. Peptidomic analysis further identified multiple peptides from various known prohormones, histone proteins, and DNA- and RNA-binding proteins as being associated with the regeneration process. Mass spectrometry data also facilitated the identification of a new prohormone, which we have named secreted peptide prohormone 20 (SPP-20), and is up-regulated during regeneration in planarians. PMID:26884331

  11. Mass Spectrometry Imaging and Identification of Peptides Associated with Cephalic Ganglia Regeneration in Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Ong, Ta-Hsuan; Romanova, Elena V; Roberts-Galbraith, Rachel H; Yang, Ning; Zimmerman, Tyler A; Collins, James J; Lee, Ji Eun; Kelleher, Neil L; Newmark, Phillip A; Sweedler, Jonathan V

    2016-04-01

    Tissue regeneration is a complex process that involves a mosaic of molecules that vary spatially and temporally. Insights into the chemical signaling underlying this process can be achieved with a multiplex and untargeted chemical imaging method such as mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), which can enablede novostudies of nervous system regeneration. A combination of MSI and multivariate statistics was used to differentiate peptide dynamics in the freshwater planarian flatwormSchmidtea mediterraneaat different time points during cephalic ganglia regeneration. A protocol was developed to makeS. mediterraneatissues amenable for MSI. MS ion images of planarian tissue sections allow changes in peptides and unknown compounds to be followed as a function of cephalic ganglia regeneration. In conjunction with fluorescence imaging, our results suggest that even though the cephalic ganglia structure is visible after 6 days of regeneration, the original chemical composition of these regenerated structures is regained only after 12 days. Differences were observed in many peptides, such as those derived from secreted peptide 4 and EYE53-1. Peptidomic analysis further identified multiple peptides from various known prohormones, histone proteins, and DNA- and RNA-binding proteins as being associated with the regeneration process. Mass spectrometry data also facilitated the identification of a new prohormone, which we have named secreted peptide prohormone 20 (SPP-20), and is up-regulated during regeneration in planarians. PMID:26884331

  12. Developmental diversity in free-living flatworms

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Flatworm embryology has attracted attention since the early beginnings of comparative evolutionary biology. Considered for a long time the most basal bilaterians, the Platyhelminthes (excluding Acoelomorpha) are now robustly placed within the Spiralia. Despite having lost their relevance to explain the transition from radially to bilaterally symmetrical animals, the study of flatworm embryology is still of great importance to understand the diversification of bilaterians and of developmental mechanisms. Flatworms are acoelomate organisms generally with a simple centralized nervous system, a blind gut, and lacking a circulatory organ, a skeleton and a respiratory system other than the epidermis. Regeneration and asexual reproduction, based on a totipotent neoblast stem cell system, are broadly present among different groups of flatworms. While some more basally branching groups - such as polyclad flatworms - retain the ancestral quartet spiral cleavage pattern, most flatworms have significantly diverged from this pattern and exhibit unique strategies to specify the common adult body plan. Most free-living flatworms (i.e. Platyhelminthes excluding the parasitic Neodermata) are directly developing, whereas in polyclads, also indirect developers with an intermediate free-living larval stage and subsequent metamorphosis are found. A comparative study of developmental diversity may help understanding major questions in evolutionary biology, such as the evolution of cleavage patterns, gastrulation and axial specification, the evolution of larval types, and the diversification and specialization of organ systems. In this review, we present a thorough overview of the embryonic development of the different groups of free-living (turbellarian) platyhelminths, including the Catenulida, Macrostomorpha, Polycladida, Lecithoepitheliata, Proseriata, Bothrioplanida, Rhabdocoela, Fecampiida, Prolecithophora and Tricladida, and discuss their main features under a consensus phylogeny

  13. Synaptonemal complex extension from clustered telomeres mediates full-length chromosome pairing in Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    Xiang, Youbin; Miller, Danny E.; Ross, Eric J.; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro; Hawley, R. Scott

    2014-01-01

    In the 1920s, József Gelei proposed that chromosome pairing in flatworms resulted from the formation of a telomere bouquet followed by the extension of synapsis from telomeres at the base of the bouquet, thus facilitating homolog pairing in a processive manner. A modern interpretation of Gelei’s model postulates that the synaptonemal complex (SC) is nucleated close to the telomeres and then extends progressively along the full length of chromosome arms. We used the easily visible meiotic chromosomes, a well-characterized genome, and RNAi in the sexual biotype of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea to test that hypothesis. By identifying and characterizing S. mediterranea homologs of genes encoding synaptonemal complex protein 1 (SYCP1), the topoisomerase-like protein SPO11, and RAD51, a key player in homologous recombination, we confirmed that SC formation begins near the telomeres and progresses along chromosome arms during zygotene. Although distal regions pair at the time of bouquet formation, pairing of a unique interstitial locus is not observed until the formation of full-length SC at pachytene. Moreover, neither full extension of the SC nor homologous pairing is dependent on the formation of double-strand breaks. These findings validate Gelei’s speculation that full-length pairing of homologous chromosomes is mediated by the extension of the SC formed near the telomeres. S. mediterranea thus becomes the first organism described (to our knowledge) that forms a canonical telomere bouquet but does not require double-strand breaks for synapsis between homologous chromosomes. However, the initiation of SC formation at the base of the telomere bouquet, which then is followed by full-length homologous pairing in planarian spermatocytes, is not observed in other species and may not be conserved. PMID:25404302

  14. Free-living flatworms under the knife: past and present

    PubMed Central

    Gschwentner, Robert; Rieger, Reinhard

    2006-01-01

    Traditionally, regeneration research has been closely tied to flatworm research, as flatworms (Plathelminthes) were among the first animals where the phenomenon of regeneration was discovered. Since then, the main focus of flatworm regeneration research was on triclads, for which various phenomena were observed and a number of theories developed. However, free-living flatworms encompass a number of other taxa where regeneration was found to be possible. This review aims to display and to compare regeneration in all major free-living flatworm taxa, with special focus on a new player in the field of regeneration, Macrostomum lignano (Macrostomorpha). Findings on the regeneration capacity of this organism provide clues for links between regeneration and (post-)embryonic development, starvation, and asexual reproduction. The role of the nervous system and especially the brain for regeneration is discussed, and similarities as well as particularities in regeneration among free-living flatworms are pointed out. PMID:17146688

  15. Germline Defects Caused by Smed-boule RNA-Interference Reveal That Egg Capsule Deposition Occurs Independently of Fertilization, Ovulation, Mating, or the Presence of Gametes in Planarian Flatworms

    PubMed Central

    Steiner, Jessica Kathryne; Tasaki, Junichi; Rouhana, Labib

    2016-01-01

    Few animals are known to lay eggs in the absence of ovulation or copulation, as it is presumably energetically wasteful and subjected to negative selection. Characterization of Smed-boule, a member of the DAZ family of germline RNA-binding proteins, revealed that egg capsule (or capsule) production and deposition occurs independently of the presence of gametes in the planarian flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea. Reduction of Smed-boule expression by RNA-interference (RNAi) causes ablation of spermatogonial stem cells and the inability of ovarian germline stem cells to undergo oogenesis. Although animals subjected to Smed-boule RNAi lose their gametes and become sterile, they continue to lay egg capsules. Production of sterile capsules is even observed in virgin Smed-boule(RNAi) and control planarians maintained in complete isolation, demonstrating that egg production in S. mediterranea occurs independently of ovulation, fertilization, or mating. Evidence suggests that this is a conserved feature amongst Platyhelminthes, and therefore relevant to the pathology and dissemination of parasitic flatworms. These findings demonstrate that Smed-boule functions at different stages during male and female germline stem cell development, and also demonstrate that egg capsule production by planarian flatworms occurs independently of signals produced by mating or ova. PMID:27149082

  16. Germline Defects Caused by Smed-boule RNA-Interference Reveal That Egg Capsule Deposition Occurs Independently of Fertilization, Ovulation, Mating, or the Presence of Gametes in Planarian Flatworms.

    PubMed

    Steiner, Jessica Kathryne; Tasaki, Junichi; Rouhana, Labib

    2016-05-01

    Few animals are known to lay eggs in the absence of ovulation or copulation, as it is presumably energetically wasteful and subjected to negative selection. Characterization of Smed-boule, a member of the DAZ family of germline RNA-binding proteins, revealed that egg capsule (or capsule) production and deposition occurs independently of the presence of gametes in the planarian flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea. Reduction of Smed-boule expression by RNA-interference (RNAi) causes ablation of spermatogonial stem cells and the inability of ovarian germline stem cells to undergo oogenesis. Although animals subjected to Smed-boule RNAi lose their gametes and become sterile, they continue to lay egg capsules. Production of sterile capsules is even observed in virgin Smed-boule(RNAi) and control planarians maintained in complete isolation, demonstrating that egg production in S. mediterranea occurs independently of ovulation, fertilization, or mating. Evidence suggests that this is a conserved feature amongst Platyhelminthes, and therefore relevant to the pathology and dissemination of parasitic flatworms. These findings demonstrate that Smed-boule functions at different stages during male and female germline stem cell development, and also demonstrate that egg capsule production by planarian flatworms occurs independently of signals produced by mating or ova. PMID:27149082

  17. A premeiotic function for boule in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Iyer, Harini; Issigonis, Melanie; Sharma, Prashant P; Extavour, Cassandra G; Newmark, Phillip A

    2016-06-21

    Mutations in Deleted in Azoospermia (DAZ), a Y chromosome gene, are an important cause of human male infertility. DAZ is found exclusively in primates, limiting functional studies of this gene to its homologs: boule, required for meiotic progression of germ cells in invertebrate model systems, and Daz-like (Dazl), required for early germ cell maintenance in vertebrates. Dazl is believed to have acquired its premeiotic role in a vertebrate ancestor following the duplication and functional divergence of the single-copy gene boule. However, multiple homologs of boule have been identified in some invertebrates, raising the possibility that some of these genes may play other roles, including a premeiotic function. Here we identify two boule paralogs in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea Smed-boule1 is necessary for meiotic progression of male germ cells, similar to the known function of boule in invertebrates. By contrast, Smed-boule2 is required for the maintenance of early male germ cells, similar to vertebrate Dazl To examine if Boule2 may be functionally similar to vertebrate Dazl, we identify and functionally characterize planarian homologs of human DAZL/DAZ-interacting partners and DAZ family mRNA targets. Finally, our phylogenetic analyses indicate that premeiotic functions of planarian boule2 and vertebrate Dazl evolved independently. Our study uncovers a premeiotic role for an invertebrate boule homolog and offers a tractable invertebrate model system for studying the premeiotic functions of the DAZ protein family. PMID:27330085

  18. Toxicity of tributyltin (TBT) to the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Ofoegbu, Pearl U; Simão, Fátima C P; Cruz, Andreia; Mendo, Sónia; Soares, Amadeu M V M; Pestana, João L T

    2016-04-01

    The freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, one of the best characterized animal models for regeneration research and developmental biology, is being recognised as a useful species for ecotoxicological studies. Sensitive endpoints related to planarians' behaviour and regeneration can be easily evaluated after exposure to environmental stressors. In this work the sensitivity of S. mediterranea to a gradient of environmentally relevant concentrations of TBT was studied using multiple endpoints like survival, locomotion, head regeneration and DNA damage. In addition, a feeding assay based on planarian's predatory behaviour was performed. Results indicated that TBT is toxic to planarians with LC50's of 1.87 μg L(-1) Sn and 1.31 μg L(-1) Sn at 48 h and 96 h of exposure respectively. Sub-lethal exposures to TBT significantly reduced locomotion and feeding, delayed head regeneration and caused DNA damage in planarians. The behavioural endpoints (feeding and locomotion) and head regeneration were the most sensitive parameters followed by DNA damage. Similar to other aquatic model organisms, S. mediterranea showed high sensitivity towards TBT exposure. Based on our results, and though further research is required concerning their sensitivity to other pollutants, the use of freshwater planarians as a model species in ecotoxicology is discussed. PMID:26802264

  19. Myzostomida: a link between trochozoans and flatworms?

    PubMed

    Eeckhaut, I; McHugh, D; Mardulyn, P; Tiedemann, R; Monteyne, D; Jangoux, M; Milinkovitch, M C

    2000-07-22

    Myzostomids are obligate symbiotic invertebrates associated with echinoderms with a fossil record that extends to the Ordovician period. Due to their long history as host-specific symbionts, myzostomids have acquired a unique anatomy that obscures their phylogenetic affinities to other metazoans: they are incompletely segmented, parenchymous, acoelomate organisms with chaetae and a trochophore larva. Today, they are most often classified within annelids either as an aberrant family of polychaetes or as a separate class. We inferred the phylogenetic position of the Myzostomida by analysing the DNA sequences of two slowly evolving nuclear genes: the small subunit ribosomal RNA and elongation factor-1alpha. All our analyses congruently indicated that myzostomids are not annelids but suggested instead that they are more closely related to flatworms than to any trochozoan taxon. These results, together with recent analyses of the myzostomidan ultrastructure, have significant implications for understanding the evolution of metazoan body plans, as major characters (segmentation, coeloms, chaetae and trochophore larvae) might have been independently lost or gained in different animal phyla. PMID:10983821

  20. Dynamics of asexual reproduction in flatworms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoetz, Eva-Maria; Talbot, Jared; Dunkel, Joern

    2010-03-01

    Planarians (flatworms) are one of the simplest bilaterally symmetric organisms and famous for their extraordinary regenerative capabilities. One can cut a worm in 100 pieces and after a few weeks one obtains 100 new worms that have reconstructed their entire body, including a central nervous system. This amazing regenerative capability is due to a population of stem cells distributed throughout the planarian body. These stem cells do not only allow the worms to heal without scarring after wounding, they also allow for asexual reproduction: Planarians can split themselves in two, and then regenerate the missing body parts within about a week. Naively, one would think that this kind of asexual reproduction could be captured by simple models that describe cell growth in bacteria or other lower organisms. However, we find that there is much more to the story by monitoring >15 generations of many individuals, as well as the long-term behavior (> 9 months) of worm populations under different environmental conditions, such as population density, temperature, and feeding frequency. Surprisingly, we observe that reproduction decreases with increasing food supply, opposite to the relationship between food and reproduction in other asexually reproducing organisms (e.g. bacteria, yeast), and causing obese worms. Finally, our data allows us to address the question of aging in an organism that is thought to be ``forever young''.

  1. Ecological functions of tetrodotoxin in a deadly polyclad flatworm

    PubMed Central

    Ritson-Williams, Raphael; Yotsu-Yamashita, Mari; Paul, Valerie J.

    2006-01-01

    The deadly neurotoxin tetrodotoxin (TTX) is found in a variety of animal phyla and, because of its toxicity, is most often assumed to deter predation. On the tropical Pacific island of Guam, we found an undescribed flatworm (planocerid sp. 1) that contains high levels of TTX and its analogs. Through ecological experiments, we show that TTXs do not protect these flatworms from some predators but instead are used to capture mobile prey. TTX is known to have multiple ecological functions, which has probably led to its widespread presence among prokaryotes and at least 10 metazoan phyla. PMID:16492790

  2. The urbilaterian brain revisited: novel insights into old questions from new flatworm clades.

    PubMed

    Bailly, Xavier; Reichert, Heinrich; Hartenstein, Volker

    2013-05-01

    Flatworms are classically considered to represent the simplest organizational form of all living bilaterians with a true central nervous system. Based on their simple body plans, all flatworms have been traditionally grouped together in a single phylum at the base of the bilaterians. Current molecular phylogenomic studies now split the flatworms into two widely separated clades, the acoelomorph flatworms and the platyhelminth flatworms, such that the last common ancestor of both clades corresponds to the urbilaterian ancestor of all bilaterian animals. Remarkably, recent comparative neuroanatomical analyses of acoelomorphs and platyhelminths show that both of these flatworm groups have complex anterior brains with surprisingly similar basic neuroarchitectures. Taken together, these findings imply that fundamental neuroanatomical features of the brain in the two separate flatworm groups are likely to be primitive and derived from the urbilaterian brain. PMID:23143292

  3. THE URBILATERIAN BRAIN REVISITED: NOVEL INSIGHTS INTO OLD QUESTIONS FROM NEW FLATWORM CLADES

    PubMed Central

    Bailly, Xavier; Reichert, Heinrich; Hartenstein, Volker

    2012-01-01

    SUMMARY Flatworms are classically considered to represent the simplest organizational form of all living bilaterians with a true central nervous system. Based on their simple body plans, all flatworms have been traditionally grouped together in a single phylum at the base of the bilaterians. Current molecular phylogenomic studies now split the flatworms into two widely separated clades, the acoelomorph flatworms and the platyhelminth flatworms, such that the last common ancestor of both clades corresponds to the urbilaterian ancestor of all bilaterian animals. Remarkably, recent comparative neuroanatomical analyses of acoelomorphs and platyhelminths show that both of these flatworm groups have complex anterior brains with surprisingly similar basic neuroarchitectures. Taken together, these findings imply that fundamental neuroanatomical features of the brain in the two separate flatworm groups are likely to be primitive and derived from the urbilaterian brain. PMID:23143292

  4. Smed454 dataset: unravelling the transcriptome of Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Freshwater planarians are an attractive model for regeneration and stem cell research and have become a promising tool in the field of regenerative medicine. With the availability of a sequenced planarian genome, the recent application of modern genetic and high-throughput tools has resulted in revitalized interest in these animals, long known for their amazing regenerative capabilities, which enable them to regrow even a new head after decapitation. However, a detailed description of the planarian transcriptome is essential for future investigation into regenerative processes using planarians as a model system. Results In order to complement and improve existing gene annotations, we used a 454 pyrosequencing approach to analyze the transcriptome of the planarian species Schmidtea mediterranea Altogether, 598,435 454-sequencing reads, with an average length of 327 bp, were assembled together with the ~10,000 sequences of the S. mediterranea UniGene set using different similarity cutoffs. The assembly was then mapped onto the current genome data. Remarkably, our Smed454 dataset contains more than 3 million novel transcribed nucleotides sequenced for the first time. A descriptive analysis of planarian splice sites was conducted on those Smed454 contigs that mapped univocally to the current genome assembly. Sequence analysis allowed us to identify genes encoding putative proteins with defined structural properties, such as transmembrane domains. Moreover, we annotated the Smed454 dataset using Gene Ontology, and identified putative homologues of several gene families that may play a key role during regeneration, such as neurotransmitter and hormone receptors, homeobox-containing genes, and genes related to eye function. Conclusions We report the first planarian transcript dataset, Smed454, as an open resource tool that can be accessed via a web interface. Smed454 contains significant novel sequence information about most expressed genes of S. mediterranea

  5. Reference genes for qPCR assays in toxic metal and salinity stress in two flatworm model organisms.

    PubMed

    Plusquin, Michelle; DeGheselle, Olivier; Cuypers, Ann; Geerdens, Ellen; Van Roten, Andromeda; Artois, Tom; Smeets, Karen

    2012-03-01

    The flatworm species Schmidtea mediterranea and Macrostomum lignano have become new and innovative model organisms in stem cell, regeneration and tissue homeostasis research. Because of their unique stem cell system, (lab) technical advantages and their phylogenetic position within the Metazoa, they are also ideal candidate model organisms for toxicity assays. As stress and biomarker screenings are often performed at the transcriptional level, the aim of this study was to establish a set of reference genes for qPCR experiments for these two model organisms in different stress situations. We examined the transcriptional stability of nine potential reference genes (actb, tubb, ck2, cox4, cys, rpl13, gapdh, gm2ap, plscr1) to assess those that are most stable during altered stress conditions (exposure to carcinogenic metals and salinity stress). The gene expression stability was evaluated by means of geNorm and NormFinder algorithms. Sets of best reference genes in these analyses varied between different stress situations, although gm2ap and actb were stably transcribed during all tested combinations. In order to demonstrate the impact of bad normalisation, the stress-specific gene hsp90 was normalised to different sets of reference genes. In contrast to the normalisation according to GeNorm and NormFinder, normalisation of hsp90 in Macrostomum lignano during cadmium stress did not show a significant difference when normalised to only gapdh. On the other hand an increase of variability was noticed when normalised to all nine tested reference genes together. Testing appropriate reference genes is therefore strongly advisable in every new experimental condition. PMID:22080432

  6. Constraining the Deep Origin of Parasitic Flatworms and Host-Interactions with Fossil Evidence.

    PubMed

    De Baets, Kenneth; Dentzien-Dias, Paula; Upeniece, Ieva; Verneau, Olivier; Donoghue, Philip C J

    2015-01-01

    Novel fossil discoveries have contributed to our understanding of the evolutionary appearance of parasitism in flatworms. Furthermore, genetic analyses with greater coverage have shifted our views on the coevolution of parasitic flatworms and their hosts. The putative record of parasitic flatworms is consistent with extant host associations and so can be used to put constraints on the evolutionary origin of the parasites themselves. The future lies in new molecular clock analyses combined with additional discoveries of exceptionally preserved flatworms associated with hosts and coprolites. Besides direct evidence, the host fossil record and biogeography have the potential to constrain their evolutionary history, albeit with caution needed to avoid circularity, and a need for calibrations to be implemented in the most conservative way. This might result in imprecise, but accurate divergence estimates for the evolution of parasitic flatworms. PMID:26597066

  7. Epizoic acoelomorph flatworms impair zooplankton feeding by the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis.

    PubMed

    Wijgerde, Tim; Schots, Pauke; Van Onselen, Eline; Janse, Max; Karruppannan, Eric; Verreth, Johan A J; Osinga, Ronald

    2013-01-15

    Many scleractinian coral species host epizoic acoelomorph flatworms, both in aquaculture and in situ. These symbiotic flatworms may impair coral growth and health through light-shading, mucus removal and disruption of heterotrophic feeding. To quantify the effect of epizoic flatworms on zooplankton feeding, we conducted video analyses of single polyps of Galaxea fascicularis (Linnaeus 1767) grazing on Artemia nauplii in the presence and absence of symbiotic flatworms. 18S DNA analysis revealed that flatworms inhabiting G. fascicularis belonged to the genus Waminoa (Convolutidae), which were hosted at a density of 3.6±0.4 individuals polyp(-1). Polyps hosting flatworms exhibited prey capture rates of 2.2±2.5, 3.4±4.5 and 2.7±3.4 nauplii polyp(-1) 30 min(-1) at prey concentrations of 250, 500 and 1,000 nauplii L(-1), respectively. Polyps that had their flatworms removed displayed prey capture rates of 2.7±1.6, 4.8±4.1 and 16.9±10.3 nauplii polyp(-1) 30 min(-1). Significant main and interactive effects of flatworm presence and ambient prey concentration were found, reflected by the fact that flatworms significantly impaired host feeding rates at the highest prey density of 1,000 nauplii L(-1). In addition, flatworms displayed kleptoparasitism, removing between 0.1±0.3 and 0.6±1.1 nauplii 30 min(-1) from the oral disc of their host, or 5.3±3.3 to 50.0±2.1% of prey acquired by the coral. We suggest classifying the coral-associated Waminoa sp. as an epizoic parasite, as its presence may negatively affect growth and health of the host. PMID:23336072

  8. Demographic analysis reveals gradual senescence in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano

    PubMed Central

    Mouton, Stijn; Willems, Maxime; Back, Patricia; Braeckman, Bart P; Borgonie, Gaetan

    2009-01-01

    Free-living flatworms ("Turbellaria") are appropriate model organisms to gain better insight into the role of stem cells in ageing and rejuvenation. Ageing research in flatworms is, however, still scarce. This is partly due to culture difficulties and the lack of a complete set of demographic data, including parameters such as median lifespan and age-specific mortality rate. In this paper, we report on the first flatworm survival analysis. We used the species Macrostomum lignano, which is an emerging model for studying the reciprocal influence between stem cells, ageing and rejuvenation. This species has a median lifespan of 205 ± 13 days (average ± standard deviation [SD]) and a 90th percentile lifespan of 373 ± 32 days. The maximum lifespan, however, is more than 745 days, and the average survival curve is characterised by a long tail because a small number of individuals lives twice as long as 90% of the population. Similar to earlier observations in a wide range of animals, in M. lignano the age-specific mortality rate increases exponentially, but levels off at the oldest ages. To compare the senescence of M. lignano with that of other ageing models, we determined the mortality rate doubling time, which is 0.20 ± 0.02 years. As a result, we can conclude that M. lignano shows gradual senescence at a rate similar to the vertebrate ageing models Rattus norvegicus and Mus musculus. We argue that M. lignano is a suitable model for ageing and rejuvenation research, and especially for the role of stem cells in these processes, due to its accessible stem cell system and regeneration capacity, and the possibility of combining stem cell studies with demographic analyses. PMID:19642971

  9. The diversity, development and evolution of polyclad flatworm larvae

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Polyclad flatworms offer an excellent system with which to explore the evolution of larval structures and the ecological and developmental mechanisms driving flatworm and marine invertebrate life history evolution. Although the most common mode of development in polyclads might be direct development (where the embryo develops directly into a form resembling the young adult), there are many species that develop indirectly, through a planktonic phase with transient larval features, before settling to the sea floor. In this review, I introduce polyclad life history strategies, larval diversity and larval anatomical features (presenting previously unpublished micrographs of a diversity of polyclad larvae). I summarize what is known about polyclad larval development during the planktonic phase and the transition to the benthic juvenile. Finally, I discuss evolutionary and developmental scenarios on the origin of polyclad larval characters. The most prominent characters that are found exclusively in the larval stages are lobes that protrude from the body and a ciliary band, or ciliary tufts, at the peripheral margins of the lobes. Larvae with 4–8 and 10 lobes have been described, with most indirect developing species hatching with 8 lobes. A ventral sucker develops in late stage larvae, and I put forward the hypothesis that this is an organ for larval settlement for species belonging to the Cotylea. Historically, the biphasic life cycle of polyclads was thought to be a shared primitive feature of marine invertebrates, with similarities in larval features among phyla resulting from evolutionary conservation. However, our current understanding of animal phylogeny suggests that indirect development in polyclads has evolved independently of similar life cycles found in parasitic flatworms and some other spiralian taxa, and that morphological similarities between the larvae of polyclads and other spiralians are likely a result of convergent evolution. PMID:24602223

  10. Paracatenula, an ancient symbiosis between thiotrophic Alphaproteobacteria and catenulid flatworms

    PubMed Central

    Gruber-Vodicka, Harald Ronald; Dirks, Ulrich; Leisch, Nikolaus; Stoecker, Kilian; Bulgheresi, Silvia; Heindl, Niels Robert; Horn, Matthias; Lott, Christian; Loy, Alexander; Wagner, Michael; Ott, Jörg

    2011-01-01

    Harnessing chemosynthetic symbionts is a recurring evolutionary strategy. Eukaryotes from six phyla as well as one archaeon have acquired chemoautotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. In contrast to this broad host diversity, known bacterial partners apparently belong to two classes of bacteria—the Gamma- and Epsilonproteobacteria. Here, we characterize the intracellular endosymbionts of the mouthless catenulid flatworm genus Paracatenula as chemoautotrophic sulfur-oxidizing Alphaproteobacteria. The symbionts of Paracatenula galateia are provisionally classified as “Candidatus Riegeria galateiae” based on 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization together with functional gene and sulfur metabolite evidence. 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic analysis shows that all 16 Paracatenula species examined harbor host species-specific intracellular Candidatus Riegeria bacteria that form a monophyletic group within the order Rhodospirillales. Comparing host and symbiont phylogenies reveals strict cocladogenesis and points to vertical transmission of the symbionts. Between 33% and 50% of the body volume of the various worm species is composed of bacterial symbionts, by far the highest proportion among all known endosymbiotic associations between bacteria and metazoans. This symbiosis, which likely originated more than 500 Mya during the early evolution of flatworms, is the oldest known animal–chemoautotrophic bacteria association. The distant phylogenetic position of the symbionts compared with other mutualistic or parasitic Alphaproteobacteria promises to illuminate the common genetic predispositions that have allowed several members of this class to successfully colonize eukaryote cells. PMID:21709249

  11. Evolution of flatworm central nervous systems: Insights from polyclads.

    PubMed

    Quiroga, Sigmer Y; Carolina Bonilla, E; Marcela Bolaños, D; Carbayo, Fernando; Litvaitis, Marian K; Brown, Federico D

    2015-01-01

    The nervous systems of flatworms have diversified extensively as a consequence of the broad range of adaptations in the group. Here we examined the central nervous system (CNS) of 12 species of polyclad flatworms belonging to 11 different families by morphological and histological studies. These comparisons revealed that the overall organization and architecture of polyclad central nervous systems can be classified into three categories (I, II, and III) based on the presence of globuli cell masses -ganglion cells of granular appearance-, the cross-sectional shape of the main nerve cords, and the tissue type surrounding the nerve cords. In addition, four different cell types were identified in polyclad brains based on location and size. We also characterize the serotonergic and FMRFamidergic nervous systems in the cotylean Boninia divae by immunocytochemistry. Although both neurotransmitters were broadly expressed, expression of serotonin was particularly strong in the sucker, whereas FMRFamide was particularly strong in the pharynx. Finally, we test some of the major hypothesized trends during the evolution of the CNS in the phylum by a character state reconstruction based on current understanding of the nervous system across different species of Platyhelminthes and on up-to-date molecular phylogenies. PMID:26500427

  12. Evolution of flatworm central nervous systems: Insights from polyclads

    PubMed Central

    Quiroga, Sigmer Y.; Carolina Bonilla, E.; Marcela Bolaños, D.; Carbayo, Fernando; Litvaitis, Marian K.; Brown, Federico D.

    2015-01-01

    The nervous systems of flatworms have diversified extensively as a consequence of the broad range of adaptations in the group. Here we examined the central nervous system (CNS) of 12 species of polyclad flatworms belonging to 11 different families by morphological and histological studies. These comparisons revealed that the overall organization and architecture of polyclad central nervous systems can be classified into three categories (I, II, and III) based on the presence of globuli cell masses -ganglion cells of granular appearance-, the cross-sectional shape of the main nerve cords, and the tissue type surrounding the nerve cords. In addition, four different cell types were identified in polyclad brains based on location and size. We also characterize the serotonergic and FMRFamidergic nervous systems in the cotylean Boninia divae by immunocytochemistry. Although both neurotransmitters were broadly expressed, expression of serotonin was particularly strong in the sucker, whereas FMRFamide was particularly strong in the pharynx. Finally, we test some of the major hypothesized trends during the evolution of the CNS in the phylum by a character state reconstruction based on current understanding of the nervous system across different species of Platyhelminthes and on up-to-date molecular phylogenies. PMID:26500427

  13. To Be or Not to Be a Flatworm: The Acoel Controversy

    PubMed Central

    Arendt, Detlev; Borgonie, Gaëtan; Funayama, Noriko; Gschwentner, Robert; Hartenstein, Volker; Hobmayer, Bert; Hooge, Matthew; Hrouda, Martina; Ishida, Sachiko; Kobayashi, Chiyoko; Kuales, Georg; Nishimura, Osamu; Pfister, Daniela; Rieger, Reinhard; Salvenmoser, Willi; Smith, Julian; Technau, Ulrich; Tyler, Seth; Agata, Kiyokazu; Salzburger, Walter; Ladurner, Peter

    2009-01-01

    Since first described, acoels were considered members of the flatworms (Platyhelminthes). However, no clear synapomorphies among the three large flatworm taxa - the Catenulida, the Acoelomorpha and the Rhabditophora - have been characterized to date. Molecular phylogenies, on the other hand, commonly positioned acoels separate from other flatworms. Accordingly, our own multi-locus phylogenetic analysis using 43 genes and 23 animal species places the acoel flatworm Isodiametra pulchra at the base of all Bilateria, distant from other flatworms. By contrast, novel data on the distribution and proliferation of stem cells and the specific mode of epidermal replacement constitute a strong synapomorphy for the Acoela plus the major group of flatworms, the Rhabditophora. The expression of a piwi-like gene not only in gonadal, but also in adult somatic stem cells is another unique feature among bilaterians. These two independent stem-cell-related characters put the Acoela into the Platyhelminthes-Lophotrochozoa clade and account for the most parsimonious evolutionary explanation of epidermal cell renewal in the Bilateria. Most available multigene analyses produce conflicting results regarding the position of the acoels in the tree of life. Given these phylogenomic conflicts and the contradiction of developmental and morphological data with phylogenomic results, the monophyly of the phylum Platyhelminthes and the position of the Acoela remain unresolved. By these data, both the inclusion of Acoela within Platyhelminthes, and their separation from flatworms as basal bilaterians are well-supported alternatives. PMID:19430533

  14. To be or not to be a flatworm: the acoel controversy.

    PubMed

    Egger, Bernhard; Steinke, Dirk; Tarui, Hiroshi; De Mulder, Katrien; Arendt, Detlev; Borgonie, Gaëtan; Funayama, Noriko; Gschwentner, Robert; Hartenstein, Volker; Hobmayer, Bert; Hooge, Matthew; Hrouda, Martina; Ishida, Sachiko; Kobayashi, Chiyoko; Kuales, Georg; Nishimura, Osamu; Pfister, Daniela; Rieger, Reinhard; Salvenmoser, Willi; Smith, Julian; Technau, Ulrich; Tyler, Seth; Agata, Kiyokazu; Salzburger, Walter; Ladurner, Peter

    2009-01-01

    Since first described, acoels were considered members of the flatworms (Platyhelminthes). However, no clear synapomorphies among the three large flatworm taxa -- the Catenulida, the Acoelomorpha and the Rhabditophora -- have been characterized to date. Molecular phylogenies, on the other hand, commonly positioned acoels separate from other flatworms. Accordingly, our own multi-locus phylogenetic analysis using 43 genes and 23 animal species places the acoel flatworm Isodiametra pulchra at the base of all Bilateria, distant from other flatworms. By contrast, novel data on the distribution and proliferation of stem cells and the specific mode of epidermal replacement constitute a strong synapomorphy for the Acoela plus the major group of flatworms, the Rhabditophora. The expression of a piwi-like gene not only in gonadal, but also in adult somatic stem cells is another unique feature among bilaterians. These two independent stem-cell-related characters put the Acoela into the Platyhelminthes-Lophotrochozoa clade and account for the most parsimonious evolutionary explanation of epidermal cell renewal in the Bilateria. Most available multigene analyses produce conflicting results regarding the position of the acoels in the tree of life. Given these phylogenomic conflicts and the contradiction of developmental and morphological data with phylogenomic results, the monophyly of the phylum Platyhelminthes and the position of the Acoela remain unresolved. By these data, both the inclusion of Acoela within Platyhelminthes, and their separation from flatworms as basal bilaterians are well-supported alternatives. PMID:19430533

  15. ABC multidrug transporters in schistosomes and other parasitic flatworms

    PubMed Central

    Greenberg, Robert M.

    2013-01-01

    Schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease affecting hundreds of millions, is caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma. Treatment and control of schistosomiasis relies almost exclusively on a single drug, praziquantel (PZQ), a dangerous situation for a disease of this magnitude. Though PZQ is highly effective overall, it has drawbacks, and reports of worms showing PZQ resistance, either induced in the laboratory or isolated from the field, are disconcerting. Multidrug transporters underlie multidrug resistance (MDR), a phenomenon in which resistance to a single drug is accompanied by unexpected cross-resistance to several structurally unrelated compounds. Some of the best studied multidrug transporters are members of the ancient and very large ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of efflux transporters. ABC multidrug transporters such as P-glycoprotein (Pgp; ABCB1) are also associated with drug resistance in parasites, including helminths such as schistosomes. In addition to their association with drug resistance, however, ABC transporters also function in a wide variety of physiological processes in metazoans. In this review, we examine recent studies that help define the role of schistosome ABC transporters in regulating drug susceptibility, and in normal schistosome physiology, including reproduction and excretory activity. We postulate that schistosome ABC transporters could be useful targets for compounds that enhance the effectiveness of current therapeutics as well as for agents that act as antischistosomals on their own. PMID:23474413

  16. Evolution of the EGFR pathway in Metazoa and its diversification in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Barberán, Sara; Martín-Durán, José M; Cebrià, Francesc

    2016-01-01

    The EGFR pathway is an essential signaling system in animals, whose core components are the epidermal growth factors (EGF ligands) and their trans-membrane tyrosine kinase receptors (EGFRs). Despite extensive knowledge in classical model organisms, little is known of the composition and function of the EGFR pathway in most animal lineages. Here, we have performed an extensive search for the presence of EGFRs and EGF ligands in representative species of most major animal clades, with special focus on the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. With the exception of placozoans and cnidarians, we found that the EGFR pathway is potentially present in all other analyzed animal groups, and has experienced frequent independent expansions. We further characterized the expression domains of the EGFR/EGF identified in S. mediterranea, revealing a wide variety of patterns and localization in almost all planarian tissues. Finally, functional experiments suggest an interaction between one of the previously described receptors, Smed-egfr-5, and the newly found ligand Smed-egf-6. Our findings provide the most comprehensive overview to date of the EGFR pathway, and indicate that the last common metazoan ancestor had an initial complement of one EGFR and one putative EGF ligand, which was often expanded or lost during animal evolution. PMID:27325311

  17. Evolution of the EGFR pathway in Metazoa and its diversification in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    Barberán, Sara; Martín-Durán, José M.; Cebrià, Francesc

    2016-01-01

    The EGFR pathway is an essential signaling system in animals, whose core components are the epidermal growth factors (EGF ligands) and their trans-membrane tyrosine kinase receptors (EGFRs). Despite extensive knowledge in classical model organisms, little is known of the composition and function of the EGFR pathway in most animal lineages. Here, we have performed an extensive search for the presence of EGFRs and EGF ligands in representative species of most major animal clades, with special focus on the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. With the exception of placozoans and cnidarians, we found that the EGFR pathway is potentially present in all other analyzed animal groups, and has experienced frequent independent expansions. We further characterized the expression domains of the EGFR/EGF identified in S. mediterranea, revealing a wide variety of patterns and localization in almost all planarian tissues. Finally, functional experiments suggest an interaction between one of the previously described receptors, Smed-egfr-5, and the newly found ligand Smed-egf-6. Our findings provide the most comprehensive overview to date of the EGFR pathway, and indicate that the last common metazoan ancestor had an initial complement of one EGFR and one putative EGF ligand, which was often expanded or lost during animal evolution. PMID:27325311

  18. Allometric scaling and proportion regulation in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Oviedo, Néstor J; Newmark, Phillip A; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2003-02-01

    The regulation of scale and proportion in living organisms is an intriguing and enduring problem of biology. Regulatory mechanisms for controlling body size and proportion are clearly illustrated by the regeneration of missing body parts after amputation, in which the newly regenerated tissues ultimately attain a size that is anatomically congruent with the size of the rest of the organism. Understanding the molecular processes underpinning scaling would have deep consequences for our comprehension of tissue regeneration, developmental ontogeny, growth, and evolution. Although many theories have been put forward to explain this process, it is interesting that no satisfactory mechanistic explanation is currently available to explain scalar relationships. We chose to investigate the freshwater planarian, a commonly used model system for the study of metazoan regeneration, to delineate a strategy for the molecular dissection of scale and proportion mechanisms in metazoans. Here, we report on the cloning and discrete expression pattern of a novel planarian gene, which shares homology with the DEG/ENaC super-family of sodium channels. We have named H.112.3c cintillo ("head ribbon" in Spanish) and present a strategy for using the expression of this gene to monitor scale and proportion regulation during regeneration, growth and degrowth in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. PMID:12557210

  19. Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Strain-Specific and Conserved Stemness Genes in Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Yi-Chien; Horowitz, Michael; Graveley, Brenton R.

    2012-01-01

    The planarian Schmidtea mediterranea is a powerful model organism for studying stem cell biology due to its extraordinary regenerative ability mediated by neoblasts, a population of adult somatic stem cells. Elucidation of the S. mediterranea transcriptome and the dynamics of transcript expression will increase our understanding of the gene regulatory programs that regulate stem cell function and differentiation. Here, we have used RNA-Seq to characterize the S. mediterranea transcriptome in sexual and asexual animals and in purified neoblast and differentiated cell populations. Our analysis identified many uncharacterized genes, transcripts, and alternatively spliced isoforms that are differentially expressed in a strain or cell type-specific manner. Transcriptome profiling of purified neoblasts and differentiated cells identified neoblast-enriched transcripts, many of which likely play important roles in regeneration and stem cell function. Strikingly, many of the neoblast-enriched genes are orthologs of genes whose expression is enriched in human embryonic stem cells, suggesting that a core set of genes that regulate stem cell function are conserved across metazoan species. PMID:22496805

  20. Molecular markers to characterize the hermaphroditic reproductive system of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea exhibits two distinct reproductive modes. Individuals of the sexual strain are cross-fertilizing hermaphrodites with reproductive organs that develop post-embryonically. By contrast, individuals of the asexual strain reproduce exclusively by transverse fission and fail to develop reproductive organs. These different reproductive strains are associated with distinct karyotypes, making S. mediterranea a useful model for studying germline development and sexual differentiation. Results To identify genes expressed differentially between these strains, we performed microarray analyses and identified >800 genes that were upregulated in the sexual planarian. From these, we characterized 24 genes by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), revealing their expression in male germ cells or accessory reproductive organs. To identify additional markers of the planarian reproductive system, we also used immuno- and fluorescent lectin staining, identifying several antibodies and lectins that labeled structures associated with reproductive organs. Conclusions Collectively, these cell-type specific markers will enable future efforts to characterize genes that are important for reproductive development in the planarian. PMID:22074376

  1. Evolutionary Analysis of Mitogenomes from Parasitic and Free-Living Flatworms

    PubMed Central

    Frías-López, Cristina; Littlewood, D. Timothy J.; Rozas, Julio; Riutort, Marta

    2015-01-01

    Mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) are useful and relatively accessible sources of molecular data to explore and understand the evolutionary history and relationships of eukaryotic organisms across diverse taxonomic levels. The availability of complete mitogenomes from Platyhelminthes is limited; of the 40 or so published most are from parasitic flatworms (Neodermata). Here, we present the mitogenomes of two free-living flatworms (Tricladida): the complete genome of the freshwater species Crenobia alpina (Planariidae) and a nearly complete genome of the land planarian Obama sp. (Geoplanidae). Moreover, we have reanotated the published mitogenome of the species Dugesia japonica (Dugesiidae). This contribution almost doubles the total number of mtDNAs published for Tricladida, a species-rich group including model organisms and economically important invasive species. We took the opportunity to conduct comparative mitogenomic analyses between available free-living and selected parasitic flatworms in order to gain insights into the putative effect of life cycle on nucleotide composition through mutation and natural selection. Unexpectedly, we did not find any molecular hallmark of a selective relaxation in mitogenomes of parasitic flatworms; on the contrary, three out of the four studied free-living triclad mitogenomes exhibit higher A+T content and selective relaxation levels. Additionally, we provide new and valuable molecular data to develop markers for future phylogenetic studies on planariids and geoplanids. PMID:25793530

  2. School Reform: The Flatworm in a Flat World--From Entropy to Renewal through Indigenous Invention

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Heckman, Paul E.; Montera, Viki L.

    2009-01-01

    Purpose: In this article, we compare current schooling practices and reform efforts to the mechanistic industrial model and illustrate why this paradigm is no longer sufficient in this "flat world." Schooling and school reform in the 21st century continue to be approached as if these are a flatworm capable replicating itself. We argue that a new…

  3. Flatworms have lost the right open reading frame kinase 3 gene during evolution

    PubMed Central

    Breugelmans, Bert; Ansell, Brendan R. E.; Young, Neil D.; Amani, Parisa; Stroehlein, Andreas J.; Sternberg, Paul W.; Jex, Aaron R.; Boag, Peter R.; Hofmann, Andreas; Gasser, Robin B.

    2015-01-01

    All multicellular organisms studied to date have three right open reading frame kinase genes (designated riok-1, riok-2 and riok-3). Current evidence indicates that riok-1 and riok-2 have essential roles in ribosome biosynthesis, and that the riok-3 gene assists this process. In the present study, we conducted a detailed bioinformatic analysis of the riok gene family in 25 parasitic flatworms (platyhelminths) for which extensive genomic and transcriptomic data sets are available. We found that none of the flatworms studied have a riok-3 gene, which is unprecedented for multicellular organisms. We propose that, unlike in other eukaryotes, the loss of RIOK-3 from flatworms does not result in an evolutionary disadvantage due to the unique biology and physiology of this phylum. We show that the loss of RIOK-3 coincides with a loss of particular proteins associated with essential cellular pathways linked to cell growth and apoptosis. These findings indicate multiple, key regulatory functions of RIOK-3 in other metazoan species. Taking advantage of a known partial crystal structure of human RIOK-1, molecular modelling revealed variability in nucleotide binding sites between flatworm and human RIOK proteins. PMID:25976756

  4. Control of predacious flatworms Macrostomum sp. in culturing juvenile freshwater mussels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zimmerman, L.L.; Neves, R.J.; Smith, D.G.

    2003-01-01

    Flatworms of the genus Macrostomum are voracious predators on newly metamorphosed juvenile freshwater mussels (Unionidae), which require a fish host to transform mussel larvae into free-living juveniles. Toxicity tests were performed with formalin (paracide-F, 37% formaldehyde) to determine the appropriate levels of treatment for eradicating these flatworms from host fish tanks without adversely affecting the culture of juvenile mussels. Results indicate that a 1-h shock treatment of 250 mg/L formalin or a 3-d continuous exposure to 20 mg/L of formalin kills adult Macrostomum but not fish. Observations indicate that a single treatment is insufficient to kill Macrostomum eggs, so a second treatment after 3 d is necessary to kill newly hatched flatworms. Newly metamorphosed freshwater mussels exposed to similar shock and continuous treatments of formalin were also killed. Thus, all host fish introduced for the purpose of mussel production should be quarantined and treated prophylactically to avoid the infestation of mussel culture systems with predacious flatworms.

  5. Problematic barcoding in flatworms: A case-study on monogeneans and rhabdocoels (Platyhelminthes)

    PubMed Central

    Vanhove, Maarten P. M.; Tessens, Bart; Schoelinck, Charlotte; Jondelius, Ulf; Littlewood, D. Tim J.; Artois, Tom; Huyse, Tine

    2013-01-01

    Abstract Some taxonomic groups are less amenable to mitochondrial DNA barcoding than others. Due to the paucity of molecular information of understudied groups and the huge molecular diversity within flatworms, primer design has been hampered. Indeed, all attempts to develop universal flatworm-specific COI markers have failed so far. We demonstrate how high molecular variability and contamination problems limit the possibilities for barcoding using standard COI-based protocols in flatworms. As a consequence, molecular identification methods often rely on other widely applicable markers. In the case of Monogenea, a very diverse group of platyhelminth parasites, and Rhabdocoela, representing one-fourth of all free-living flatworm taxa, this has led to a relatively high availability of nuclear ITS and 18S/28S rDNA sequences on GenBank. In a comparison of the effectiveness in species assignment we conclude that mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal markers perform equally well. In case intraspecific information is needed, rDNA sequences can guide the selection of the appropriate (i.e. taxon-specific) COI primers if available. PMID:24453567

  6. Comparative analysis of septic injury-inducible genes in phylogenetically distant model organisms of regeneration and stem cell research, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea and the cnidarian Hydra vulgaris

    PubMed Central

    Altincicek, Boran; Vilcinskas, Andreas

    2008-01-01

    Background The planarian Schmidtea mediterranea and the cnidarian Hydra vulgaris have emerged as valuable model organisms in regeneration and stem cell research because of their prominent ability to regenerate a complete organism from any small body fragment. Under natural conditions wounding may result from predator attacks. These injuries open their innermost to a wide array of microbes present in the environment. Therefore, we established the hypothesis that regeneration processes may be linked to or at least accompanied by innate immune responses. In order to screen for septic wounding inducible genes we dissected individuals using a scalpel in the presence of a crude bacterial lipopolysaccharide preparation that is commonly used to elicit innate immune responses in animals and applied the suppression subtractive hybridization technique that selectively amplifies cDNAs of differentially expressed genes. Results This analysis revealed the induced expression of 27 genes in immune challenged Schmidtea and 35 genes in immune challenged Hydra. Identified genes from both animals encode proteins that share sequence similarities with potential homologues from other organisms known to be involved in signaling (e.g. calreticulin in Schmidtea and major vault protein in Hydra), stress responses (e.g. Hsp20 in Schmidtea and a PRP19/PSO4 DNA repair protein in Hydra), or to represent potential antimicrobial effectors (e.g. perforin-like protein in Schmidtea and PR-1-like protein and neutrophil cytosolic factor 1 in Hydra). As expected, septic wounding also induces expression of genes in Schmidtea and Hydra potentially involved in tissue remodeling associated with regeneration processes (e.g. matrix metalloproteinase in Schmidtea and a potential von Willebrand factor in Hydra). Conclusion We identified numerous immune-inducible genes in Hydra and Schmidtea that show a similar distribution corresponding to their physiological roles, although lineages of both animals split from

  7. The invasive New Guinea flatworm Platydemus manokwari in France, the first record for Europe: time for action is now

    PubMed Central

    Winsor, Leigh; Gey, Delphine; Gros, Pierre; Thévenot, Jessica

    2014-01-01

    Non-indigenous terrestrial flatworms (Platyhelminthes) have been recorded in thirteen European countries. They include Bipalium kewense and Dolichoplana striata that are largely restricted to hothouses and may be regarded as non-invasive species. In addition there are species from the southern hemisphere such as the invasive New Zealand flatworm Arthurdendyus triangulatus in the United Kingdom, Eire and the Faroe Islands, the Australian flatworm Australoplana sanguinea alba in Eire and the United Kingdom, and the Australian Blue Garden flatworm Caenoplana coerulea in France, Menorca and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has some twelve or more non-indigenous species most of which are Australian and New Zealand species. These species may move to an invasive stage when optimum environmental and other conditions occur, and the flatworms then have the potential to cause economic or environmental harm. In this paper, we report the identification (from morphology and molecular analysis of COI sequences) of non-indigenous terrestrial flatworms found in a hothouse in Caen (France) as the New Guinea flatworm Platydemus manokwari de Beauchamp, 1963 (Platyhelminthes, Continenticola, Geoplanidae, Rhynchodeminae). Platydemus manokwari is among the “100 World’s Worst Invader Alien Species”. Lists of World geographic records, prey in the field and prey in laboratories of P. manokwari are provided. This species is considered a threat to native snails wherever it is introduced. The recent discovery of P. manokwari in France represents a significant extension of distribution of this Invasive Alien Species from the Indo-Pacific region to Europe. If it escaped the hothouse, the flatworm might survive winters and become established in temperate countries. The existence of this species in France requires an early warning of this incursion to State and European Union authorities, followed by the eradication of the flatworm in its locality, tightening of internal quarantine

  8. Schmidtea mediterranea phylogeography: an old species surviving on a few Mediterranean islands?

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Schmidtea mediterranea (Platyhelminthes, Tricladida, Continenticola) is found in scattered localities on a few islands and in coastal areas of the western Mediterranean. Although S. mediterranea is the object of many regeneration studies, little is known about its evolutionary history. Its present distribution has been proposed to stem from the fragmentation and migration of the Corsica-Sardinia microplate during the formation of the western Mediterranean basin, which implies an ancient origin for the species. To test this hypothesis, we obtained a large number of samples from across its distribution area. Using known and new molecular markers and, for the first time in planarians, a molecular clock, we analysed the genetic variability and demographic parameters within the species and between its sexual and asexual populations to estimate when they diverged. Results A total of 2 kb from three markers (COI, CYB and a nuclear intron N13) was amplified from ~200 specimens. Molecular data clustered the studied populations into three groups that correspond to the west, central and southeastern geographical locations of the current distribution of S. mediterranea. Mitochondrial genes show low haplotype and nucleotide diversity within populations but demonstrate higher values when all individuals are considered. The nuclear marker shows higher values of genetic diversity than the mitochondrial genes at the population level, but asexual populations present lower variability than the sexual ones. Neutrality tests are significant for some populations. Phylogenetic and dating analyses show the three groups to be monophyletic, with the west group being the basal group. The time when the diversification of the species occurred is between ~20 and ~4 mya, although the asexual nature of the western populations could have affected the dating analyses. Conclusions S. mediterranea is an old species that is sparsely distributed in a harsh habitat, which is probably the

  9. Shape Mode Analysis Exposes Movement Patterns in Biology: Flagella and Flatworms as Case Studies

    PubMed Central

    Werner, Steffen; Rink, Jochen C.; Riedel-Kruse, Ingmar H.; Friedrich, Benjamin M.

    2014-01-01

    We illustrate shape mode analysis as a simple, yet powerful technique to concisely describe complex biological shapes and their dynamics. We characterize undulatory bending waves of beating flagella and reconstruct a limit cycle of flagellar oscillations, paying particular attention to the periodicity of angular data. As a second example, we analyze non-convex boundary outlines of gliding flatworms, which allows us to expose stereotypic body postures that can be related to two different locomotion mechanisms. Further, shape mode analysis based on principal component analysis allows to discriminate different flatworm species, despite large motion-associated shape variability. Thus, complex shape dynamics is characterized by a small number of shape scores that change in time. We present this method using descriptive examples, explaining abstract mathematics in a graphic way. PMID:25426857

  10. Comparative pharmacology of flatworm and roundworm glutamate-gated chloride channels: Implications for potential anthelmintics

    PubMed Central

    Lynagh, Timothy; Cromer, Brett A.; Dufour, Vanessa; Laube, Bodo

    2014-01-01

    Pharmacological targeting of glutamate-gated chloride channels (GluCls) is a potent anthelmintic strategy, evidenced by macrocyclic lactones that eliminate numerous roundworm infections by activating roundworm GluCls. Given the recent identification of flatworm GluCls and the urgent need for drugs against schistosomiasis, flatworm GluCls should be evaluated as potential anthelmintic targets. This study sought to identify agonists or modulators of one such GluCl, SmGluCl-2 from the parasitic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni. The effects of nine glutamate-like compounds and three monoterpenoid ion channel modulators were measured by electrophysiology at SmGluCl-2 recombinantly expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. For comparison with an established anthelmintic target, experiments were also performed on the AVR-14B GluCl from the parasitic roundworm Haemonchus contortus. l-Glutamate was the most potent agonist at both GluCls, but l-2-aminoadipate, d-glutamate and d-2-aminoadipate activated SmGluCl-2 (EC50 1.0 ± 0.1 mM, 2.4 ± 0.4 mM, 3.6 ± 0.7 mM, respectively) more potently than AVR-14B. Quisqualate activated only SmGluCl-2 whereas l-aspartate activated only AVR-14B GluCls. Regarding the monoterpenoids, both GluCls were inhibited by propofol, thymol and menthol, SmGluCl-2 most potently by thymol (IC50 484 ± 85 μM) and least potently by menthol (IC50 > 3 mM). Computational docking suggested that agonist and inhibitor potency is attributable to particular interactions with extracellular or membrane-spanning amino acid residues. These results reveal that flatworm GluCls are pharmacologically susceptible to numerous agonists and modulators and indicate that changes to the glutamate γ-carboxyl or to the propofol 6-isopropyl group can alter the differential pharmacology at flatworm and roundworm GluCls. This should inform the development of more potent compounds and in turn lead to novel anthelmintics. PMID:25516835

  11. Comparative Genomics of Flatworms (Platyhelminthes) Reveals Shared Genomic Features of Ecto- and Endoparastic Neodermata

    PubMed Central

    Hahn, Christoph; Fromm, Bastian; Bachmann, Lutz

    2014-01-01

    The ectoparasitic Monogenea comprise a major part of the obligate parasitic flatworm diversity. Although genomic adaptations to parasitism have been studied in the endoparasitic tapeworms (Cestoda) and flukes (Trematoda), no representative of the Monogenea has been investigated yet. We present the high-quality draft genome of Gyrodactylus salaris, an economically important monogenean ectoparasite of wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). A total of 15,488 gene models were identified, of which 7,102 were functionally annotated. The controversial phylogenetic relationships within the obligate parasitic Neodermata were resolved in a phylogenomic analysis using 1,719 gene models (alignment length of >500,000 amino acids) for a set of 16 metazoan taxa. The Monogenea were found basal to the Cestoda and Trematoda, which implies ectoparasitism being plesiomorphic within the Neodermata and strongly supports a common origin of complex life cycles. Comparative analysis of seven parasitic flatworm genomes identified shared genomic features for the ecto- and endoparasitic lineages, such as a substantial reduction of the core bilaterian gene complement, including the homeodomain-containing genes, and a loss of the piwi and vasa genes, which are considered essential for animal development. Furthermore, the shared loss of functional fatty acid biosynthesis pathways and the absence of peroxisomes, the latter organelles presumed ubiquitous in eukaryotes except for parasitic protozoans, were inferred. The draft genome of G. salaris opens for future in-depth analyses of pathogenicity and host specificity of poorly characterized G. salaris strains, and will enhance studies addressing the genomics of host–parasite interactions and speciation in the highly diverse monogenean flatworms. PMID:24732282

  12. A Transcriptomic-Phylogenomic Analysis of the Evolutionary Relationships of Flatworms

    PubMed Central

    Egger, Bernhard; Lapraz, François; Tomiczek, Bartłomiej; Müller, Steven; Dessimoz, Christophe; Girstmair, Johannes; Škunca, Nives; Rawlinson, Kate A.; Cameron, Christopher B.; Beli, Elena; Todaro, M. Antonio; Gammoudi, Mehrez; Noreña, Carolina; Telford, Maximilian J.

    2015-01-01

    Summary The interrelationships of the flatworms (phylum Platyhelminthes) are poorly resolved despite decades of morphological and molecular phylogenetic studies [1, 2]. The earliest-branching clades (Catenulida, Macrostomorpha, and Polycladida) share spiral cleavage and entolecithal eggs with other lophotrochozoans. Lecithoepitheliata have primitive spiral cleavage but derived ectolecithal eggs. Other orders (Rhabdocoela, Proseriata, Tricladida and relatives, and Bothrioplanida) all have derived ectolecithal eggs but have uncertain affinities to one another. The orders of parasitic Neodermata emerge from an uncertain position from within these ectolecithal classes. To tackle these problems, we have sequenced transcriptomes from 18 flatworms and 5 other metazoan groups. The addition of published data produces an alignment of >107,000 amino acids with less than 28% missing data from 27 flatworm taxa in 11 orders covering all major clades. Our phylogenetic analyses show that Platyhelminthes consist of the two clades Catenulida and Rhabditophora. Within Rhabditophora, we show the earliest-emerging branch is Macrostomorpha, not Polycladida. We show Lecithoepitheliata are not members of Neoophora but are sister group of Polycladida, implying independent origins of the ectolecithal eggs found in Lecithoepitheliata and Neoophora. We resolve Rhabdocoela as the most basally branching euneoophoran taxon. Tricladida, Bothrioplanida, and Neodermata constitute a group that appears to have lost both spiral cleavage and centrosomes. We identify Bothrioplanida as the long-sought closest free-living sister group of the parasitic Neodermata. Among parasitic orders, we show that Cestoda are closer to Trematoda than to Monogenea, rejecting the concept of the Cercomeromorpha. Our results have important implications for understanding the evolution of this major phylum. PMID:25866392

  13. A transcriptomic-phylogenomic analysis of the evolutionary relationships of flatworms.

    PubMed

    Egger, Bernhard; Lapraz, François; Tomiczek, Bartłomiej; Müller, Steven; Dessimoz, Christophe; Girstmair, Johannes; Škunca, Nives; Rawlinson, Kate A; Cameron, Christopher B; Beli, Elena; Todaro, M Antonio; Gammoudi, Mehrez; Noreña, Carolina; Telford, Maximilian J

    2015-05-18

    The interrelationships of the flatworms (phylum Platyhelminthes) are poorly resolved despite decades of morphological and molecular phylogenetic studies. The earliest-branching clades (Catenulida, Macrostomorpha, and Polycladida) share spiral cleavage and entolecithal eggs with other lophotrochozoans. Lecithoepitheliata have primitive spiral cleavage but derived ectolecithal eggs. Other orders (Rhabdocoela, Proseriata, Tricladida and relatives, and Bothrioplanida) all have derived ectolecithal eggs but have uncertain affinities to one another. The orders of parasitic Neodermata emerge from an uncertain position from within these ectolecithal classes. To tackle these problems, we have sequenced transcriptomes from 18 flatworms and 5 other metazoan groups. The addition of published data produces an alignment of >107,000 amino acids with less than 28% missing data from 27 flatworm taxa in 11 orders covering all major clades. Our phylogenetic analyses show that Platyhelminthes consist of the two clades Catenulida and Rhabditophora. Within Rhabditophora, we show the earliest-emerging branch is Macrostomorpha, not Polycladida. We show Lecithoepitheliata are not members of Neoophora but are sister group of Polycladida, implying independent origins of the ectolecithal eggs found in Lecithoepitheliata and Neoophora. We resolve Rhabdocoela as the most basally branching euneoophoran taxon. Tricladida, Bothrioplanida, and Neodermata constitute a group that appears to have lost both spiral cleavage and centrosomes. We identify Bothrioplanida as the long-sought closest free-living sister group of the parasitic Neodermata. Among parasitic orders, we show that Cestoda are closer to Trematoda than to Monogenea, rejecting the concept of the Cercomeromorpha. Our results have important implications for understanding the evolution of this major phylum. PMID:25866392

  14. Genome and transcriptome of the regeneration-competent flatworm, Macrostomum lignano

    PubMed Central

    Wasik, Kaja; Gurtowski, James; Zhou, Xin; Ramos, Olivia Mendivil; Delás, M. Joaquina; Battistoni, Giorgia; El Demerdash, Osama; Falciatori, Ilaria; Vizoso, Dita B.; Smith, Andrew D.; Ladurner, Peter; Schärer, Lukas; McCombie, W. Richard; Hannon, Gregory J.; Schatz, Michael

    2015-01-01

    The free-living flatworm, Macrostomum lignano has an impressive regenerative capacity. Following injury, it can regenerate almost an entirely new organism because of the presence of an abundant somatic stem cell population, the neoblasts. This set of unique properties makes many flatworms attractive organisms for studying the evolution of pathways involved in tissue self-renewal, cell-fate specification, and regeneration. The use of these organisms as models, however, is hampered by the lack of a well-assembled and annotated genome sequences, fundamental to modern genetic and molecular studies. Here we report the genomic sequence of M. lignano and an accompanying characterization of its transcriptome. The genome structure of M. lignano is remarkably complex, with ∼75% of its sequence being comprised of simple repeats and transposon sequences. This has made high-quality assembly from Illumina reads alone impossible (N50 = 222 bp). We therefore generated 130× coverage by long sequencing reads from the Pacific Biosciences platform to create a substantially improved assembly with an N50 of 64 Kbp. We complemented the reference genome with an assembled and annotated transcriptome, and used both of these datasets in combination to probe gene-expression patterns during regeneration, examining pathways important to stem cell function. PMID:26392545

  15. Boule-like genes regulate male and female gametogenesis in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano.

    PubMed

    Kuales, Georg; De Mulder, Katrien; Glashauser, Jade; Salvenmoser, Willi; Takashima, Shigeo; Hartenstein, Volker; Berezikov, Eugene; Salzburger, Walter; Ladurner, Peter

    2011-09-01

    Members of the DAZ (Deleted in AZoospermia) gene family are important players in the process of gametogenesis and their dysregulation accounts for 10% of human male infertility. Boule, the ancestor of the family, is mainly involved in male meiosis in most organisms. With the exception of Drosophila and C. elegans, nothing is known on the function of boule in non-vertebrate animals. In the present study, we report on three boule orthologues in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano. We demonstrate that macbol1 and macbol2 are expressed in testes whilst macbol3 is expressed in ovaries and developing eggs. Macbol1 RNAi blocked spermatocyte differentiation whereas macbol2 showed no effect upon RNAi treatment. Macbol3 RNAi resulted in aberrant egg maturation and led to female sterility. We further demonstrated the evolutionary functional conservation of macbol1 by introducing this gene into Drosophila bol(1) mutants. Macbol1 was able to rescue the progression of fly meiotic divisions. In summary, our findings provide evidence for an involvement of boule genes in male and female gamete development in one organism. Furthermore, boule gene function is shown here for the first time in a lophotrochozoan. Our results point to a more diverse functional assignment of boule genes. Therefore, a better understanding of boule function in flatworms can help to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of and concomitant infertility in higher organisms including humans. PMID:21740899

  16. Boule-like genes regulate male and female gametogenesis in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano

    PubMed Central

    Kuales, Georg; De Mulder, Katrien; Glashauser, Jade; Salvenmoser, Willi; Takashima, Shigeo; Hartenstein, Volker; Berezikov, Eugene; Salzburger, Walter; Ladurner, Peter

    2011-01-01

    Members of the DAZ (Deleted in AZoospermia) gene family are important players in the process of gametogenesis and their dysregulation accounts for 10% of human male infertility. Boule, the ancestor of the family, is mainly involved in male meiosis in most organisms. With the exception of Drosophila and C. elegans, nothing is known on the function of boule in non-vertebrate animals. In the present study, we report on three boule orthologues in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano. We demonstrate that macbol1 and macbol2 are expressed in testes whilst macbol3 is expressed in ovaries and developing eggs. Macbol1 RNAi blocked spermatocyte differentiation whereas macbol2 showed no effect upon RNAi treatment. Macbol3 RNAi resulted in aberrant egg maturation and led to female sterility. We further demonstrated the evolutionary functional conservation of macbol1 by introducing this gene into Drosophila bol1 mutants. Macbol1 was able to rescue the progression of fly meiotic divisions. In summary, our findings provide evidence for an involvement of boule genes in male and female gamete development in one organism. Furthermore, boule gene function is shown here for the first time in a lophotrochozoan. Our results point to a more diverse functional assignment of boule genes. Therefore, a better understanding of boule function in flatworms can help to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of and concomitant infertility in higher organisms including humans. PMID:21740899

  17. Genome and transcriptome of the regeneration-competent flatworm, Macrostomum lignano.

    PubMed

    Wasik, Kaja; Gurtowski, James; Zhou, Xin; Ramos, Olivia Mendivil; Delás, M Joaquina; Battistoni, Giorgia; El Demerdash, Osama; Falciatori, Ilaria; Vizoso, Dita B; Smith, Andrew D; Ladurner, Peter; Schärer, Lukas; McCombie, W Richard; Hannon, Gregory J; Schatz, Michael

    2015-10-01

    The free-living flatworm, Macrostomum lignano has an impressive regenerative capacity. Following injury, it can regenerate almost an entirely new organism because of the presence of an abundant somatic stem cell population, the neoblasts. This set of unique properties makes many flatworms attractive organisms for studying the evolution of pathways involved in tissue self-renewal, cell-fate specification, and regeneration. The use of these organisms as models, however, is hampered by the lack of a well-assembled and annotated genome sequences, fundamental to modern genetic and molecular studies. Here we report the genomic sequence of M. lignano and an accompanying characterization of its transcriptome. The genome structure of M. lignano is remarkably complex, with ∼75% of its sequence being comprised of simple repeats and transposon sequences. This has made high-quality assembly from Illumina reads alone impossible (N50=222 bp). We therefore generated 130× coverage by long sequencing reads from the Pacific Biosciences platform to create a substantially improved assembly with an N50 of 64 Kbp. We complemented the reference genome with an assembled and annotated transcriptome, and used both of these datasets in combination to probe gene-expression patterns during regeneration, examining pathways important to stem cell function. PMID:26392545

  18. Taxonomy and life history of the Acropora-eating flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae nov. sp. (Polycladida: Prosthiostomidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rawlinson, K. A.; Gillis, J. A.; Billings, R. E.; Borneman, E. H.

    2011-09-01

    Efforts to culture and conserve acroporid corals in aquaria have led to the discovery of a corallivorous polyclad flatworm (known as AEFW - Acropora-eating flatworm), which, if not removed, can eat entire colonies. Live observations of the AEFW, whole mounts, serial histological sections and comparison of 28S rDNA sequences with other polyclads reveal that this is a new species belonging to the family Prosthiostomidae Lang, 1884 and previously monospecific genus Amakusaplana (Kato 1938). Amakusaplana acroporae is distinguished from Amakusaplana ohshimai by a different arrangement and number of eyes, a large seminal vesicle and dorsoventrally compressed shell gland pouch. Typical of the genus, A. acroporae, lacks a ventral sucker and has a small notch at the midline of the anterior margin. Nematocysts and a Symbiodinium sp. of dinoflagellate from the coral are abundantly distributed in the gut and parenchyma. Individual adults lay multiple egg batches on the coral skeleton, each egg batch has 20-26 egg capsules, and each capsule contains between 3-7 embryos. Embryonic development takes approximately 21 days, during which time characteristics of a pelagic life stage (lobes and ciliary tufts) develop but are lost before hatching. The hatchling is capable of swimming but settles to the benthos quickly, and no zooxanthellae were observed in the animal at this stage. We suggest that intracapsular metamorphosis limits the dispersal potential of hatchlings and promotes recruitment of offspring into the natal habitat. The evolutionary and ecological significance of retaining lobes and ciliary tufts in the embryo are discussed. Camouflage, high fecundity and possible dispersal dimorphisms probably explain how Amakusaplana acroporae can cause Acropora sp. mortality in aquaria where natural predators may be absent.

  19. Chromosome numbers in three species groups of freshwater flatworms increase with increasing latitude.

    PubMed

    Lorch, Sven; Zeuss, Dirk; Brandl, Roland; Brändle, Martin

    2016-03-01

    Polyploidy in combination with parthenogenesis offers advantages for plasticity and the evolution of a broad ecological tolerance of species. Therefore, a positive correlation between the level of ploidy and increasing latitude as a surrogate for environmental harshness has been suggested. Such a positive correlation is well documented for plants, but examples for animals are still rare. Species of flatworms (Platyhelminthes) are widely distributed, show a remarkably wide range of chromosome numbers, and offer therefore good model systems to study the geographical distribution of chromosome numbers. We analyzed published data on counts of chromosome numbers and geographical information of three flatworm "species" (Phagocata vitta, Polycelis felina and Crenobia alpina) sampled across Europe (220 populations). We used the mean chromosome number across individuals of a population as a proxy for the level of ploidy within populations, and we tested for relationships of this variable with latitude, mode of reproduction (sexual, asexual or both) and environmental variables (annual mean temperature, mean diurnal temperature range, mean precipitation and net primary production). The mean chromosome numbers of all three species increased with latitude and decreased with mean annual temperature. For two species, chromosome number also decreased with mean precipitation and net primary production. Furthermore, high chromosome numbers within species were accompanied with a loss of sexual reproduction. The variation of chromosome numbers within individuals of two of the three species increased with latitude. Our results support the hypothesis that polyploid lineages are able to cope with harsh climatic conditions at high latitudes. Furthermore, we propose that asexual reproduction in populations with high levels of polyploidization stabilizes hybridization events. Chromosomal irregularities within individuals tend to become more frequent at the extreme environments of high

  20. NF-YB Regulates Spermatogonial Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Proliferation in the Planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Iyer, Harini; Collins, James J; Newmark, Phillip A

    2016-06-01

    Gametes are the source and carrier of genetic information, essential for the propagation of all sexually reproducing organisms. Male gametes are derived from a progenitor stem cell population called spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). SSCs give rise to male gametes through the coordination of two essential processes: self-renewal to produce more SSCs, and differentiation to produce mature sperm. Disruption of this equilibrium can lead to excessive proliferation of SSCs, causing tumorigenesis, or can result in aberrant differentiation, leading to infertility. Little is known about how SSCs achieve the fine balance between self-renewal and differentiation, which is necessary for their remarkable output and developmental potential. To understand the mechanisms of SSC maintenance, we examine the planarian homolog of Nuclear Factor Y-B (NF-YB), which is required for the maintenance of early planarian male germ cells. Here, we demonstrate that NF-YB plays a role in the self-renewal and proliferation of planarian SSCs, but not in their specification or differentiation. Furthermore, we characterize members of the NF-Y complex in Schistosoma mansoni, a parasitic flatworm related to the free-living planarian. We find that the function of NF-YB in regulating male germ cell proliferation is conserved in schistosomes. This finding is especially significant because fecundity is the cause of pathogenesis of S. mansoni. Our findings can help elucidate the complex relationship between self-renewal and differentiation of SSCs, and may also have implications for understanding and controlling schistosomiasis. PMID:27304889

  1. NF-YB Regulates Spermatogonial Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Proliferation in the Planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    Iyer, Harini; Collins, James J.; Newmark, Phillip A.

    2016-01-01

    Gametes are the source and carrier of genetic information, essential for the propagation of all sexually reproducing organisms. Male gametes are derived from a progenitor stem cell population called spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). SSCs give rise to male gametes through the coordination of two essential processes: self-renewal to produce more SSCs, and differentiation to produce mature sperm. Disruption of this equilibrium can lead to excessive proliferation of SSCs, causing tumorigenesis, or can result in aberrant differentiation, leading to infertility. Little is known about how SSCs achieve the fine balance between self-renewal and differentiation, which is necessary for their remarkable output and developmental potential. To understand the mechanisms of SSC maintenance, we examine the planarian homolog of Nuclear Factor Y-B (NF-YB), which is required for the maintenance of early planarian male germ cells. Here, we demonstrate that NF-YB plays a role in the self-renewal and proliferation of planarian SSCs, but not in their specification or differentiation. Furthermore, we characterize members of the NF-Y complex in Schistosoma mansoni, a parasitic flatworm related to the free-living planarian. We find that the function of NF-YB in regulating male germ cell proliferation is conserved in schistosomes. This finding is especially significant because fecundity is the cause of pathogenesis of S. mansoni. Our findings can help elucidate the complex relationship between self-renewal and differentiation of SSCs, and may also have implications for understanding and controlling schistosomiasis. PMID:27304889

  2. Comparative and Transcriptome Analyses Uncover Key Aspects of Coding- and Long Noncoding RNAs in Flatworm Mitochondrial Genomes.

    PubMed

    Ross, Eric; Blair, David; Guerrero-Hernández, Carlos; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2016-01-01

    Exploiting the conservation of various features of mitochondrial genomes has been instrumental in resolving phylogenetic relationships. Despite extensive sequence evidence, it has not previously been possible to conclusively resolve some key aspects of flatworm mitochondrial genomes, including generally conserved traits, such as start codons, noncoding regions, the full complement of tRNAs, and whether ATP8 is, or is not, encoded by this extranuclear genome. In an effort to address these difficulties, we sought to determine the mitochondrial transcriptomes and genomes of sexual and asexual taxa of freshwater triclads, a group previously poorly represented in flatworm mitogenomic studies. We have discovered evidence for an alternative start codon, an extended cox1 gene, a previously undescribed conserved open reading frame, long noncoding RNAs, and a highly conserved gene order across the large evolutionary distances represented within the triclads. Our findings contribute to the expansion and refinement of mitogenomics to address evolutionary issues in this diverse group of animals. PMID:26921295

  3. Comparative and Transcriptome Analyses Uncover Key Aspects of Coding- and Long Noncoding RNAs in Flatworm Mitochondrial Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Ross, Eric; Blair, David; Guerrero-Hernández, Carlos; Alvarado, Alejandro Sánchez

    2016-01-01

    Exploiting the conservation of various features of mitochondrial genomes has been instrumental in resolving phylogenetic relationships. Despite extensive sequence evidence, it has not previously been possible to conclusively resolve some key aspects of flatworm mitochondrial genomes, including generally conserved traits, such as start codons, noncoding regions, the full complement of tRNAs, and whether ATP8 is, or is not, encoded by this extranuclear genome. In an effort to address these difficulties, we sought to determine the mitochondrial transcriptomes and genomes of sexual and asexual taxa of freshwater triclads, a group previously poorly represented in flatworm mitogenomic studies. We have discovered evidence for an alternative start codon, an extended cox1 gene, a previously undescribed conserved open reading frame, long noncoding RNAs, and a highly conserved gene order across the large evolutionary distances represented within the triclads. Our findings contribute to the expansion and refinement of mitogenomics to address evolutionary issues in this diverse group of animals. PMID:26921295

  4. The regeneration capacity of the flatworm Macrostomum lignano—on repeated regeneration, rejuvenation, and the minimal size needed for regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Ladurner, P.; Nimeth, K.; Gschwentner, R.; Rieger, R.

    2006-01-01

    The lion’s share of studies on regeneration in Plathelminthes (flatworms) has been so far carried out on a derived taxon of rhabditophorans, the freshwater planarians (Tricladida), and has shown this group’s outstanding regeneration capabilities in detail. Sharing a likely totipotent stem cell system, many other flatworm taxa are capable of regeneration as well. In this paper, we present the regeneration capacity of Macrostomum lignano, a representative of the Macrostomorpha, the basal-most taxon of rhabditophoran flatworms and one of the most basal extant bilaterian protostomes. Amputated or incised transversally, obliquely, and longitudinally at various cutting levels, M. lignano is able to regenerate the anterior-most body part (the rostrum) and any part posterior of the pharynx, but cannot regenerate a head. Repeated regeneration was observed for 29 successive amputations over a period of almost 12 months. Besides adults, also first-day hatchlings and older juveniles were shown to regenerate after transversal cutting. The minimum number of cells required for regeneration in adults (with a total of 25,000 cells) is 4,000, including 160 neoblasts. In hatchlings only 1,500 cells, including 50 neoblasts, are needed for regeneration. The life span of untreated M. lignano was determined to be about 10 months. PMID:16604349

  5. Dual functions of Macpiwi1 in transposon silencing and stem cell maintenance in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Xin; Battistoni, Giorgia; El Demerdash, Osama; Gurtowski, James; Wunderer, Julia; Falciatori, Ilaria; Ladurner, Peter; Schatz, Michael C.; Hannon, Gregory J.; Wasik, Kaja A.

    2015-01-01

    PIWI proteins and piRNA pathways are essential for transposon silencing and some aspects of gene regulation during animal germline development. In contrast to most animal species, some flatworms also express PIWIs and piRNAs in somatic stem cells, where they are required for tissue renewal and regeneration. Here, we have identified and characterized piRNAs and PIWI proteins in the emerging model flatworm Macrostomum lignano. We found that M. lignano encodes at least three PIWI proteins. One of these, Macpiwi1, acts as a key component of the canonical piRNA pathway in the germline and in somatic stem cells. Knockdown of Macpiwi1 dramatically reduces piRNA levels, derepresses transposons, and severely impacts stem cell maintenance. Knockdown of the piRNA biogenesis factor Macvasa caused an even greater reduction in piRNA levels with a corresponding increase in transposons. Yet, in Macvasa knockdown animals, we detected no major impact on stem cell self-renewal. These results may suggest stem cell maintenance functions of PIWI proteins in flatworms that are distinguishable from their impact on transposons and that might function independently of what are considered canonical piRNA populations. PMID:26323280

  6. Diversity of introduced terrestrial flatworms in the Iberian Peninsula: a cautionary tale.

    PubMed

    Alvarez-Presas, Marta; Mateos, Eduardo; Tudó, Angels; Jones, Hugh; Riutort, Marta

    2014-01-01

    Many tropical terrestrial planarians (Platyhelminthes, Geoplanidae) have been introduced around the globe. One of these species is known to cause significant decline in earthworm populations, resulting in a reduction of ecological functions that earthworms provide. Flatworms, additionally, are a potential risk to other species that have the same dietary needs. Hence, the planarian invasion might cause significant economic losses in agriculture and damage to the ecosystem. In the Iberian Peninsula only Bipalium kewense Moseley, 1878 had been cited till 2007. From that year on, four more species have been cited, and several reports of the presence of these animals in particular gardens have been received. In the present study we have: (1) analyzed the animals sent by non-specialists and also the presence of terrestrial planarians in plant nurseries and garden centers; (2) identified their species through morphological and phylogenetic molecular analyses, including representatives of their areas of origin; (3) revised their dietary sources and (4) used Species Distribution Modeling (SDM) for one species to evaluate the risk of its introduction to natural areas. The results have shown the presence of at least ten species of alien terrestrial planarians, from all its phylogenetic range. International plant trade is the source of these animals, and many garden centers are acting as reservoirs. Also, landscape restoration to reintroduce autochthonous plants has facilitated their introduction close to natural forests and agricultural fields. In conclusion, there is a need to take measures on plant trade and to have special care in the treatment of restored habitats. PMID:24949245

  7. Bacterial Symbiosis Maintenance in the Asexually Reproducing and Regenerating Flatworm Paracatenula galateia

    PubMed Central

    Dirks, Ulrich; Gruber-Vodicka, Harald R.; Leisch, Nikolaus; Bulgheresi, Silvia; Egger, Bernhard; Ladurner, Peter; Ott, Jörg A.

    2012-01-01

    Bacteriocytes set the stage for some of the most intimate interactions between animal and bacterial cells. In all bacteriocyte possessing systems studied so far, de novo formation of bacteriocytes occurs only once in the host development, at the time of symbiosis establishment. Here, we present the free-living symbiotic flatworm Paracatenula galateia and its intracellular, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria as a system with previously undescribed strategies of bacteriocyte formation and bacterial symbiont transmission. Using thymidine analogue S-phase labeling and immunohistochemistry, we show that all somatic cells in adult worms – including bacteriocytes – originate exclusively from aposymbiotic stem cells (neoblasts). The continued bacteriocyte formation from aposymbiotic stem cells in adult animals represents a previously undescribed strategy of symbiosis maintenance and makes P. galateia a unique system to study bacteriocyte differentiation and development. We also provide morphological and immunohistochemical evidence that P. galateia reproduces by asexual fragmentation and regeneration (paratomy) and, thereby, vertically transmits numerous symbiont-containing bacteriocytes to its asexual progeny. Our data support the earlier reported hypothesis that the symbiont population is subjected to reduced bottleneck effects. This would justify both the codiversification between Paracatenula hosts and their Candidatus Riegeria symbionts, and the slow evolutionary rates observed for several symbiont genes. PMID:22509347

  8. An Isochore-Like Structure in the Genome of the Flatworm Schistosoma mansoni

    PubMed Central

    Lamolle, Guillermo; Protasio, Anna V.; Iriarte, Andrés; Jara, Eugenio; Simón, Diego; Musto, Héctor

    2016-01-01

    Eukaryotic genomes are compositionally heterogeneous, that is, composed by regions that differ in guanine–cytosine (GC) content (isochores). The most well documented case is that of vertebrates (mainly mammals) although it has been also noted among unicellular eukaryotes and invertebrates. In the human genome, regarded as a typical mammal, this heterogeneity is associated with several features. Specifically, genes located in GC-richest regions are the GC3-richest, display CpG islands and have shorter introns. Furthermore, these genes are more heavily expressed and tend to be located at the extremes of the chromosomes. Although the compositional heterogeneity seems to be widespread among eukaryotes, the associated properties noted in the human genome and other mammals have not been investigated in depth in other taxa. Here we provide evidence that the genome of the parasitic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni is compositionally heterogeneous and exhibits an isochore-like structure, displaying some features associated, until now, only with the human and other vertebrate genomes, with the exception of gene concentration. PMID:27435793

  9. Diversity of introduced terrestrial flatworms in the Iberian Peninsula: a cautionary tale

    PubMed Central

    Álvarez-Presas, Marta; Tudó, Àngels; Jones, Hugh; Riutort, Marta

    2014-01-01

    Many tropical terrestrial planarians (Platyhelminthes, Geoplanidae) have been introduced around the globe. One of these species is known to cause significant decline in earthworm populations, resulting in a reduction of ecological functions that earthworms provide. Flatworms, additionally, are a potential risk to other species that have the same dietary needs. Hence, the planarian invasion might cause significant economic losses in agriculture and damage to the ecosystem. In the Iberian Peninsula only Bipalium kewense Moseley, 1878 had been cited till 2007. From that year on, four more species have been cited, and several reports of the presence of these animals in particular gardens have been received. In the present study we have: (1) analyzed the animals sent by non-specialists and also the presence of terrestrial planarians in plant nurseries and garden centers; (2) identified their species through morphological and phylogenetic molecular analyses, including representatives of their areas of origin; (3) revised their dietary sources and (4) used Species Distribution Modeling (SDM) for one species to evaluate the risk of its introduction to natural areas. The results have shown the presence of at least ten species of alien terrestrial planarians, from all its phylogenetic range. International plant trade is the source of these animals, and many garden centers are acting as reservoirs. Also, landscape restoration to reintroduce autochthonous plants has facilitated their introduction close to natural forests and agricultural fields. In conclusion, there is a need to take measures on plant trade and to have special care in the treatment of restored habitats. PMID:24949245

  10. An Isochore-Like Structure in the Genome of the Flatworm Schistosoma mansoni.

    PubMed

    Lamolle, Guillermo; Protasio, Anna V; Iriarte, Andrés; Jara, Eugenio; Simón, Diego; Musto, Héctor

    2016-01-01

    Eukaryotic genomes are compositionally heterogeneous, that is, composed by regions that differ in guanine-cytosine (GC) content (isochores). The most well documented case is that of vertebrates (mainly mammals) although it has been also noted among unicellular eukaryotes and invertebrates. In the human genome, regarded as a typical mammal, this heterogeneity is associated with several features. Specifically, genes located in GC-richest regions are the GC3-richest, display CpG islands and have shorter introns. Furthermore, these genes are more heavily expressed and tend to be located at the extremes of the chromosomes. Although the compositional heterogeneity seems to be widespread among eukaryotes, the associated properties noted in the human genome and other mammals have not been investigated in depth in other taxa Here we provide evidence that the genome of the parasitic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni is compositionally heterogeneous and exhibits an isochore-like structure, displaying some features associated, until now, only with the human and other vertebrate genomes, with the exception of gene concentration. PMID:27435793

  11. The corallivorous flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae: an invasive species threat to coral reefs?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hume, Benjamin C. C.; D'Angelo, Cecilia; Cunnington, Anna; Smith, Edward G.; Wiedenmann, Jörg

    2014-03-01

    Fatal infestations of land-based Acropora cultures with so-called Acropora- eating flatworms (AEFWs) are a global phenomenon. We evaluate the hypothesis that AEFWs represent a risk to coral reefs by studying the biology and the invasive potential of an AEFW strain from the UK. Molecular analyses identified this strain as Amakusaplana acroporae, a new species described from two US aquaria and one natural location in Australia. Our molecular data together with life history strategies described here suggest that this species accounts for most reported cases of AEFW infestations. We show that local parasitic activity impairs the light-acclimation capacity of the whole host colony. A. acroporae acquires excellent camouflage by harbouring photosynthetically competent, host-derived zooxanthellae and pigments of the green-fluorescent protein family. It shows a preference for Acropora valida but accepts a broad host range. Parasite survival in isolation (5-7 d) potentially allows for an invasion when introduced as non-native species in coral reefs.

  12. Trade-off between male and female allocation in the simultaneously hermaphroditic flatworm Macrostomum sp.

    PubMed

    Schärer, L; Sandner, P; Michiels, N K

    2005-03-01

    Sex allocation theory for simultaneous hermaphrodites assumes a direct trade-off between the allocation of resources to the male and female reproductive functions. Empirical support for this basic assumption is scarce, possibly because studies rarely control for variation in individual reproductive resource budgets. Such variation, which can have environmental or genetic sources, can generate a positive relationship between male and female investment and can thus obscure the trade-off. In this study on the hermaphroditic flatworm Macrostomum sp. we tried to control for budget effects by restricting food availability in a standardized way and by using an inbred line. We then manipulated mating group size in a two-way design (two group sizes x two enclosure sizes) in order to induce phenotypic variation in male allocation, and expected to find an opposing correlated response in female allocation. The results suggest that we only managed to control the budget effects under some conditions. Under these the sex allocation trade-off emerged. Under the other conditions we found a strongly positive correlation between male and female allocation. We discuss possible causes for the observed differences. PMID:15715845

  13. Diversity and ancestry of flatworms infecting blood of nontetrapod craniates "fishes".

    PubMed

    Orélis-Ribeiro, Raphael; Arias, Cova R; Halanych, Kenneth M; Cribb, Thomas H; Bullard, Stephen A

    2014-01-01

    We herein review all published molecular studies (life history, taxonomy, and phylogeny) and summarize all GenBank sequences and primer sets for the "fish blood flukes". Further, by analysing new and all available sequence data for the partial D1-D2 domains of 28S from 83 blood fluke taxa, we explore the evolutionary expansion of flatworm parasitism in the blood of craniates. Based on this analysis, the blood flukes infecting marine bony fishes (Euteleostei) are monophyletic. The clade comprising the chondrichthyan blood fluke plus the marine euteleost blood flukes is the sister group to tetrapod blood flukes (spirorchiids and schistosomes). The innominate blood fluke cercariae from freshwater gastropods were monophyletic and sister to the clade comprising spirorchiids and schistosomes, but low nodal support indicated that they may represent a distinct blood fluke lineage with phylogenetic affinities also to fish blood flukes. Blood flukes that utilize gastropod intermediate hosts were monophyletic (unidentified gastropod cercariae+tetrapod blood flukes) and those utilizing bivalves and polychaetes were monophyletic (marine fish blood flukes). Low or no taxon sampling among blood flukes of basal fish lineages and primary division freshwater fish lineages are significant data gaps needing closure. We also note that no record of an infection exists in a hagfish (Myxiniformes), lamprey (Petromyzontiformes), or nontetrapod sarcopterygiian, i.e., coelacanth (Coelacanthimorpha) or lungfish (Dipnoi). The present phylogenetic analysis reiterated support for monophyly of Schistosomatidae and paraphyly of spirorchiids, with the blood flukes of freshwater turtles basal to those of marine turtles and schistosomes. PMID:24928179

  14. Ultrastructure of spermatogenesis and mature spermatozoa in the flatworm Prosthiostomum siphunculus (Polycladida, Cotylea).

    PubMed

    Gammoudi, Mehrez; Salvenmoser, Willi; Harrath, Abdel Halim; Tekaya, Saïda; Egger, Bernhard

    2016-03-01

    This is the first study investigating spermatogenesis and spermatozoan ultrastructure in the polyclad flatworm Prosthiostomum siphunculus. The testes are numerous and scattered as follicles ventrally between the digestive ramifications. Each follicle contains the different stages of sperm differentiation. Spermatocytes and spermatids derive from a spermatogonium and the spermatids remain connected by intercellular bridges. Chromatoid bodies are present in the cytoplasm of spermatogonia up to spermatids. During early spermiogenesis, a differentiation zone appears in the distal part of spermatids. A ring of microtubules extends along the entire sperm shaft just beneath the cell membrane. An intercentriolar body is present and gives rise to two axonemes, each with a 9 + "1" micro-tubular pattern. Development of the spermatid leads to cell elongation and formation of a filiform, mature spermatozoon with two free flagella and with cortical microtubules along the sperm shaft. The flagella exit the sperm shaft at different levels, a finding common for acotyleans, but so far unique for cotylean polyclads. The Golgi complex produces numerous electron-dense bodies of two types and of different sizes. These bodies are located around a perinuclear row of mitochondria. The elongated nucleus extends almost along the entire sperm body. The nucleus is wide in the proximal part and becomes narrow going towards the distal end. Thread-like chromatin mixed with electron-dense intranuclear spindle-shaped bodies are present throughout nucleus. The general sperm ultrastructure, the presence of intranuclear bodies and a second type of cytoplasmic electron-dense bodies may provide characters useful for phylogenetic analysis. PMID:26534881

  15. Stem Cells Propagate Their DNA by Random Segregation in the Flatworm Macrostomum lignano

    PubMed Central

    Verdoodt, Freija; Willems, Maxime; Mouton, Stijn; De Mulder, Katrien; Bert, Wim; Houthoofd, Wouter; Smith, Julian; Ladurner, Peter

    2012-01-01

    Adult stem cells are proposed to have acquired special features to prevent an accumulation of DNA-replication errors. Two such mechanisms, frequently suggested to serve this goal are cellular quiescence, and non-random segregation of DNA strands during stem cell division, a theory designated as the immortal strand hypothesis. To date, it has been difficult to test the in vivo relevance of both mechanisms in stem cell systems. It has been shown that in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano pluripotent stem cells (neoblasts) are present in adult animals. We sought to address by which means M. lignano neoblasts protect themselves against the accumulation of genomic errors, by studying the exact mode of DNA-segregation during their division. In this study, we demonstrated four lines of in vivo evidence in favor of cellular quiescence. Firstly, performing BrdU pulse-chase experiments, we localized ‘Label-Retaining Cells’ (LRCs). Secondly, EDU pulse-chase combined with Vasa labeling demonstrated the presence of neoblasts among the LRCs, while the majority of LRCs were differentiated cells.We showed that stem cells lose their label at a slow rate, indicating cellular quiescence. Thirdly, CldU/IdU− double labeling studies confirmed that label-retaining stem cells showed low proliferative activity. Finally, the use of the actin inhibitor, cytochalasin D, unequivocally demonstrated random segregation of DNA-strands in LRCs. Altogether, our data unambiguously demonstrated that the majority of neoblasts in M. lignano distribute their DNA randomly during cell division, and that label-retention is a direct result of cellular quiescence, rather than a sign of co-segregation of labeled strands. PMID:22276162

  16. Shared phylogeographic patterns between the ectocommensal flatworm Temnosewellia albata and its host, the endangered freshwater crayfish Euastacus robertsi

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt, Daniel J.; Ponniah, Mark; Carini, Giovannella; Blair, David; Hughes, Jane M.

    2014-01-01

    Comparative phylogeography of commensal species may show congruent patterns where the species involved share a common history. Temnosewellia is a genus of flatworms, members of which live in commensal relationships with host freshwater crustaceans. By constructing phylogenetic trees based on mitochondrial COI and 28S nuclear ribosomal gene sequences, this study investigated how evolutionary history has shaped patterns of intraspecific molecular variation in two such freshwater commensals. This study concentrates on the flatworm Temnosewellia albata and its critically endangered crayfish host Euastacus robertsi, which have a narrow climatically-restricted distribution on three mountaintops. The genetic data expands upon previous studies of Euastacus that suggested several vicariance events have led to the population subdivision of Euastacus robertsi. Further, our study compared historical phylogeographic patterning of these species. Our results showed that phylogeographic patterns shared among these commensals were largely congruent, featuring a shared history of limited dispersal between the mountaintops. Several hypotheses were proposed to explain the phylogeographic points of differences between the species. This study contributes significantly to understanding evolutionary relationships of commensal freshwater taxa. PMID:25279257

  17. Interception of nutrient rich submarine groundwater discharge seepage on European temperate beaches by the acoel flatworm, Symsagittifera roscoffensis.

    PubMed

    Carvalho, Liliana F; Rocha, Carlos; Fleming, Alexandra; Veiga-Pires, Cristina; Aníbal, Jaime

    2013-10-15

    Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) occurs in intertidal areas, representing a largely unquantified source of solute fluxes to adjacent coastal zones, with nitrogen being constantly the keynote chemical of concern. In Olhos de Água SGD is present as groundwater springs or merely sub-aerial runoff. The occurrence of the flatworm Symsagittifera roscoffensis is described for the first time in Olhos de Água in connection to seepage flows. To assess the impact of this symbiotic flatworm on the nitrogen associated to groundwater discharge flow at the beach, nitrate uptake experiments were conducted in laboratory microcosms. Our results show that S. roscoffensis actively uptakes nitrate at different rates depending on light availability, with rates ≈ 10 times higher than that of its symbiotic microalgae alone. This supports the hypothesis that S. roscoffensis could be an important in situ nitrate interceptor, potentially playing a biological role on the transformation of groundwater-borne nitrate loads at the land-ocean boundary. PMID:23948093

  18. Flatworm stem cells and the germ line: developmental and evolutionary implications of macvasa expression in Macrostomum lignano.

    PubMed

    Pfister, Daniela; De Mulder, Katrien; Hartenstein, Volker; Kuales, Georg; Borgonie, Gaetan; Marx, Florentine; Morris, Joshua; Ladurner, Peter

    2008-07-01

    We have isolated and identified the vasa homologue macvasa, expressed in testes, ovaries, eggs and somatic stem cells of the flatworm Macrostomum lignano. Molecular tools such as in situ hybridization and RNA interference were developed for M. lignano to study gene expression and function. Macvasa expression was followed during postembryonic development, regeneration and in starvation experiments. We were able to follow gonad formation in juveniles and the reformation of gonads from stem cells after amputation by in situ hybridization and a specific Macvasa antibody. Expression of macvasa in the germ cells was highly affected by feeding conditions and correlated with the decrease and regrowth of the gonads. RNA interference showed specific down-regulation of macvasa mRNA and protein. The absence of Macvasa did not influence gonad formation and stem cell proliferation. Our results corroborate the exclusive nature of the flatworm stem cell system but challenge the concept of a solely postembryonic specification of the germ line in Platyhelminthes. We address the transition of somatic stem cells to germ cells and speculate on Macrostomum as a system to unravel the mechanisms of preformation or epigenesis in the evolution of germ line specification from somatic stem cells. PMID:18405892

  19. SMED-TLX-1 (NR2E1) is critical for tissue and body plan maintenance in Schmidtea mediterranea in fasting/feeding cycles.

    PubMed

    Raška, O; Kostrouchová, V; Behenský, F; Yilma, P; Saudek, V; Kostrouch, Z; Kostrouchová, M

    2011-01-01

    Nuclear receptors (NRs), or nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs), are transcription factors that regulate development and metabolism of most if not all animal species. Their regulatory networks include conserved mechanisms that are shared in-between species as well as mechanisms that are restricted to certain phyla or even species. In search for conserved members of the NHR family in Schmidtea mediterranea, we identified a molecular signature of a class of NRs, NR2E1, in the S. mediterranea genome and cloned its complete cDNA coding sequence. The derived amino acid sequence shows a high degree of conservation of both DNA-binding domain and ligand- binding domain and a remarkably high homology to vertebrate NR2E1 and C. elegans NHR-67. Quantitative PCR detected approximately ten-fold higher expression of Smed-tlx-1 in the proximal part of the head compared to the tail region. The expression of Smed-tlx-1 is higher during fed state than during fasting. Smed-tlx-1 down-regulation by RNA interference affects the ability of the animals to maintain body plan and induces defects of brain, eyes and body shape during fasting and re-growing cycles. These results suggest that SMED-TLX-1 is critical for tissue and body plan maintenance in planaria. PMID:22264716

  20. Confirmation and Distribution of Tetrodotoxin for the First Time in Terrestrial Invertebrates: Two Terrestrial Flatworm Species (Bipalium adventitium and Bipalium kewense)

    PubMed Central

    Stokes, Amber N.; Ducey, Peter K.; Neuman-Lee, Lorin; Hanifin, Charles T.; French, Susannah S.; Pfrender, Michael E.; Brodie, Edmund D.; Brodie Jr, Edmund D.

    2014-01-01

    The potent neurotoxin tetrodotoxin (TTX) is known from a diverse array of taxa, but is unknown in terrestrial invertebrates. Tetrodotoxin is a low molecular weight compound that acts by blocking voltage-gated sodium channels, inducing paralysis. However, the origins and ecological functions of TTX in most taxa remain mysterious. Here, we show that TTX is present in two species of terrestrial flatworm (Bipalium adventitium and Bipalium kewense) using a competitive inhibition enzymatic immunoassay to quantify the toxin and high phase liquid chromatography to confirm the presence. We also investigated the distribution of TTX throughout the bodies of the flatworms and provide evidence suggesting that TTX is used during predation to subdue large prey items. We also show that the egg capsules of B. adventitium have TTX, indicating a further role in defense. These data suggest a potential route for TTX bioaccumulation in terrestrial systems. PMID:24963791

  1. Characterization of a flatworm inositol (1,4,5) trisphosphate receptor (IP3R) reveals a role in reproductive physiology

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Dan; Liu, Xiaolong; Chan, John D.; Marchant, Jonathan S.

    2013-01-01

    Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3Rs) are intracellular Ca2+channels that elevate cytoplasmic Ca2+ in response to the second messenger IP3. Here, we describe the identification and in vivo functional characterization of the planarian IP3R, the first intracellular Ca2+ channel to be defined in flatworms. A single IP3R gene in Dugesia japonica encoded a 2666 amino acid protein (Dj.IP3R) that shared well conserved structural features with vertebrate IP3R counterparts. Expression of an NH2-terminal Dj.IP3R region (amino acid residues 223–585) recovered high affinity 3H-IP3 binding (0.9 ± 0.1 nM) which was abolished by a single point mutation of an arginine residue (R495L) important for IP3 coordination. In situ hybridization revealed that Dj.IP3R mRNA was most strongly expressed in the pharynx and optical nerve system as well as the reproductive system in sexualized planarians. Consistent with this observed tissue distribution, in vivo RNAi of Dj.IP3R resulted in a decreased egg-laying behavior suggesting Dj.IP3R plays an upstream role in planarian reproductive physiology. PMID:23481272

  2. Hidden biodiversity in an ancient lake: phylogenetic congruence between Lake Tanganyika tropheine cichlids and their monogenean flatworm parasites

    PubMed Central

    Vanhove, Maarten P. M.; Pariselle, Antoine; Van Steenberge, Maarten; Raeymaekers, Joost A. M.; Hablützel, Pascal I.; Gillardin, Céline; Hellemans, Bart; Breman, Floris C.; Koblmüller, Stephan; Sturmbauer, Christian; Snoeks, Jos; Volckaert, Filip A. M.; Huyse, Tine

    2015-01-01

    The stunning diversity of cichlid fishes has greatly enhanced our understanding of speciation and radiation. Little is known about the evolution of cichlid parasites. Parasites are abundant components of biodiversity, whose diversity typically exceeds that of their hosts. In the first comprehensive phylogenetic parasitological analysis of a vertebrate radiation, we study monogenean parasites infecting tropheine cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. Monogeneans are flatworms usually infecting the body surface and gills of fishes. In contrast to many other parasites, they depend only on a single host species to complete their lifecycle. Our spatially comprehensive combined nuclear-mitochondrial DNA dataset of the parasites covering almost all tropheine host species (N = 18), reveals species-rich parasite assemblages and shows consistent host-specificity. Statistical comparisons of host and parasite phylogenies based on distance and topology-based tests demonstrate significant congruence and suggest that host-switching is rare. Molecular rate evaluation indicates that species of Cichlidogyrus probably diverged synchronically with the initial radiation of the tropheines. They further diversified through within-host speciation into an overlooked species radiation. The unique life history and specialisation of certain parasite groups has profound evolutionary consequences. Hence, evolutionary parasitology adds a new dimension to the study of biodiversity hotspots like Lake Tanganyika. PMID:26335652

  3. Hidden biodiversity in an ancient lake: phylogenetic congruence between Lake Tanganyika tropheine cichlids and their monogenean flatworm parasites.

    PubMed

    Vanhove, Maarten P M; Pariselle, Antoine; Van Steenberge, Maarten; Raeymaekers, Joost A M; Hablützel, Pascal I; Gillardin, Céline; Hellemans, Bart; Breman, Floris C; Koblmüller, Stephan; Sturmbauer, Christian; Snoeks, Jos; Volckaert, Filip A M; Huyse, Tine

    2015-01-01

    The stunning diversity of cichlid fishes has greatly enhanced our understanding of speciation and radiation. Little is known about the evolution of cichlid parasites. Parasites are abundant components of biodiversity, whose diversity typically exceeds that of their hosts. In the first comprehensive phylogenetic parasitological analysis of a vertebrate radiation, we study monogenean parasites infecting tropheine cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. Monogeneans are flatworms usually infecting the body surface and gills of fishes. In contrast to many other parasites, they depend only on a single host species to complete their lifecycle. Our spatially comprehensive combined nuclear-mitochondrial DNA dataset of the parasites covering almost all tropheine host species (N = 18), reveals species-rich parasite assemblages and shows consistent host-specificity. Statistical comparisons of host and parasite phylogenies based on distance and topology-based tests demonstrate significant congruence and suggest that host-switching is rare. Molecular rate evaluation indicates that species of Cichlidogyrus probably diverged synchronically with the initial radiation of the tropheines. They further diversified through within-host speciation into an overlooked species radiation. The unique life history and specialisation of certain parasite groups has profound evolutionary consequences. Hence, evolutionary parasitology adds a new dimension to the study of biodiversity hotspots like Lake Tanganyika. PMID:26335652

  4. Persistent conditioned place preference to cocaine and withdrawal hypo-locomotion to mephedrone in the flatworm planaria.

    PubMed

    Hutchinson, Claire V; Prados, Jose; Davidson, Colin

    2015-04-23

    The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of exposure to cocaine and mephedrone on conditioned place preference (CPP) and locomotion in the flatworm planaria. Planaria were treated with either cocaine or mephedrone at 1 or 10 μM. Planaria were exposed to 15 min of drug in their non-preferred place (either a rough- or smooth-floored petri dish) on alternate days, and were exposed to normal water in their preferred place on the following day. There were 5 days of conditioning to drug. Planaria were then tested for CPP on day 2, 6 and 13 after withdrawal. We found that animals exhibited CPP to cocaine at both 1 and 10 μM, but not to mephedrone. When examining locomotor activity we found that neither cocaine nor mephedrone treatment showed any evidence of evoking increased motility or locomotor sensitisation. Hypo-motility was seen on the first day of conditioning at concentrations of 10 μM for both cocaine and mephedrone, but had disappeared by the last day of conditioning. Examining chronic withdrawal, only 10 μM mephedrone had a significant effect on motility, decreasing locomotion on day 2 of withdrawal. Taken together we have shown that cocaine evoked CPP in planaria. We have also shown withdrawal depressing effects of mephedrone on motility. PMID:25778415

  5. The miRnome of Fasciola hepatica juveniles endorses the existence of a reduced set of highly divergent micro RNAs in parasitic flatworms.

    PubMed

    Fontenla, Santiago; Dell'Oca, Nicolás; Smircich, Pablo; Tort, José F; Siles-Lucas, Mar

    2015-12-01

    The liver fluke Fasciola hepatica is a foodborne zoonotic parasite affecting livestock worldwide, with increasing relevance in human health. The first developmental stage that the host meets after ingestion of the parasite is the newly excysted juvenile, that actively transverses the gut wall and migrates to its final location in the liver. The regulation of the early developmental events in newly excysted juveniles is still poorly understood and a relevant target for control strategies. Here we investigated the putative involvement of small regulatory RNAs in the invasion process. The small RNA population of the newly excysted juvenile fall into two classes, one represented by micro (mi)RNAs and a secondary group of larger (32-33 nucleotides) tRNA-derived sequences. We identified 40 different miRNAs, most of those belonging to ancient miRNAs conserved in protostomes and metazoans, notably with a highly predominant miR-125b variant. Remarkably, several protostomian and metazoan conserved families were not detected in consonance with previous reports of drastic miRnome reduction in parasitic flatworms. Additionally, a set of five novel miRNAs was identified, probably associated with specific gene regulation expression needs in F. hepatica. While sequence conservation in mature miRNA is high across the metazoan tree, we observed that flatworm miRNAs are more divergent, suggesting that mutation rates in parasitic flatworms could be high. Finally, the distinctive presence of tRNA-derived sequences, mostly 5' tRNA halves of selected tRNAs in the small RNA population of newly excysted juveniles, raises the possibility that both miRNA and tRNA fragments participate in the regulation of gene expression in this parasite. PMID:26432296

  6. Biological adhesion of the flatworm Macrostomum lignano relies on a duo-gland system and is mediated by a cell type-specific intermediate filament protein

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Free-living flatworms, in both marine and freshwater environments, are able to adhere to and release from a substrate several times within a second. This reversible adhesion relies on adhesive organs comprised of three cell types: an adhesive gland cell, a releasing gland cell, and an anchor cell, which is a modified epidermal cell responsible for structural support. However, nothing is currently known about the molecules that are involved in this adhesion process. Results In this study we present the detailed morphology of the adhesive organs of the free-living marine flatworm Macrostomum lignano. About 130 adhesive organs are located in a horse-shoe-shaped arc along the ventral side of the tail plate. Each organ consists of exactly three cells, an adhesive gland cell, a releasing gland cell, and an anchor cell. The necks of the two gland cells penetrate the anchor cell through a common pore. Modified microvilli of the anchor cell form a collar surrounding the necks of the adhesive- and releasing glands, jointly forming the papilla, the outer visible part of the adhesive organs. Next, we identified an intermediate filament (IF) gene, macif1, which is expressed in the anchor cells. RNA interference mediated knock-down resulted in the first experimentally induced non-adhesion phenotype in any marine animal. Specifically, the absence of intermediate filaments in the anchor cells led to papillae with open tips, a reduction of the cytoskeleton network, a decline in hemidesmosomal connections, and to shortened microvilli containing less actin. Conclusion Our findings reveal an elaborate biological adhesion system in a free-living flatworm, which permits impressively rapid temporary adhesion-release performance in the marine environment. We demonstrate that the structural integrity of the supportive cell, the anchor cell, is essential for this adhesion process: the knock-down of the anchor cell-specific intermediate filament gene resulted in the inability of

  7. Gap Junctional Blockade Stochastically Induces Different Species-Specific Head Anatomies in Genetically Wild-Type Girardia dorotocephala Flatworms.

    PubMed

    Emmons-Bell, Maya; Durant, Fallon; Hammelman, Jennifer; Bessonov, Nicholas; Volpert, Vitaly; Morokuma, Junji; Pinet, Kaylinnette; Adams, Dany S; Pietak, Alexis; Lobo, Daniel; Levin, Michael

    2015-01-01

    The shape of an animal body plan is constructed from protein components encoded by the genome. However, bioelectric networks composed of many cell types have their own intrinsic dynamics, and can drive distinct morphological outcomes during embryogenesis and regeneration. Planarian flatworms are a popular system for exploring body plan patterning due to their regenerative capacity, but despite considerable molecular information regarding stem cell differentiation and basic axial patterning, very little is known about how distinct head shapes are produced. Here, we show that after decapitation in G. dorotocephala, a transient perturbation of physiological connectivity among cells (using the gap junction blocker octanol) can result in regenerated heads with quite different shapes, stochastically matching other known species of planaria (S. mediterranea, D. japonica, and P. felina). We use morphometric analysis to quantify the ability of physiological network perturbations to induce different species-specific head shapes from the same genome. Moreover, we present a computational agent-based model of cell and physical dynamics during regeneration that quantitatively reproduces the observed shape changes. Morphological alterations induced in a genomically wild-type G. dorotocephala during regeneration include not only the shape of the head but also the morphology of the brain, the characteristic distribution of adult stem cells (neoblasts), and the bioelectric gradients of resting potential within the anterior tissues. Interestingly, the shape change is not permanent; after regeneration is complete, intact animals remodel back to G. dorotocephala-appropriate head shape within several weeks in a secondary phase of remodeling following initial complete regeneration. We present a conceptual model to guide future work to delineate the molecular mechanisms by which bioelectric networks stochastically select among a small set of discrete head morphologies. Taken together

  8. Gap Junctional Blockade Stochastically Induces Different Species-Specific Head Anatomies in Genetically Wild-Type Girardia dorotocephala Flatworms

    PubMed Central

    Emmons-Bell, Maya; Durant, Fallon; Hammelman, Jennifer; Bessonov, Nicholas; Volpert, Vitaly; Morokuma, Junji; Pinet, Kaylinnette; Adams, Dany S.; Pietak, Alexis; Lobo, Daniel; Levin, Michael

    2015-01-01

    The shape of an animal body plan is constructed from protein components encoded by the genome. However, bioelectric networks composed of many cell types have their own intrinsic dynamics, and can drive distinct morphological outcomes during embryogenesis and regeneration. Planarian flatworms are a popular system for exploring body plan patterning due to their regenerative capacity, but despite considerable molecular information regarding stem cell differentiation and basic axial patterning, very little is known about how distinct head shapes are produced. Here, we show that after decapitation in G. dorotocephala, a transient perturbation of physiological connectivity among cells (using the gap junction blocker octanol) can result in regenerated heads with quite different shapes, stochastically matching other known species of planaria (S. mediterranea, D. japonica, and P. felina). We use morphometric analysis to quantify the ability of physiological network perturbations to induce different species-specific head shapes from the same genome. Moreover, we present a computational agent-based model of cell and physical dynamics during regeneration that quantitatively reproduces the observed shape changes. Morphological alterations induced in a genomically wild-type G. dorotocephala during regeneration include not only the shape of the head but also the morphology of the brain, the characteristic distribution of adult stem cells (neoblasts), and the bioelectric gradients of resting potential within the anterior tissues. Interestingly, the shape change is not permanent; after regeneration is complete, intact animals remodel back to G. dorotocephala-appropriate head shape within several weeks in a secondary phase of remodeling following initial complete regeneration. We present a conceptual model to guide future work to delineate the molecular mechanisms by which bioelectric networks stochastically select among a small set of discrete head morphologies. Taken together

  9. Contribution to the knowledge of cotylean flatworms (Turbellaria, Polycladida) from Iranian coasts: Introducing a new species, with remarks on new records.

    PubMed

    Maghsoudlou, Abdolvahab; Rahimian, Hassan

    2014-01-01

    Very little information is available regarding marine free-living flatworms not only from Iran, but throughout the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The present study first introduces a new euryleptid species, and then reports four pseudocerotid polyclads which inhabit Iranian shallow rocky shores of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Maritigrella makranica sp. nov. is characterized dorsally by a medial cream or white reticulated appearance containing pale orange spots in a honeycomb pattern, a distinct orange submarginal band around the entire body margin and between the marginal tentacles, black spots scattered around mid-dorsal surface, becoming more sparse on raised median region and towards body margin, surrounded by a dark-grey halo around the body midline and orange-black halo towards margin. Three of the four pseudocerotids species belonging to the genera Pseudobiceros Faubel, 1984; Pseudoceros Lang, 1884; and Thysanozoon Grube, 1840, are new records for the studied areas, while the other has been reported in the Persian Gulf previously. Comments on Iranian species are provided and associations of flatworms with ascidians and sponges were observed.  PMID:25283210

  10. The caudal regeneration blastema is an accumulation of rapidly proliferating stem cells in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano

    PubMed Central

    Egger, Bernhard; Gschwentner, Robert; Hess, Michael W; Nimeth, Katharina T; Adamski, Zbigniew; Willems, Maxime; Rieger, Reinhard; Salvenmoser, Willi

    2009-01-01

    Background Macrostomum lignano is a small free-living flatworm capable of regenerating all body parts posterior of the pharynx and anterior to the brain. We quantified the cellular composition of the caudal-most body region, the tail plate, and investigated regeneration of the tail plate in vivo and in semithin sections labeled with bromodeoxyuridine, a marker for stem cells (neoblasts) in S-phase. Results The tail plate accomodates the male genital apparatus and consists of about 3,100 cells, about half of which are epidermal cells. A distinct regeneration blastema, characterized by a local accumulation of rapidly proliferating neoblasts and consisting of about 420 cells (excluding epidermal cells), was formed 24 hours after amputation. Differentiated cells in the blastema were observed two days after amputation (with about 920 blastema cells), while the male genital apparatus required four to five days for full differentiation. At all time points, mitoses were found within the blastema. At the place of organ differentiation, neoblasts did not replicate or divide. After three days, the blastema was made of about 1420 cells and gradually transformed into organ primordia, while the proliferation rate decreased. The cell number of the tail plate, including about 960 epidermal cells, was restored to 75% at this time point. Conclusion Regeneration after artificial amputation of the tail plate of adult specimens of Macrostomum lignano involves wound healing and the formation of a regeneration blastema. Neoblasts undergo extensive proliferation within the blastema. Proliferation patterns of S-phase neoblasts indicate that neoblasts are either determined to follow a specific cell fate not before, but after going through S-phase, or that they can be redetermined after S-phase. In pulse-chase experiments, dispersed distribution of label suggests that S-phase labeled progenitor cells of the male genital apparatus undergo further proliferation before differentiation, in

  11. The Chemically Synthesized Ageladine A-Derivative LysoGlow84 Stains Lysosomes in Viable Mammalian Brain Cells and Specific Structures in the Marine Flatworm Macrostomum lignano

    PubMed Central

    Mordhorst, Thorsten; Awal, Sushil; Jordan, Sebastian; Petters, Charlotte; Sartoris, Linda; Dringen, Ralf; Bickmeyer, Ulf

    2015-01-01

    Based on the chemical structure and the known chemical synthesis of the marine sponge alkaloid ageladine A, we synthesized the ageladine A-derivative 4-(naphthalene-2-yl)-1H-imidazo[4,5-c]pyridine trifluoroacetate (LysoGlow84). The two-step synthesis started with the Pictet-Spengler reaction of histamine and naphthalene-2-carbaldehyde to a tetrahydropyridine intermediate, which was dehydrogenated with activated manganese (IV) oxide to LysoGlow84. Structure and purity of the synthesized LysoGlow84 were confirmed by NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. The fluorescence intensity emitted by LysoGlow84 depended strongly on the pH of the solvent with highest fluorescence intensity recorded at pH 4. The fluorescence maximum (at 315 nm excitation) was observed at 440 nm. Biocompatibility of LysoGlow84 was investigated using cultured rat brain astrocytes and the marine flatworm Macrostomum lignano. Exposure of the astrocytes for up to 6 h to micromolar concentrations of LysoGlow84 did not compromise cell viability, as demonstrated by several viability assays, but revealed a promising property of this compound for staining of cellular vesicles. Conventional fluorescence microscopy as well as confocal scanning microscopy of LysoGlow84-treated astrocytes revealed co-localization of LysoGlow84 fluorescence with that of LysoTracker® Red DND-99. LysoGlow84 stained unclear structures in Macrostomum lignano, which were identified as lysosomes by co-staining with LysoTracker. Strong fluorescence staining by LysoGlow84 was further observed around the worms’ anterior gut and the female genital pore which were not counterstained by LysoTracker Red. Thus, LysoGlow84 is a new promising dye that stains lysosomes and other acidic compartments in cultured cells and in worms. PMID:25679913

  12. Embryonic and post-embryonic development of the polyclad flatworm Maritigrella crozieri; implications for the evolution of spiralian life history traits

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Planktonic life history stages of spiralians share some muscular, nervous and ciliary system characters in common. The distribution of these characters is patchy and can be interpreted either as the result of convergent evolution, or as the retention of primitive spiralian larval features. To understand the evolution of these characters adequate taxon sampling across the Spiralia is necessary. Polyclad flatworms are the only free-living Platyhelminthes that exhibit a continuum of developmental modes, with direct development at one extreme, and indirect development via a trochophore-like larval stage at the other. Here I present embryological and larval anatomical data from the indirect developing polyclad Maritrigrella crozieri, and consider these data within a comparative spiralian context. Results After 196 h hours of embryonic development, M. crozieri hatches as a swimming, planktotrophic larva. Larval myoanatomy consists of an orthogonal grid of circular and longitudinal body wall muscles plus parenchymal muscles. Diagonal body wall muscles develop over the planktonic period. Larval neuroanatomy consists of an apical plate, neuropile, paired nerve cords, a peri-oral nerve ring, a medial nerve, a ciliary band nerve net and putative ciliary photoreceptors. Apical neural elements develop first followed by posterior perikarya and later pharyngeal neural elements. The ciliated larva is encircled by a continuous, pre-oral band of longer cilia, which follows the distal margins of the lobes; it also possesses distinct apical and caudal cilia. Conclusions Within polyclads heterochronic shifts in the development of diagonal bodywall and pharyngeal muscles are correlated with life history strategies and feeding requirements. In contrast to many spiralians, M. crozieri hatch with well developed nervous and muscular systems. Comparisons of the ciliary bands and apical organs amongst spiralian planktonic life-stages reveal differences; M. crozieri lack a distinct

  13. Reporter Dyes Demonstrate Functional Expression of Multidrug Resistance Proteins in the Marine Flatworm Macrostomum lignano: The Sponge-Derived Dye Ageladine A Is Not a Substrate of These Transporters

    PubMed Central

    Tietje, Kristin; Rivera-Ingraham, Georgina; Petters, Charlotte; Abele, Doris; Dringen, Ralf; Bickmeyer, Ulf

    2013-01-01

    The marine plathyhelminth Macrostomum lignano was recently isolated from Adriatic shore sediments where it experiences a wide variety of environmental challenges, ranging from hypoxia and reoxygenation, feeding on toxic algae, to exposure to anthropogenic contaminants. As multidrug resistance transporters constitute the first line of defense against toxins and toxicants we have studied the presence of such transporters in M. lignano in living animals by applying optical methods and pharmacological inhibitors that had been developed for mammalian cells. Application of the MDR1 inhibitor Verapamil or of the MRP1 inhibitors MK571 or Probenecid increased the intracellular fluorescence of the reporter dyes Fura-2 am, Calcein am, Fluo-3 am in the worms, but did not affect their staining with the dyes Rhodamine B, CMFDA or Ageladine A. The marine sponge alkaloid Ageladine A remained intracellularly trapped for several days in the worms, suggesting that it does not serve as substrate of multidrug resistance exporters. In addition, Ageladine A did not affect multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP)-mediated dye export from M. lignano or the MRP1-mediated glutathione (GSH) export from cultured rat brain astrocytes. The data obtained demonstrate that life-imaging is a useful tool to address physiological drug export from intact marine transparent flatworms by using multiphoton scanning microscopy. PMID:24135911

  14. Fine-scale differences in diel activity among nocturnal freshwater planarias (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida)

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Although most freshwater planarias are well known photonegative organisms, their diel rhythms have never been quantified. Differences in daily activity rhythms may be particularly important for temperate-climate, freshwater planarias, which tend to overlap considerably in spatial distribution and trophic requirements. Methods Activity of stress-free, individually tested young adults of three common planarian species was recorded at 3-h intervals in a 10-d experiment under natural sunlight and photoperiod during autumnal equinox (D:L ~12:12). Individual activity status was averaged over the 10-d experiment, each tested individual thus serving as a true replicate. Twelve individuals per species were tested. Food was provided every 36 h, resulting in alternating day- and nighttime feeding events. Activity during the first post-feeding h was recorded and analyzed separately. Statistical procedures included ANOVAs, correlations, and second-order analyses of angles. Results Dugesia (= Girardia) tigrina Girard 1850 exhibited clear nocturnal behavior, Dugesia (= Schmidtea) polychroa Schmidt 1861 was predominantly but not exclusively nocturnal, and Polycelis tenuis Ijima 1884 was relatively more active from midnight through noon. Species-specific activity peaks were statistically similar, with peaks at dawn for P. tenuis and just before midnight for the two dugesiids; however, D. tigrina was comparatively more active in the early night hours, while D. polychroa was more active than D. tigrina during daytime. D. tigrina also responded less readily to daytime food addition. P. tenuis remained poorly active and unresponsive throughout the experiment. Individual variability in diel behavior was highest for D. polychroa and lowest for D. tigrina. P. tenuis's general low degree of activity and late activity peak in the experiment may be related to a strong reliance on external stimuli. Conclusions The tested species are mainly nocturnal, consistent with their

  15. Neoblast Specialization in Regeneration of the Planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    Scimone, M. Lucila; Kravarik, Kellie M.; Lapan, Sylvain W.; Reddien, Peter W.

    2014-01-01

    Summary Planarians can regenerate any missing body part in a process requiring dividing cells called neoblasts. Historically, neoblasts have largely been considered a homogeneous stem cell population. Most studies, however, analyzed neoblasts at the population rather than the single-cell level, leaving the degree of heterogeneity in this population unresolved. We combined RNA sequencing of neoblasts from wounded planarians with expression screening and identified 33 transcription factors transcribed in specific differentiated cells and in small fractions of neoblasts during regeneration. Many neoblast subsets expressing distinct tissue-associated transcription factors were present, suggesting candidate specification into many lineages. Consistent with this possibility, klf, pax3/7, and FoxA were required for the differentiation of cintillo-expressing sensory neurons, dopamine-β-hydroxylase-expressing neurons, and the pharynx, respectively. Together, these results suggest that specification of cell fate for most-to-all regenerative lineages occurs within neoblasts, with regenerative cells of blastemas being generated from a highly heterogeneous collection of lineage-specified neoblasts. PMID:25254346

  16. Genome-Wide Analyses Reveal a Role for Peptide Hormones in Planarian Germline Development

    PubMed Central

    Collins, James J.; Hou, Xiaowen; Romanova, Elena V.; Lambrus, Bramwell G.; Miller, Claire M.; Saberi, Amir; Sweedler, Jonathan V.; Newmark, Phillip A.

    2010-01-01

    Bioactive peptides (i.e., neuropeptides or peptide hormones) represent the largest class of cell-cell signaling molecules in metazoans and are potent regulators of neural and physiological function. In vertebrates, peptide hormones play an integral role in endocrine signaling between the brain and the gonads that controls reproductive development, yet few of these molecules have been shown to influence reproductive development in invertebrates. Here, we define a role for peptide hormones in controlling reproductive physiology of the model flatworm, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Based on our observation that defective neuropeptide processing results in defects in reproductive system development, we employed peptidomic and functional genomic approaches to characterize the planarian peptide hormone complement, identifying 51 prohormone genes and validating 142 peptides biochemically. Comprehensive in situ hybridization analyses of prohormone gene expression revealed the unanticipated complexity of the flatworm nervous system and identified a prohormone specifically expressed in the nervous system of sexually reproducing planarians. We show that this member of the neuropeptide Y superfamily is required for the maintenance of mature reproductive organs and differentiated germ cells in the testes. Additionally, comparative analyses of our biochemically validated prohormones with the genomes of the parasitic flatworms Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma japonicum identified new schistosome prohormones and validated half of all predicted peptide-encoding genes in these parasites. These studies describe the peptide hormone complement of a flatworm on a genome-wide scale and reveal a previously uncharacterized role for peptide hormones in flatworm reproduction. Furthermore, they suggest new opportunities for using planarians as free-living models for understanding the reproductive biology of flatworm parasites. PMID:20967238

  17. Behavioral characterization of serotonergic activation in the flatworm Planaria.

    PubMed

    Farrell, Martilias S; Gilmore, Kirsti; Raffa, Robert B; Walker, Ellen A

    2008-05-01

    Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) receptors have been identified in Planaria, a model used for studying the pharmacology of behavioral phenomena. This study characterized the behavioral and locomotor effects of 5-HT, a 5-HT1A agonist, a 5-HT1B/2C agonist, and a 5-HT1A antagonist to examine the role of 5-HT receptor activation in this species. Planarians were video recorded individually in a clear plastic cube containing drug solution or vehicle. To quantify locomotor velocity (pLMV), planarians were placed individually into a dish containing drug solution or vehicle and the rate of gridline crossings was recorded. For the antagonist experiments, four conditions were studied: water alone, agonist alone, antagonist alone, and agonist plus antagonist. The decrease in pLMV induced by the5-HT1A agonist (8-OH-DPAT), and the 5-HT1B/2C agonist (mCPP), was antagonized by pretreatment with the 5-HT1A antagonist (WAY-100635) at a dose that had no effect of its own on pLMV. At a higher concentration of WAY-100635, further decreases in pLMV induced by 8-OH-DPAT were observed. Each agonist produced increased occurrences of 'C-like position' and 'screw-like hyperkinesia', 5-HT and mCPP produced 'writhing', and only mCPP produced a significant increase in duration of 'headswing' behavior. The results demonstrate that the 5-HT1A receptor identified in Planaria mediates behavioral responses to 5-HT receptor ligands, supporting the notion that planarians possess functional 5-HT receptors and might serve as a simple model for their study. PMID:18469535

  18. Light-induced depigmentation in planarians models the pathophysiology of acute porphyrias.

    PubMed

    Stubenhaus, Bradford M; Dustin, John P; Neverett, Emily R; Beaudry, Megan S; Nadeau, Leanna E; Burk-McCoy, Ethan; He, Xinwen; Pearson, Bret J; Pellettieri, Jason

    2016-01-01

    Porphyrias are disorders of heme metabolism frequently characterized by extreme photosensitivity. This symptom results from accumulation of porphyrins, tetrapyrrole intermediates in heme biosynthesis that generate reactive oxygen species when exposed to light, in the skin of affected individuals. Here we report that in addition to producing an ommochrome body pigment, the planarian flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea generates porphyrins in its subepithelial pigment cells under physiological conditions, and that this leads to pigment cell loss when animals are exposed to intense visible light. Remarkably, porphyrin biosynthesis and light-induced depigmentation are enhanced by starvation, recapitulating a common feature of some porphyrias - decreased nutrient intake precipitates an acute manifestation of the disease. Our results establish planarians as an experimentally tractable animal model for research into the pathophysiology of acute porphyrias, and potentially for the identification of novel pharmacological interventions capable of alleviating porphyrin-mediated photosensitivity or decoupling dieting and fasting from disease pathogenesis. PMID:27240733

  19. The More the Merrier?. Entropy and Statistics of Asexual Reproduction in Freshwater Planarians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quinodoz, Sofia; Thomas, Michael A.; Dunkel, Jörn; Schötz, Eva-Maria

    2011-04-01

    The trade-off between traits in life-history strategies has been widely studied for sexual and parthenogenetic organisms, but relatively little is known about the reproduction strategies of asexual animals. Here, we investigate clonal reproduction in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, an important model organism for regeneration and stem cell research. We find that these flatworms adopt a randomized reproduction strategy that comprises both asymmetric binary fission and fragmentation (generation of multiple offspring during a reproduction cycle). Fragmentation in planarians has primarily been regarded as an abnormal behavior in the past; using a large-scale experimental approach, we now show that about one third of the reproduction events in S. mediterranea are fragmentations, implying that fragmentation is part of their normal reproductive behavior. Our analysis further suggests that certain characteristic aspects of the reproduction statistics can be explained in terms of a maximum relative entropy principle.

  20. Memory and obesity affect the population dynamics of asexual freshwater planarians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunkel, Jörn; Talbot, Jared; Schötz, Eva-Maria

    2011-04-01

    Asexual reproduction in multicellular organisms is a complex biophysical process that is not yet well understood quantitatively. Here, we report a detailed population study for the asexual freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, which can reproduce via transverse fission due to a large stem cell contingent. Our long-term observations of isolated non-interacting planarian populations reveal that the characteristic fission waiting time distributions for head and tail fragments differ significantly from each other. The stochastic fission dynamics of tail fragments exhibits non-negligible memory effects, implying that an accurate mathematical description of future data should be based on non-Markovian tree models. By comparing the effective growth of non-interacting planarian populations with those of self-interacting populations, we are able to quantify the influence of interactions between flatworms and physical conditions on the population growth. A surprising result is the non-monotonic relationship between effective population growth rate and nutrient supply: planarians exhibit a tendency to become 'obese' if the feeding frequency exceeds a critical level, resulting in a decreased reproduction activity. This suggests that these flatworms, which possess many genes homologous to those of humans, could become a new model system for studying dietary effects on reproduction and regeneration in multicellular organisms.

  1. The Mi-2-like Smed-CHD4 gene is required for stem cell differentiation in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Scimone, M Lucila; Meisel, Joshua; Reddien, Peter W

    2010-04-01

    Freshwater planarians are able to regenerate any missing part of their body and have extensive tissue turnover because of the action of dividing cells called neoblasts. Neoblasts provide an excellent system for in vivo study of adult stem cell biology. We identified the Smed-CHD4 gene, which is predicted to encode a chromatin-remodeling protein similar to CHD4/Mi-2 proteins, as required for planarian regeneration and tissue homeostasis. Following inhibition of Smed-CHD4 with RNA interference (RNAi), neoblast numbers were initially normal, despite an inability of the animals to regenerate. However, the proliferative response of neoblasts to amputation or growth stimulation in Smed-CHD4(RNAi) animals was diminished. Smed-CHD4(RNAi) animals displayed a dramatic reduction in the numbers of certain neoblast progeny cells. Smed-CHD4 was required for the formation of these neoblast progeny cells. Together, these results indicate that Smed-CHD4 is required for neoblasts to produce progeny cells committed to differentiation in order to control tissue turnover and regeneration and suggest a crucial role for CHD4 proteins in stem cell differentiation. PMID:20223763

  2. The Mi-2-like Smed-CHD4 gene is required for stem cell differentiation in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    Scimone, M. Lucila; Meisel, Joshua; Reddien, Peter W.

    2010-01-01

    Freshwater planarians are able to regenerate any missing part of their body and have extensive tissue turnover because of the action of dividing cells called neoblasts. Neoblasts provide an excellent system for in vivo study of adult stem cell biology. We identified the Smed-CHD4 gene, which is predicted to encode a chromatin-remodeling protein similar to CHD4/Mi-2 proteins, as required for planarian regeneration and tissue homeostasis. Following inhibition of Smed-CHD4 with RNA interference (RNAi), neoblast numbers were initially normal, despite an inability of the animals to regenerate. However, the proliferative response of neoblasts to amputation or growth stimulation in Smed-CHD4(RNAi) animals was diminished. Smed-CHD4(RNAi) animals displayed a dramatic reduction in the numbers of certain neoblast progeny cells. Smed-CHD4 was required for the formation of these neoblast progeny cells. Together, these results indicate that Smed-CHD4 is required for neoblasts to produce progeny cells committed to differentiation in order to control tissue turnover and regeneration and suggest a crucial role for CHD4 proteins in stem cell differentiation. PMID:20223763

  3. Molecular analysis of stem cells and their descendents during cell turnover and regeneration in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    Eisenhoffer, George T.; Kang, Hara; Alvarado, Alejandro Sánchez

    2008-01-01

    In adult planarians the replacement of cells lost to physiological turnover or injury is sustained by the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells known as neoblasts. Neoblast lineage relationships and the molecular changes that take place during differentiation into the appropriate cell types are poorly understood. Here we report the identification and characterization of a cohort of genes specifically expressed in neoblasts and their descendents. We find that genes with severely downregulated expression after irradiation molecularly define at least three discrete subpopulations of cells. Simultaneous BrdU labeling and in situ hybridization experiments in intact and regenerating animals indicate that these cell subpopulations are related by lineage. Our data demonstrate not only the ability to measure and study the in vivo population dynamics of adult stem cells during tissue homeostasis and regeneration, but also the utility of studies in planarians to broadly inform stem cell biology in adult organisms. PMID:18786419

  4. Cysteine and Aspartyl Proteases Contribute to Protein Digestion in the Gut of Freshwater Planaria.

    PubMed

    Goupil, Louise S; Ivry, Sam L; Hsieh, Ivy; Suzuki, Brian M; Craik, Charles S; O'Donoghue, Anthony J; McKerrow, James H

    2016-08-01

    Proteases perform numerous vital functions in flatworms, many of which are likely to be conserved throughout the phylum Platyhelminthes. Within this phylum are several parasitic worms that are often poorly characterized due to their complex life-cycles and lack of responsiveness to genetic manipulation. The flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea, or planaria, is an ideal model organism to study the complex role of protein digestion due to its simple life cycle and amenability to techniques like RNA interference (RNAi). In this study, we were interested in deconvoluting the digestive protease system that exists in the planarian gut. To do this, we developed an alcohol-induced regurgitation technique to enrich for the gut enzymes in S. mediterranea. Using a panel of fluorescent substrates, we show that this treatment produces a sharp increase in proteolytic activity. These enzymes have broad yet diverse substrate specificity profiles. Proteomic analysis of the gut contents revealed the presence of cysteine and metallo-proteases. However, treatment with class-specific inhibitors showed that aspartyl and cysteine proteases are responsible for the majority of protein digestion. Specific RNAi knockdown of the cathepsin B-like cysteine protease (SmedCB) reduced protein degradation in vivo. Immunohistochemistry and whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH) confirmed that the full-length and active forms of SmedCB are found in secretory cells surrounding the planaria intestinal lumen. Finally, we show that the knockdown of SmedCB reduces the speed of tissue regeneration. Defining the roles of proteases in planaria can provide insight to functions of conserved proteases in parasitic flatworms, potentially uncovering drug targets in parasites. PMID:27501047

  5. Cysteine and Aspartyl Proteases Contribute to Protein Digestion in the Gut of Freshwater Planaria

    PubMed Central

    Goupil, Louise S.; Ivry, Sam L.; Hsieh, Ivy; Suzuki, Brian M.; Craik, Charles S.; O’Donoghue, Anthony J.; McKerrow, James H.

    2016-01-01

    Proteases perform numerous vital functions in flatworms, many of which are likely to be conserved throughout the phylum Platyhelminthes. Within this phylum are several parasitic worms that are often poorly characterized due to their complex life-cycles and lack of responsiveness to genetic manipulation. The flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea, or planaria, is an ideal model organism to study the complex role of protein digestion due to its simple life cycle and amenability to techniques like RNA interference (RNAi). In this study, we were interested in deconvoluting the digestive protease system that exists in the planarian gut. To do this, we developed an alcohol-induced regurgitation technique to enrich for the gut enzymes in S. mediterranea. Using a panel of fluorescent substrates, we show that this treatment produces a sharp increase in proteolytic activity. These enzymes have broad yet diverse substrate specificity profiles. Proteomic analysis of the gut contents revealed the presence of cysteine and metallo-proteases. However, treatment with class-specific inhibitors showed that aspartyl and cysteine proteases are responsible for the majority of protein digestion. Specific RNAi knockdown of the cathepsin B-like cysteine protease (SmedCB) reduced protein degradation in vivo. Immunohistochemistry and whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH) confirmed that the full-length and active forms of SmedCB are found in secretory cells surrounding the planaria intestinal lumen. Finally, we show that the knockdown of SmedCB reduces the speed of tissue regeneration. Defining the roles of proteases in planaria can provide insight to functions of conserved proteases in parasitic flatworms, potentially uncovering drug targets in parasites. PMID:27501047

  6. Integrative taxonomy of European parasitic flatworms of the genus Metorchis Looss, 1899 (Trematoda: Opisthorchiidae).

    PubMed

    Sitko, Jiljí; Bizos, Jiří; Sherrard-Smith, Eleanor; Stanton, David W G; Komorová, Petronela; Heneberg, Petr

    2016-06-01

    Metorchis spp. are flukes (Platyhelminthes: Digenea) that infect vertebrates, including humans, dogs, cats, poultry and wild game, with cyprinid freshwater fish serving as typical second intermediate hosts. In their definitive hosts, the Metorchis spp. are difficult to identify to species. We provide and analyze sequences of two nuclear (18S rDNA and ITS2) and two mitochondrial (CO1 and ND1) DNA loci of four morphologically identified European species of the Metorchis, namely Metorchis albidus, Metorchis bilis, Metorchis crassiusculus and Metorchis xanthosomus, and of another opisthorchiid, Euamphimerus pancreaticus. DNA analysis suggests that the Metorchis specimens identified morphologically as M. albidus (from Lutra lutra), M. bilis (from Phalacrocorax carbo) and M. crassiusculus (from Aquila heliaca and Buteo rufinus) represent a single species. Thus, M. albidus (Braun, 1893) Loos, 1899 and M. crassiusculus (Rudolphi, 1809) Looss, 1899 are recognized as junior subjective synonyms of M. bilis (Braun, 1790) Odening, 1962. We also provide comparative measurements of the Central European Metorchis spp., and address their tissue specificity and prevalence based on the examination of extensive bird cohort from 1962 to 2015. M. bilis and M. xanthosomus can be morphologically diagnosed by measuring the extent of genitalia relative to body length and by the size ratio of their suckers. They also differ in their core definitive hosts, with ducks (Anas, Aythya) and coots (Fulica) hosting M. xanthosomus, and cormorants (Phalacrocorax), the birds of prey (Buteo, Aquila, etc.), piscivorous mammals (Lutra, Vulpes, Ursus, etc.) and humans hosting M. bilis. Previous reports on the Metorchis spp. contain numerous suspected misidentifications. PMID:26794684

  7. A taste for exotic food: Neotropical land planarians feeding on an invasive flatworm

    PubMed Central

    Boll, Piter K.; Rossi, Ilana; Amaral, Silvana V.

    2015-01-01

    Invasive species establish successfully in new habitats especially due to their ability to include new species in their diet and due to the freedom from natural enemies. However, native species may also adapt to the use of new elements in their ecosystem. The planarian Endeavouria septemlineata, first recorded in Hawaii, was later found in Brazil. Recently, we found it in human-disturbed areas in southern Brazil and here we investigate its interactions with other invertebrates both in the field and in the laboratory. We observed the species in the field during collecting activities and hence maintained some specimens alive in small terraria in the laboratory, where we offered different invertebrate species as potential prey and also put them in contact with native land planarians in order to examine their interaction. Both in the field and in the laboratory, E. septemlineata showed a gregarious behavior and was found feeding on woodlice, millipedes, earwigs and gastropods. In the laboratory, specimens often did not attack live prey, but immediately approached dead specimens, indicating a scavenging behavior. In an experiment using the slug Deroceras laeve and the woodlouse Atlantoscia floridana, there was a higher consumption of dead specimens of woodlice and slugs compared to live specimens, as well as a higher consumption of dead woodlice over dead slugs. Four native land planarians of the genus Obama and one of the genus Paraba attacked and consumed E. septemlineata, which, after the beginning of the attack, tried to escape by tumbling or using autotomy. As a scavenger, E. septemlineata would have no impact on the populations of species used as food, but could possibly exclude native scavengers by competition. On the other hand, its consumption by native land planarians may control its spread and thus reduce its impact on the ecosystem. PMID:26500817

  8. Comparative study of adaptive radiations with an example using parasitic flatworms (Platyhelminthes): Cercomeria

    SciTech Connect

    Brooks, D.R.; McLennan, D.A. )

    1993-11-01

    Studies of adaptive radiations require robust phylogenies, estimates of species numbers for monophyletic groups within clades, assessments of the adaptive value of putative key innovations, and estimates of the frequency of speciation modes. Four criteria are necessary to identify an adaptive radiation within the parasitic platyhelminths: (1) a group contains significantly more species than its sister group, (2) species richness is apomorphic, (3) apomorphic traits enhance the potential for adaptively driven modes of speciation (sympatric speciation and speciation by peripheral isolation via host switching), and (4) the frequency of adaptively driven speciation modes is high within the group when compared with data from free-living groups. Only the species-rich Monogenea fulfill all four criteria. The Digenea and Eucestoda also are more species rich than their sister groups, their species richness is derived, and they possess unique characters that increase the potential for host switching to occur. However, because there is not enough information to determine whether the frequency of adaptive modes of speciation is high for those groups, we cannot yet assert that their radiations have been adaptive. 102 refs., 3 figs., 1 tab.

  9. Land flatworms of the genus Pasipha (Platyhelminthes, Geoplanidae) in Argentina, with description of three new species.

    PubMed

    Negrete, Lisandro; Brusa, Francisco

    2016-01-01

    The genus Pasipha Ogren & Kawakatsu, 1990 currently includes 22 species, most of them recorded in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Recently, Pasipha hauseri was documented in north-eastern Argentina, thus extending its distribution range. This paper reports new records of the genus Pasipha in the Interior Atlantic Forest ecoregion in Argentina, with the description of three new species: Pasipha atla sp. nov., Pasipha johnsoni sp. nov., and Pasipha mbya sp. nov. These new species exhibit similarities in internal anatomy, such as pharynx cylindrical, extrabulbar prostatic vesicle with folded walls and proximally forked, male atrium highly folded, being at least two times longer than the female atrium and with small folds in their proximal portion. However, they can be distinguished from each other mainly by the secretion types discharged into the prostatic vesicle as well as into the male and female atria. In addition, they have different colour patterns on the dorsal surface. PMID:27470715

  10. Two new species of freshwater flatworms (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida: Continenticola) from South American caves.

    PubMed

    Souza, Stella; Morais, Ana Laura; Bichuette, Maria Elina; Leal-Zanchet, Ana

    2016-01-01

    The diversity of freshwater triclads in the Neotropical region is considered to be low, but extensive areas of South America remain almost unexplored. Herein we describe two cave-dwelling, new species of Girardia, one from a transition zone of the Cerrado and Caatinga phytophysiognomies and the other from the Cerrado phytophysiognomy. The species from the Cerrado-Caatinga transition is a troglobite, eyeless and whitish; the species from the Cerrado area is possibly a troglophile, since it shows heavily pigmented body and eyes. Each species is easily recognized by a unique combination of features in its external morphology and copulatory apparatus. The two new species of Girardia show a restricted distribution, even the troglophile, and occur in caves without legal protection. Therefore, they must be considered as vulnerable organisms in a conservation context. PMID:27394369

  11. Schistosoma-associated Salmonella resist antibiotics via specific fimbrial attachments to the flatworm

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Schistosomes are parasitic helminths that infect humans through dermo-invasion while in contaminated water. Salmonella are also a common water-borne human pathogen that infects the gastrointestinal tract via the oral route. Both pathogens eventually enter the systemic circulation as part of their respective disease processes. Concurrent Schistosoma-Salmonella infections are common and are complicated by the bacteria adhering to adult schistosomes present in the mesenteric vasculature. This interaction provides a refuge in which the bacterium can putatively evade antibiotic therapy and anthelmintic monotherapy can lead to a massive release of occult Salmonella. Results Using a novel antibiotic protection assay, our results reveal that Schistosoma-associated Salmonella are refractory to eight different antibiotics commonly used to treat salmonellosis. The efficacy of these antibiotics was decreased by a factor of 4 to 16 due to this association. Salmonella binding to schistosomes occurs via a specific fimbrial protein (FimH) present on the surface on the bacterium. This same fimbrial protein confers the ability of Salmonella to bind to mammalian cells. Conclusions Salmonella can evade certain antibiotics by binding to Schistosoma. As a result, effective bactericidal concentrations of antibiotics are unfortunately above the achievable therapeutic levels of the drugs in co-infected individuals. Salmonella-Schistosoma binding is analogous to the adherence of Salmonella to cells lining the mammalian intestine. Perturbing this binding is the key to eliminating Salmonella that complicate schistosomiasis. PMID:21711539

  12. Lessons from parasitic flatworms about evolution and historical biogeography of their vertebrate hosts.

    PubMed

    Verneau, Olivier; Du Preez, Louis; Badets, Mathieu

    2009-01-01

    Cophylogenetic studies investigate the evolutionary trends within host-parasite associations. Examination of the different levels of fidelity between host and parasite phylogenies provides a powerful tool to inspect patterns and processes of parasite diversification over host evolution and geological times. Within the phylum Platyhelminthes, the monogeneans are mainly fish parasites. The Polystomatidae, however, are known from the sarcopterygian Australian lungfish and tetrapods such as amphibians, freshwater turtles, and the African hippopotamus. Cophylogenetic and biogeographic vicariance analyses, supplemented by molecular calibrations, showed that the Polystomatidae may track the evolutionary history of the first aquatic tetrapods in the Palaeozoic age. Evolutionary lines of the major polystome lineages would also be intimately related to the evolution of their hosts over hundreds of millions years. Since the Mesozoic, evolution of polystomes would have been shaped mainly by plate tectonics during the break-up of Gondwanaland and subsequent dispersal of ancestral neobatrachian host lineages. Therefore the Polystomatidae could serve as a novel model to improve cophylogenetic tools and to inspect a suite of questions about the evolution of vertebrate hosts. PMID:19281948

  13. The Flatworm Planaria as a Toxicology and Behavioral Pharmacology Animal Model in Undergraduate Research Experiences

    PubMed Central

    Pagán, Oné R.; Coudron, Tamara; Kaneria, Tanvi

    2009-01-01

    In this work we describe a series of simple protocols using planaria as an animal model in toxicology and behavioral pharmacology. These procedures have proven useful to provide significant research experience to undergraduate students, including coauthorship in peer-reviewed publications. The methods described in this work have proven useful to allow students to visualize concepts related to concentration-effect curves for toxicity and behavioral experiments, without the need to consider factors that must be taken into account when working with vertebrate animals. PMID:23493443

  14. A taste for exotic food: Neotropical land planarians feeding on an invasive flatworm.

    PubMed

    Boll, Piter K; Rossi, Ilana; Amaral, Silvana V; Leal-Zanchet, Ana

    2015-01-01

    Invasive species establish successfully in new habitats especially due to their ability to include new species in their diet and due to the freedom from natural enemies. However, native species may also adapt to the use of new elements in their ecosystem. The planarian Endeavouria septemlineata, first recorded in Hawaii, was later found in Brazil. Recently, we found it in human-disturbed areas in southern Brazil and here we investigate its interactions with other invertebrates both in the field and in the laboratory. We observed the species in the field during collecting activities and hence maintained some specimens alive in small terraria in the laboratory, where we offered different invertebrate species as potential prey and also put them in contact with native land planarians in order to examine their interaction. Both in the field and in the laboratory, E. septemlineata showed a gregarious behavior and was found feeding on woodlice, millipedes, earwigs and gastropods. In the laboratory, specimens often did not attack live prey, but immediately approached dead specimens, indicating a scavenging behavior. In an experiment using the slug Deroceras laeve and the woodlouse Atlantoscia floridana, there was a higher consumption of dead specimens of woodlice and slugs compared to live specimens, as well as a higher consumption of dead woodlice over dead slugs. Four native land planarians of the genus Obama and one of the genus Paraba attacked and consumed E. septemlineata, which, after the beginning of the attack, tried to escape by tumbling or using autotomy. As a scavenger, E. septemlineata would have no impact on the populations of species used as food, but could possibly exclude native scavengers by competition. On the other hand, its consumption by native land planarians may control its spread and thus reduce its impact on the ecosystem. PMID:26500817

  15. [Regeneration of planarians: experimental object].

    PubMed

    Sheĭman, I M; Kreshchenko, I D

    2015-01-01

    We discuss the expediency of using invertebrates, such as flatworms and planarians, as experimental objects. Free-living planarian flatworms (phylum Platyhelminthes, class Turbellaria) are invertebrate animals in which a bilateral symmetry appears for the first time in evolution and organs and tissues form. As the highest ecological link of the food chain--predators--these animals are characterized by a set of behavioral reactions controlled by a differentiated central nervous system. Planarians have unsurpassed ability to regenerate lost or damaged body parts. Owing to the ease of their breeding and their convenience for manipulations, these animals are used to study the influence of chemical and physical factors on the processes of life, growth, and reproduction. Currently, planarians are recognized as a model for biological research in the field of regeneration, stem cell biology, study of their proliferation and differentiation, as well as the regulatory mechanisms of morphogenetic processes. The genome of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea was fully sequenced, which opened up the opportunity to work with this object at the molecular biological level. Furthermore, planarians are used in neurobiological and toxicological studies, in studying the evolutionary aspects of centralization of the nervous system, mechanisms of muscle contraction, and in the development of new antiparasitic drugs. This review aims to demonstrate the relevance and diversity of research conducted on simple biological objects--planarians--to awider audience to show the historical continuity of these studies and their wide geographical distribution and to focus on the studies carried out in Russia, which, as a rule, are not included in the foreign reviews on planarian regeneration. PMID:25898529

  16. Evolutionarily Ancient Association of the FoxJ1 Transcription Factor with the Motile Ciliogenic Program

    PubMed Central

    Ho, Hao Kee; Babu, Deepak; Eitel, Michael; Narasimhan, Vijayashankaranarayanan; Tiku, Varnesh; Westbrook, Jody; Schierwater, Bernd; Roy, Sudipto

    2012-01-01

    It is generally believed that the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) was a unicellular organism with motile cilia. In the vertebrates, the winged-helix transcription factor FoxJ1 functions as the master regulator of motile cilia biogenesis. Despite the antiquity of cilia, their highly conserved structure, and their mechanism of motility, the evolution of the transcriptional program controlling ciliogenesis has remained incompletely understood. In particular, it is presently not known how the generation of motile cilia is programmed outside of the vertebrates, and whether and to what extent the FoxJ1-dependent regulation is conserved. We have performed a survey of numerous eukaryotic genomes and discovered that genes homologous to foxJ1 are restricted only to organisms belonging to the unikont lineage. Using a mis-expression assay, we then obtained evidence of a conserved ability of FoxJ1 proteins from a number of diverse phyletic groups to activate the expression of a host of motile ciliary genes in zebrafish embryos. Conversely, we found that inactivation of a foxJ1 gene in Schmidtea mediterranea, a platyhelminth (flatworm) that utilizes motile cilia for locomotion, led to a profound disruption in the differentiation of motile cilia. Together, all of these findings provide the first evolutionary perspective into the transcriptional control of motile ciliogenesis and allow us to propose a conserved FoxJ1-regulated mechanism for motile cilia biogenesis back to the origin of the metazoans. PMID:23144623

  17. Light-induced depigmentation in planarians models the pathophysiology of acute porphyrias

    PubMed Central

    Stubenhaus, Bradford M; Dustin, John P; Neverett, Emily R; Beaudry, Megan S; Nadeau, Leanna E; Burk-McCoy, Ethan; He, Xinwen; Pearson, Bret J; Pellettieri, Jason

    2016-01-01

    Porphyrias are disorders of heme metabolism frequently characterized by extreme photosensitivity. This symptom results from accumulation of porphyrins, tetrapyrrole intermediates in heme biosynthesis that generate reactive oxygen species when exposed to light, in the skin of affected individuals. Here we report that in addition to producing an ommochrome body pigment, the planarian flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea generates porphyrins in its subepithelial pigment cells under physiological conditions, and that this leads to pigment cell loss when animals are exposed to intense visible light. Remarkably, porphyrin biosynthesis and light-induced depigmentation are enhanced by starvation, recapitulating a common feature of some porphyrias – decreased nutrient intake precipitates an acute manifestation of the disease. Our results establish planarians as an experimentally tractable animal model for research into the pathophysiology of acute porphyrias, and potentially for the identification of novel pharmacological interventions capable of alleviating porphyrin-mediated photosensitivity or decoupling dieting and fasting from disease pathogenesis. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.14175.001 PMID:27240733

  18. Set1 and MLL1/2 target distinct sets of functionally different genomic loci in vivo

    PubMed Central

    Duncan, Elizabeth M.; Chitsazan, Alex D.; Seidel, Chris W.; Alvarado, Alejandro Sánchez

    2015-01-01

    SUMMARY Histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) is known to correlate with both active and poised genomic loci, yet many questions remain regarding its functional roles in vivo. We identify functional genomic targets of two H3K4 methyltransferases, Set1 and MLL1/2, in both the stem cells and differentiated tissue of the planarian flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea. We show that, despite their common substrate, these enzymes target distinct genomic loci in vivo, which are distinguishable by the pattern each enzyme leaves on the chromatin template, i.e., the breadth of the H3K4me3 peak. Whereas Set1 targets are largely associated with the maintenance of the stem cell population, MLL1/2 targets are specifically enriched for genes involved in ciliogenesis. These data not only confirm that chromatin regulation is fundamental to planarian stem cell function, but also provide evidence for post-embryonic functional specificity of H3K4me3 methyltransferases in vivo. PMID:26711341

  19. The Zn finger protein Iguana impacts Hedgehog signaling by promoting ciliogenesis.

    PubMed

    Glazer, Andrew M; Wilkinson, Alex W; Backer, Chelsea B; Lapan, Sylvain W; Gutzman, Jennifer H; Cheeseman, Iain M; Reddien, Peter W

    2010-01-01

    Hedgehog signaling is critical for metazoan development and requires cilia for pathway activity. The gene iguana was discovered in zebrafish as required for Hedgehog signaling, and encodes a novel Zn finger protein. Planarians are flatworms with robust regenerative capacities and utilize epidermal cilia for locomotion. RNA interference of Smed-iguana in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea caused cilia loss and failure to regenerate new cilia, but did not cause defects similar to those observed in hedgehog(RNAi) animals. Smed-iguana gene expression was also similar in pattern to the expression of multiple other ciliogenesis genes, but was not required for expression of these ciliogenesis genes. iguana-defective zebrafish had too few motile cilia in pronephric ducts and in Kupffer's vesicle. Kupffer's vesicle promotes left-right asymmetry and iguana mutant embryos had left-right asymmetry defects. Finally, human Iguana proteins (dZIP1 and dZIP1L) localize to the basal bodies of primary cilia and, together, are required for primary cilia formation. Our results indicate that a critical and broadly conserved function for Iguana is in ciliogenesis and that this function has come to be required for Hedgehog signaling in vertebrates. PMID:19852954

  20. A sex-specific transcription factor controls male identity in a simultaneous hermaphrodite.

    PubMed

    Chong, Tracy; Collins, James J; Brubacher, John L; Zarkower, David; Newmark, Phillip A

    2013-01-01

    Evolutionary transitions between hermaphroditic and dioecious reproductive states are found in many groups of animals. To understand such transitions, it is important to characterize diverse modes of sex determination utilized by metazoans. Currently, little is known about how simultaneous hermaphrodites specify and maintain male and female organs in a single individual. Here we show that a sex-specific gene, Smed-dmd-1 encoding a predicted doublesex/male-abnormal-3 (DM) domain transcription factor, is required for specification of male germ cells in a simultaneous hermaphrodite, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. dmd-1 has a male-specific role in the maintenance and regeneration of the testes and male accessory reproductive organs. In addition, a homologue of dmd-1 exhibits male-specific expression in Schistosoma mansoni, a derived, dioecious flatworm. These results demonstrate conservation of the role of DM domain genes in sexual development in lophotrochozoans and suggest one means by which modulation of sex-specific pathways can drive the transition from hermaphroditism to dioecy. PMID:23652002

  1. Planaria as a Model System for the Analysis of Ciliary Assembly and Motility.

    PubMed

    King, Stephen M; Patel-King, Ramila S

    2016-01-01

    Planarian flatworms are carnivorous invertebrates with astounding regenerative properties. They have a ventral surface on which thousands of motile cilia are exposed to the extracellular environment. These beat in a synchronized manner against secreted mucus thereby propelling the animal forward. Similar to the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea is easy to maintain in the laboratory and is highly amenable to simple RNAi approaches through feeding with dsRNA. The methods are simple and robust, and the level of gene expression reduction that can be obtained is, in many cases, almost total. Moreover, cilia assembly and function is not essential for viability in this organism, as animals readily survive for weeks even with the apparent total absence of this organelle. Both genome and expressed sequence tag databases are available and allow design of vectors to target any desired gene of choice. Combined, these feature make planaria a useful model system in which to examine ciliary assembly and motility, especially in the context of a ciliated epithelium where many organelles beat in a hydrodynamically coupled synchronized manner. In addition, as planaria secrete mucus against which the cilia beat to generate propulsive force, this system may also prove useful for analysis of mucociliary interactions. In this chapter, we provide simple methods to maintain a planarian colony, knockdown gene expression by RNAi, and analyze the resulting animals for whole organism motility as well as ciliary architecture and function. PMID:27514927

  2. Set1 and MLL1/2 Target Distinct Sets of Functionally Different Genomic Loci In Vivo.

    PubMed

    Duncan, Elizabeth M; Chitsazan, Alex D; Seidel, Chris W; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2015-12-29

    Histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) is known to correlate with both active and poised genomic loci, yet many questions remain regarding its functional roles in vivo. We identify functional genomic targets of two H3K4 methyltransferases, Set1 and MLL1/2, in both the stem cells and differentiated tissue of the planarian flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea. We show that, despite their common substrate, these enzymes target distinct genomic loci in vivo, which are distinguishable by the pattern each enzyme leaves on the chromatin template, i.e., the breadth of the H3K4me3 peak. Whereas Set1 targets are largely associated with the maintenance of the stem cell population, MLL1/2 targets are specifically enriched for genes involved in ciliogenesis. These data not only confirm that chromatin regulation is fundamental to planarian stem cell function but also provide evidence for post-embryonic functional specificity of H3K4me3 methyltransferases in vivo. PMID:26711341

  3. Melav2, an elav-like gene, is essential for spermatid differentiation in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Failure of sperm differentiation is one of the major causes of male sterility. During spermiogenesis, spermatids undergo a complex metamorphosis, including chromatin condensation and cell elongation. Although the resulting sperm morphology and property can vary depending on the species, these processes are fundamental in many organisms. Studying genes involved in such processes can thus provide important information for a better understanding of spermatogenesis, which might be universally applied to many other organisms. Results In a screen for genes that have gonad-specific expression we isolated an elav-like gene, melav2, from Macrostomum lignano, containing the three RNA recognition motifs characteristic of elav-like genes. We found that melav2 mRNA was expressed exclusively in the testis, as opposed to the known elav genes, which are expressed in the nervous system. The RNAi phenotype of melav2 was characterized by an aberrant spermatid morphology, where sperm elongation often failed, and an empty seminal vesicle. Melav2 RNAi treated worms were thus male-sterile. Further analysis revealed that in melav2 RNAi treated worms precocious chromatin condensation occurred during spermatid differentiation, resulting in an abnormally tightly condensed chromatin and large vacuoles in round spermatids. In addition, immunostaining using an early-spermatid specific antibody revealed that melav2 RNAi treated worms had a larger amount of signal positive cells, suggesting that many cells failed the transition from early spermatid stage. Conclusion We characterize a new function for elav-like genes, showing that melav2 plays a crucial role during spermatid differentiation, especially in the regulation of chromatin condensation and/or cell elongation. PMID:19995429

  4. Molecular and comparative morphological analysis of central European parasitic flatworms of the superfamily Brachylaimoidea Allison, 1943 (Trematoda: Plagiorchiida).

    PubMed

    Heneberg, Petr; Sitko, Jiljí; Bizos, Jiří

    2016-04-01

    The Brachylaimoidea are digenean parasites of vertebrates, including humans, domestic animals, poultry and wild game. Numerous Brachylaimoidea, particularly adults of Brachylaima and Leucochloridium, are difficult to identify to species. We provide and analyse sequences of two nuclear (18S rDNA, ITS2) and two mitochondrial (CO1, ND1) DNA loci of central European species of the Brachylaimoidea, namely Leucochloridium holostomum, Leucochloridium paradoxum, Leucochloridium perturbatum, Leucochloridium subtilis, Leucochloridium vogtianum, Urotocus rossitensis, Urogonimus macrostomus, Michajlovia migrata, Leucochloridiomorpha lutea, Brachylaima arcuatus, Brachylaima fuscata and Brachylaima mesostoma. We identified three clades in the genus Leucochloridium, which do not correspond to the previously suggested subgenera Neoleucochloridium, Papilloleucochloridium and Leucochloridium. We reject classification of Urotocus and Urogonimus in Leucochloridiinae, and, instead, re-establish the subfamilies Urotocinae and Urogoniminae. We synonymize the genus Renylaima with the genus Brachylaima. We reject M. migrata as a member of Leucochloridiinae sensu stricto or Brachylaimidae suggested by some previous authors. We found that the previously sequenced Glaphyrostomum sp. does not cluster with any hitherto sequenced Brachylaimidae. We also provide comparative measurements of the examined central European Brachylaimoidea, address the the specificity of their localization in the host and discuss their host-specific prevalence and intensity of infections based on the extensive dataset of birds examined in 1962-2015. PMID:26817665

  5. Social Organization in Parasitic Flatworms--Four Additional Echinostomoid Trematodes Have a Soldier Caste and One Does Not.

    PubMed

    Garcia-Vedrenne, Ana E; Quintana, Anastasia C E; DeRogatis, Andrea M; Martyn, Kayla; Kuris, Armand M; Hechinger, Ryan F

    2016-02-01

    Complex societies where individuals exhibit division of labor with physical polymorphism, behavioral specialization, and caste formation have evolved several times throughout the animal kingdom. Recently, such complex sociality has been recognized in digenean trematodes; evidence is limited to 6 marine species. Hence, the extent to which a soldier caste is present throughout the Trematoda is sparsely documented, and there are no studies detailing the structure of a species lacking such a social structure. Here we examine colony structure for an additional 5 echinostomoid species, 4 of which infect the marine snail Cerithidea californica and 1 (Echinostoma liei) that infects the freshwater snail Biomphalaria glabrata . For all species, we present redia morphology (pharynx and body size) and the distribution of individuals of different castes throughout the snail body. When morphological evidence indicated the presence of a soldier caste, we assessed behavior by measuring attack rates of the different morphs toward heterospecific trematodes. Our findings indicate that each of the 4 species from C. californica have a permanent soldier caste while E. liei does not. The observed intra- and inter-specific variation of caste structure for those species with soldiers, and the documentation of colony structure for a species explicitly lacking permanent soldiers, emphasizes the diverse nature of trematode sociality and the promise of the group to permit comparative investigations of the evolution and ecology of sociality. PMID:26560890

  6. Integrative taxonomy of central European parasitic flatworms of the family Prosthogonimidae Lühe, 1909 (Trematoda: Plagiorchiida).

    PubMed

    Heneberg, Petr; Sitko, Jiljí; Bizos, Jiří

    2015-10-01

    Species of the family Prosthogonimidae are considered the most pathogenic poultry trematodes worldwide, affecting particularly low intensity farming in rural areas. Adults of Prosthogonimus occur mainly in the bursa of Fabricius, oviduct and cloaca of ducks, geese, fowl and other birds feeding at least occasionally on dragonflies or damselflies (Odonata). We analyzed the central European species of the Prosthogonimidae, namely Prosthogonimus cuneatus, Prosthogonimus ovatus, Prosthogonimus pellucidus and Prosthogonimus rarus. We sequenced three nuclear (ITS2) and mitochondrial (CO1, ND1) DNA loci of four species isolated from Anas clypeata, Anas strepera, Anas platyrhynchos, Aythya ferina, Passer domesticus and Turdus merula. Intra- and inter-specific sequence variability revealed that all four species represent distinct well-defined entities. Our data, combined with previously published studies, suggest the return of the name Prosthogonimus rarus Braun, 1901 for Schistogonimus rarus (Braun, 1901). The genus name Schistogonimus Lühe, 1909 is considered a junior synonym of Prosthogonimus Lühe, 1899. We identified the existence of two clades, one represented by P. cuneatus and P. pellucidus, and another one formed by P. ovatus and P. rarus. We also provide comparative measurements of these four central European prosthogonimids, and address their tissue specificity, host-specific prevalence (based on the extensive bird cohort examined in years 1962-2014), and for some bird hosts we address also differences in the prevalence of Prosthogonimus spp. in natural and near-natural wetlands in comparison with fishponds utilized for intense carp production. We provide an updated key to European Prosthogonimus spp. based on their morphological characters. PMID:25724855

  7. First identification of tetrodotoxin (TTX) in the flatworm Stylochoplana sp.; a source of TTX for the sea slug Pleurobranchaea maculata.

    PubMed

    Salvitti, Lauren; Wood, Susanna A; Taylor, David I; McNabb, Paul; Cary, S Craig

    2015-03-01

    High concentrations of the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin (TTX) were detected by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) in the Platyhelminthes Stylochoplana sp. from Pilot Bay (Tauranga, New Zealand). This is the first detection of TTX in this genus. Concentrations were monitored from March to November (2013) and found to significantly decrease from a peak in July (avg. 551 mg kg(-1)) to November (avg. 140 mg kg(-1)). Stylochoplana sp. co-occurred with TTX-containing Pleurobranchaea maculata (Opisthobranchia). A Stylochoplana sp.-specific real-time PCR assay was developed targeting the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene to determine if P. maculata consumed Stylochoplana sp. Positive Stylochoplana sp. signals were obtained for 7 of 19 P. maculata tested. Mass calculations indicate Stylochoplana sp. could supply Pilot Bay P. maculata with the TTX required to account for the concentrations reported in previous studies (ca. 1.04 mg TTX per individual) based on an ingestion rate of one individual every 2-3 days throughout their lifetime. However, due to the lack of Stylochoplana sp. in areas with dense P. maculata populations, and high concentration (ca. 1400 mg kg(-1)) of TTX detected in some individuals, it is unlikely that Stylochoplana sp. represent the sole source of TTX in P. maculata. PMID:25557071

  8. Early planarian brain regeneration is independent of blastema polarity mediated by the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.

    PubMed

    Iglesias, Marta; Almuedo-Castillo, Maria; Aboobaker, A Aziz; Saló, Emili

    2011-10-01

    Analysis of anteroposterior (AP) axis specification in regenerating planarian flatworms has shown that Wnt/β-catenin signaling is required for posterior specification and that the FGF-like receptor molecule nou-darake (ndk) may be involved in restricting brain regeneration to anterior regions. The relationship between re-establishment of AP identity and correct morphogenesis of the brain is, however, still poorly understood. Here we report the characterization of two axin paralogs in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Although Axins are well known negative regulators of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, no role in AP specification has previously been reported for axin genes in planarians. We show that silencing of Smed-axin genes by RNA interference (RNAi) results in two-tailed planarians, a phenotype previously reported after silencing of Smed-APC-1, another β-catenin inhibitor. More strikingly, we show for the first time that while early brain formation at anterior wounds remains unaffected, subsequent development of the brain is blocked in the two-tailed planarians generated after silencing of Smed-axin genes and Smed-APC-1. These findings suggest that the mechanisms underlying early brain formation can be uncoupled from the specification of AP identity by the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Finally, the posterior expansion of the brain observed following Smed-ndk RNAi is enhanced by silencing Smed-APC-1, revealing an indirect relationship between the FGFR/Ndk and Wnt/β-catenin signaling systems in establishing the posterior limits of brain differentiation. PMID:21806978

  9. Silencing of Smed-betacatenin1 generates radial-like hypercephalized planarians.

    PubMed

    Iglesias, Marta; Gomez-Skarmeta, Jose Luis; Saló, Emili; Adell, Teresa

    2008-04-01

    Little is known about the molecular mechanisms responsible for axis establishment during non-embryonic processes such as regeneration and homeostasis. To address this issue, we set out to analyze the role of the canonical Wnt pathway in planarians, flatworms renowned for their extraordinary morphological plasticity. Canonical Wnt signalling is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism to confer polarity during embryonic development, specifying the anteroposterior (AP) axis in most bilaterians and the dorsoventral (DV) axis in early vertebrate embryos. beta-Catenin is a key element in this pathway, although it is a bifunctional protein that is also involved in cell-cell adhesion. Here, we report the characterization of two beta-catenin homologs from Schmidtea mediterranea (Smed-betacatenin1/2). Loss of function of Smed-betacatenin1, but not Smed-betacatenin2, in both regenerating and intact planarians, generates radial-like hypercephalized planarians in which the AP axis disappears but the DV axis remains unaffected, representing a unique example of a striking body symmetry transformation. The radial-like hypercephalized phenotype demonstrates the requirement for Smed-betacatenin1 in AP axis re-establishment and maintenance, and supports a conserved role for canonical Wnt signalling in AP axis specification, whereas the role of beta-catenin in DV axis establishment would be a vertebrate innovation. When considered alongside the protein domains present in each S. mediterranea beta-catenin and the results of functional assays in Xenopus embryos demonstrating nuclear accumulation and axis induction with Smed-betacatenin1, but not Smed-betacatenin2, these data suggest that S. mediterranea beta-catenins could be functionally specialized and that only Smed-betacatenin1 is involved in Wnt signalling. PMID:18287199

  10. Nanoporous Structures Similar to Those Reported from Squid Sucker Teeth are also Present in Egg Shells of a Terrestrial Flatworm (Platyhelminthes; Rhabditophora; Geoplanidae) from Hachijojima (Izu Islands, Japan).

    PubMed

    Meyer-Rochow, Victor Benno; Miinalainen, Ilkka

    2016-07-01

    Shells of the egg cocoon of a terrestrial planarian (Diversibipalium sp.) from Hachijojima were found to be composed of a lattice of parallel nanotubes of ca. 120 nm diameter oriented perpendicular to the shell's surface. The arrangement of the porous proteinaceous tubes closely resembles that has recently been reported from the sucker teeth of squid and to date is the only other example of this kind of structure. Although the array of nanotubes undoubtedly contributes to the stiffness of the shell and helps protecting the embryo, questions such as to how the planary worm produces the array of nanotubes and what exactly their chemical and physical properties are versus those of the squid sucker tooth still remain to be answered. PMID:27278842

  11. Planarian Immobilization, Partial Irradiation, and Tissue Transplantation

    PubMed Central

    Guedelhoefer IV, Otto C.; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2012-01-01

    The planarian, a freshwater flatworm, has proven to be a powerful system for dissecting metazoan regeneration and stem cell biology1,2. Planarian regeneration of any missing or damaged tissues is made possible by adult stem cells termed neoblasts3. Although these stem cells have been definitively shown to be pluripotent and singularly capable of reconstituting an entire animal4, the heterogeneity within the stem cell population and the dynamics of their cellular behaviors remain largely unresolved. Due to the large number and wide distribution of stem cells throughout the planarian body plan, advanced methods for manipulating subpopulations of stem cells for molecular and functional study in vivo are needed. Tissue transplantation and partial irradiation are two methods by which a subpopulation of planarian stem cells can be isolated for further study. Each technique has distinct advantages. Tissue transplantation allows for the introduction of stem cells, into a naïve host, that are either inherently genetically distinct or have been previously treated pharmacologically. Alternatively, partial irradiation allows for the isolation of stem cells within a host, juxtaposed to tissue devoid of stem cells, without the introduction of a wound or any breech in tissue integrity. Using these two methods, one can investigate the cell autonomous and non-autonomous factors that control stem cell functions, such as proliferation, differentiation, and migration. Both tissue transplantation5,6 and partial irradiation7 have been used historically in defining many of the questions about planarian regeneration that remain under study today. However, these techniques have remained underused due to the laborious and inconsistent nature of previous methods. The protocols presented here represent a large step forward in decreasing the time and effort necessary to reproducibly generate large numbers of grafted or partially irradiated animals with efficacies approaching 100 percent. We

  12. 21 CFR 866.3600 - Schistosoma spp. serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

    ... serum. The identification aids in the diagnosis of schistosomiasis caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma. Schistosomiasis is characterized by a variety of acute and chronic infections....

  13. 21 CFR 866.3600 - Schistosoma spp. serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ... serum. The identification aids in the diagnosis of schistosomiasis caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma. Schistosomiasis is characterized by a variety of acute and chronic infections....

  14. 21 CFR 866.3600 - Schistosoma spp. serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ... serum. The identification aids in the diagnosis of schistosomiasis caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma. Schistosomiasis is characterized by a variety of acute and chronic infections....

  15. 21 CFR 866.3600 - Schistosoma spp. serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ... serum. The identification aids in the diagnosis of schistosomiasis caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma. Schistosomiasis is characterized by a variety of acute and chronic infections....

  16. 21 CFR 866.3600 - Schistosoma spp. serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ... serum. The identification aids in the diagnosis of schistosomiasis caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma. Schistosomiasis is characterized by a variety of acute and chronic infections....

  17. Multiple isoform recovery (MIR)-PCR: a simple method for the isolation of related mRNA isoforms.

    PubMed Central

    Fagotti, A; Gabbiani, G; Pascolini, R; Neuville, P

    1998-01-01

    We present a rapid and efficient method for the detection of related transcripts with different expression levels. This approach combines the rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) method with a cDNA subtractive technique. The strategy is based on successive subtractions of prevalent isoforms resulting in enrichment of less expressed transcripts. For each subtraction, a biotinylated primer specific for the prevalent isoform is hybridized on the total cDNA and the hybrid is retained on a streptavidin affinity column. The unbound cDNA serves as a template for subsequent isoform identification. To illustrate its application we describe the isolation of three new actin cDNA isoforms in the freshwater planarian Dugesia (S) polychroa. PMID:9518500

  18. The exceptional stem cell system of Macrostomum lignano: Screening for gene expression and studying cell proliferation by hydroxyurea treatment and irradiation

    PubMed Central

    Pfister, Daniela; De Mulder, Katrien; Philipp, Isabelle; Kuales, Georg; Hrouda, Martina; Eichberger, Paul; Borgonie, Gaetan; Hartenstein, Volker; Ladurner, Peter

    2007-01-01

    Background Flatworms are characterized by an outstanding stem cell system. These stem cells (neoblasts) can give rise to all cell types including germ cells and power the exceptional regenerative capacity of many flatworm species. Macrostomum lignano is an emerging model system to study stem cell biology of flatworms. It is complementary to the well-studied planarians because of its small size, transparency, simple culture maintenance, the basal taxonomic position and its less derived embryogenesis that is more closely related to spiralians. The development of cell-, tissue- and organ specific markers is necessary to further characterize the differentiation potential of flatworm stem cells. Large scale in situ hybridization is a suitable tool to identify possible markers. Distinguished genes identified in a large scale screen in combination with manipulation of neoblasts by hydroxyurea or irradiation will advance our understanding of differentiation and regulation of the flatworm stem cell system. Results We have set up a protocol for high throughput large scale whole mount in situ hybridization for the flatworm Macrostomum lignano. In the pilot screen, a number of cell-, tissue- or organ specific expression patterns were identified. We have selected two stem cell- and germ cell related genes – macvasa and macpiwi – and studied effects of hydroxyurea (HU) treatment or irradiation on gene expression. In addition, we have followed cell proliferation using a mitosis marker and bromodeoxyuridine labeling of S-phase cells after various periods of HU exposure or different irradiation levels. HU mediated depletion of cell proliferation and HU induced reduction of gene expression was used to generate a cDNA library by suppressive subtractive hybridization. 147 differentially expressed genes were sequenced and assigned to different categories. Conclusion We show that Macrostomum lignano is a suitable organism to perform high throughput large scale whole mount in situ

  19. Prey-tracking behavior in the invasive terrestrial planarian Platydemus manokwari (Platyhelminthes, Tricladida)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iwai, Noriko; Sugiura, Shinji; Chiba, Satoshi

    2010-11-01

    Platydemus manokwari is a broadly distributed invasive terrestrial flatworm that preys heavily on land snails and has been credited with the demise of numerous threatened island faunas. We examined whether P. manokwari tracks the mucus trails of land snail prey, investigated its ability to determine trail direction, and evaluated prey preference among various land snail species. A plastic treatment plate with the mucus trail of a single species and a control plate without the trail were placed side by side at the exit of cages housing P. manokwari. All trials were then videotaped overnight. The flatworms moved along plates with mucus trails, but did not respond to plates without trails, blank control (distilled water), or with conspecific flatworm trails. When presented at the midpoint of a snail mucus trail, the flatworms followed the trail in a random direction. The flatworms showed a preference when choosing between two plates, each with a mucus trail of different land snail species. Our results suggest that P. manokwari follows snail mucus trails based on chemical cues to increase the chance of encountering prey; however, trail-tracking behavior showed no directionality.

  20. Transfection of Platyhelminthes

    PubMed Central

    Moguel, Bárbara; Bobes, Raúl J.; Carrero, Julio C.; Laclette, Juan P.

    2015-01-01

    Flatworms are one of the most diverse groups within Lophotrochozoa with more than 20,000 known species, distributed worldwide in different ecosystems, from the free-living organisms in the seas and lakes to highly specialized parasites living in a variety of hosts, including humans. Several infections caused by flatworms are considered major neglected diseases affecting countries in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. For several decades, a particular interest on free-living flatworms was due to their ability to regenerate considerable portions of the body, implying the presence of germ cells that could be important for medicine. The relevance of reverse genetics for this group is clear; understanding the phenotypic characteristics of specific genes will shed light on developmental traits of free-living and parasite worms. The genetic manipulation of flatworms will allow learning more about the mechanisms for tissue regeneration, designing new and more effective anthelmintic drugs, and explaining the host-parasite molecular crosstalk so far partially inaccessible for experimentation. In this review, availability of transfection techniques is analyzed across flatworms, from the initial transient achievements to the stable manipulations now developed for free-living and parasite species. PMID:26090388

  1. Scaling and Regeneration of Self-Organized Patterns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Werner, Steffen; Stückemann, Tom; Beirán Amigo, Manuel; Rink, Jochen C.; Jülicher, Frank; Friedrich, Benjamin M.

    2015-04-01

    Biological patterns generated during development and regeneration often scale with organism size. Some organisms, e.g., flatworms, can regenerate a rescaled body plan from tissue fragments of varying sizes. Inspired by these examples, we introduce a generalization of Turing patterns that is self-organized and self-scaling. A feedback loop involving diffusing expander molecules regulates the reaction rates of a Turing system, thereby adjusting pattern length scales proportional to system size. Our model captures essential features of body plan regeneration in flatworms as observed in experiments.

  2. Scaling and regeneration of self-organized patterns.

    PubMed

    Werner, Steffen; Stückemann, Tom; Beirán Amigo, Manuel; Rink, Jochen C; Jülicher, Frank; Friedrich, Benjamin M

    2015-04-01

    Biological patterns generated during development and regeneration often scale with organism size. Some organisms, e.g., flatworms, can regenerate a rescaled body plan from tissue fragments of varying sizes. Inspired by these examples, we introduce a generalization of Turing patterns that is self-organized and self-scaling. A feedback loop involving diffusing expander molecules regulates the reaction rates of a Turing system, thereby adjusting pattern length scales proportional to system size. Our model captures essential features of body plan regeneration in flatworms as observed in experiments. PMID:25884138

  3. Inhibition of Tapeworm Thioredoxin and Glutathione Pathways by an Oxadiazole N-Oxide Leads to Reduced Mesocestoides vogae Infection Burden in Mice.

    PubMed

    Pasquet, Vivian; Bisio, Hugo; López, Gloria V; Romanelli-Cedrez, Laura; Bonilla, Mariana; Saldaña, Jenny; Salinas, Gustavo

    2015-01-01

    Parasitic flatworms cause serious infectious diseases that affect humans and livestock in vast regions of the world, yet there are few effective drugs to treat them. Thioredoxin glutathione reductase (TGR) is an essential enzyme for redox homeostasis in flatworm parasites and a promising pharmacological target. We purified to homogeneity and characterized the TGR from the tapeworm Mesocestoides vogae (syn. M. corti). This purification revealed absence of conventional TR and GR. The glutathione reductase activity of the purified TGR exhibits a hysteretic behavior typical of flatworm TGRs. Consistently, M. vogae genome analysis revealed the presence of a selenocysteine-containing TGR and absence of conventional TR and GR. M. vogae thioredoxin and glutathione reductase activities were inhibited by 3,4-bis(phenylsulfonyl)-1,2,5-oxadiazole N2-oxide (VL16E), an oxadiazole N-oxide previously identified as an inhibitor of fluke and tapeworm TGRs. Finally, we show that mice experimentally infected with M. vogae tetrathyridia and treated with either praziquantel, the reference drug for flatworm infections, or VL16E exhibited a 28% reduction of intraperitoneal larvae numbers compared to vehicle treated mice. Our results show that oxadiazole N-oxide is a promising chemotype in vivo and highlights the convenience of M. vogae as a model for rapid assessment of tapeworm infections in vivo. PMID:26132905

  4. Expression of Nephrin Homologue in the Freshwater Planarian, Dugesia japonica

    PubMed Central

    Nakamura, Tomomi; Takagi, Sota; Matsumoto, Midori; Tashiro, Fumio; Sakai, Tatsuo; Ichimura, Koichiro

    2014-01-01

    Excretory organs contain epithelial cells that form a filtration membrane specialized for ultrafiltration to produce primary urine. In vertebrates, the filtration membrane is made up of slit diaphragm (SD) formed by glomerular podocytes. Basal metazoans such as flatworms are also known have filtration epithelial cells, called flame cells, which exhibit SD-like structures. The molecular components of podocyte SD have been studied in detail, while those of the SD-like structures in basal metazoans including flatworms remain to be clarified. To determine whether the SD-like structures in flatworms have molecular components common to the SD in vertebrate podocytes, we examined the expression of gene homologue for mammalian nephrin, which encodes an essential transmembrane protein that participates in the formation of the SD, in a species of flatworms, planarian (Dugesia japonica). Flame cells were distributed throughout the entire body of the planarian, but the nephrin-expressing cells identified by in situ hybridization were mainly detected at body periphery excluding head region. The distribution pattern of nephrin-expressing cells was similar to that of proliferating cell nuclear antigen-expressing neoblasts, which are pluripotent stem cells characteristic to planarians. These findings indicated that the SD-like structures can be formed without the Nephrin protein in planarian flame cells. PMID:25859064

  5. Nuclear genomic signals of the ‘microturbellarian’ roots of platyhelminth evolutionary innovation

    PubMed Central

    Laumer, Christopher E; Hejnol, Andreas; Giribet, Gonzalo

    2015-01-01

    Flatworms number among the most diverse invertebrate phyla and represent the most biomedically significant branch of the major bilaterian clade Spiralia, but to date, deep evolutionary relationships within this group have been studied using only a single locus (the rRNA operon), leaving the origins of many key clades unclear. In this study, using a survey of genomes and transcriptomes representing all free-living flatworm orders, we provide resolution of platyhelminth interrelationships based on hundreds of nuclear protein-coding genes, exploring phylogenetic signal through concatenation as well as recently developed consensus approaches. These analyses robustly support a modern hypothesis of flatworm phylogeny, one which emphasizes the primacy of the often-overlooked ‘microturbellarian’ groups in understanding the major evolutionary transitions within Platyhelminthes: perhaps most notably, we propose a novel scenario for the interrelationships between free-living and vertebrate-parasitic flatworms, providing new opportunities to shed light on the origins and biological consequences of parasitism in these iconic invertebrates. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.05503.001 PMID:25764302

  6. A new and alien species of ``oyster leech'' (Platyhelminthes, Polycladida, Stylochidae) from the brackish North Sea Canal, The Netherlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sluys, Ronald; Faubel, Anno; Rajagopal, Sanjeevi; Velde, Gerard Van Der

    2005-11-01

    A new species of polyclad flatworm, Imogine necopinata Sluys, sp. nov., is described from a brackish habitat in The Netherlands. Taxonomic affinities with Asian species and the ecology of the animals suggest that the species is an introduced, exotic component of the Dutch fauna. The new species belongs to a group of worms with species that are known to predate on oysters.

  7. Estuaries May Face Increased Parasitism as Sea Levels Rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wendel, JoAnna

    2014-12-01

    Invertebrates in estuaries could be at a greater risk of parasitism as climate change causes sea levels to rise. A new paper published 8 December in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (doi:10.1073/pnas.1416747111) describes how rapid sea level rise in the Holocene affected the population of parasitic flatworms called trematodes.

  8. Project Notes.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    School Science Review, 1979

    1979-01-01

    Listed are 32 biology A-level projects, categorized by organisms studied as follows: algae (1), bryophytes (1), angiosperms (14), fungi (1), flatworms (1), annelids (2), molluscs (1), crustaceans (2), insects (4), fish (2), mammals (1), humans (1); and one synecological study. (CS)

  9. An Introductory Appraisal of Some Effects of Copper and Lead Salts on "Polycelis" spp.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pyatt, F. B. And Others

    1991-01-01

    Some effects of copper and lead salt ions on the freshwater triclad, "Polycelis felina," are investigated in terms of locomotion behavior and survivability. Both the importance and the potential protective role of mucus secretion, which is a by-product of flatworm locomotion, are assessed. (Author/JJK)

  10. Are There Really Animals Like That? The Larvae That Never Develop.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Blackwelder, R. E.; Garoian, George S.

    1984-01-01

    Discusses the life cycle of a fluke to illustrate a form of larval reproduction which occurs in many trematode flatworms. Polyembryony, production of many embryos by the breakup of the one early embryo that resulted from sexual reproduction, is considered. (JN)

  11. The Worm's Turn.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, John C., Jr.

    1983-01-01

    Discusses experiments involving classical conditioning of planarians. Suitable for advanced high school students or college-level independent study, flatworms are trained to curl up under a bright light. Then the planarians to are subjected to controlled reproduction experiments to determine whether the learned behavior is inherited by their…

  12. DjPiwiB: A Rich Nuclear Inheritance for Descendants of Planarian Stem Cells.

    PubMed

    Tharp, Marla E; Bortvin, Alex

    2016-05-01

    Stem cell differentiation involves a delicate balance of gene expression and transposon repression. In this issue of Developmental Cell, Shibata et al. (2016) show that a PIWI protein expressed in planarian stem cells is inherited by their differentiating descendants to ensure regenerative capacity of the flatworm via transposon silencing. PMID:27165550

  13. [Identification of proliferating cells in Taenia solium cysts].

    PubMed

    Orrego-Solano, Miguel Ángel; Cangalaya, Carla; Nash, Theodore E; Guerra-Giraldez, Cristina

    2014-01-01

    Neoblasts are totipotent cells, solely responsible for the proliferation and maturation of tissues in free-living flatworms. Similar cells have been isolated from parasitic flatworms such as Echinococcus. Taenia solium causes human taeniasis (intestinal) and cysticercosis in humans and pigs. Brain infection with larvae (cysts) of T. solium results in neurocysticercosis which is hyperendemic in Peru, and its treatment is associated with serious neurological symptoms. The proliferative capacity and development stages of T. solium have not been described and the neoblasts of this parasite have not been characterized We looked for cell proliferation in T. solium cysts collected from an infected pig, which were identified when replicating and incorporating bromodeoxyuridine nucleotide detected with a monoclonal antibody. A stable cell line of neoblasts would be useful for systematic in vitro studies on drug efficacy and the biology of T. solium. PMID:25597721

  14. Planarians as a model of aging to study the interaction between stem cells and senescent cells in vivo

    PubMed Central

    Perrigue, Patrick M.; Najbauer, Joseph; Jozwiak, Agnieszka A.; Barciszewski, Jan; Aboody, Karen S.; Barish, Michael E.

    2015-01-01

    The depletion of stem cell pools and the accumulation of senescent cells in animal tissues are linked to aging. Planarians are invertebrate flatworms and are unusual in that their stem cells, called neoblasts, are constantly replacing old and dying cells. By eliminating neoblasts in worms via irradiation, the biological principles of aging are exposed in the absence of wound healing and regeneration, making planaria a powerful tool for aging research. PMID:26654402

  15. Pharmacology of FMRFamide-related peptides in helminths.

    PubMed

    Geary, T G; Marks, N J; Maule, A G; Bowman, J W; Alexander-Bowman, S J; Day, T A; Larsen, M J; Kubiak, T M; Davis, J P; Thompson, D P

    1999-01-01

    Nervous systems of helminths are highly peptidergic. Species in the phylum Nematoda (roundworms) possess at least 50 FMRFamide-related peptides (FaRPs), with more yet to be identified. To date, few non-FaRP neuropeptides have been identified in these organisms, though evidence suggests that other families are present. FaRPergic systems have important functions in nematode neuromuscular control. In contrast, species in the phylum Platyhelminthes (flatworms) apparently utilize fewer FaRPs than do nematodes; those species examined possess one or two FaRPs. Other neuropeptides, such as neuropeptide F (NPF), play key roles in flatworm physiology. Although progress has been made in the characterization of FaRP pharmacology in helminths, much remains to be learned. Most studies on nematodes have been done with Ascaris suum because of its large size. However, thanks to the Caenorhabditis elegans genome project, we know most about the FaRP complement of this free-living animal. That essentially all C. elegans FaRPs are active on at least one A. suum neuromuscular system argues for conservation of ligand-receptor recognition features among the Nematoda. Structure-activity studies on nematode FaRPs have revealed that structure-activity relationship (SAR) "rules" differ considerably among the FaRPs. Second messenger studies, along with experiments on ionic dependence and anatomical requirements for activity, reveal that FaRPs act through many different mechanisms. Platyhelminth FaRPs are myoexcitatory, and no evidence exists of multiple FaRP receptors in flatworms. Interestingly, there are examples of cross-phylum activity, with some nematode FaRPs being active on flatworm muscle. The extent to which other invertebrate FaRPs show cross-phylum activity remains to be determined. How FaRPergic nerves contribute to the control of behavior in helminths, and are integrated with non-neuropeptidergic systems, also remains to be elucidated. PMID:10676450

  16. Ergot Alkaloids (Re)generate New Leads as Antiparasitics

    PubMed Central

    Chan, John D.; Agbedanu, Prince N.; Grab, Thomas; Zamanian, Mostafa; Dosa, Peter I.; Day, Timothy A.; Marchant, Jonathan S.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Praziquantel (PZQ) is a key therapy for treatment of parasitic flatworm infections of humans and livestock, but the mechanism of action of this drug is unresolved. Resolving PZQ-engaged targets and effectors is important for identifying new druggable pathways that may yield novel antiparasitic agents. Here we use functional, genetic and pharmacological approaches to reveal that serotonergic signals antagonize PZQ action in vivo. Exogenous 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) rescued PZQ-evoked polarity and mobility defects in free-living planarian flatworms. In contrast, knockdown of a prevalently expressed planarian 5-HT receptor potentiated or phenocopied PZQ action in different functional assays. Subsequent screening of serotonergic ligands revealed that several ergot alkaloids possessed broad efficacy at modulating regenerative outcomes and the mobility of both free living and parasitic flatworms. Ergot alkaloids that phenocopied PZQ in regenerative assays to cause bipolar regeneration exhibited structural modifications consistent with serotonergic blockade. These data suggest that serotonergic activation blocks PZQ action in vivo, while serotonergic antagonists phenocopy PZQ action. Importantly these studies identify the ergot alkaloid scaffold as a promising structural framework for designing potent agents targeting parasitic bioaminergic G protein coupled receptors. PMID:26367744

  17. The unique stem cell system of the immortal larva of the human parasite Echinococcus multilocularis

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background It is believed that in tapeworms a separate population of undifferentiated cells, the germinative cells, is the only source of cell proliferation throughout the life cycle (similar to the neoblasts of free living flatworms). In Echinococcus multilocularis, the metacestode larval stage has a unique development, growing continuously like a mass of vesicles that infiltrate the tissues of the intermediate host, generating multiple protoscoleces by asexual budding. This unique proliferation potential indicates the existence of stem cells that are totipotent and have the ability for extensive self-renewal. Results We show that only the germinative cells proliferate in the larval vesicles and in primary cell cultures that undergo complete vesicle regeneration, by using a combination of morphological criteria and by developing molecular markers of differentiated cell types. The germinative cells are homogeneous in morphology but heterogeneous at the molecular level, since only sub-populations express homologs of the post-transcriptional regulators nanos and argonaute. Important differences are observed between the expression patterns of selected neoblast marker genes of other flatworms and the E. multilocularis germinative cells, including widespread expression in E. multilocularis of some genes that are neoblast-specific in planarians. Hydroxyurea treatment results in the depletion of germinative cells in larval vesicles, and after recovery following hydroxyurea treatment, surviving proliferating cells grow as patches that suggest extensive self-renewal potential for individual germinative cells. Conclusions In E. multilocularis metacestodes, the germinative cells are the only proliferating cells, presumably driving the continuous growth of the larval vesicles. However, the existence of sub-populations of the germinative cells is strongly supported by our data. Although the germinative cells are very similar to the neoblasts of other flatworms in function and

  18. Mitochondrial genome data support the basal position of acoelomorpha and the polyphyly of the platyhelminthes

    SciTech Connect

    Ruiz-Trillo, Inaki; Riutort, Marta; Fourcade, H. Matthew; Baguna, Jaume; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2004-05-01

    We determined 9.7, 5.2, and 6.8 kb, respectively, of the mitochondrial genomes of the acoel Paratomella rubra, the nemertodermatid Nemertoderma westbladi and the free-living rhabditophoran platyhelminth Microstomum lineare. The identified gene arrangements are unique among metazoans, including each other, sharing no more than one or two single gene boundaries with a few distantly related taxa. Phylogenetic analysis of the amino acid sequences inferred from the sequenced genes confirms that the acoelomorph flatworms (acoels + nemertodermatids) do not belong to the Platyhelminthes, but are, instead, the most basal extant bilaterian group. Therefore, the Platyhelminthes, as traditionally constituted, is a polyphyletic phylum.

  19. A new family of cyclophilins with an RNA recognition motif that interact with members of the trx/MLL protein family in Drosophila and human cells.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Melanie; Fair, Keri; Amero, Sally; Nelson, Stephanie; Harte, Peter J; Diaz, Manuel O

    2002-04-01

    A new family of cyclophilins with an RNA recognition motif (RRM) has members in vertebrates, roundworms and flatworms. We have identified a Drosophilacyclophilin, Dcyp33, with a high degree of amino acid sequence identity and similarity with other members of the family. Dcyp33 interacts through its RRM domain with the third PHD finger of trithorax. This interaction is conserved in the human homologues of these proteins, Cyp33 and MLL. Over expression of Dcyp33 in DrosophilaSL1 cells results in down-regulation of AbdominalB Hoxgene expression, mirroring the effect of human Cyp33 on the expression of human HOXgenes. PMID:11976948

  20. First report of the exotic blue land planarian, Caenoplana coerulea (Platyhelminthes, Geoplanidae), on Menorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)

    PubMed Central

    Breugelmans, Karin; Cardona, Josep Quintana; Artois, Tom; Jordaens, Kurt; Backeljau, Thierry

    2012-01-01

    Abstract In April 2009 two specimens of a terrestrial flatworm were collected from under a rock in an orchard at Ciutadella de Menorca on the easternmost Balearic island of Menorca (Spain). Their external morphology suggested that both specimens belonged to the invasive blue planarian Caenoplana coerulea, a species which is native to eastern Australia. Sequence data of a fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and of the entire 18S ribosomal RNA confirm its identification. This is one of the first records of the species in Europe where it has only been found in one locality in the United Kingdom, France and NE Spain. PMID:22711997

  1. Crystallization and X-ray analysis of the Schistosoma mansoni guanidino kinase

    PubMed Central

    Awama, Ayman M.; Paracuellos, Patricia; Laurent, Sabine; Dissous, Colette; Marcillat, Olivier; Gouet, Patrice

    2008-01-01

    The 716-amino-acid guanidino kinase from the parasitic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni results from the fusion of two guanidino kinase subunits. Crystals of this 80 kDa protein have been obtained in the monoclinic space group P21, with unit-cell parameters a = 52.7, b = 122.1, c = 63.2 Å, β = 108.5°. Synchrotron data were collected to 2.8 Å resolution on ESRF beamline ID29. The structure was solved by the molecular-replacement method, using the 357-amino-acid structure of the arginine kinase from Trypanosoma cruzi as the search model. PMID:18765922

  2. Genome size evolution in macroparasites.

    PubMed

    Sundberg, Lotta-Riina; Pulkkinen, Katja

    2015-04-01

    Reduction in genome size has been associated not only with a parasitic lifestyle in intracellular microparasites but also in some macroparasitic insects and nematodes. We collected the available data on genome size for flatworms, annelids, nematodes and arthropods, compared those with available data for the phylogenetically closest free-living taxa and found evidence of smaller genome sizes for parasites in six of nine comparisons. Our results suggest that despite great differences in evolutionary history and life cycles, parasitism as a lifestyle promotes convergent genome size reduction in macroparasites. We discuss factors that could be associated with small genome size in parasites which require further exploration in the future. PMID:25724591

  3. Echinococcus granulosus fatty acid binding proteins subcellular localization.

    PubMed

    Alvite, Gabriela; Esteves, Adriana

    2016-05-01

    Two fatty acid binding proteins, EgFABP1 and EgFABP2, were isolated from the parasitic platyhelminth Echinococcus granulosus. These proteins bind fatty acids and have particular relevance in flatworms since de novo fatty acids synthesis is absent. Therefore platyhelminthes depend on the capture and intracellular distribution of host's lipids and fatty acid binding proteins could participate in lipid distribution. To elucidate EgFABP's roles, we investigated their intracellular distribution in the larval stage by a proteomic approach. Our results demonstrated the presence of EgFABP1 isoforms in cytosolic, nuclear, mitochondrial and microsomal fractions, suggesting that these molecules could be involved in several cellular processes. PMID:26873273

  4. Transcriptome analysis of the planarian eye identifies ovo as a specific regulator of eye regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Lapan, Sylvain W.; Reddien, Peter W.

    2013-01-01

    Summary Among the millions of invertebrate species with visual systems, the genetic basis of eye development and function is well understood only in Drosophila melanogaster. We describe an eye transcriptome for the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Planarian photoreceptors expressed orthologs of genes required for phototransduction and microvillus structure in Drosophila and vertebrates, and optic pigment cells expressed solute transporters and melanin synthesis enzymes similar to those active in the vertebrate retinal pigment epithelium. Orthologs of several planarian eye genes, such as bestrophin-1 and Usher syndrome genes, cause eye defects in mammals when perturbed and were not previously described to have roles in invertebrate eyes. Five previously undescribed planarian eye transcription factors were required for normal eye formation during head regeneration. In particular, a conserved, transcription factor-encoding ovo gene was expressed from the earliest stages of eye regeneration and was required for regeneration of all cell types of the eye. PMID:22884275

  5. Conserved functional antagonism of CELF and MBNL proteins controls stem cell-specific alternative splicing in planarians.

    PubMed

    Solana, Jordi; Irimia, Manuel; Ayoub, Salah; Orejuela, Marta Rodriguez; Zywitza, Vera; Jens, Marvin; Tapial, Javier; Ray, Debashish; Morris, Quaid; Hughes, Timothy R; Blencowe, Benjamin J; Rajewsky, Nikolaus

    2016-01-01

    In contrast to transcriptional regulation, the function of alternative splicing (AS) in stem cells is poorly understood. In mammals, MBNL proteins negatively regulate an exon program specific of embryonic stem cells; however, little is known about the in vivo significance of this regulation. We studied AS in a powerful in vivo model for stem cell biology, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. We discover a conserved AS program comprising hundreds of alternative exons, microexons and introns that is differentially regulated in planarian stem cells, and comprehensively identify its regulators. We show that functional antagonism between CELF and MBNL factors directly controls stem cell-specific AS in planarians, placing the origin of this regulatory mechanism at the base of Bilaterians. Knockdown of CELF or MBNL factors lead to abnormal regenerative capacities by affecting self-renewal and differentiation sets of genes, respectively. These results highlight the importance of AS interactions in stem cell regulation across metazoans. PMID:27502555

  6. teashirt is required for head-versus-tail regeneration polarity in planarians.

    PubMed

    Owen, Jared H; Wagner, Daniel E; Chen, Chun-Chieh; Petersen, Christian P; Reddien, Peter W

    2015-03-15

    Regeneration requires that the identities of new cells are properly specified to replace missing tissues. The Wnt signaling pathway serves a central role in specifying posterior cell fates during planarian regeneration. We identified a gene encoding a homolog of the Teashirt family of zinc-finger proteins in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea to be a target of Wnt signaling in intact animals and at posterior-facing wounds. Inhibition of Smed-teashirt (teashirt) by RNA interference (RNAi) resulted in the regeneration of heads in place of tails, a phenotype previously observed with RNAi of the Wnt pathway genes β-catenin-1, wnt1, Dvl-1/2 or wntless. teashirt was required for β-catenin-1-dependent activation of posterior genes during regeneration. These findings identify teashirt as a transcriptional target of Wnt signaling required for Wnt-mediated specification of posterior blastemas. PMID:25725068

  7. The EGFR signaling pathway controls gut progenitor differentiation during planarian regeneration and homeostasis.

    PubMed

    Barberán, Sara; Fraguas, Susanna; Cebrià, Francesc

    2016-06-15

    The planarian Schmidtea mediterranea maintains and regenerates all its adult tissues through the proliferation and differentiation of a single population of pluripotent adult stem cells (ASCs) called neoblasts. Despite recent advances, the mechanisms regulating ASC differentiation into mature cell types are poorly understood. Here, we show that silencing of the planarian EGF receptor egfr-1 by RNA interference (RNAi) impairs gut progenitor differentiation into mature cells, compromising gut regeneration and maintenance. We identify a new putative EGF ligand, nrg-1, the silencing of which phenocopies the defects observed in egfr-1(RNAi) animals. These findings indicate that egfr-1 and nrg-1 promote gut progenitor differentiation, and are thus essential for normal cell turnover and regeneration in the planarian gut. Our study demonstrates that the EGFR signaling pathway is an important regulator of ASC differentiation in planarians. PMID:27122174

  8. teashirt is required for head-versus-tail regeneration polarity in planarians

    PubMed Central

    Owen, Jared H.; Wagner, Daniel E.; Chen, Chun-Chieh; Petersen, Christian P.; Reddien, Peter W.

    2015-01-01

    Regeneration requires that the identities of new cells are properly specified to replace missing tissues. The Wnt signaling pathway serves a central role in specifying posterior cell fates during planarian regeneration. We identified a gene encoding a homolog of the Teashirt family of zinc-finger proteins in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea to be a target of Wnt signaling in intact animals and at posterior-facing wounds. Inhibition of Smed-teashirt (teashirt) by RNA interference (RNAi) resulted in the regeneration of heads in place of tails, a phenotype previously observed with RNAi of the Wnt pathway genes β-catenin-1, wnt1, Dvl-1/2 or wntless. teashirt was required for β-catenin-1-dependent activation of posterior genes during regeneration. These findings identify teashirt as a transcriptional target of Wnt signaling required for Wnt-mediated specification of posterior blastemas. PMID:25725068

  9. Global irradiation effects, stem cell genes and rare transcripts in the planarian transcriptome.

    PubMed

    Galloni, Mireille

    2012-01-01

    Stem cells are the closest relatives of the totipotent primordial cell, which is able to spawn millions of daughter cells and hundreds of cell types in multicellular organisms. Stem cells are involved in tissue homeostasis and regeneration, and may play a major role in cancer development. Among animals, planarians host a model stem cell type, called the neoblast, which essentially confers immortality. Gaining insights into the global transcriptional landscape of these exceptional cells takes an unprecedented turn with the advent of Next Generation Sequencing methods. Two Digital Gene Expression transcriptomes of Schmidtea mediterranea planarians, with or without neoblasts lost through irradiation, were produced and analyzed. Twenty one bp NlaIII tags were mapped to transcripts in the Schmidtea and Dugesia taxids. Differential representation of tags in normal versus irradiated animals reflects differential gene expression. Canonical and non-canonical tags were included in the analysis, and comparative studies with human orthologs were conducted. Transcripts fell into 3 categories: invariant (including housekeeping genes), absent in irradiated animals (potential neoblast-specific genes, IRDOWN) and induced in irradiated animals (potential cellular stress response, IRUP). Different mRNA variants and gene family members were recovered. In the IR-DOWN class, almost all of the neoblast-specific genes previously described were found. In irradiated animals, a larger number of genes were induced rather than lost. A significant fraction of IRUP genes behaved as if transcript versions of different lengths were produced. Several novel potential neoblast-specific genes have been identified that varied in relative abundance, including highly conserved as well as novel proteins without predicted orthologs. Evidence for a large body of antisense transcripts, for example regulated antisense for the Smed-piwil1 gene, and evidence for RNA shortening in irradiated animals is presented

  10. Hypodermic self-insemination as a reproductive assurance strategy

    PubMed Central

    Ramm, Steven A.; Schlatter, Aline; Poirier, Maude; Schärer, Lukas

    2015-01-01

    Self-fertilization occurs in a broad range of hermaphroditic plants and animals, and is often thought to evolve as a reproductive assurance strategy under ecological conditions that disfavour or prevent outcrossing. Nevertheless, selfing ability is far from ubiquitous among hermaphrodites, and may be constrained in taxa where the male and female gametes of the same individual cannot easily meet. Here, we report an extraordinary selfing mechanism in one such species, the free-living flatworm Macrostomum hystrix. To test the hypothesis that adaptations to hypodermic insemination of the mating partner under outcrossing also facilitate selfing, we experimentally manipulated the social environment of these transparent flatworms and then observed the spatial distribution of received sperm in vivo. We find that this distribution differs radically between conditions allowing or preventing outcrossing, implying that isolated individuals use their needle-like stylet (male copulatory organ) to inject own sperm into their anterior body region, including into their own head, from where they then apparently migrate to the site of (self-)fertilization. Conferring the ability to self could thus be an additional consequence of hypodermic insemination, a widespread fertilization mode that is especially prevalent among simultaneously hermaphroditic animals and probably evolves due to sexual conflict over the transfer and subsequent fate of sperm. PMID:26136446

  11. An Early Cambrian problematic fossil: Vetustovermis and its possible affinities

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Jun-yuan; Huang, Di-ying; Bottjer, David J

    2005-01-01

    The Early Cambrian problematic fossil Vetustovermis (Glaessner 1979 Alcheringa 3, 21–31) was described as an annelid or arthropod. Anatomical analysis of 17 new specimens from the Lower Cambrian Maotianshan Shale at Anning, Kunming (South China) does not support its affinities with annelids or arthropods. Anatomical features instead resemble other animal groups including modern flatworms, nemertines and molluscs. The presence of a pelagic slug-like form and ventral foot, as well as a head with eyes and tentacles indicates a possible affinity with molluscs, but these characters are not present only in molluscs; some of them are shared with other animal groups, including flatworms and nemertines. For example, a ventral foot-like structure is found in nemertines, ‘turbellarians’, and some polychaete groups. The well differentiated head is seen in separate bilaterian groups, but among molluscs it did not occur before the evolutionary level of the Conchifera. Unlike the ctenia-gills in molluscs, the gills in Vetustovermis are bar-like. All the characters displayed in this 525 million-year old soft-bodied animal fail to demonstrate clear affinity with molluscs or any other known extant or extinct animal groups, but argue for representing an independently evolved animal group, which flourished in Early Cambrian and possibly in Middle Cambrian time. PMID:16191609

  12. Light and electron microscopic studies of the intestinal epithelium in Notoplana humilis (Platyhelminthes, Polycladida): the contribution of mesodermal/gastrodermal neoblasts to intestinal regeneration.

    PubMed

    Okano, Daisuke; Ishida, Sachiko; Ishiguro, Sei-ichi; Kobayashi, Kazuya

    2015-12-01

    Some free-living flatworms in the phylum Platyhelminthes possess strong regenerative capability that depends on putative pluripotent stem cells known as neoblasts. These neoblasts are defined based on several criteria, including their proliferative capacity and the presence of cellular components known as chromatoid bodies. Polyclads, which are marine flatworms, have the potential to be a good model system for stem cell research, yet little information is available regarding neoblasts and regeneration. In this study, transmission electron microscopy and immunostaining analyses, using antibodies against phospho-histone H3 and BrdU, were used to identify two populations of neoblasts in the polyclad Notoplana humilis: mesodermal neoblasts (located in the mesenchymal space) and gastrodermal neoblasts (located within the intestine, where granular club cells and phagocytic cells are also located). Light and electron microscopic analyses also suggested that phagocytic cells and mesodermal/gastrodermal neoblasts, but not granular club cells, migrated into blastemas and remodeled the intestine during regeneration. Therefore, we suggest that, in polyclads, intestinal regeneration is accomplished by mechanisms underlying both morphallaxis (remodeling of pre-existing tissues) and epimorphosis (de novo tissue formation derived from mesodermal/gastrodermal neoblasts). Based on the assumption that gastrodermal neoblasts, which are derived from mesodermal neoblasts, are intestinal stem cells, we propose a model to study intestinal regeneration. PMID:26104134

  13. Schistosome sex matters: a deep view into gonad-specific and pairing-dependent transcriptomes reveals a complex gender interplay.

    PubMed

    Lu, Zhigang; Sessler, Florian; Holroyd, Nancy; Hahnel, Steffen; Quack, Thomas; Berriman, Matthew; Grevelding, Christoph G

    2016-01-01

    As a key event for maintaining life cycles, reproduction is a central part of platyhelminth biology. In case of parasitic platyhelminths, reproductive processes can also contribute to pathology. One representative example is the trematode Schistosoma, which causes schistosomiasis, an infectious disease, whose pathology is associated with egg production. Among the outstanding features of schistosomes is their dioecious lifestyle and the pairing-dependent differentiation of the female gonads which finally leads to egg synthesis. To analyze the reproductive biology of Schistosoma mansoni in-depth we isolated complete ovaries and testes from paired and unpaired schistosomes for comparative RNA-seq analyses. Of >7,000 transcripts found in the gonads, 243 (testes) and 3,600 (ovaries) occurred pairing-dependently. Besides the detection of genes transcribed preferentially or specifically in the gonads of both genders, we uncovered pairing-induced processes within the gonads including stem cell-associated and neural functions. Comparisons to work on neuropeptidergic signaling in planarian showed interesting parallels but also remarkable differences and highlights the importance of the nervous system for flatworm gonad differentiation. Finally, we postulated first functional hints for 235 hypothetical genes. Together, these results elucidate key aspects of flatworm reproductive biology and will be relevant for basic as well as applied, exploitable research aspects. PMID:27499125

  14. Diagnostic PCR can be used to illuminate meiofaunal diets and trophic relationships

    PubMed Central

    Maghsoud, Hanna; Weiss, Austin; Smith, Julian P.S.; Litvaitis, Marian K.; Fegley, Stephen R.

    2014-01-01

    Analysis of the meiofaunal food web is hampered because few prey have features that persist long enough in a predator’s digestive tract to allow identification to species. Hence, at least for platyhelminth predators, direct observations of prey preference are almost nonexistent, and where they occur, prey identification is often limited to phylum. Studies using an in vitro approach are rare because they are extremely time-consuming and are subject to the criticism that predators removed from their natural environment may exhibit altered behaviors. Although PCR-based approaches have achieved wide application in food-web analysis, their application to meiofaunal flatworms suffers from a number of limitations. Most importantly, the microscopic size of both the predator and prey does not allow for removal of prey material from the digestive tract of the predator, and thus the challenge is to amplify prey sequences in the presence of large quantities of predator sequence. Here, we report on the successful use of prey-taxon-specific primers in diagnostic PCR to identify, to species level, specific prey items of 13 species of meiofaunal flatworms. Extension of this method will allow, for the first time, the development of a species-level understanding of trophic interactions among the meiofauna. PMID:25071364

  15. Land Planarian Assemblages in Protected Areas of the Interior Atlantic Forest: Implications for Conservation

    PubMed Central

    Negrete, Lisandro; Colpo, Karine D.; Brusa, Francisco

    2014-01-01

    Land planarians are an interesting group of free-living flatworms that can be useful as bioindicators because of their high sensitivity to environmental changes and low dispersal capacity. In this study, we describe and compare assemblages of land planarians from areas with different conservation degrees of the Interior Atlantic Forest (Misiones, Argentina), and assess factors that could be related to their abundance and richness. Eight sites were tracked in search of land planarians in Reserva de Vida Silvestre Urugua-í (RVSU) and Campo Anexo Manuel Belgrano (CAMB). Diurnal and nocturnal surveys were performed in each site along nine sampling campaigns. We collected 237 individuals belonging to 18 species of the subfamily Geoplaninae. All sites were dominated by Geoplana sp. 1 and Pasipha hauseri. The richness estimators showed that there would be more species in RVSU than in CAMB. The abundance and richness of land planarians was high during the night and after rainfalls, suggesting an increased activity of flatworms under such conditions. The abundance and richness of land planarians were also related to the conservation condition of the sites. Disturbed sites showed less abundance and richness, and were segregated from non-disturbed ones by nmMDS analysis. Beta diversity between sites was higher than expected, indicating that the species turnover between sites contributed more to the total richness (gamma diversity) than the alpha diversity. PMID:24598934

  16. Schistosome sex matters: a deep view into gonad-specific and pairing-dependent transcriptomes reveals a complex gender interplay

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Zhigang; Sessler, Florian; Holroyd, Nancy; Hahnel, Steffen; Quack, Thomas; Berriman, Matthew; Grevelding, Christoph G.

    2016-01-01

    As a key event for maintaining life cycles, reproduction is a central part of platyhelminth biology. In case of parasitic platyhelminths, reproductive processes can also contribute to pathology. One representative example is the trematode Schistosoma, which causes schistosomiasis, an infectious disease, whose pathology is associated with egg production. Among the outstanding features of schistosomes is their dioecious lifestyle and the pairing-dependent differentiation of the female gonads which finally leads to egg synthesis. To analyze the reproductive biology of Schistosoma mansoni in-depth we isolated complete ovaries and testes from paired and unpaired schistosomes for comparative RNA-seq analyses. Of >7,000 transcripts found in the gonads, 243 (testes) and 3,600 (ovaries) occurred pairing-dependently. Besides the detection of genes transcribed preferentially or specifically in the gonads of both genders, we uncovered pairing-induced processes within the gonads including stem cell-associated and neural functions. Comparisons to work on neuropeptidergic signaling in planarian showed interesting parallels but also remarkable differences and highlights the importance of the nervous system for flatworm gonad differentiation. Finally, we postulated first functional hints for 235 hypothetical genes. Together, these results elucidate key aspects of flatworm reproductive biology and will be relevant for basic as well as applied, exploitable research aspects. PMID:27499125

  17. Land planarian assemblages in protected areas of the interior atlantic forest: implications for conservation.

    PubMed

    Negrete, Lisandro; Colpo, Karine D; Brusa, Francisco

    2014-01-01

    Land planarians are an interesting group of free-living flatworms that can be useful as bioindicators because of their high sensitivity to environmental changes and low dispersal capacity. In this study, we describe and compare assemblages of land planarians from areas with different conservation degrees of the Interior Atlantic Forest (Misiones, Argentina), and assess factors that could be related to their abundance and richness. Eight sites were tracked in search of land planarians in Reserva de Vida Silvestre Urugua-í (RVSU) and Campo Anexo Manuel Belgrano (CAMB). Diurnal and nocturnal surveys were performed in each site along nine sampling campaigns. We collected 237 individuals belonging to 18 species of the subfamily Geoplaninae. All sites were dominated by Geoplana sp. 1 and Pasipha hauseri. The richness estimators showed that there would be more species in RVSU than in CAMB. The abundance and richness of land planarians was high during the night and after rainfalls, suggesting an increased activity of flatworms under such conditions. The abundance and richness of land planarians were also related to the conservation condition of the sites. Disturbed sites showed less abundance and richness, and were segregated from non-disturbed ones by nmMDS analysis. Beta diversity between sites was higher than expected, indicating that the species turnover between sites contributed more to the total richness (gamma diversity) than the alpha diversity. PMID:24598934

  18. Ca2+ channels and Praziquantel: a view from the free world

    PubMed Central

    Chan, John D.; Zarowiecki, Magdalena; Marchant, Jonathan S.

    2012-01-01

    Targeting the cellular Ca2+ channels and pumps that underpin parasite Ca2+ homeostasis may realize novel antihelmintic agents. Indeed, the antischistosomal drug praziquantel (PZQ) is a key clinical agent that has been proposed to work in this manner. Heterologous expression data has implicated an action of PZQ on voltage-operated Ca2+ channels, although the relevant in vivo target of this drug has remained undefined over three decades of clinical use. The purpose of this review is to bring new perspective to this issue by discussing the potential utility of free-living planarian flatworms for providing new insight into the mechanism of PZQ action. First, we discuss in vivo functional genetic data from the planarian system that broadly supports the molecular data collected in heterologous systems and the ‘Ca2+ hypothesis’ of PZQ action. On the basis of these similarities we highlight our current knowledge of platyhelminth voltage operated Ca2+ channels, their unique molecular pharmacology and the downstream functional PZQ interactome engaged by dysregulation of Ca2+ influx that has potential to yield novel antischistosomal targets. Overall the broad dataset underscore a common theme of PZQ-evoked disruptions of Ca2+ homeostasis in trematodes, cestodes and turbellarians, and showcase the utility of the planarian model for deriving insight into drug action and targets in parasitic flatworms. PMID:23246536

  19. Specialized progenitors and regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Reddien, Peter W.

    2013-01-01

    Planarians are flatworms capable of regenerating all body parts. Planarian regeneration requires neoblasts, a population of dividing cells that has been studied for over a century. Neoblast progeny generate new cells of blastemas, which are the regenerative outgrowths at wounds. If the neoblasts comprise a uniform population of cells during regeneration (e.g. they are all uncommitted and pluripotent), then specialization of new cell types should occur in multipotent, non-dividing neoblast progeny cells. By contrast, recent data indicate that some neoblasts express lineage-specific transcription factors during regeneration and in uninjured animals. These observations raise the possibility that an important early step in planarian regeneration is the specialization of neoblasts to produce specified rather than naïve blastema cells. PMID:23404104

  20. The alkaloid Ageladine A, originally isolated from marine sponges, used for pH-sensitive imaging of transparent marine animals.

    PubMed

    Bickmeyer, Ulf

    2012-01-01

    The brominated pyrrole-imidazole Ageladine A was used for live imaging of the jellyfish (jellies) Nausithoe werneri, the sea anemone Metridium senile and the flatworm Macrostomum lignano. The fluorescence properties of Ageladine A allow for estimation of pH values in tissue and organs in living animals. The results showed that Nausithoe werneri had the most acidic areas in the tentacles and close to the mouth (pH 4-6.5), Metridium senile harbours aggregates of high acidity in the tentacles (pH 5) and in Macrostomum lignano, the rhabdoids, the gonads and areas close to the mouth were the most acidic with values down to pH 5. PMID:22363232

  1. The Alkaloid Ageladine A, Originally Isolated from Marine Sponges, Used for pH-Sensitive Imaging of Transparent Marine Animals

    PubMed Central

    Bickmeyer, Ulf

    2012-01-01

    The brominated pyrrole-imidazole Ageladine A was used for live imaging of the jellyfish (jellies) Nausithoe werneri, the sea anemone Metridium senile and the flatworm Macrostomum lignano. The fluorescence properties of Ageladine A allow for estimation of pH values in tissue and organs in living animals. The results showed that Nausithoe werneri had the most acidic areas in the tentacles and close to the mouth (pH 4–6.5), Metridium senile harbours aggregates of high acidity in the tentacles (pH 5) and in Macrostomum lignano, the rhabdoids, the gonads and areas close to the mouth were the most acidic with values down to pH 5. PMID:22363232

  2. Guanine quadruplex structures localize to heterochromatin.

    PubMed

    Hoffmann, Roland F; Moshkin, Yuri M; Mouton, Stijn; Grzeschik, Nicola A; Kalicharan, Ruby D; Kuipers, Jeroen; Wolters, Anouk H G; Nishida, Kazuki; Romashchenko, Aleksander V; Postberg, Jan; Lipps, Hans; Berezikov, Eugene; Sibon, Ody C M; Giepmans, Ben N G; Lansdorp, Peter M

    2016-01-01

    Increasing amounts of data support a role for guanine quadruplex (G4) DNA and RNA structures in various cellular processes. We stained different organisms with monoclonal antibody 1H6 specific for G4 DNA. Strikingly, immuno-electron microscopy showed exquisite specificity for heterochromatin. Polytene chromosomes from Drosophila salivary glands showed bands that co-localized with heterochromatin proteins HP1 and the SNF2 domain-containing protein SUUR. Staining was retained in SUUR knock-out mutants but lost upon overexpression of SUUR. Somatic cells in Macrostomum lignano were strongly labeled, but pluripotent stem cells labeled weakly. Similarly, germline stem cells in Drosophila ovaries were weakly labeled compared to most other cells. The unexpected presence of G4 structures in heterochromatin and the difference in G4 staining between somatic cells and stem cells with germline DNA in ciliates, flatworms, flies and mammals point to a conserved role for G4 structures in nuclear organization and cellular differentiation. PMID:26384414

  3. The ancestral gene repertoire of animal stem cells.

    PubMed

    Alié, Alexandre; Hayashi, Tetsutaro; Sugimura, Itsuro; Manuel, Michaël; Sugano, Wakana; Mano, Akira; Satoh, Nori; Agata, Kiyokazu; Funayama, Noriko

    2015-12-22

    Stem cells are pivotal for development and tissue homeostasis of multicellular animals, and the quest for a gene toolkit associated with the emergence of stem cells in a common ancestor of all metazoans remains a major challenge for evolutionary biology. We reconstructed the conserved gene repertoire of animal stem cells by transcriptomic profiling of totipotent archeocytes in the demosponge Ephydatia fluviatilis and by tracing shared molecular signatures with flatworm and Hydra stem cells. Phylostratigraphy analyses indicated that most of these stem-cell genes predate animal origin, with only few metazoan innovations, notably including several partners of the Piwi machinery known to promote genome stability. The ancestral stem-cell transcriptome is strikingly poor in transcription factors. Instead, it is rich in RNA regulatory actors, including components of the "germ-line multipotency program" and many RNA-binding proteins known as critical regulators of mammalian embryonic stem cells. PMID:26644562

  4. Discovery of New Anti-Schistosomal Hits by Integration of QSAR-Based Virtual Screening and High Content Screening.

    PubMed

    Neves, Bruno J; Dantas, Rafael F; Senger, Mario R; Melo-Filho, Cleber C; Valente, Walter C G; de Almeida, Ana C M; Rezende-Neto, João M; Lima, Elid F C; Paveley, Ross; Furnham, Nicholas; Muratov, Eugene; Kamentsky, Lee; Carpenter, Anne E; Braga, Rodolpho C; Silva-Junior, Floriano P; Andrade, Carolina Horta

    2016-08-11

    Schistosomiasis is a debilitating neglected tropical disease, caused by flatworms of Schistosoma genus. The treatment relies on a single drug, praziquantel (PZQ), making the discovery of new compounds extremely urgent. In this work, we integrated QSAR-based virtual screening (VS) of Schistosoma mansoni thioredoxin glutathione reductase (SmTGR) inhibitors and high content screening (HCS) aiming to discover new antischistosomal agents. Initially, binary QSAR models for inhibition of SmTGR were developed and validated using the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidance. Using these models, we prioritized 29 compounds for further testing in two HCS platforms based on image analysis of assay plates. Among them, 2-[2-(3-methyl-4-nitro-5-isoxazolyl)vinyl]pyridine and 2-(benzylsulfonyl)-1,3-benzothiazole, two compounds representing new chemical scaffolds have activity against schistosomula and adult worms at low micromolar concentrations and therefore represent promising antischistosomal hits for further hit-to-lead optimization. PMID:27396732

  5. Prey or parasite? The first observations of live Euglenida in the intestine of Gastrotricha.

    PubMed

    Kisielewska, Grażyna; Kolicka, Małgorzata; Zawierucha, Krzysztof

    2015-04-01

    Euglenida are an important element in almost all aquatic ecosystems. They are known to parasitize animals such as copepods and flatworms, but have never been found in any other microscopic group. Gastrotrichs, a phylum of small microinvertebrates, are a constant and important element of marine and freshwater ecosystems. During our observation, 72 live gastrotrich specimens were collected from Europe (Poland, Germany) and South America (Brazil) containing active Euglenida of the genus Heteronema. Euglenida were found in the intestine of 10.4%, 52.6% and 1% of gastrotrichs, respectively. Taking into consideration the existing parasitism in euglenoids, it may be hypothesized that they either constitute fortuitous feed in the gastrotrich intestine or they are parasites or commensals. These observations suggest a new, so far unknown type of interaction between Gastrotricha and protists. PMID:25779973

  6. Towards realization of multi-terrestrial locomotion: decentralized control of a sheet-like robot based on the scaffold-exploitation mechanism.

    PubMed

    Kano, Takeshi; Watanabe, Yuki; Ishiguro, Akio

    2012-12-01

    Autonomous decentralized control is an attractive concept for designing robots that can exhibit highly adaptive animal-like behaviour. However, despite its appeal, previous robots based on this scheme could only adapt to a limited number of environments. Our hypothesis it that this problem can be overcome by simply implementing a scaffold-exploitation mechanism. We draw our inspiration from flatworms, which move over various terrains using their two-dimensional sheet-like body, and we design an autonomous decentralized control scheme for a similar robot based on the scaffold-exploitation mechanism. Simulation results show that a robot with the proposed control scheme can move efficiently over various irregular terrains. Our control scheme is not specific to a certain environment, but will be applicable in any environment; it could thus form the basis for developing a multi-terrestrial robot whose working area covers land, sea and even air. PMID:23093049

  7. ‘Death and Axes’: Unexpected Ca2+ Entry Phenologs Predict New Anti-schistosomal Agents

    PubMed Central

    Chan, John D.; Agbedanu, Prince N.; Zamanian, Mostafa; Gruba, Sarah M.; Haynes, Christy L.; Day, Timothy A.; Marchant, Jonathan S.

    2014-01-01

    Schistosomiasis is a parasitic flatworm disease that infects 200 million people worldwide. The drug praziquantel (PZQ) is the mainstay therapy but the target of this drug remains ambiguous. While PZQ paralyses and kills parasitic schistosomes, in free-living planarians PZQ caused an unusual axis duplication during regeneration to yield two-headed animals. Here, we show that PZQ activation of a neuronal Ca2+ channel modulates opposing dopaminergic and serotonergic pathways to regulate ‘head’ structure formation. Surprisingly, compounds with efficacy for either bioaminergic network in planarians also displayed antischistosomal activity, and reciprocally, agents first identified as antischistocidal compounds caused bipolar regeneration in the planarian bioassay. These divergent outcomes (death versus axis duplication) result from the same Ca2+ entry mechanism, and comprise unexpected Ca2+ phenologs with meaningful predictive value. Surprisingly, basic research into axis patterning mechanisms provides an unexpected route for discovering novel antischistosomal agents. PMID:24586156

  8. Guanine quadruplex structures localize to heterochromatin

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmann, Roland F.; Moshkin, Yuri M.; Mouton, Stijn; Grzeschik, Nicola A.; Kalicharan, Ruby D.; Kuipers, Jeroen; Wolters, Anouk H.G.; Nishida, Kazuki; Romashchenko, Aleksander V.; Postberg, Jan; Lipps, Hans; Berezikov, Eugene; Sibon, Ody C.M.; Giepmans, Ben N.G.; Lansdorp, Peter M.

    2016-01-01

    Increasing amounts of data support a role for guanine quadruplex (G4) DNA and RNA structures in various cellular processes. We stained different organisms with monoclonal antibody 1H6 specific for G4 DNA. Strikingly, immuno-electron microscopy showed exquisite specificity for heterochromatin. Polytene chromosomes from Drosophila salivary glands showed bands that co-localized with heterochromatin proteins HP1 and the SNF2 domain-containing protein SUUR. Staining was retained in SUUR knock-out mutants but lost upon overexpression of SUUR. Somatic cells in Macrostomum lignano were strongly labeled, but pluripotent stem cells labeled weakly. Similarly, germline stem cells in Drosophila ovaries were weakly labeled compared to most other cells. The unexpected presence of G4 structures in heterochromatin and the difference in G4 staining between somatic cells and stem cells with germline DNA in ciliates, flatworms, flies and mammals point to a conserved role for G4 structures in nuclear organization and cellular differentiation. PMID:26384414

  9. The phylogenetic position of Rhopalura ophiocomae (Orthonectida) based on 18S ribosomal DNA sequence analysis.

    PubMed

    Hanelt, B; Van Schyndel, D; Adema, C M; Lewis, L A; Loker, E S

    1996-11-01

    The Orthonectida is a small, poorly known phylum of parasites of marine invertebrates. Their phylogenetic placement is obscure; they have been considered to be multicellular protozoans, primitive animals at a "mesozoan" grade of organization, or secondarily simplified flatworm-like organisms. The best known species in the phylum, Rhopalura ophiocomae, was collected on San Juan Island, Wash. and a complete 18S rDNA sequence was obtained. Using the models of minimum evolution and parsimony, phylogenetic analyses were undertaken and the results lend support to the following hypotheses about orthonectids: (1) orthonectids are more closely aligned with triploblastic metazoan taxa than with the protist or diploblastic metazoan taxa considered in this analysis; (2) orthonectids are not derived members of the phylum Platyhelminthes; and (3) orthonectids and rhombozoans are not each other's closest relatives, thus casting further doubt on the validity of the phylum Mesozoa previously used to encompass both groups. PMID:8896370

  10. New approaches for understanding mechanisms of drug resistance in schistosomes

    PubMed Central

    GREENBERG, ROBERT M.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY Schistosomes are parasitic flatworms that cause schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease that affects hundreds of millions worldwide. Treatment and control of schistosomiasis relies almost entirely on the single drug praziquantel (PZQ), making the prospect of emerging drug resistance particularly worrisome. This review will survey reports of PZQ (and other drug) resistance in schistosomes and other platyhelminths, and explore mechanisms by which drug resistance might develop. Newer genomic and post-genomic strategies that offer the promise of better understanding of how drug resistance might arise in these organisms will be discussed. These approaches could also lead to insights into the mode of action of these drugs and potentially provide markers for monitoring the emergence of resistance. PMID:23552512

  11. Smed-betacatenin-1 is required for anteroposterior blastema polarity in planarian regeneration.

    PubMed

    Petersen, Christian P; Reddien, Peter W

    2008-01-18

    Planarian flatworms can regenerate heads at anterior-facing wounds and tails at posterior-facing wounds throughout the body. How this regeneration polarity is specified has been a classic problem for more than a century. We identified a planarian gene, Smed-betacatenin-1, that controls regeneration polarity. Posterior-facing blastemas regenerate a head instead of a tail in Smed-betacatenin-1(RNAi) animals. Smed-betacatenin-1 is required after wounding and at any posterior-facing wound for polarity. Additionally, intact Smed-betacatenin-1(RNAi) animals display anteriorization during tissue turnover. Five Wnt genes and a secreted Frizzled-related Wnt antagonist-like gene are expressed in domains along the anteroposterior axis that reset to new positions during regeneration, which suggests that Wnts control polarity through Smed-betacatenin-1. Our data suggest that beta-catenin specifies the posterior character of the anteroposterior axis throughout the Bilateria and specifies regeneration polarity in planarians. PMID:18063755

  12. High Genetic Variability of Schistosoma haematobium in Mali and Nigeria

    PubMed Central

    Ezeh, Charles; Yin, Mingbo; Li, Hongyan; Zhang, Ting; Xu, Bin; Sacko, Moussa; Feng, Zheng; Hu, Wei

    2015-01-01

    Schistosoma haematobium is one of the most prevalent parasitic flatworms, infecting over 112 million people in Africa. However, little is known about the genetic diversity of natural S. haematobium populations from the human host because of the inaccessible location of adult worms in the host. We used 4 microsatellite loci to genotype individually pooled S. haematobium eggs directly from each patient sampled at 4 endemic locations in Africa. We found that the average allele number of individuals from Mali was significantly higher than that from Nigeria. In addition, no significant difference in allelic composition was detected among the populations within Nigeria; however, the allelic composition was significantly different between Mali and Nigeria populations. This study demonstrated a high level of genetic variability of S. haematobium in the populations from Mali and Nigeria, the 2 major African endemic countries, suggesting that geographical population differentiation may occur in the regions. PMID:25748721

  13. Review of the family Proctorenyxidae (Hymenoptera: Proctotrupoidea), with description of new species from South Korea.

    PubMed

    Kim, Chang-Jun; Lelej, Arkady S; Park, Bia; Lee, Jong-Wook

    2016-01-01

    Kozlov (1994) established a new parasitic proctotrupoid family, Renyxidae, for a single species, Renyxa incredibilis, from Primorskij Krai, in the Russian Far East. A new genus and species, Hsiufuropronia chaoi, was described from China, Beijing (Yang 1997) in the family Roproniidae. Lelej and Kozlov (1999) noticed that Renyxa was preoccupied and was initially used by Kurochkin and Slankis (1973) for a genus of flatworms (Cestoda: Litobothridae). According to Articles 39, 60 of the Code (ICZN 1999), the names of the genus and family were changed to Proctorenyxa Lelej & Kozlov, 1999 (Lelej & Kozlov 1999). He et al. (2002) transferred Hsiufuropronia from Roproniidae to Proctorenyxidae based on Yang's original description and illustrations, and synonymized Hsiufuropronia Yang under Proctorenyxa Lelej & Kozlov. Later, He and Xu (2015) proposed that the family name Proctorenyxidae should be replaced by Hsiufuroproniidae and the genera Proctonenyxa Lelej & Kozlov and Hsiufuropronia Yang should be separate. However, the replacement name Hsiufuroproniidae contradicts article 39 of the Code (ICZN 1999). PMID:27394620

  14. Immunoenzymatic visualization of tetrodotoxin (TTX) in Cephalothrix species (Nemertea: Anopla: Palaeonemertea: Cephalotrichidae) and Planocera reticulata (Platyhelminthes: Turbellaria: Polycladida: Planoceridae).

    PubMed

    Tanu, Mohosena Begum; Mahmud, Yahia; Arakawa, Osamu; Takatani, Tomohiro; Kajihara, Hiroshi; Kawatsu, Kentaro; Hamano, Yonekazu; Asakawa, Manabu; Miyazawa, Keisuke; Noguchi, Tamao

    2004-10-01

    Tetrodotoxin (TTX) was localized as brown color in different tissues of an undescribed species of the nemertean genus Cephalothrix (phylum Nemertea) and a turbellarian Planocera reticulata (phylum Platyhelminthes) on light microscopy by means of a monoclonal anti-TTX antibody. In the Cephalothrix sp., TTX was recognized in the vesicles apically arranged in the bacillary cells in the epidermis, basal lamina, the granular cells in the proboscis epithelium, rhynchocoel epithelium, and the vesicles in the basal portion of the intestinal wall near the blood vessels and rhynchocoel. The excretory system and the ovum also showed positive reaction of TTX antigen-antibody. On the other hand, the hermaphrodite flatworm P. reticulata exhibited TTX antigen-antibody complex only in their ovum. To our knowledge, this is the first experimental effort on micro-distribution of TTX in invertebrates. PMID:15450926

  15. The ancestral gene repertoire of animal stem cells

    PubMed Central

    Alié, Alexandre; Hayashi, Tetsutaro; Sugimura, Itsuro; Manuel, Michaël; Sugano, Wakana; Mano, Akira; Satoh, Nori; Agata, Kiyokazu; Funayama, Noriko

    2015-01-01

    Stem cells are pivotal for development and tissue homeostasis of multicellular animals, and the quest for a gene toolkit associated with the emergence of stem cells in a common ancestor of all metazoans remains a major challenge for evolutionary biology. We reconstructed the conserved gene repertoire of animal stem cells by transcriptomic profiling of totipotent archeocytes in the demosponge Ephydatia fluviatilis and by tracing shared molecular signatures with flatworm and Hydra stem cells. Phylostratigraphy analyses indicated that most of these stem-cell genes predate animal origin, with only few metazoan innovations, notably including several partners of the Piwi machinery known to promote genome stability. The ancestral stem-cell transcriptome is strikingly poor in transcription factors. Instead, it is rich in RNA regulatory actors, including components of the “germ-line multipotency program” and many RNA-binding proteins known as critical regulators of mammalian embryonic stem cells. PMID:26644562

  16. Types or States? Cellular Dynamics and Regenerative Potential.

    PubMed

    Adler, Carolyn E; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2015-11-01

    Many of our organs can maintain and repair themselves during homeostasis and injury, as a result of the action of tissue-specific, multipotent stem cells. However, recent evidence from mammalian systems suggests that injury stimulates dramatic plasticity, or transient changes in cell potential, in both stem cells and more differentiated cells. Planarian flatworms possess abundant stem cells, making them an exceptional model for understanding the cellular behavior underlying homeostasis and regeneration. Recent discoveries of cell lineages and regeneration-specific events provide an initial framework for unraveling the complex cellular contributions to regeneration. In this review, we discuss the concept of cellular plasticity in the context of planarian regeneration, and consider the possibility that pluripotency may be a transient, probabilistic state exhibited by stem cells. PMID:26437587

  17. Analysis of Stem Cell Motility In Vivo Based on Immunodetection of Planarian Neoblasts and Tracing of BrdU-Labeled Cells After Partial Irradiation.

    PubMed

    Tasaki, Junichi; Uchiyama-Tasaki, Chihiro; Rouhana, Labib

    2016-01-01

    Planarian flatworms have become an important system for the study of stem cell behavior and regulation in vivo. These organisms are able to regenerate any part of their body upon damage or amputation. A crucial cellular event in the process of planarian regeneration is the migration of pluripotent stem cells (known as neoblasts) to the site of injury. Here we describe two approaches for analyzing migration of planarian stem cells to an area where these have been ablated by localized X-ray irradiation. The first approach involves immunolabeling of mitotic neoblasts, while the second is based on tracing stem cells and their progeny after BrdU incorporation. The use of planarians in studies of cell motility is suitable for the identification of factors that influence stem cell migration in vivo and is amenable to RNA interference or pharmacological screening. PMID:26498794

  18. Calcium channels of schistosomes: unresolved questions and unexpected answers

    PubMed Central

    Salvador-Recatalà, Vicenta; Greenberg, Robert M.

    2011-01-01

    Parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma are the causative agents of schistosomiasis, a highly prevalent, neglected tropical disease that causes significant morbidity in hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The current treatment of choice against schistosomiasis is praziquantel (PZQ), which is known to affect Ca2+ homeostasis in schistosomes, but which has an undefined molecular target and mode of action. PZQ is the only available antischistosomal drug in most parts of the world, making reports of PZQ resistance particularly troubling. Voltage-gated Ca2+ (Cav) channels have been proposed as possible targets for PZQ, and, given their central role in the neuromuscular system, may also serve as targets for new anthelmintic therapeutics. Indeed, ion channels constitute the majority of targets for current anthelmintics. Cav channel subunits from schistosomes and other platyhelminths have several unique properties that make them attractive as potential drug targets, and that could also provide insights into structure-function relationships in, and evolution of, Cav channels. PMID:22347719

  19. Single-cell analysis reveals functionally distinct classes within the planarian stem cell compartment

    PubMed Central

    van Wolfswinkel, Josien C.; Wagner, Daniel E.; Reddien, Peter W.

    2014-01-01

    Planarians are flatworms capable of regenerating any missing body region. This capacity is mediated by neoblasts, a proliferative cell population that contains pluripotent stem cells. Although population-based studies have revealed many neoblast characteristics, whether functionally distinct classes exist within this population is unclear. Here, we used high-dimensional single-cell transcriptional profiling from over a thousand individual neoblasts to directly compare gene expression fingerprints during homeostasis and regeneration. We identified two prominent neoblast classes that we named ζ (zeta) and σ (sigma). Zeta-neoblasts encompass specified cells that give rise to an abundant postmitotic lineage including epidermal cells, and are not required for regeneration. By contrast, sigma-neoblasts proliferate in response to injury, possess broad lineage capacity, and can give rise to zeta-neoblasts. These findings present a new view of planarian neoblasts, in which the population is comprised of two major and functionally distinct cellular compartments. PMID:25017721

  20. A Miniaturized Screen of a Schistosoma mansoni Serotonergic G Protein-Coupled Receptor Identifies Novel Classes of Parasite-Selective Inhibitors.

    PubMed

    Chan, John D; McCorvy, John D; Acharya, Sreemoyee; Johns, Malcolm E; Day, Timothy A; Roth, Bryan L; Marchant, Jonathan S

    2016-05-01

    Schistosomiasis is a tropical parasitic disease afflicting ~200 million people worldwide and current therapy depends on a single drug (praziquantel) which exhibits several non-optimal features. These shortcomings underpin the need for next generation anthelmintics, but the process of validating physiologically relevant targets ('target selection') and pharmacologically profiling them is challenging. Remarkably, even though over a quarter of current human therapeutics target rhodopsin-like G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), no library screen of a flatworm GPCR has yet been reported. Here, we have pharmacologically profiled a schistosome serotonergic GPCR (Sm.5HTR) implicated as a downstream modulator of PZQ efficacy, in a miniaturized screening assay compatible with high content screening. This approach employs a split luciferase based biosensor sensitive to cellular cAMP levels that resolves the proximal kinetics of GPCR modulation in intact cells. Data evidence a divergent pharmacological signature between the parasitic serotonergic receptor and the closest human GPCR homolog (Hs.5HTR7), supporting the feasibility of optimizing parasitic selective pharmacophores. New ligands, and chemical series, with potency and selectivity for Sm.5HTR over Hs.5HTR7 are identified in vitro and validated for in vivo efficacy against schistosomules and adult worms. Sm.5HTR also displayed a property resembling irreversible inactivation, a phenomenon discovered at Hs.5HTR7, which enhances the appeal of this abundantly expressed parasite GPCR as a target for anthelmintic ligand design. Overall, these data underscore the feasibility of profiling flatworm GPCRs in a high throughput screening format competent to resolve different classes of GPCR modulators. Further, these data underscore the promise of Sm.5HTR as a chemotherapeutically vulnerable node for development of next generation anthelmintics. PMID:27187180

  1. Adult somatic stem cells in the human parasite, Schistosoma mansoni

    PubMed Central

    Collins, James J.; Wang, Bo; Lambrus, Bramwell G.; Tharp, Marla; Iyer, Harini; Newmark, Phillip A.

    2013-01-01

    Summary Schistosomiasis is among the most prevalent human parasitic diseases, affecting more than 200 million people worldwide1. The etiological agents of this disease are trematode flatworms (Schistosoma) that live and lay eggs within the vasculature of the host. These eggs lodge in host tissues, causing inflammatory responses that are the primary cause of morbidity. Because these parasites can live and reproduce within human hosts for decades2, elucidating the mechanisms that promote their longevity is of fundamental importance. Although adult pluripotent stem cells, called neoblasts, drive long-term homeostatic tissue maintenance in long-lived free-living flatworms3,4 (e.g., planarians), and neoblast-like cells have been described in some parasitic tapeworms5, little is known about whether similar cell types exist in any trematode species. Here, we describe a population of neoblast-like cells in the trematode Schistosoma mansoni. These cells resemble planarian neoblasts morphologically and share their ability to proliferate and differentiate into derivatives of multiple germ layers. Capitalizing on available genomic resources6,7 and RNAseq-based gene expression profiling, we find that these schistosome neoblast-like cells express a fibroblast growth factor receptor ortholog. Using RNA interference we demonstrate that this gene is required for the maintenance of these neoblast-like cells. Our observations suggest that adaptation of developmental strategies shared by free-living ancestors to modern-day schistosomes likely contributed to the success of these animals as long-lived obligate parasites. We expect that future studies deciphering the function of these neoblast-like cells will have important implications for understanding the biology of these devastating parasites. PMID:23426263

  2. Elucidating the phylogenetic position of Gnathostomulida and first mitochondrial genomes of Gnathostomulida, Gastrotricha and Polycladida (Platyhelminthes).

    PubMed

    Golombek, Anja; Tobergte, Sarah; Struck, Torsten H

    2015-05-01

    Gnathostomulida is a taxon of small marine worms, which exclusively inhabit the interstitium. The evolution of Gnathostomulida has been discussed for decades. Originally regarded as primitive animals with affinities to flatworms, the phylogenetic position of Gnathostomulida has been debated. Given the lack of an anus a close relationship to Platyhelminthes has been maintained (i.e., Plathelminthomorpha hypothesis). Alternative hypotheses proposed Gnathostomulida as being close to Gastrotricha due to the presence of a monociliary epidermis (i.e., Monokonta/Neotrichozoa hypothesis) or to Syndermata based on the complicated jaw apparatus (i.e., Gnathifera hypothesis). Molecular analyses using only few genes were inconclusive. Recent phylogenomic studies brought some progress by placing Gnathostomulida as sister to Syndermata, but support for this relationship was low and depended on the analytical strategy. Herein we present the first data of complete or nearly complete mitochondrial genomes for two gnathostomulids (Gnathostomula paradoxa &G. armata), one gastrotrich (Lepidodermella squamata) and one polyclad flatworm (Stylochoplana maculata) to address the uncertain phylogenetic affinity of Gnathostomulida. Our analyses found Gnathostomulida as sister to Syndermata (Gnathifera hypothesis). Thorough sensitivity analyses addressing taxon instability, branch length heterogeneity (also known as long branch attraction) and base composition heterogeneity showed that the position of Gnathostomulida is consistent across the different analyses and, hence, independent of potential misleading biases. Moreover, by ameliorating these different biases nodal support values could be increased to maximum values. Thus, our data support the hypothesis that the different jaw apparatuses of Syndermata and Gnathostomulida are indeed homologous structures as proposed by the Gnathifera hypothesis. PMID:25796325

  3. Functional Analysis of the Unique Cytochrome P450 of the Liver Fluke Opisthorchis felineus.

    PubMed

    Pakharukova, Mariya Y; Vavilin, Valentin A; Sripa, Banchob; Laha, Thewarach; Brindley, Paul J; Mordvinov, Viatcheslav A

    2015-12-01

    The basic metabolic cytochrome P450 (CYP) system is essential for biotransformation of sterols and xenobiotics including drugs, for synthesis and degradation of signaling molecules in all living organisms. Most eukaryotes including free-living flatworms have numerous paralogues of the CYP gene encoding heme monooxygenases with specific substrate range. Notably, by contrast, the parasitic flatworms have only one CYP gene. The role of this enzyme in the physiology and biochemistry of helminths is not known. The flukes and tapeworms are the etiologic agents of major neglected tropical diseases of humanity. Three helminth infections (Opisthorchis viverrini, Clonorchis sinensis and Schistosoma haematobium) are considered by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as definite causes of cancer. We focused our research on the human liver fluke Opisthorchis felineus, an emerging source of biliary tract disease including bile duct cancer in Russia and central Europe. The aims of this study were (i) to determine the significance of the CYP activity for the morphology and survival of the liver fluke, (ii) to assess CYP ability to metabolize xenobiotics, and (iii) to localize the CYP activity in O. felineus tissues. We observed high constitutive expression of CYP mRNA (Real-time PCR) in O. felineus. This enzyme metabolized xenobiotics selective for mammalian CYP2E1, CYP2B, CYP3A, but not CYP1A, as determined by liquid chromatography and imaging analyses. Tissue localization studies revealed the CYP activity in excretory channels, while suppression of CYP mRNA by RNA interference was accompanied by morphological changes of the excretory system and increased mortality rates of the worms. These results suggest that the CYP function is linked to worm metabolism and detoxification. The findings also suggest that the CYP enzyme is involved in vitally important processes in the organism of parasites and is a potential drug target. PMID:26625139

  4. Mitochondrial gene order change in Schistosoma (Platyhelminthes: Digenea: Schistosomatidae).

    PubMed

    Webster, Bonnie L; Littlewood, D Timothy J

    2012-01-01

    In the flatworm genus Schistosoma, species of which include parasites of biomedical and veterinary importance, mitochondrial gene order is radically different in some species. A PCR-based survey of 19 schistosomatid spp. established which of 14 Schistosoma spp. have the ancestral (plesiomorphic) or derived gene order condition. A phylogeny for Schistosoma was estimated and used to infer the origin of the gene order change which is present in all members of a clade containing Schistosoma incognitum and members of the traditionally recognised Schistosoma indicum, Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosomahaematobium spp. groups. Schistosoma turkestanicum, with the plesiomorphic gene order state, is sister to this clade. Common interval analysis suggests change in gene order, from ancestral to derived, consisted of two sequential transposition events: (a) nad1_nad3 to nad3_nad1 and (b) [atp6,nad2]_[nad3,-nad1,cox1,rrnL,rrnS,cox2,nad6] to [nad3,nad1,cox1,rrnL,rrnS,cox2,nad6]_[atp6,nad2], where gene order offragments within square brackets remain unchanged. Gene order change is rare in parasitic flatworms and is a robust synapomorphy for schistosome spp. that exhibit it. The schistosomatid phylogeny casts some doubt on the origin of Schistosoma (Asian or African), highlights the propensity for species to hosts witch amongst mammalian (definitive) hosts, and indicates the likely importance of snail (intermediate)hosts in determining and defining patterns of schistosome radiation and continental invasion. Mitogenomic sampling of Schistosoma dattai and Schistosoma harinasutai to determine gene order, and within key species, especially S. turkestanicum and S. incognitum, to determine ancestral ranges, may help discover the geographic origins of gene order change in the genus. Samples of S. incognitum from India and Thailand suggest this taxon may include cryptic species. PMID:23362512

  5. A Miniaturized Screen of a Schistosoma mansoni Serotonergic G Protein-Coupled Receptor Identifies Novel Classes of Parasite-Selective Inhibitors

    PubMed Central

    Chan, John D.; McCorvy, John D.; Acharya, Sreemoyee; Day, Timothy A.; Roth, Bryan L.; Marchant, Jonathan S.

    2016-01-01

    Schistosomiasis is a tropical parasitic disease afflicting ~200 million people worldwide and current therapy depends on a single drug (praziquantel) which exhibits several non-optimal features. These shortcomings underpin the need for next generation anthelmintics, but the process of validating physiologically relevant targets (‘target selection’) and pharmacologically profiling them is challenging. Remarkably, even though over a quarter of current human therapeutics target rhodopsin-like G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), no library screen of a flatworm GPCR has yet been reported. Here, we have pharmacologically profiled a schistosome serotonergic GPCR (Sm.5HTR) implicated as a downstream modulator of PZQ efficacy, in a miniaturized screening assay compatible with high content screening. This approach employs a split luciferase based biosensor sensitive to cellular cAMP levels that resolves the proximal kinetics of GPCR modulation in intact cells. Data evidence a divergent pharmacological signature between the parasitic serotonergic receptor and the closest human GPCR homolog (Hs.5HTR7), supporting the feasibility of optimizing parasitic selective pharmacophores. New ligands, and chemical series, with potency and selectivity for Sm.5HTR over Hs.5HTR7 are identified in vitro and validated for in vivo efficacy against schistosomules and adult worms. Sm.5HTR also displayed a property resembling irreversible inactivation, a phenomenon discovered at Hs.5HTR7, which enhances the appeal of this abundantly expressed parasite GPCR as a target for anthelmintic ligand design. Overall, these data underscore the feasibility of profiling flatworm GPCRs in a high throughput screening format competent to resolve different classes of GPCR modulators. Further, these data underscore the promise of Sm.5HTR as a chemotherapeutically vulnerable node for development of next generation anthelmintics. PMID:27187180

  6. Functional Analysis of the Unique Cytochrome P450 of the Liver Fluke Opisthorchis felineus

    PubMed Central

    Pakharukova, Mariya Y.; Vavilin, Valentin A.; Sripa, Banchob; Laha, Thewarach; Brindley, Paul J.; Mordvinov, Viatcheslav A.

    2015-01-01

    The basic metabolic cytochrome P450 (CYP) system is essential for biotransformation of sterols and xenobiotics including drugs, for synthesis and degradation of signaling molecules in all living organisms. Most eukaryotes including free-living flatworms have numerous paralogues of the CYP gene encoding heme monooxygenases with specific substrate range. Notably, by contrast, the parasitic flatworms have only one CYP gene. The role of this enzyme in the physiology and biochemistry of helminths is not known. The flukes and tapeworms are the etiologic agents of major neglected tropical diseases of humanity. Three helminth infections (Opisthorchis viverrini, Clonorchis sinensis and Schistosoma haematobium) are considered by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as definite causes of cancer. We focused our research on the human liver fluke Opisthorchis felineus, an emerging source of biliary tract disease including bile duct cancer in Russia and central Europe. The aims of this study were (i) to determine the significance of the CYP activity for the morphology and survival of the liver fluke, (ii) to assess CYP ability to metabolize xenobiotics, and (iii) to localize the CYP activity in O. felineus tissues. We observed high constitutive expression of CYP mRNA (Real-time PCR) in O. felineus. This enzyme metabolized xenobiotics selective for mammalian CYP2E1, CYP2B, CYP3A, but not CYP1A, as determined by liquid chromatography and imaging analyses. Tissue localization studies revealed the CYP activity in excretory channels, while suppression of CYP mRNA by RNA interference was accompanied by morphological changes of the excretory system and increased mortality rates of the worms. These results suggest that the CYP function is linked to worm metabolism and detoxification. The findings also suggest that the CYP enzyme is involved in vitally important processes in the organism of parasites and is a potential drug target. PMID:26625139

  7. Structure of the central nervous system of a juvenile acoel, Symsagittifera roscoffensis.

    PubMed

    Bery, Amandine; Cardona, Albert; Martinez, Pedro; Hartenstein, Volker

    2010-09-01

    The neuroarchitecture of Acoela has been at the center of morphological debates. Some authors, using immunochemical tools, suggest that the nervous system in Acoela is organized as a commissural brain that bears little resemblance to the central, ganglionic type brain of other flatworms, and bilaterians in general. Others, who used histological staining on paraffin sections, conclude that it is a compact structure (an endonal brain; e.g., Raikova 2004; von Graff 1891; Delage Arch Zool Exp Gén 4:109-144, 1886). To address this question with modern tools, we have obtained images from serial transmission electron microscopic sections of the entire hatchling of Symsagittifera roscoffensis. In addition, we obtained data from wholemounts of hatchlings labeled with markers for serotonin and tyrosinated tubulin. Our data show that the central nervous system of a juvenile S. roscoffensis consists of an anterior compact brain, formed by a dense, bilobed mass of neuronal cell bodies surrounding a central neuropile. The neuropile flanks the median statocyst and contains several types of neurites, classified according to their types of synaptic vesicles. The neuropile issues three pairs of nerve cords that run at different dorso-ventral positions along the whole length of the body. Neuronal cell bodies flank the cords, and neuromuscular synapses are abundant. The TEM analysis also reveals different classes of peripheral sensory neurons and provides valuable information about the spatial relationships between neurites and other cell types within the brain and nerve cords. We conclude that the acoel S. roscoffensis has a central brain that is comparable in size and architecture to the brain of other (rhabditophoran) flatworms. PMID:20549514

  8. Cytosine methylation is a conserved epigenetic feature found throughout the phylum Platyhelminthes

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The phylum Platyhelminthes (flatworms) contains an important group of bilaterian organisms responsible for many debilitating and chronic infectious diseases of human and animal populations inhabiting the planet today. In addition to their biomedical and veterinary relevance, some platyhelminths are also frequently used models for understanding tissue regeneration and stem cell biology. Therefore, the molecular (genetic and epigenetic) characteristics that underlie trophic specialism, pathogenicity or developmental maturation are likely to be pivotal in our continued studies of this important metazoan group. Indeed, in contrast to earlier studies that failed to detect evidence of cytosine or adenine methylation in parasitic flatworm taxa, our laboratory has recently defined a critical role for cytosine methylation in Schistosoma mansoni oviposition, egg maturation and ovarian development. Thus, in order to identify whether this epigenetic modification features in other platyhelminth species or is a novelty of S. mansoni, we conducted a study simultaneously surveying for DNA methylation machinery components and DNA methylation marks throughout the phylum using both parasitic and non-parasitic representatives. Results Firstly, using both S. mansoni DNA methyltransferase 2 (SmDNMT2) and methyl-CpG binding domain protein (SmMBD) as query sequences, we illustrate that essential DNA methylation machinery components are well conserved throughout the phylum. Secondly, using both molecular (methylation specific amplification polymorphism, MSAP) and immunological (enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay, ELISA) methodologies, we demonstrate that representative species (Echinococcus multilocularis, Protopolystoma xenopodis, Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma japonicum, Fasciola hepatica and Polycelis nigra) within all four platyhelminth classes (Cestoda, Monogenea, Trematoda and ‘Turbellaria’) contain methylated cytosines within their genome compartments

  9. Structure of the central nervous system of a juvenile acoel, Symsagittifera roscoffensis

    PubMed Central

    Cardona, Albert; Martinez, Pedro

    2010-01-01

    The neuroarchitecture of Acoela has been at the center of morphological debates. Some authors, using immunochemical tools, suggest that the nervous system in Acoela is organized as a commissural brain that bears little resemblance to the central, ganglionic type brain of other flatworms, and bilaterians in general. Others, who used histological staining on paraffin sections, conclude that it is a compact structure (an endonal brain; e.g., Raikova 2004; von Graff 1891; Delage Arch Zool Exp Gén 4:109-144, 1886). To address this question with modern tools, we have obtained images from serial transmission electron microscopic sections of the entire hatchling of Symsagittifera roscoffensis. In addition, we obtained data from wholemounts of hatchlings labeled with markers for serotonin and tyrosinated tubulin. Our data show that the central nervous system of a juvenile S. roscoffensis consists of an anterior compact brain, formed by a dense, bilobed mass of neuronal cell bodies surrounding a central neuropile. The neuropile flanks the median statocyst and contains several types of neurites, classified according to their types of synaptic vesicles. The neuropile issues three pairs of nerve cords that run at different dorso-ventral positions along the whole length of the body. Neuronal cell bodies flank the cords, and neuromuscular synapses are abundant. The TEM analysis also reveals different classes of peripheral sensory neurons and provides valuable information about the spatial relationships between neurites and other cell types within the brain and nerve cords. We conclude that the acoel S. roscoffensis has a central brain that is comparable in size and architecture to the brain of other (rhabditophoran) flatworms. PMID:20549514

  10. MAKER: An easy-to-use annotation pipeline designed for emerging model organism genomes

    PubMed Central

    Cantarel, Brandi L.; Korf, Ian; Robb, Sofia M.C.; Parra, Genis; Ross, Eric; Moore, Barry; Holt, Carson; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro; Yandell, Mark

    2008-01-01

    We have developed a portable and easily configurable genome annotation pipeline called MAKER. Its purpose is to allow investigators to independently annotate eukaryotic genomes and create genome databases. MAKER identifies repeats, aligns ESTs and proteins to a genome, produces ab initio gene predictions, and automatically synthesizes these data into gene annotations having evidence-based quality indices. MAKER is also easily trainable: Outputs of preliminary runs are used to automatically retrain its gene-prediction algorithm, producing higher-quality gene-models on subsequent runs. MAKER’s inputs are minimal, and its outputs can be used to create a GMOD database. Its outputs can also be viewed in the Apollo Genome browser; this feature of MAKER provides an easy means to annotate, view, and edit individual contigs and BACs without the overhead of a database. As proof of principle, we have used MAKER to annotate the genome of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea and to create a new genome database, SmedGD. We have also compared MAKER’s performance to other published annotation pipelines. Our results demonstrate that MAKER provides a simple and effective means to convert a genome sequence into a community-accessible genome database. MAKER should prove especially useful for emerging model organism genome projects for which extensive bioinformatics resources may not be readily available. PMID:18025269

  11. A prefoldin-associated WD-repeat protein (WDR92) is required for the correct architectural assembly of motile cilia

    PubMed Central

    Patel-King, Ramila S.; King, Stephen M.

    2016-01-01

    WDR92 is a highly conserved WD-repeat protein that has been proposed to be involved in apoptosis and also to be part of a prefoldin-like cochaperone complex. We found that WDR92 has a phylogenetic signature that is generally compatible with it playing a role in the assembly or function of specifically motile cilia. To test this hypothesis, we performed an RNAi-based knockdown of WDR92 gene expression in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea and were able to achieve a robust reduction in mRNA expression to levels undetectable under our standard RT-PCR conditions. We found that this treatment resulted in a dramatic reduction in the rate of organismal movement that was caused by a switch in the mode of locomotion from smooth, cilia-driven gliding to muscle-based, peristaltic contractions. Although the knockdown animals still assembled cilia of normal length and in similar numbers to controls, these structures had reduced beat frequency and did not maintain hydrodynamic coupling. By transmission electron microscopy we observed that many cilia had pleiomorphic defects in their architecture, including partial loss of dynein arms, incomplete closure of the B-tubule, and occlusion or replacement of the central pair complex by accumulated electron-dense material. These observations suggest that WDR92 is part of a previously unrecognized cytoplasmic chaperone system that is specifically required to fold key components necessary to build motile ciliary axonemes. PMID:26912790

  12. Feature importance analysis in guide strand identification of microRNAs.

    PubMed

    Ma, Daichuan; Xiao, Jiamin; Li, Yizhou; Diao, Yuanbo; Guo, Yanzhi; Li, Menglong

    2011-06-01

    MicroRNA (miRNA) is the negative regulator of gene expression, also known as guide strand of transient miRNA:miRNA* duplex. It is critical in maintaining the normal physiological processes such as development, differentiation, and apoptosis in many organisms. With increasing miRNA data, it is desirable to design methods to identify guide strand based on machine learning algorithms. In this study, the random forest models based on local sequence-structure features were proposed to identify miRNA in four species. The accuracies achieved were 86.51% for Homo sapiens, 81.66% for Ornithorhynchus anatinus, 82.33% for Mus musculus and 85.71% for Schmidtea mediterranea, respectively. Furthermore, the important analysis of feature elements was carried out by using the conditional feature importance strategy. The analysis results revealed that most of the significant elements were related to guanine-cytosine (GC) base pair. We believed that our method could be beneficial to annotate the function of miRNA and help the further understanding of the RNA interference mechanism. PMID:21704258

  13. Reactive Oxygen Species in Planarian Regeneration: An Upstream Necessity for Correct Patterning and Brain Formation

    PubMed Central

    Pirotte, Nicky; Stevens, An-Sofie; Fraguas, Susanna; Plusquin, Michelle; Van Roten, Andromeda; Van Belleghem, Frank; Paesen, Rik; Ameloot, Marcel; Cebrià, Francesc; Artois, Tom; Smeets, Karen

    2015-01-01

    Recent research highlighted the impact of ROS as upstream regulators of tissue regeneration. We investigated their role and targeted processes during the regeneration of different body structures using the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, an organism capable of regenerating its entire body, including its brain. The amputation of head and tail compartments induces a ROS burst at the wound site independently of the orientation. Inhibition of ROS production by diphenyleneiodonium (DPI) or apocynin (APO) causes regeneration defaults at both the anterior and posterior wound sites, resulting in reduced regeneration sites (blastemas) and improper tissue homeostasis. ROS signaling is necessary for early differentiation and inhibition of the ROS burst results in defects on the regeneration of the nervous system and on the patterning process. Stem cell proliferation was not affected, as indicated by histone H3-P immunostaining, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), in situ hybridization of smedwi-1, and transcript levels of proliferation-related genes. We showed for the first time that ROS modulate both anterior and posterior regeneration in a context where regeneration is not limited to certain body structures. Our results indicate that ROS are key players in neuroregeneration through interference with the differentiation and patterning processes. PMID:26180588

  14. The use of lectins as markers for differentiated secretory cells in planarians.

    PubMed

    Zayas, Ricardo M; Cebrià, Francesc; Guo, Tingxia; Feng, Junjie; Newmark, Phillip A

    2010-11-01

    Freshwater planarians have reemerged as excellent models to investigate mechanisms underlying regeneration. The introduction of molecular tools has facilitated the study of planarians, but cell- and tissue-specific markers are still needed to examine differentiation of most cell types. Here we report the utility of fluorescent lectin-conjugates to label tissues in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. We show that 16 lectin-conjugates stain planarian cells or tissues; 13 primarily label the secretory cells, their cytoplasmic projections, and terminal pores. Thus, we examined regeneration of the secretory system using lectin markers and functionally characterized two genes expressed in the secretory cells: marginal adhesive gland-1 (mag-1) and Smed-reticulocalbin1 (Smed-rcn1). RNAi knockdown of these genes caused a dramatic reduction of secretory cell lectin staining, suggesting a role for mag-1 and Smed-rcn1 in secretory cell differentiation. Our results provide new insights into planarian secretory system regeneration and add new markers for labeling several planarian tissues. PMID:20865784

  15. Smed-Evi/Wntless is required for beta-catenin-dependent and -independent processes during planarian regeneration.

    PubMed

    Adell, Teresa; Salò, Emili; Boutros, Michael; Bartscherer, Kerstin

    2009-03-01

    Planarians can regenerate a whole animal from only a small piece of their body, and have become an important model for stem cell biology. To identify regenerative processes dependent on Wnt growth factors in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea (Smed), we analyzed RNAi phenotypes of Evi, a transmembrane protein specifically required for the secretion of Wnt ligands. We show that, during regeneration, Smed-evi loss-of-function prevents posterior identity, leading to two-headed planarians that resemble Smed-beta-catenin1 RNAi animals. In addition, we observe regeneration defects of the nervous system that are not found after Smed-beta-catenin1 RNAi. By systematic knockdown of all putative Smed Wnts in regenerating planarians, we identify Smed-WntP-1 and Smed-Wnt11-2 as the putative posterior organizers, and demonstrate that Smed-Wnt5 is a regulator of neuronal organization and growth. Thus, our study provides evidence that planarian Wnts are major regulators of regeneration, and that they signal through beta-catenin-dependent and -independent pathways. PMID:19211673

  16. Smed-SmB, a member of the LSm protein superfamily, is essential for chromatoid body organization and planarian stem cell proliferation.

    PubMed

    Fernandéz-Taboada, Enrique; Moritz, Sören; Zeuschner, Dagmar; Stehling, Martin; Schöler, Hans R; Saló, Emili; Gentile, Luca

    2010-04-01

    Planarians are an ideal model system to study in vivo the dynamics of adult pluripotent stem cells. However, our knowledge of the factors necessary for regulating the 'stemness' of the neoblasts, the adult stem cells of planarians, is sparse. Here, we report on the characterization of the first planarian member of the LSm protein superfamily, Smed-SmB, which is expressed in stem cells and neurons in Schmidtea mediterranea. LSm proteins are highly conserved key players of the splicing machinery. Our study shows that Smed-SmB protein, which is localized in the nucleus and the chromatoid body of stem cells, is required to safeguard the proliferative ability of the neoblasts. The chromatoid body, a cytoplasmatic ribonucleoprotein complex, is an essential regulator of the RNA metabolism required for the maintenance of metazoan germ cells. However, planarian neoblasts and neurons also rely on its functions. Remarkably, Smed-SmB dsRNA-mediated knockdown results in a rapid loss of organization of the chromatoid body, an impairment of the ability to post-transcriptionally process the transcripts of Smed-CycB, and a severe proliferative failure of the neoblasts. This chain of events leads to a quick depletion of the neoblast pool, resulting in a lethal phenotype for both regenerating and intact animals. In summary, our results suggest that Smed-SmB is an essential component of the chromatoid body, crucial to ensure a proper RNA metabolism and essential for stem cell proliferation. PMID:20215344

  17. The BMP pathway is essential for re-specification and maintenance of the dorsoventral axis in regenerating and intact planarians.

    PubMed

    Molina, M Dolores; Saló, Emili; Cebrià, Francesc

    2007-11-01

    The bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway has been shown to play an important role in the establishment of the dorsoventral axis during development in both vertebrate and invertebrate species. In an attempt to unravel the role of BMPs in pattern formation during planarian regeneration, we studied this signaling pathway in Schmidtea mediterranea. Here, we functionally characterize planarian homologues of two key elements of the pathway: Smed-BMP and Smed-Smad1. Whole-mount in situ hybridization showed that Smed-BMP is expressed at the planarian dorsal midline, suggesting a role in dorsoventral patterning, while Smed-Smad1 is widely expressed throughout the mesenchyme and in the central nervous system. RNA interference (RNAi) knockdowns of Smed-BMP or Smed-Smad1 led to the disappearance of dorsal markers along with the ectopic expression of ventral markers on the dorsal side of the treated animals. In almost all cases, a duplicated central nervous system differentiated dorsally after Smed-BMP or Smed-Smad1 RNAi. These defects were observed not only during regeneration but also in intact non-regenerating animals. Our results suggest that the BMP signaling pathway is conserved in planarians and that it plays a key role in the regeneration and maintenance of the dorsoventral axis. PMID:17905225

  18. Expression of secreted Wnt pathway components reveals unexpected complexity of the planarian amputation response.

    PubMed

    Gurley, Kyle A; Elliott, Sarah A; Simakov, Oleg; Schmidt, Heiko A; Holstein, Thomas W; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2010-11-01

    Regeneration is widespread throughout the animal kingdom, but our molecular understanding of this process in adult animals remains poorly understood. Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays crucial roles throughout animal life from early development to adulthood. In intact and regenerating planarians, the regulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling functions to maintain and specify anterior/posterior (A/P) identity. Here, we explore the expression kinetics and RNAi phenotypes for secreted members of the Wnt signaling pathway in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Smed-wnt and sFRP expression during regeneration is surprisingly dynamic and reveals fundamental aspects of planarian biology that have been previously unappreciated. We show that after amputation, a wounding response precedes rapid re-organization of the A/P axis. Furthermore, cells throughout the body plan can mount this response and reassess their new A/P location in the complete absence of stem cells. While initial stages of the amputation response are stem cell independent, tissue remodeling and the integration of a new A/P address with anatomy are stem cell dependent. We also show that WNT5 functions in a reciprocal manner with SLIT to pattern the planarian mediolateral axis, while WNT11-2 patterns the posterior midline. Moreover, we perform an extensive phylogenetic analysis on the Smed-wnt genes using a method that combines and integrates both sequence and structural alignments, enabling us to place all nine genes into Wnt subfamilies for the first time. PMID:20707997

  19. Dishevelled is essential for neural connectivity and planar cell polarity in planarians.

    PubMed

    Almuedo-Castillo, Maria; Saló, Emili; Adell, Teresa

    2011-02-15

    The Wingless/Integrated (Wnt) signaling pathway controls multiple events during development and homeostasis. It comprises multiple branches, mainly classified according to their dependence on β-catenin activation. The Wnt/β-catenin branch is essential for the establishment of the embryonic anteroposterior (AP) body axis throughout the phylogenetic tree. It is also required for AP axis establishment during planarian regeneration. Wnt/β-catenin-independent signaling encompasses several different pathways, of which the most extensively studied is the planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway, which is responsible for planar polarization of cell structures within an epithelial sheet. Dishevelled (Dvl) is the hub of Wnt signaling because it regulates and channels the Wnt signal into every branch. Here, we analyze the role of Schmidtea mediterranea Dvl homologs (Smed-dvl-1 and Smed-dvl-2) using gene silencing. We demonstrate that in addition to a role in AP axis specification, planarian Dvls are involved in at least two different β-catenin-independent processes. First, they are essential for neural connectivity through Smed-wnt5 signaling. Second, Smed-dvl-2, together with the S. mediterranea homologs of Van-Gogh (Vang) and Diversin (Div), is required for apical positioning of the basal bodies of epithelial cells. These data represent evidence not only of the function of the PCP network in lophotrocozoans but of the involvement of the PCP core elements Vang and Div in apical positioning of the cilia. PMID:21282632

  20. Smed-dynA-1 is a planarian nervous system specific dynamin 1 homolog required for normal locomotion.

    PubMed

    Talbot, Jared A; Currie, Ko W; Pearson, Bret J; Collins, Eva-Maria S

    2014-01-01

    Dynamins are GTPases that are required for separation of vesicles from the plasma membrane and thus are key regulators of endocytosis in eukaryotic cells. This role for dynamin proteins is especially crucial for the proper function of neurons, where they ensure that synaptic vesicles and their neurotransmitter cargo are recycled in the presynaptic cell. Here we have characterized the dynamin protein family in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea and showed that it possesses six dynamins with tissue specific expression profiles. Of these six planarian homologs, two are necessary for normal tissue homeostasis, and the loss of another, Smed-dynA-1, leads to an abnormal behavioral phenotype, which we have quantified using automated center of mass tracking. Smed-dynA-1 is primarily expressed in the planarian nervous system and is a functional homolog of the mammalian Dynamin I. The distinct expression profiles of the six dynamin genes makes planarians an interesting new system to reveal novel dynamin functions, which may be determined by their differential tissue localization. The observed complexity of neurotransmitter regulation combined with the tools of quantitative behavioral assays as a functional readout for neuronal activity, renders planarians an ideal system for studying how the nervous system controls behavior. PMID:24950970

  1. Morphogenesis defects are associated with abnormal nervous system regeneration following roboA RNAi in planarians.

    PubMed

    Cebrià, Francesc; Newmark, Phillip A

    2007-03-01

    The process by which the proper pattern is restored to newly formed tissues during metazoan regeneration remains an open question. Here, we provide evidence that the nervous system plays a role in regulating morphogenesis during anterior regeneration in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. RNA interference (RNAi) knockdown of a planarian ortholog of the axon-guidance receptor roundabout (robo) leads to unexpected phenotypes during anterior regeneration, including the development of a supernumerary pharynx (the feeding organ of the animal) and the production of ectopic, dorsal outgrowths with cephalic identity. We show that Smed-roboA RNAi knockdown disrupts nervous system structure during cephalic regeneration: the newly regenerated brain and ventral nerve cords do not re-establish proper connections. These neural defects precede, and are correlated with, the development of ectopic structures. We propose that, in the absence of proper connectivity between the cephalic ganglia and the ventral nerve cords, neurally derived signals promote the differentiation of pharyngeal and cephalic structures. Together with previous studies on regeneration in annelids and amphibians, these results suggest a conserved role of the nervous system in pattern formation during blastema-based regeneration. PMID:17251262

  2. A lophotrochozoan-specific nuclear hormone receptor is required for reproductive system development in the planarian

    PubMed Central

    Tharp, Marla E.; Collins, James J.; Newmark, Phillip A.

    2014-01-01

    Germ cells of sexually reproducing organisms receive an array of cues from somatic tissues that instruct developmental processes. Although the nature of these signals differs amongst organisms, the importance of germline-soma interactions is a common theme. Recently, peptide hormones from the nervous system have been shown to regulate germ cell development in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea; thus, we sought to investigate a second class of hormones with a conserved role in reproduction, the lipophilic hormones. In order to study these signals, we identified a set of putative lipophilic hormone receptors, known as nuclear hormone receptors, and analyzed their functions in reproductive development. We found one gene, nhr-1, belonging to a small class of functionally uncharacterized lophotrochozoan-specific receptors, to be essential for the development of differentiated germ cells. Upon nhr-1 knockdown, germ cells in the testes and ovaries fail to mature, and remain as undifferentiated germline stem cells. Further analysis revealed that nhr-1 mRNA is expressed in the accessory reproductive organs and is required for their development, suggesting that this transcription factor functions cell non-autonomously in regulating germ cell development. Our studies identify a role for nuclear hormone receptors in planarian reproductive maturation and reinforce the significance of germline-soma interactions in sexual reproduction across metazoans. PMID:25278423

  3. Planarian GSK3s are involved in neural regeneration.

    PubMed

    Adell, Teresa; Marsal, Maria; Saló, Emili

    2008-02-01

    Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) is a key element in several signaling cascades that is known to be involved in both patterning and neuronal organization. It is, therefore, a good candidate to play a role in neural regeneration in planarians. We report the characterization of three GSK3 genes in Schmidtea mediterranea. Phylogenetic analysis shows that Smed-GSK3.1 is highly conserved compared to GSK3 sequences from other species, whereas Smed-GSK3.2 and Smed-GSK3.3 are more divergent. Treatment of regenerating planarians with 1-azakenpaullone, a synthetic GSK3 inhibitor, suggests that planarian GSK3s are essential for normal differentiation and morphogenesis of the nervous system. Cephalic ganglia appear smaller and disconnected in 1-azakenpaullone-treated animals, whereas visual axons are ectopically projected, and the pharynx does not regenerate properly. This phenotype is consistent with a role for Smed-GSK3s in neuronal polarization and axonal growth. PMID:18202849

  4. Planarian PTEN homologs regulate stem cells and regeneration through TOR signaling.

    PubMed

    Oviedo, Néstor J; Pearson, Bret J; Levin, Michael; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2008-01-01

    We have identified two genes, Smed-PTEN-1 and Smed-PTEN-2, capable of regulating stem cell function in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Both genes encode proteins homologous to the mammalian tumor suppressor, phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN). Inactivation of Smed-PTEN-1 and -2 by RNA interference (RNAi) in planarians disrupts regeneration, and leads to abnormal outgrowths in both cut and uncut animals followed soon after by death (lysis). The resulting phenotype is characterized by hyperproliferation of neoblasts (planarian stem cells), tissue disorganization and a significant accumulation of postmitotic cells with impaired differentiation capacity. Further analyses revealed that rapamycin selectively prevented such accumulation without affecting the normal neoblast proliferation associated with physiological turnover and regeneration. In animals in which PTEN function is abrogated, we also detected a significant increase in the number of cells expressing the planarian Akt gene homolog (Smed-Akt). However, functional abrogation of Smed-Akt in Smed-PTEN RNAi-treated animals does not prevent cell overproliferation and lethality, indicating that functional abrogation of Smed-PTEN is sufficient to induce abnormal outgrowths. Altogether, our data reveal roles for PTEN in the regulation of planarian stem cells that are strikingly conserved to mammalian models. In addition, our results implicate this protein in the control of stem cell maintenance during the regeneration of complex structures in planarians. PMID:19048075

  5. Regeneration and maintenance of the planarian midline is regulated by a slit orthologue.

    PubMed

    Cebrià, Francesc; Guo, Tingxia; Jopek, Jessica; Newmark, Phillip A

    2007-07-15

    Several families of evolutionarily conserved axon guidance cues orchestrate the precise wiring of the nervous system during embryonic development. The remarkable plasticity of freshwater planarians provides the opportunity to study these molecules in the context of neural regeneration and maintenance. Here we characterize a homologue of the Slit family of guidance cues from the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Smed-slit is expressed along the planarian midline, in both dorsal and ventral domains. RNA interference (RNAi) targeting Smed-slit results in the collapse of many newly regenerated tissues at the midline; these include the cephalic ganglia, ventral nerve cords, photoreceptors, and the posterior digestive system. Surprisingly, Smed-slit RNAi knockdown animals also develop morphologically distinguishable, ectopic neural structures near the midline in uninjured regions of intact and regenerating planarians. These results suggest that Smed-slit acts not only as a repulsive cue required for proper midline formation during regeneration but that it may also act to regulate the behavior of neural precursors at the midline in intact planarians. PMID:17553481

  6. EGFR signaling regulates cell proliferation, differentiation and morphogenesis during planarian regeneration and homeostasis.

    PubMed

    Fraguas, Susanna; Barberán, Sara; Cebrià, Francesc

    2011-06-01

    Similarly to development, the process of regeneration requires that cells accurately sense and respond to their external environment. Thus, intrinsic cues must be integrated with signals from the surrounding environment to ensure appropriate temporal and spatial regulation of tissue regeneration. Identifying the signaling pathways that control these events will not only provide insights into a fascinating biological phenomenon but may also yield new molecular targets for use in regenerative medicine. Among classical models to study regeneration, freshwater planarians represent an attractive system in which to investigate the signals that regulate cell proliferation and differentiation, as well as the proper patterning of the structures being regenerated. Recent studies in planarians have begun to define the role of conserved signaling pathways during regeneration. Here, we extend these analyses to the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor pathway. We report the characterization of three epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Silencing of these genes by RNA interference (RNAi) yielded multiple defects in intact and regenerating planarians. Smed-egfr-1(RNAi) resulted in decreased differentiation of eye pigment cells, abnormal pharynx regeneration and maintenance, and the development of dorsal outgrowths. In contrast, Smed-egfr-3(RNAi) animals produced smaller blastemas associated with abnormal differentiation of certain cell types. Our results suggest important roles for the EGFR signaling in controlling cell proliferation, differentiation and morphogenesis during planarian regeneration and homeostasis. PMID:21458439

  7. Loss of DNA mismatch repair imparts a selective advantage in planarian adult stem cells.

    PubMed

    Hollenbach, Jessica P; Resch, Alissa M; Palakodeti, Dasaradhi; Graveley, Brenton R; Heinen, Christopher D

    2011-01-01

    Lynch syndrome (LS) leads to an increased risk of early-onset colorectal and other types of cancer and is caused by germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes. Loss of MMR function results in a mutator phenotype that likely underlies its role in tumorigenesis. However, loss of MMR also results in the elimination of a DNA damage-induced checkpoint/apoptosis activation barrier that may allow damaged cells to grow unchecked. A fundamental question is whether loss of MMR provides pre-cancerous stem cells an immediate selective advantage in addition to establishing a mutator phenotype. To test this hypothesis in an in vivo system, we utilized the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea which contains a significant population of identifiable adult stem cells. We identified a planarian homolog of human MSH2, a MMR gene which is mutated in 38% of LS cases. The planarian Smed-msh2 is expressed in stem cells and some progeny. We depleted Smed-msh2 mRNA levels by RNA-interference and found a striking survival advantage in these animals treated with a cytotoxic DNA alkylating agent compared to control animals. We demonstrated that this tolerance to DNA damage is due to the survival of mitotically active, MMR-deficient stem cells. Our results suggest that loss of MMR provides an in vivo survival advantage to the stem cell population in the presence of DNA damage that may have implications for tumorigenesis. PMID:21747960

  8. A Bmp/Admp regulatory circuit controls maintenance and regeneration of dorsal-ventral polarity in planarians.

    PubMed

    Gaviño, Michael A; Reddien, Peter W

    2011-02-22

    Animal embryos have diverse anatomy and vary greatly in size. It is therefore remarkable that a common signaling pathway, BMP signaling, controls development of the dorsoventral (DV) axis throughout the Bilateria. In vertebrates, spatially opposed expression of the BMP family proteins Bmp4 and Admp (antidorsalizing morphogenetic protein) can promote restoration of DV pattern following tissue removal. bmp4 orthologs have been identified in all three groups of the Bilateria (deuterostomes, ecdysozoans, and lophotrochozoans). By contrast, the absence of admp orthologs in ecdysozoans such as Drosophila and C. elegans has suggested that a regulatory circuit of oppositely expressed bmp4 and admp genes represents a deuterostome-specific innovation. Here we describe the existence of spatially opposed bmp and admp expression in a protostome. An admp ortholog (Smed-admp) is expressed ventrally and laterally in adult Schmidtea mediterranea planarians, opposing the dorsal-pole expression of Smed-bmp4. Smed-admp is required for regeneration following parasagittal amputation. Furthermore, Smed-admp promotes Smed-bmp4 expression and Smed-bmp4 inhibits Smed-admp expression, generating a regulatory circuit that buffers against perturbations of Bmp signaling. These results suggest that a Bmp/Admp regulatory circuit is a central feature of the Bilateria, used broadly for the establishment, maintenance, and regeneration of the DV axis. PMID:21295483

  9. Phylogenetic analysis of the endoribonuclease Dicer family.

    PubMed

    Gao, Zeqian; Wang, Miao; Blair, David; Zheng, Yadong; Dou, Yongxi

    2014-01-01

    Dicers are proteins of the ribonuclease III family with the ability to process dsRNA, involved in regulation of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Dicers are conserved from basal metazoans to higher metazoans and contain a number of functional domains that interact with dsRNA. The completed genome sequences of over 34 invertebrate species allowed us to systematically investigate Dicer genes over a diverse range of phyla. The majority of invertebrate Dicers clearly fell into the Dicer1 or Dicer2 subfamilies. Most nematodes possessed only one Dicer gene, a member of the Dicer1 subfamily, whereas two Dicer genes (Dicer1 and Dicer2) were present in all platyhelminths surveyed. Analysis of the key domains showed that a 5' pocket was conserved across members of the Dicer1 subfamily, with the exception of the nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. Interestingly, Nematostella vectensis DicerB grouped into Dicer2 subfamily harbored a 5' pocket, which is commonly present in Dicer1. Similarly, the 3' pocket was also found to be conserved in all Dicer proteins with the exceptions of Schmidtea mediterranea Dicer2 and Trichoplax adherens Dicer A. The loss of catalytic residues in the RNase III domain was noted in platyhelminths and cnidarians, and the 'ball' and 'socket' junction between two RNase III domains in platyhelminth Dicers was different from the canonical junction, suggesting the possibility of different conformations. The present data suggest that Dicers might have duplicated and diversified independently, and have evolved for various functions in invertebrates. PMID:24748168

  10. Evolutionary history of the Tricladida and the Platyhelminthes: an up-to-date phylogenetic and systematic account.

    PubMed

    Riutort, Marta; Álvarez-Presas, Marta; Lázaro, Eva; Solà, Eduard; Paps, Jordi

    2012-01-01

    Within the free-living platyhelminths, the triclads, or planarians, are the best-known group, largely as a result of long-standing and intensive research on regeneration, pattern formation and Hox gene expression. However, the group's evolutionary history has been long debated, with controversies ranging from their phyletic structure and position within the Metazoa to the relationships among species within the Tricladida. Over the the last decade, with the advent of molecular phylogenies, some of these issues have begun to be resolved. Here, we present an up-to-date summary of the main phylogenetic changes and novelties with some comments on their evolutionary implications. The phylum has been split into two groups, and the position of the main group (the Rhabdithophora and the Catenulida), close to the Annelida and the Mollusca within the Lophotrochozoa, is now clear. Their internal relationships, although not totally resolved, have been clarified. Tricladida systematics has also experienced a revolution since the implementation of molecular data. The terrestrial planarians have been demonstrated to have emerged from one of the freshwater families, giving a different view of their evolution and greatly altering their classification. The use of molecular data is also facilitating the identification of Tricladida species by DNA barcoding, allowing better knowledge of their distribution and genetic diversity. Finally, molecular phylogenetic and phylogeographical analyses, taking advantage of recent data, are beginning to give a clear picture of the recent history of the Dugesia and Schmidtea species in the Mediterranean. PMID:22450992

  11. A Bruno-like gene is required for stem cell maintenance in planarians.

    PubMed

    Guo, Tingxia; Peters, Antoine H F M; Newmark, Phillip A

    2006-08-01

    The regenerative abilities of freshwater planarians are based on neoblasts, stem cells maintained throughout the animal's life. We show that a member of the Bruno-like family of RNA binding proteins is critical for regulating neoblasts in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Smed-bruno-like (bruli) mRNA and protein are expressed in neoblasts and the central nervous system. Following bruli RNAi, which eliminates detectable Bruli protein, planarians initiate the proliferative response to amputation and form small blastemas but then undergo tissue regression and lysis. We characterize the neoblast population by using antibodies recognizing SMEDWI-1 and Histone H4 (monomethyl-K20) and cell-cycle markers to label subsets of neoblasts and their progeny. bruli knockdown results in a dramatic reduction/elimination of neoblasts. Our analyses indicate that neoblasts lacking Bruli can respond to wound stimuli and generate progeny that can form blastemas and differentiate; yet, they are unable to self-renew. These results suggest that Bruli is required for stem cell maintenance. PMID:16890156

  12. A prefoldin-associated WD-repeat protein (WDR92) is required for the correct architectural assembly of motile cilia.

    PubMed

    Patel-King, Ramila S; King, Stephen M

    2016-04-15

    WDR92 is a highly conserved WD-repeat protein that has been proposed to be involved in apoptosis and also to be part of a prefoldin-like cochaperone complex. We found that WDR92 has a phylogenetic signature that is generally compatible with it playing a role in the assembly or function of specifically motile cilia. To test this hypothesis, we performed an RNAi-based knockdown of WDR92 gene expression in the planarianSchmidtea mediterraneaand were able to achieve a robust reduction in mRNA expression to levels undetectable under our standard RT-PCR conditions. We found that this treatment resulted in a dramatic reduction in the rate of organismal movement that was caused by a switch in the mode of locomotion from smooth, cilia-driven gliding to muscle-based, peristaltic contractions. Although the knockdown animals still assembled cilia of normal length and in similar numbers to controls, these structures had reduced beat frequency and did not maintain hydrodynamic coupling. By transmission electron microscopy we observed that many cilia had pleiomorphic defects in their architecture, including partial loss of dynein arms, incomplete closure of the B-tubule, and occlusion or replacement of the central pair complex by accumulated electron-dense material. These observations suggest that WDR92 is part of a previously unrecognized cytoplasmic chaperone system that is specifically required to fold key components necessary to build motile ciliary axonemes. PMID:26912790

  13. Bioelectrical regulation of cell cycle and the planarian model system.

    PubMed

    Barghouth, Paul G; Thiruvalluvan, Manish; Oviedo, Néstor J

    2015-10-01

    Cell cycle regulation through the manipulation of endogenous membrane potentials offers tremendous opportunities to control cellular processes during tissue repair and cancer formation. However, the molecular mechanisms by which biophysical signals modulate the cell cycle remain underappreciated and poorly understood. Cells in complex organisms generate and maintain a constant voltage gradient across the plasma membrane known as the transmembrane potential. This potential, generated through the combined efforts of various ion transporters, pumps and channels, is known to drive a wide range of cellular processes such as cellular proliferation, migration and tissue regeneration while its deregulation can lead to tumorigenesis. These cellular regulatory events, coordinated by ionic flow, correspond to a new and exciting field termed molecular bioelectricity. We aim to present a brief discussion on the biophysical machinery involving membrane potential and the mechanisms mediating cell cycle progression and cancer transformation. Furthermore, we present the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea as a tractable model system for understanding principles behind molecular bioelectricity at both the cellular and organismal level. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Membrane channels and transporters in cancers. PMID:25749155

  14. Spliced-leader trans-splicing in freshwater planarians.

    PubMed

    Zayas, Ricardo M; Bold, Tyler D; Newmark, Phillip A

    2005-10-01

    trans-Splicing, in which a spliced-leader (SL) RNA is appended to the most 5' exon of independently transcribed pre-mRNAs, has been described in a wide range of eukaryotes, from protozoans to chordates. Here we describe trans-splicing in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, a free-living member of the phylum Platyhelminthes. Analysis of an expressed sequence tag (EST) collection from this organism showed that over 300 transcripts shared one of two approximately 35-base sequences (Smed SL-1 and SL-2) at their 5' ends. Examination of genomic sequences encoding representatives of these transcripts revealed that these shared sequences were transcribed elsewhere in the genome. RNA blot analysis, 5' and 3' rapid amplification of cDNA ends, as well as genomic sequence data showed that 42-nt SL sequences were derived from small RNAs of approximately 110 nt. Similar sequences were also found at the 5' ends of ESTs from the planarian Dugesia japonica. trans-Splicing has already been described in numerous representatives of the phylum Platyhelminthes (trematodes, cestodes, and polyclads); its presence in two representatives of the triclads supports the hypothesis that this mode of RNA processing is ancestral within this group. The upcoming complete genome sequence of S. mediterranea, combined with this animal's experimental accessibility and susceptibility to RNAi, provide another model organism in which to study the function of the still-enigmatic trans-splicing. PMID:15972844

  15. Conserved functional antagonism of CELF and MBNL proteins controls stem cell-specific alternative splicing in planarians

    PubMed Central

    Solana, Jordi; Irimia, Manuel; Ayoub, Salah; Orejuela, Marta Rodriguez; Zywitza, Vera; Jens, Marvin; Tapial, Javier; Ray, Debashish; Morris, Quaid; Hughes, Timothy R; Blencowe, Benjamin J; Rajewsky, Nikolaus

    2016-01-01

    In contrast to transcriptional regulation, the function of alternative splicing (AS) in stem cells is poorly understood. In mammals, MBNL proteins negatively regulate an exon program specific of embryonic stem cells; however, little is known about the in vivo significance of this regulation. We studied AS in a powerful in vivo model for stem cell biology, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. We discover a conserved AS program comprising hundreds of alternative exons, microexons and introns that is differentially regulated in planarian stem cells, and comprehensively identify its regulators. We show that functional antagonism between CELF and MBNL factors directly controls stem cell-specific AS in planarians, placing the origin of this regulatory mechanism at the base of Bilaterians. Knockdown of CELF or MBNL factors lead to abnormal regenerative capacities by affecting self-renewal and differentiation sets of genes, respectively. These results highlight the importance of AS interactions in stem cell regulation across metazoans. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.16797.001 PMID:27502555

  16. Pathogenic shifts in endogenous microbiota impede tissue regeneration via distinct activation of TAK1/MKK/p38

    PubMed Central

    Arnold, Christopher P; Merryman, M Shane; Harris-Arnold, Aleishia; McKinney, Sean A; Seidel, Chris W; Loethen, Sydney; Proctor, Kylie N; Guo, Longhua; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2016-01-01

    The interrelationship between endogenous microbiota, the immune system, and tissue regeneration is an area of intense research due to its potential therapeutic applications. We investigated this relationship in Schmidtea mediterranea, a model organism capable of regenerating any and all of its adult tissues. Microbiome characterization revealed a high Bacteroidetes to Proteobacteria ratio in healthy animals. Perturbations eliciting an expansion of Proteobacteria coincided with ectopic lesions and tissue degeneration. The culture of these bacteria yielded a strain of Pseudomonas capable of inducing progressive tissue degeneration. RNAi screening uncovered a TAK1 innate immune signaling module underlying compromised tissue homeostasis and regeneration during infection. TAK1/MKK/p38 signaling mediated opposing regulation of apoptosis during infection versus normal tissue regeneration. Given the complex role of inflammation in either hindering or supporting reparative wound healing and regeneration, this invertebrate model provides a basis for dissecting the duality of evolutionarily conserved inflammatory signaling in complex, multi-organ adult tissue regeneration. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.16793.001 PMID:27441386

  17. Identification of HECT E3 ubiquitin ligase family genes involved in stem cell regulation and regeneration in planarians.

    PubMed

    Henderson, Jordana M; Nisperos, Sean V; Weeks, Joi; Ghulam, Mahjoobah; Marín, Ignacio; Zayas, Ricardo M

    2015-08-15

    E3 ubiquitin ligases constitute a large family of enzymes that modify specific proteins by covalently attaching ubiquitin polypeptides. This post-translational modification can serve to regulate protein function or longevity. In spite of their importance in cell physiology, the biological roles of most ubiquitin ligases remain poorly understood. Here, we analyzed the function of the HECT domain family of E3 ubiquitin ligases in stem cell biology and tissue regeneration in planarians. Using bioinformatic searches, we identified 17 HECT E3 genes that are expressed in the Schmidtea mediterranea genome. Whole-mount in situ hybridization experiments showed that HECT genes were expressed in diverse tissues and most were expressed in the stem cell population (neoblasts) or in their progeny. To investigate the function of all HECT E3 ligases, we inhibited their expression using RNA interference (RNAi) and determined that orthologs of huwe1, wwp1, and trip12 had roles in tissue regeneration. We show that huwe1 RNAi knockdown led to a significant expansion of the neoblast population and death by lysis. Further, our experiments showed that wwp1 was necessary for both neoblast and intestinal tissue homeostasis as well as uncovered an unexpected role of trip12 in posterior tissue specification. Taken together, our data provide insights into the roles of HECT E3 ligases in tissue regeneration and demonstrate that planarians will be a useful model to evaluate the functions of E3 ubiquitin ligases in stem cell regulation. PMID:25956527

  18. Smed-dynA-1 is a planarian nervous system specific dynamin 1 homolog required for normal locomotion

    PubMed Central

    Talbot, Jared A.; Currie, Ko W.; Pearson, Bret J.; Collins, Eva-Maria S.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Dynamins are GTPases that are required for separation of vesicles from the plasma membrane and thus are key regulators of endocytosis in eukaryotic cells. This role for dynamin proteins is especially crucial for the proper function of neurons, where they ensure that synaptic vesicles and their neurotransmitter cargo are recycled in the presynaptic cell. Here we have characterized the dynamin protein family in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea and showed that it possesses six dynamins with tissue specific expression profiles. Of these six planarian homologs, two are necessary for normal tissue homeostasis, and the loss of another, Smed-dynA-1, leads to an abnormal behavioral phenotype, which we have quantified using automated center of mass tracking. Smed-dynA-1 is primarily expressed in the planarian nervous system and is a functional homolog of the mammalian Dynamin I. The distinct expression profiles of the six dynamin genes makes planarians an interesting new system to reveal novel dynamin functions, which may be determined by their differential tissue localization. The observed complexity of neurotransmitter regulation combined with the tools of quantitative behavioral assays as a functional readout for neuronal activity, renders planarians an ideal system for studying how the nervous system controls behavior. PMID:24950970

  19. A proteomics approach to decipher the molecular nature of planarian stem cells

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background In recent years, planaria have emerged as an important model system for research into stem cells and regeneration. Attention is focused on their unique stem cells, the neoblasts, which can differentiate into any cell type present in the adult organism. Sequencing of the Schmidtea mediterranea genome and some expressed sequence tag projects have generated extensive data on the genetic profile of these cells. However, little information is available on their protein dynamics. Results We developed a proteomic strategy to identify neoblast-specific proteins. Here we describe the method and discuss the results in comparison to the genomic high-throughput analyses carried out in planaria and to proteomic studies using other stem cell systems. We also show functional data for some of the candidate genes selected in our proteomic approach. Conclusions We have developed an accurate and reliable mass-spectra-based proteomics approach to complement previous genomic studies and to further achieve a more accurate understanding and description of the molecular and cellular processes related to the neoblasts. PMID:21356107

  20. Planarian regeneration involves distinct stem cell responses to wounds and tissue absence

    PubMed Central

    Wenemoser, Danielle; Reddien, Peter W.

    2010-01-01

    Regeneration requires signaling from a wound site for detection of the wound, and a mechanism that determines the nature of the injury to specify the appropriate regenerative response. Wound signals and tissue responses to wounds that elicit regeneration remain poorly understood. Planarians are able to regenerate from essentially any type of injury and present a novel system for the study of wound responses in regeneration initiation. Newly developed molecular and cellular tools now enable study of regeneration initiation using the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Planarian regeneration requires adult stem cells called neoblasts and amputation triggers two peaks in neoblast mitoses early in regeneration. We demonstrate that the first mitotic peak is a body-wide response to any injury and that a second, local, neoblast response is induced only when injury results in missing tissue. This second response was characterized by recruitment of neoblasts to wounds, even in areas that lack neoblasts in the intact animal. Subsequently, these neoblasts were induced to divide and differentiate near the wound, leading to formation of new tissue. We conclude that there exist two functionally distinct signaling phases of the stem cell wound response that distinguish between simple injury and situations that require the regeneration of missing tissue. PMID:20599901

  1. Expression of secreted Wnt pathway components reveals unexpected complexity of the planarian amputation response

    PubMed Central

    Gurley, Kyle A.; Elliott, Sarah A.; Simakov, Oleg; Schmidt, Heiko A.; Holstein, Thomas W.; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2010-01-01

    Regeneration is widespread throughout the animal kingdom, but our molecular understanding of this process in adult animals remains poorly understood. Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays crucial roles throughout animal life from early development to adulthood. In intact and regenerating planarians, the regulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling functions to maintain and specify anterior/posterior (A/P) identity. Here, we explore the expression kinetics and RNAi phenotypes for secreted members of the Wnt signaling pathway in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Smed-wnt and sFRP expression during regeneration is surprisingly dynamic and reveals fundamental aspects of planarian biology that have been previously unappreciated. We show that after amputation, a wounding response precedes rapid reorganization of the A/P axis. Furthermore, cells throughout the body plan can mount this response and reassess their new A/P location in the complete absence of stem cells. While initial stages of the amputation response are stem cell independent, tissue remodeling and the integration of new A/P address with anatomy are stem cell dependent. We also show that WNT5 functions in a reciprocal manner with SLIT to pattern the planarian mediolateral axis, while WNT11-2 patterns the posterior midline. Moreover, we perform an extensive phylogenetic analysis on the Smed-wnt genes using a method that combines and integrates both sequence and structural alignments, enabling us to place all nine genes into Wnt subfamilies for the first time. PMID:20707997

  2. Cell Death and Tissue Remodeling in Planarian Regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Pellettieri, Jason; Fitzgerald, Patrick; Watanabe, Shigeki; Mancuso, Joel; Green, Douglas R.; Alvarado, Alejandro Sánchez

    2010-01-01

    Many long-lived organisms, including humans, can regenerate some adult tissues lost to physical injury or disease. Much of the previous research on mechanisms of regeneration has focused on adult stem cells, which give rise to new tissue necessary for the replacement of missing body parts. Here we report that apoptosis of differentiated cells complements stem cell division during regeneration in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Specifically, we developed a whole-mount TUNEL assay that allowed us to document two dramatic increases in the rate of apoptosis following amputation – an intial localized response near the wound site and a subsequent systemic response that varies in magnitude depending on the type of fragment examined. The latter cell death response can be induced in uninjured organs, occurs in the absence of planarian stem cells, and can also be triggered by prolonged starvation. Taken together, our results implicate apoptosis in the restoration of proper anatomical scale and proportion through remodeling of existing tissues. We also report results from initial mechanistic studies of apoptosis in planarians, which revealed that a S. mediterranea homolog of the antiapoptotic gene BCL2 is required for cell survival in adult animals. We propose that apoptosis is a central mechanism working in concert with stem cell division to restore anatomical form and function during metazoan regeneration. PMID:19766622

  3. An integrated pipeline for next generation sequencing and annotation of the complete mitochondrial genome of the giant intestinal fluke, Fasciolopsis buski (Lankester, 1857) Looss, 1899

    PubMed Central

    Biswal, Devendra Kumar; Ghatani, Sudeep; Shylla, Jollin A.; Sahu, Ranjana; Mullapudi, Nandita

    2013-01-01

    Helminths include both parasitic nematodes (roundworms) and platyhelminths (trematode and cestode flatworms) that are abundant, and are of clinical importance. The genetic characterization of parasitic flatworms using advanced molecular tools is central to the diagnosis and control of infections. Although the nuclear genome houses suitable genetic markers (e.g., in ribosomal (r) DNA) for species identification and molecular characterization, the mitochondrial (mt) genome consistently provides a rich source of novel markers for informative systematics and epidemiological studies. In the last decade, there have been some important advances in mtDNA genomics of helminths, especially lung flukes, liver flukes and intestinal flukes. Fasciolopsis buski, often called the giant intestinal fluke, is one of the largest digenean trematodes infecting humans and found primarily in Asia, in particular the Indian subcontinent. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies now provide opportunities for high throughput sequencing, assembly and annotation within a short span of time. Herein, we describe a high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics pipeline for mt genomics for F. buski that emphasizes the utility of short read NGS platforms such as Ion Torrent and Illumina in successfully sequencing and assembling the mt genome using innovative approaches for PCR primer design as well as assembly. We took advantage of our NGS whole genome sequence data (unpublished so far) for F. buski and its comparison with available data for the Fasciola hepatica mtDNA as the reference genome for design of precise and specific primers for amplification of mt genome sequences from F. buski. A long-range PCR was carried out to create an NGS library enriched in mt DNA sequences. Two different NGS platforms were employed for complete sequencing, assembly and annotation of the F. buski mt genome. The complete mt genome sequences of the intestinal fluke comprise 14,118 bp and is thus the shortest

  4. Thyroid hormone receptor orthologues from invertebrate species with emphasis on Schistosoma mansoni

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Wenjie; Niles, Edward G; LoVerde, Philip T

    2007-01-01

    Background: Thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) function as molecular switches in response to thyroid hormone to regulate gene transcription. TRs were previously believed to be present only in chordates. Results: We isolated two TR genes from the Schistosoma mansoni and identified TR orthologues from other invertebrates: the platyhelminths, S. japonium and Schmidtea mediterranea, the mollusc, Lottia gigantean and the arthropod Daphnia pulex. Phylogenetic analysis of the DNA binding domain and/or ligand binding domain shows that invertebrate and vertebrate TRs cluster together, TRs from the vertebrates and from the jawless vertebrate (lamprey) clustered within separate subgroups, Platyhelminth TRs cluster outside of the vertebrate TR subgroups and that the schistosome TRs and S. mediterranea TRs clustered within separate subgroups. Alignment of the C-terminus of the A/B domain revealed a conserved TR-specific motif, termed TR 'N-terminus signature sequence', with a consensus sequence of (G/P)YIPSY(M/L)XXXGPE(D/E)X. Heterodimer formation between S. mansoni TRs and SmRXR1 suggests that the invertebrate TR protein gained the ability to form a heterodimer with RXR. ESMA analysis showed that SmTRα could bind to a conserved DNA core motif as a monomer or homodimer. Conclusion: Vertebrate TR genes originated from a common ancestor of the Bilateria. TR genes underwent duplication independently in the Protostomia and Deuterostomia. The duplication of TRs in deuterostomes occurred after the split of jawless and jawed vertebrates. In protostomes, TR genes underwent duplication in Platyhelminths, occurring independently in trematode and turbellarian lineages. Using S. mansoni TRs as an example, invertebrate TRs exhibited the ability to form a dimer with RXR prior to the emergence of the vertebrate TRs and were able to bind to vertebrate TR core DNA elements as a monomer or homodimer. PMID:17727708

  5. Defining the molecular profile of planarian pluripotent stem cells using a combinatorial RNA-seq, RNA interference and irradiation approach

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Planarian stem cells, or neoblasts, drive the almost unlimited regeneration capacities of freshwater planarians. Neoblasts are traditionally described by their morphological features and by the fact that they are the only proliferative cell type in asexual planarians. Therefore, they can be specifically eliminated by irradiation. Irradiation, however, is likely to induce transcriptome-wide changes in gene expression that are not associated with neoblast ablation. This has affected the accurate description of their specific transcriptomic profile. Results We introduce the use of Smed-histone-2B RNA interference (RNAi) for genetic ablation of neoblast cells in Schmidtea mediterranea as an alternative to irradiation. We characterize the rapid, neoblast-specific phenotype induced by Smed-histone-2B RNAi, resulting in neoblast ablation. We compare and triangulate RNA-seq data after using both irradiation and Smed-histone-2B RNAi over a time course as means of neoblast ablation. Our analyses show that Smed-histone-2B RNAi eliminates neoblast gene expression with high specificity and discrimination from gene expression in other cellular compartments. We compile a high confidence list of genes downregulated by both irradiation and Smed-histone-2B RNAi and validate their expression in neoblast cells. Lastly, we analyze the overall expression profile of neoblast cells. Conclusions Our list of neoblast genes parallels their morphological features and is highly enriched for nuclear components, chromatin remodeling factors, RNA splicing factors, RNA granule components and the machinery of cell division. Our data reveal that the regulation of planarian stem cells relies on posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms and suggest that planarians are an ideal model for this understudied aspect of stem cell biology. PMID:22439894

  6. Phylogenetic Analysis of the Endoribonuclease Dicer Family

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Zeqian; Wang, Miao; Blair, David; Zheng, Yadong; Dou, Yongxi

    2014-01-01

    Dicers are proteins of the ribonuclease III family with the ability to process dsRNA, involved in regulation of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Dicers are conserved from basal metazoans to higher metazoans and contain a number of functional domains that interact with dsRNA. The completed genome sequences of over 34 invertebrate species allowed us to systematically investigate Dicer genes over a diverse range of phyla. The majority of invertebrate Dicers clearly fell into the Dicer1 or Dicer2 subfamilies. Most nematodes possessed only one Dicer gene, a member of the Dicer1 subfamily, whereas two Dicer genes (Dicer1 and Dicer2) were present in all platyhelminths surveyed. Analysis of the key domains showed that a 5′ pocket was conserved across members of the Dicer1 subfamily, with the exception of the nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. Interestingly, Nematostella vectensis DicerB grouped into Dicer2 subfamily harbored a 5′ pocket, which is commonly present in Dicer1. Similarly, the 3′ pocket was also found to be conserved in all Dicer proteins with the exceptions of Schmidtea mediterranea Dicer2 and Trichoplax adherens Dicer A. The loss of catalytic residues in the RNase III domain was noted in platyhelminths and cnidarians, and the ‘ball’ and ‘socket’ junction between two RNase III domains in platyhelminth Dicers was different from the canonical junction, suggesting the possibility of different conformations. The present data suggest that Dicers might have duplicated and diversified independently, and have evolved for various functions in invertebrates. PMID:24748168

  7. Planarians: an In Vivo Model for Regenerative Medicine

    PubMed Central

    Karami, Ali; Tebyanian, Hamid; Goodarzi, Vahabodin; Shiri, Sajad

    2015-01-01

    The emergence of regenerative medicine has raised the hope of treating an extraordinary range of disease and serious injuries. Understanding the processes of cell proliferation, differentiation and pattern formation in regenerative organisms could help find ways to enhance the poor regenerative abilities shown by many other animals, including humans. Recently, planarians have emerged as an attractive model in which to study regeneration. These animals are considering as in vivo plate, during which we can study the behavior and characristics of stem cells in their own niche. A variety of characteristic such as: simplicity, easy to manipulate experimentally, the existence of more than 100 years of literature, makes these animals an extraordinary model for regenerative medicine researches. Among planarians free-living freshwater hermaphrodite Schmidtea mediterranea has emerged as a suitable model system because it displays robust regenerative properties and, unlike most other planarians, it is a stable diploid with a genome size of about 4.8×108 base pairs, nearly half that of other common planarians. Planarian regeneration involves two highly flexible systems: pluripotent neoblasts that can generate any new cell type and muscle cells that provide positional instructions for the regeneration of anybody region. neoblasts represent roughly 25~30 percent of all planarian cells and are scattered broadly through the parenchyma, being absent only from the animal head tips and the pharynx. Two models for neo-blast specification have been proposed; the naive model posits that all neoblasts are stem cells with the same potential and are a largely homogeneous population. PMID:26634061

  8. Epigenetic regulation of planarian stem cells by the SET1/MLL family of histone methyltransferases

    PubMed Central

    Hubert, Amy; Henderson, Jordana M.; Ross, Kelly G.; Cowles, Martis W.; Torres, Jessica; Zayas, Ricardo M.

    2013-01-01

    Chromatin regulation is a fundamental mechanism underlying stem cell pluripotency, differentiation, and the establishment of cell type-specific gene expression profiles. To examine the role of chromatin regulation in stem cells in vivo, we study regeneration in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. These animals possess a high concentration of pluripotent stem cells, which are capable of restoring any damaged or lost tissues after injury or amputation. Here, we identify the S. mediterranea homologs of the SET1/MLL family of histone methyltransferases and COMPASS and COMPASS-like complex proteins and investigate their role in stem cell function during regeneration. We identified six S. mediterranea homologs of the SET1/MLL family (set1, mll1/2, trr-1, trr-2, mll5–1 and mll5–2), characterized their patterns of expression in the animal, and examined their function by RNAi. All members of this family are expressed in the stem cell population and differentiated tissues. We show that set1, mll1/2, trr-1, and mll5–2 are required for regeneration and that set1, trr-1 and mll5–2 play roles in the regulation of mitosis. Most notably, knockdown of the planarian set1 homolog leads to stem cell depletion. A subset of planarian homologs of COMPASS and COMPASS-like complex proteins are also expressed in stem cells and implicated in regeneration, but the knockdown phenotypes suggest that some complex members also function in other aspects of planarian biology. This work characterizes the function of the SET1/MLL family in the context of planarian regeneration and provides insight into the role of these enzymes in adult stem cell regulation in vivo. PMID:23235145

  9. nanos function is essential for development and regeneration of planarian germ cells.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yuying; Zayas, Ricardo M; Guo, Tingxia; Newmark, Phillip A

    2007-04-01

    Germ cells are required for the successful propagation of sexually reproducing species. Understanding the mechanisms by which these cells are specified and how their totipotency is established and maintained has important biomedical and evolutionary implications. Freshwater planarians serve as fascinating models for studying these questions. They can regenerate germ cells from fragments of adult tissues that lack reproductive structures, suggesting that inductive signaling is involved in planarian germ cell specification. To study the development and regeneration of planarian germ cells, we have functionally characterized an ortholog of nanos, a gene required for germ cell development in diverse organisms, from Schmidtea mediterranea. In the hermaphroditic strain of this species, Smed-nanos mRNA is detected in developing, regenerating, and mature ovaries and testes. However, it is not detected in the vast majority of newly hatched planarians or in small tissue fragments that will ultimately regenerate germ cells, consistent with an epigenetic origin of germ cells. We show that Smed-nanos RNA interference (RNAi) results in failure to develop, regenerate, or maintain gonads in sexual planarians. Unexpectedly, Smed-nanos mRNA is also detected in presumptive testes primordia of asexual individuals that reproduce strictly by fission. These presumptive germ cells are lost after Smed-nanos RNAi, suggesting that asexual planarians specify germ cells, but their differentiation is blocked downstream of Smed-nanos function. Our results reveal a conserved function of nanos in germ cell development in planarians and suggest that these animals will serve as useful models for dissecting the molecular basis of epigenetic germ cell specification. PMID:17376870

  10. Inhibitory Smads and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) modulate anterior photoreceptor cell number during planarian eye regeneration.

    PubMed

    González-Sastre, Alejandro; Molina, Ma Dolores; Saló, Emili

    2012-01-01

    Planarians represent an excellent model to study the processes of body axis and organ re-specification during regeneration. Previous studies have revealed a conserved role for the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway and its intracellular mediators Smad1/5/8 and Smad4 in planarian dorsoventral (DV) axis re-establishment. In an attempt to gain further insight into the role of this signalling pathway in planarians, we have isolated and functionally characte-rized the inhibitory Smads (I-Smads) in Schmidtea mediterranea. Two I-Smad homologues have been identified: Smed-smad6/7-1 and Smed-smad6/7-2. Expression of smad6/7-1 was detected in the parenchyma, while smad6/7-2 was found to be ex-pressed in the central nervous system and the eyes. Neither single smad6/7-1 and smad6/7-2 nor double smad6/7-1,-2 silencing gave rise to any apparent disruption of the DV axis. However, both regenerating and intact smad6/7-2 (RNAi) planarians showed defects in eye morphogenesis and displayed small, rounded eyes that lacked the anterior subpopulation of photoreceptor cells. The number of pigment cells was also reduced in these animals at later stages of regeneration. In contrast, after low doses of Smed-bmp(RNAi), planarians regenerated larger eyes in which the anterior subpopulation of photoreceptor cells was expanded. Our results suggest that Smed-smad6/7-2 and Smed-bmp control the re-specification and maintenance of anterior photoreceptor cell number in S. mediterranea. PMID:22451003