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Sample records for flatworm schmidtea polychroa

  1. Evolutionary implications of morphogenesis and molecular patterning of the blind gut in the planarian Schmidtea polychroa.

    PubMed

    Martín-Durán, José María; Romero, Rafael

    2011-04-01

    The formation of a through-gut was a key innovation in the evolution of metazoans. There is still controversy regarding the origin of the anus and how it may have been either gained or lost during evolution in different bilaterian taxa. Thus, the study of groups with a blind gut is of great importance for understanding the evolution of this organ system. Here, we describe the morphogenesis and molecular patterning of the blind gut in the sexual triclad Schmidtea polychroa. We identify and analyze the expression of goosecoid, commonly associated with the foregut, and the GATA, ParaHox and T-box genes, members of which commonly are associated with gut regionalization. We show that GATA456a is expressed in the blind gut of triclads, while GATA456b is localized in dorsal parenchymal cells. Goosecoid is expressed in the central nervous system, and the unique ParaHox gene identified, Xlox, is detected in association with the nervous system. We have not isolated any brachyury gene in the T-box complement of S. polychroa, which consists of one tbx1/10, three tbx2/3 and one tbx20. Furthermore, the absence of genes like brachyury and caudal is also present in other groups of Platyhelminthes. This study suggests that GATA456, in combination with foxA, is a gut-specific patterning mechanism conserved in the triclad S. polychroa, while the conserved gut-associated expression of foregut, midgut and hindgut markers is absent. Based on these data and the deviations in spiral cleavage found in more basal flatworms, we propose that the lack of an anus is an innovation of Platyhelminthes. This may be associated with loss of gut gene expression or even gene loss.

  2. Embryonic development of the nervous system in the planarian Schmidtea polychroa.

    PubMed

    Monjo, Francisco; Romero, Rafael

    2015-01-15

    The development of a nervous system is a key innovation in the evolution of metazoans, which is illustrated by the presence of a common developmental toolkit for the formation of this organ system. Neurogenesis in the Spiralia, in particular the Platyhelminthes, is, however, poorly understood when compared with other animal groups. Here, we characterize embryonic neurogenesis in the freshwater flatworm Schmidtea polychroa and analyze the expression of soxB and a set of proneural bHLH genes, which are gene families with a well-established role in metazoan early neural development. We show that the nervous system is fully de novo assembled after the early embryo ingests the maternal nutrients. At early stages of neurogenesis, soxB1 genes are expressed in putative neural progenitor cells, whereas soxB2 and neural bHLH genes (achaete-scute, neuroD and beta3) are associated with late neurogenesis and the specification of neural subpopulations of the central and peripheral nervous system. Our findings are consistent with the role of proneural genes in other bilaterians, suggesting that the ancestral neural-specific gene regulatory network is conserved in triclads, despite exhibiting a divergent mode of development.

  3. Morphological and molecular development of the eyes during embryogenesis of the freshwater planarian Schmidtea polychroa.

    PubMed

    Martín-Durán, José María; Monjo, Francisco; Romero, Rafael

    2012-03-01

    Photoreception is one of the most primitive sensory functions in metazoans. Despite the diversity of forms and components of metazoan eyes, many studies have demonstrated the existence of a common cellular and molecular basis for their development. Genes like pax6, sine oculis, eyes absent, dachshund, otx, Rx and atonal are known to be associated with the specification and development of the eyes. In planarians, sine oculis, eyes absent and otxA play an essential role during the formation of the eye after decapitation, whereas pax6, considered by many authors as a master control gene for eye formation, does not seem to be involved in adult eye regeneration. Whether this is a peculiarity of adult planarians or, on the contrary, is also found in embryogenesis remains unknown. Herein, we characterize embryonic eye development in the planarian species Schmidtea polychroa using histological sections and molecular markers. Additionally, we analyse the expression pattern of the pax6-sine oculis-eyes absent-dachshund network, and the genes Rx, otxA, otxB and atonal. We demonstrate that eye formation in planarian embryos shows great similarities to adult eye regeneration, both at the cellular and molecular level. We thus conclude that planarian eyes exhibit divergent molecular patterning mechanisms compared to the prototypic ancestral metazoan eye.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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)

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

    2016-04-08

    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.

  13. Ethanol exposure induces a delay in the reacquisition of function during head regeneration in Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Lowe, Jesse R; Mahool, Tyler D; Staehle, Mary M

    2015-01-01

    Prenatal exposure to ethanol affects neurodevelopmental processes, leading to a variety of physical and cognitive impairments collectively termed Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). The molecular level ethanol-induced alterations that underlie FASD are poorly understood and are difficult to study in mammals. Ethanol exposure has been shown to affect regulation and differentiation of embryonic stem cells in vitro, suggesting that in vivo effects such as FASD could arise from similar alterations of stem cells. In this study, we hypothesize that ethanol exposure affects head regeneration and neuroregeneration in the Schmidtea mediterranea planarian. S. mediterranea freshwater flatworms have remarkable regenerative abilities arising from an abundant population of pluripotent adult somatic stem cells known as neoblasts. Here, we evaluated the mobility-normalized photophobic behavior of ethanol-exposed planaria as an indicator of cognitive function in intact and head-regenerating worms. Our studies show that exposure to 1% ethanol induces a delay in the reacquisition of behavior during head regeneration that cannot be attributed to the effect of ethanol on intact worms. This suggests that the S. mediterranea planarian could provide insight into conserved neurodevelopmental processes that are affected by ethanol and that lead to FASD in humans.

  14. Substantial Loss of Conserved and Gain of Novel MicroRNA Families in Flatworms

    PubMed Central

    Fromm, Bastian; Worren, Merete Molton; Hahn, Christoph; Hovig, Eivind; Bachmann, Lutz

    2013-01-01

    Recent studies on microRNA (miRNA) evolution focused mainly on the comparison of miRNA complements between animal clades. However, evolution of miRNAs within such groups is poorly explored despite the availability of comparable data that in some cases lack only a few key taxa. For flatworms (Platyhelminthes), miRNA complements are available for some free-living flatworms and all major parasitic lineages, except for the Monogenea. We present the miRNA complement of the monogenean flatworm Gyrodactylus salaris that facilitates a comprehensive analysis of miRNA evolution in Platyhelminthes. Using the newly designed bioinformatics pipeline miRCandRef, the miRNA complement was disentangled from next-generation sequencing of small RNAs and genomic DNA without a priori genome assembly. It consists of 39 miRNA hairpin loci of conserved miRNA families, and 22 novel miRNAs. A comparison with the miRNA complements of Schmidtea mediterranea (Turbellaria), Schistosoma japonicum (Trematoda), and Echinococcus granulosus (Cestoda) reveals a substantial loss of conserved bilaterian, protostomian, and lophotrochozoan miRNAs. Eight of the 46 expected conserved miRNAs were lost in all flatworms, 16 in Neodermata and 24 conserved miRNAs could not be detected in the cestode and the trematode. Such a gradual loss of miRNAs has not been reported before for other animal phyla. Currently, little is known about miRNAs in Platyhelminthes, and for the majority of the lost miRNAs there is no prediction of function. As suggested earlier they might be related to morphological simplifications. The presence and absence of 153 conserved miRNAs was compared for platyhelminths and 32 other metazoan taxa. Phylogenetic analyses support the monophyly of Platyhelminthes (Turbellaria + Neodermata [Monogenea {Trematoda + Cestoda}]). PMID:24025793

  15. The costs and benefits of occasional sex: theoretical predictions and a case study.

    PubMed

    D'Souza, Thomas G; Michiels, Nico K

    2010-01-01

    Theory predicts that occasional sexual reproduction in predominantly parthenogenetic organisms offers all the advantages of obligate sexuality without paying its full costs. However, empirical examples identifying and evaluating the costs and benefits of rare sex are scarce. After reviewing the theoretical perspective on rare sex, we present our findings of potential costs and benefits of occasional sex in polyploid, sperm-dependent parthenogens of the planarian flatworm Schmidtea polychroa. Despite costs associated with the production of less fertile tetraploids as sexual intermediates, the benefits of rare sex prevail in S. polychroa and may be sufficiently strong to prevent extinction of parthenogenetic populations. This offers an explanation for the dominance of parthenogenesis in S. polychroa. We discuss the enigmatic question why not all organisms show a mixed reproduction mode.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Ammonia excretion in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Weihrauch, Dirk; Chan, Ainsely C; Meyer, Heiko; Döring, Carmen; Sourial, Mary; O'Donnell, Michael J

    2012-09-15

    In aquatic invertebrates, metabolic nitrogenous waste is excreted predominately as ammonia. Very little is known, however, of the underlying mechanisms of ammonia excretion, particularly in freshwater species. Our results indicate that in the non-parasitic freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, ammonia excretion depends on acidification of the apical unstirred layer of the body surface and consequent ammonia trapping. Buffering of the environment to a pH of 7 or higher decreased the excretion rate. Inhibitor experiments suggested further that the excretion mechanism involves the participation of the V-type H(+)-ATPase and carbonic anhydrase and possibly also the Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase and Na(+)/H(+) exchangers. Alkalinization (pH 8.5, 2 days) of the environment led to a 1.9-fold increase in body ammonia levels and to a downregulation of V-ATPase (subunit A) and Rh-protein mRNA. Further, a 2 day exposure to non-lethal ammonia concentrations (1 mmol l(-1)) caused a doubling of body ammonia levels and led to an increase in Rh-protein and Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase (α-subunit) mRNA expression levels. In situ hybridization studies indicated a strong mRNA expression of the Rh-protein in the epidermal epithelium. The ammonia excretion mechanism proposed for S. mediterranea reveals striking similarities to the current model suggested to function in the gills of freshwater fish.

  20. Histone modifications and regeneration in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Robb, Sofia M C; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2014-01-01

    The freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea has emerged as a powerful model system for studying regeneration and adult stem cell (ASC) biology. This is largely due to the developmental plasticity of these organisms and the abundant distribution and experimental accessibility of their ASCs. Techniques such as whole mount in situ hybridization, dsRNA-mediated interference, halogenated thymidine analogs for defining cell lineages, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting among other methods, have allowed researchers to interrogate the biology and attendant pluripotent stem cells of these animals in great detail. Therefore, it has now become possible to interrogate and define the roles that epigenetic states may play in regulating ASCs, and by extension, regeneration proper. Here, we provide a primer on the types and number of histone families found in S. mediterranea, known as epigenetic marks of these molecules and a survey of epigenetic modifying enzymes encoded by the planarian genome. We also review experimental evidence indicating that such modifications may in fact play key roles in determining the activities of planarian stem cells.

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  3. Genome-Wide Analysis of Polyadenylation Events in Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    Lakshmanan, Vairavan; Bansal, Dhiru; Kulkarni, Jahnavi; Poduval, Deepak; Krishna, Srikar; Sasidharan, Vidyanand; Anand, Praveen; Seshasayee, Aswin; Palakodeti, Dasaradhi

    2016-01-01

    In eukaryotes, 3′ untranslated regions (UTRs) play important roles in regulating posttranscriptional gene expression. The 3′UTR is defined by regulated cleavage/polyadenylation of the pre-mRNA. The advent of next-generation sequencing technology has now enabled us to identify these events on a genome-wide scale. In this study, we used poly(A)-position profiling by sequencing (3P-Seq) to capture all poly(A) sites across the genome of the freshwater planarian, Schmidtea mediterranea, an ideal model system for exploring the process of regeneration and stem cell function. We identified the 3′UTRs for ∼14,000 transcripts and thus improved the existing gene annotations. We found 97 transcripts, which are polyadenylated within an internal exon, resulting in the shrinking of the ORF and loss of a predicted protein domain. Around 40% of the transcripts in planaria were alternatively polyadenylated (ApA), resulting either in an altered 3′UTR or a change in coding sequence. We identified specific ApA transcript isoforms that were subjected to miRNA mediated gene regulation using degradome sequencing. In this study, we also confirmed a tissue-specific expression pattern for alternate polyadenylated transcripts. The insights from this study highlight the potential role of ApA in regulating the gene expression essential for planarian regeneration. PMID:27489207

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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''.

  8. Myzostomida: a link between trochozoans and flatworms?

    PubMed Central

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

    2000-01-01

    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

  9. 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.

  10. Acoelomorph flatworms are deuterostomes related to Xenoturbella

    PubMed Central

    Philippe, Hervé; Brinkmann, Henner; Copley, Richard R.; Moroz, Leonid L.; Nakano, Hiroaki; Poustka, Albert J.; Wallberg, Andreas; Peterson, Kevin J.; Telford, Maximilian J.

    2014-01-01

    Xenoturbellida and Acoelomorpha are marine worms with contentious ancestry. Both were originally associated with the flatworms (Platyhelminthes), but molecular data haverevised their phylogenetic positions, generally linking Xenoturbellida to the deuterostomes1,2 and positioning the Acoelomorpha as the most basally branching bilaterian group(s)3–6. Recent phylogenomic data suggested that Xenoturbellida and Acoelomorpha are sister taxa and together constitute an early branch of Bilateria7. Here we assemble three independent data sets—mitochondrial genes, a phylogenomic data set of 38,330 amino-acid positions and new microRNA (miRNA) complements—and show that the position of Acoelomorpha is strongly affected by a long-branch attraction (LBA) artefact. When we minimize LBA we find consistent support for a position of both acoelomorphs and Xenoturbella within the deuterostomes. The most likely phylogeny links Xenoturbella and Acoelomorpha in a clade we call Xenacoelomorpha. The Xenacoelomorpha is the sister group of the Ambulacraria (hemichordates and echinoderms). We show that analyses of miRNA complements8 have been affected by character loss in the acoels and that both groups possess one miRNA and the gene Rsb66 otherwise specific to deuterostomes. In addition, Xenoturbella shares one miRNA with the ambulacrarians, and two with the acoels. This phylogeny makes sense of the shared characteristics of Xenoturbellida and Acoelomorpha, such as ciliary ultrastructure and diffuse nervous system, and implies the loss of various deuterostome characters in the Xenacoelomorpha including coelomic cavities, through gut and gill slits. PMID:21307940

  11. Seasonal Changes in the Tetrodotoxin Content of the Flatworm Planocera multitentaculata

    PubMed Central

    Yamada, Riko; Tsunashima, Tadasuke; Takei, Mitsuki; Sato, Tatsunori; Wajima, Yoshiki; Kawase, Makoto; Oshikiri, Shotaro; Kajitani, Yusuke; Kosoba, Keita; Ueda, Hiroyuki; Abe, Koko; Itoi, Shiro; Sugita, Haruo

    2017-01-01

    Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a potent neurotoxin that acts specifically on voltage-gated sodium channels on excitable membranes of muscle and nerve tissues. The biosynthetic process for TTX is unclear, although marine bacteria are generally thought to be the primary producers. The marine flatworm Planocera multitentaculata is a known TTX-bearing organism, and is suspected to be a TTX supplier to pufferfish. In this study, flatworm specimens were collected from an intertidal zone in Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan, the TTX content of the flatworm was measured using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), and seasonal changes in TTX content were investigated. No significant difference in TTX concentration of the flatworm body was found between the spawning period and other periods. However, the TTX content in individual flatworms was significantly higher in the spawning period than at other times. The TTX content rose in association with an increase in the body weight of the flatworm. PMID:28245608

  12. 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

  13. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-07-19

    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.

  15. Tryptophan hydroxylase Is Required for Eye Melanogenesis in the Planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Lambrus, Bramwell G; Cochet-Escartin, Olivier; Gao, Jiarong; Newmark, Phillip A; Collins, Eva-Maria S; Collins, James J

    2015-01-01

    Melanins are ubiquitous and biologically important pigments, yet the molecular mechanisms that regulate their synthesis and biochemical composition are not fully understood. Here we present a study that supports a role for serotonin in melanin synthesis in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. We characterize the tryptophan hydroxylase (tph) gene, which encodes the rate-limiting enzyme in serotonin synthesis, and demonstrate by RNA interference that tph is essential for melanin production in the pigment cups of the planarian photoreceptors. We exploit this phenotype to investigate the biological function of pigment cups using a quantitative light-avoidance behavioral assay. Planarians lacking eye pigment remain phototactic, indicating that eye pigmentation is not essential for light avoidance in S. mediterranea, though it improves the efficiency of the photophobic response. Finally, we show that the eye pigmentation defect observed in tph knockdown animals can be rescued by injection of either the product of TPH, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), or serotonin. Together, these results highlight a role for serotonin in melanogenesis, perhaps as a regulatory signal or as a pigment substrate. To our knowledge, this is the first example of this relationship to be reported outside of mammalian systems.

  16. Identification of neoblast- and regeneration-specific miRNAs in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Sasidharan, Vidyanand; Lu, Yi-Chien; Bansal, Dhiru; Dasari, Pranavi; Poduval, Deepak; Seshasayee, Aswin; Resch, Alissa M; Graveley, Brenton R; Palakodeti, Dasaradhi

    2013-10-01

    In recent years, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea has emerged as a tractable model system to study stem cell biology and regeneration. MicroRNAs are small RNA species that control gene expression by modulating translational repression and mRNA stability and have been implicated in the regulation of various cellular processes. Though recent studies have identified several miRNAs in S. mediterranea, their expression in neoblast subpopulations and during regeneration has not been examined. Here, we identify several miRNAs whose expression is enriched in different neoblast subpopulations and in regenerating tissue at different time points in S. mediterranea. Some of these miRNAs were enriched within 3 h post-amputation and may, therefore, play a role in wound healing and/or neoblast migration. Our results also revealed miRNAs, such as sme-miR-2d-3p and the sme-miR-124 family, whose expression is enriched in the cephalic ganglia, are also expressed in the brain primordium during CNS regeneration. These results provide new insight into the potential biological functions of miRNAs in neoblasts and regeneration in planarians.

  17. Ultrastructure of spermatogenesis and mature spermatozoon of the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea (Platyhelminthes, Paludicola).

    PubMed

    Harrath, Abdul Halim; Alwasel, Saleh; Zghal, Fathia; Tekaya, Saïda

    2012-02-01

    The aim of this study was to characterize for the first time spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea using both light and electron microscopy. Starting from the border towards the testis lumen we found types I and II spermatogonia, clusters of primary and secondary spermatocytes, spermatids and free spermatozoa. Light microscope observations show that type I spermatogonia have a large and pale nucleus whereas type II spermatogonia are significantly smaller than the one of type I, and show a darker and central bulky nucleus. At the ultrastructure level, both type I and type II spermatogonia are characterized by a wide nucleus with scanty cytoplasm containing free ribosomes, mitochondria and a dense chromatoid body whereas endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex were not observed. The cytoplasm of primary and secondary spermatocytes displays numerous free ribosomes and many endoplasmic reticulum cisternae and Golgi complexes, suggesting that the development of these organelles during spermatogenesis might contribute to the synthesis of hormones and proteins such as testosterone, transcription factors and tubulin. Mature spermatozoa structure closely resembles those of other freshwater triclads with a nucleus, a single fused mitochondrion, a row of cortical microtubules and a pair of flagella conforming to the 9+'1' microtubule pattern described for other Platyhelminthes.

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-21

    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.

  20. Tryptophan hydroxylase Is Required for Eye Melanogenesis in the Planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    Lambrus, Bramwell G.; Cochet-Escartin, Olivier; Gao, Jiarong; Newmark, Phillip A.; Collins, Eva-Maria S.; Collins, James J.

    2015-01-01

    Melanins are ubiquitous and biologically important pigments, yet the molecular mechanisms that regulate their synthesis and biochemical composition are not fully understood. Here we present a study that supports a role for serotonin in melanin synthesis in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. We characterize the tryptophan hydroxylase (tph) gene, which encodes the rate-limiting enzyme in serotonin synthesis, and demonstrate by RNA interference that tph is essential for melanin production in the pigment cups of the planarian photoreceptors. We exploit this phenotype to investigate the biological function of pigment cups using a quantitative light-avoidance behavioral assay. Planarians lacking eye pigment remain phototactic, indicating that eye pigmentation is not essential for light avoidance in S. mediterranea, though it improves the efficiency of the photophobic response. Finally, we show that the eye pigmentation defect observed in tph knockdown animals can be rescued by injection of either the product of TPH, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), or serotonin. Together, these results highlight a role for serotonin in melanogenesis, perhaps as a regulatory signal or as a pigment substrate. To our knowledge, this is the first example of this relationship to be reported outside of mammalian systems. PMID:26017970

  1. Space Research Program on Planarian Schmidtea Mediterranea's Establishment of the Anterior-Posterior Axis in Altered Gravity Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Auletta, G.; Adell, T.; Colagè, I.; D'Ambrosio, P.; Salò, E.

    2012-12-01

    Planarians of the species Schmidtea mediterranea are a well-established model for regeneration studies. In this paper, we first recall the morphological characters and the molecular mechanisms involved in the regeneration process, especially focussing on the Wnt pathway and the establishment of the antero-posterior axial polarity. Then, after an assessment of a space-experiment (run in 2006 on the Russian Segment of the International Space Station) on planarians of the species Girardia tigrina, we present our experimental program to ascertain the effects that altered-gravity conditions may have on regeneration processes in S. mediterrnea at the molecular and genetic level.

  2. Toxicity profiles and solvent-toxicant interference in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea after dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) exposure.

    PubMed

    Stevens, An-Sofie; Pirotte, Nicky; Plusquin, Michelle; Willems, Maxime; Neyens, Thomas; Artois, Tom; Smeets, Karen

    2015-03-01

    To investigate hydrophobic test compounds in toxicological studies, solvents like dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) are inevitable. However, using these solvents, the interpretation of test compound-induced responses can be biased. DMSO concentration guidelines are available, but are mostly based on acute exposures involving one specific toxicity endpoint. Hence, to avoid solvent-toxicant interference, we use multiple chronic test endpoints for additional interpretation of DMSO concentrations and propose a statistical model to assess possible synergistic, antagonistic or additive effects of test compounds and their solvents. In this study, the effects of both short- (1 day) and long-term (2 weeks) exposures to low DMSO concentrations (up to 1000 µl l(-1) ) were studied in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. We measured different biological levels in both fully developed and developing animals. In a long-term exposure set-up, a concentration of 500 µl l(-1) DMSO interfered with processes on different biological levels, e.g. behaviour, stem cell proliferation and gene expression profiles. After short exposure times, 500 µl l(-1) DMSO only affected motility, whereas the most significant changes on different parameters were observed at a concentration of 1000 µl l(-1) DMSO. As small sensitivity differences exist between biological levels and developmental stages, we advise the use of this solvent in concentrations below 500 µl l(-1) in this organism. In the second part of our study, we propose a statistical approach to account for solvent-toxicant interactions and discuss full-scale solvent toxicity studies. In conclusion, we reassessed DMSO concentration limits for different experimental endpoints in the planarian S. mediterranea.

  3. 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

  4. Acoel flatworms are not platyhelminthes: evidence from phylogenomics.

    PubMed

    Philippe, Hervé; Brinkmann, Henner; Martinez, Pedro; Riutort, Marta; Baguñà, Jaume

    2007-08-08

    Acoel flatworms are small marine worms traditionally considered to belong to the phylum Platyhelminthes. However, molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest that acoels are not members of Platyhelminthes, but are rather extant members of the earliest diverging Bilateria. This result has been called into question, under suspicions of a long branch attraction (LBA) artefact. Here we re-examine this problem through a phylogenomic approach using 68 different protein-coding genes from the acoel Convoluta pulchra and 51 metazoan species belonging to 15 different phyla. We employ a mixture model, named CAT, previously found to overcome LBA artefacts where classical models fail. Our results unequivocally show that acoels are not part of the classically defined Platyhelminthes, making the latter polyphyletic. Moreover, they indicate a deuterostome affinity for acoels, potentially as a sister group to all deuterostomes, to Xenoturbellida, to Ambulacraria, or even to chordates. However, the weak support found for most deuterostome nodes, together with the very fast evolutionary rate of the acoel Convoluta pulchra, call for more data from slowly evolving acoels (or from its sister-group, the Nemertodermatida) to solve this challenging phylogenetic problem.

  5. Stem cells are differentially regulated during development, regeneration and homeostasis in flatworms.

    PubMed

    De Mulder, Katrien; Pfister, Daniela; Kuales, Georg; Egger, Bernhard; Salvenmoser, Willi; Willems, Maxime; Steger, Jessica; Fauster, Katja; Micura, Ronald; Borgonie, Gaetan; Ladurner, Peter

    2009-10-01

    The flatworm stem cell system is exceptional within the animal kingdom, as totipotent stem cells (neoblasts) are the only dividing cells within the organism. In contrast to most organisms, piwi-like gene expression in flatworms is extended from germ cells to somatic stem cells. We describe the isolation and characterization of the piwi homologue macpiwi in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano. We use in situ hybridization, antibody staining and RNA interference to study macpiwi expression and function in adults, during postembryonic development, regeneration and upon starvation. We found novelties regarding piwi function and observed differences to current piwi functions in flatworms. First, macpiwi was essential for the maintenance of somatic stem cells in adult animals. A knock-down of macpiwi led to a complete elimination of stem cells and death of the animals. Second, the regulation of stem cells was different in adults and regenerates compared to postembryonic development. Third, sexual reproduction of M. lignano allowed to follow germline formation during postembryonic development, regeneration, and starvation. Fourth, piwi expression in hatchlings further supports an embryonic formation of the germline in M. lignano. Our findings address new questions in flatworm stem cell research and provide a basis for comparison with higher organisms.

  6. 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…

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    Justine, Jean-Lou; 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 measures

  12. 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

  13. Flatworm models in pharmacological research: the importance of compound stability testing.

    PubMed

    Stalmans, Sofie; Willems, Maxime; Adriaens, Els; Remon, Jean-Paul; D'Hondt, Matthias; De Spiegeleer, Bart

    2014-10-01

    Flatworms possess adult pluripotent stem cells, which make them extraordinary experimental model organisms to assess in vivo the undesirable effects of substances on stem cells. Currently, quality practices, implying evaluation of the stability of the test compound under the proposed experimental conditions, are uncommon in this research field. Nevertheless, performing a stability study during the rational design of in vivo assay protocols will result in more reliable assay results. To illustrate the influence of the stability of the test substance on the final experimental outcome, we performed a short-term International Conference on Harmonization (ICH)-based stability study of cyclophosphamide in the culture medium, to which a marine flatworm model Macrostomum lignano is exposed. Using a validated U(H)PLC method, it was demonstrated that the cyclophosphamide concentration in the culture medium at 20°C is lowered to 80% of the initial concentration after 21days. The multiwell plates, flatworms and diatoms, as well as light exposure, did not influence significantly the cyclophosphamide concentration in the medium. The results of the stability study have practical implications on the experimental set-up of the carcinogenicity assay like the frequency of medium renewal. This case study demonstrates the benefits of applying appropriate quality guidelines already during fundamental research increasing the credibility of the results.

  14. Put a tiger in your tank: the polyclad flatworm Maritigrella crozieri as a proposed model for evo-devo

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Polyclad flatworms are an early branching clade within the rhabditophoran Platyhelminthes. They provide an interesting system with which to explore the evolution of development within Platyhelminthes and amongst Spiralia (Lophotrochozoa). Unlike most other flatworms, polyclads undergo spiral cleavage (similar to that seen in some other spiralian taxa), they are the only free-living flatworms where development via a larval stage occurs, and they are the only flatworms in which embryos can be reared outside of their protective egg case, enabling embryonic manipulations. Past work has focused on comparing early cleavage patterns and larval anatomy between polyclads and other spiralians. We have selected Maritigrella crozieri, the tiger flatworm, as a suitable polyclad species for developmental studies, because it is abundant and large in size compared to other species. These characteristics have facilitated the generation of a transcriptome from embryonic and larval material and are enabling us to develop methods for gene expression analysis and immunofluorescence techniques. Here we give an overview of M. crozieri and its development, we highlight the advantages and current limitations of this animal as a potential evo-devo model and discuss current lines of research. PMID:24107307

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Comparative genomics of flatworms (platyhelminthes) reveals shared genomic features of ecto- and endoparastic neodermata.

    PubMed

    Hahn, Christoph; Fromm, Bastian; Bachmann, Lutz

    2014-05-01

    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.

  18. 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

  19. Regulatory motifs are present in the ITS1 of some flatworm species.

    PubMed

    Van Herwerden, Lynne; Caley, M Julian; Blair, David

    2003-04-15

    Particular sequence motifs can act as transcription regulators. Because the total regulatory effects of such motifs can be related to their abundance, their presence might be expected at locations within the genome where sequences are repeated. Multiple repeats that vary in number among individuals occur within the ribosomal first internal transcribed spacer (ITS1) in some species in three trematode genera: Paragonimus, Schistosoma and Dolichosaccus. In all of these genera we found in ITS1, sequences identical to known enhancer motifs. We also searched for, and identified, known regulatory motifs in published ITS1 sequences of other parasitic flatworms including Echinostoma spp. (Trematoda) and Echinococcus spp. (Cestoda) which lack multiple repeats in ITS1. We present three lines of evidence that this widespread occurrence of such motifs within the ITS1 of parasitic flatworms may indicate a functional role in regulating tissue- or stage-specific transcription of ribosomal genes. First, these motifs are identical to ones whose functional roles have been established using in vitro assays of transcriptional rates. Second, in all 18 species investigated here, between one and three different regulatory motifs were identified. In 14 of these 18 species, the probability that at least one of these motifs occurred because of the random assortment of bases within the regions investigated was 10% or less. In 12 of these 14 species, the probability was 5% or less. Third, the evolutionary divergence of flatworm species investigated is quite ancient. Therefore, the interspecific distribution of motifs observed here, in a rapidly evolving region such as ITS1, is unlikely to be attributable solely to shared evolutionary histories. These results, therefore, suggest a broader functional role for the ITS1 than previously thought.

  20. 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

  1. Combined large and small subunit ribosomal RNA phylogenies support a basal position of the acoelomorph flatworms.

    PubMed Central

    Telford, Maximilian J; Lockyer, Anne E; Cartwright-Finch, Chloë; Littlewood, D Timothy J

    2003-01-01

    The phylogenetic position of the phylum Platyhelminthes has been re-evaluated in the past decade by analysis of diverse molecular datasets. The consensus is that the Rhabditophora + Catenulida, which includes most of the flatworm taxa, are not primitively simple basal bilaterians but are related to coelomate phyla such as molluscs. The status of two other groups of acoelomate worms, Acoela and Nemertodermatida, is less clear. Although many characteristics unite these two groups, initial molecular phylogenetic studies placed the Nemertodermatida within the Rhabditophora, but placed the Acoela at the base of the Bilateria, distant from other flatworms. This contradiction resulted in scepticism about the basal position of acoels and led to calls for further data. We have sequenced large subunit ribosomal RNA genes from 13 rhabditophorans + catenulids, three acoels and one nemertodermatid, tripling the available data. Our analyses strongly support a basal position of both acoels and nemertodermatids. Alternative hypotheses are significantly less well supported by the data. We conclude that the Nemertodermatida and Acoela are basal bilaterians and, owing to their unique body plan and embryogenesis, should be recognized as a separate phylum, the Acoelomorpha. PMID:12803898

  2. Phylogenetic distribution of microRNAs supports the basal position of acoel flatworms and the polyphyly of Platyhelminthes.

    PubMed

    Sempere, Lorenzo F; Martinez, Pedro; Cole, Charles; Baguñà, Jaume; Peterson, Kevin J

    2007-01-01

    Phylogenetic analyses based on gene sequences suggest that acoel flatworms are not members of the phylum Platyhelminthes, but instead are the most basal branch of triploblastic bilaterians. Nonetheless, this result has been called into question. An alternative test is to use qualitative molecular markers that should, in principle, exclude the possibility of convergent (homoplastic) evolution in unrelated groups. microRNAs (miRNAs), noncoding regulatory RNA molecules that are under intense stabilizing selection, are a newly discovered set of phylogenetic markers that can resolve such taxonomic disputes. The acoel Childia sp. has recently been shown to possess a subset of the conserved core of miRNAs found across deuterostomes and protostomes, whereas a polyclad flatworm-in addition to this core subset-possesses miRNAs restricted to just protostomes. Here, we examine another acoel, Symsagittifera roscoffensis, and three other platyhelminths. Our results show that the distribution of miRNAs in S. roscoffensis parallels that of Childia. In addition, two of 13 new miRNAs cloned from a triclad flatworm are also found in other lophotrochozoan protostomes, but not in ecdysozoans, deuterostomes, or in basal metazoans including acoels. The limited set of miRNAs found in acoels, intermediate between the even more reduced set in cnidarians and the larger and expanding set in the rest of bilaterians, is compelling evidence for the basal position of acoel flatworms and the polyphyly of Platyhelminthes.

  3. The planarian flatworm: an in vivo model for stem cell biology and nervous system regeneration.

    PubMed

    Gentile, Luca; Cebrià, Francesc; Bartscherer, Kerstin

    2011-01-01

    Planarian flatworms are an exception among bilaterians in that they possess a large pool of adult stem cells that enables them to promptly regenerate any part of their body, including the brain. Although known for two centuries for their remarkable regenerative capabilities, planarians have only recently emerged as an attractive model for studying regeneration and stem cell biology. This revival is due in part to the availability of a sequenced genome and the development of new technologies, such as RNA interference and next-generation sequencing, which facilitate studies of planarian regeneration at the molecular level. Here, we highlight why planarians are an exciting tool in the study of regeneration and its underlying stem cell biology in vivo, and discuss the potential promises and current limitations of this model organism for stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

  4. Social organization in a flatworm: trematode parasites form soldier and reproductive castes.

    PubMed

    Hechinger, Ryan F; Wood, Alan C; Kuris, Armand M

    2011-03-07

    In some of the most complex animal societies, individuals exhibit a cooperative division of labour to form castes. The most pronounced types of caste formation involve reproductive and non-reproductive forms that are morphologically distinct. In colonies comprising separate or mobile individuals, this type of caste formation has been recognized only among the arthropods, sea anemones and mole-rats. Here, we document physical and behavioural caste formation in a flatworm. Trematode flatworm parasites undergo repeated clonal reproduction of 'parthenitae' within their molluscan hosts forming colonies. We present experimental and observational data demonstrating specialization among trematode parthenitae to form distinct soldier and reproductive castes. Soldiers do not reproduce, have relatively large mouthparts, and are much smaller and thinner than reproductives. Soldiers are also more active, and are disproportionally common in areas of the host where invasions occur. Further, only soldiers readily and consistently attack heterospecifics and conspecifics from other colonies. The division of labour described here for trematodes is strongly analogous to that characterizing other social systems with a soldier caste. The parallel caste formation in these systems, despite varying reproductive mode and taxonomic affiliation, indicates the general importance of ecological factors in influencing the evolution of social behaviour. Further, the 'recognition of self' and the defence of the infected host body from invading parasites are comparable to aspects of immune defence. A division of labour is probably widespread among trematodes and trematode species encompass considerable taxonomic, life history and environmental diversity. Trematodes should therefore provide new, fruitful systems to investigate the ecology and evolution of sociality.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  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. Embryonic muscle development in direct and indirect developing marine flatworms (Platyhelminthes, Polycladida).

    PubMed

    Bolaños, D Marcela; Litvaitis, Marian K

    2009-01-01

    We compared embryonic myogenesis of the direct-developing acotylean polyclad Melloplana ferruginea with that of Maritigrella crozieri, a cotylean that develops via a larval stage. Fluorescently labeled F-actin was visualized with laser confocal microscopy. Developmental times are reported as percentages of the time from oviposition to hatching: 7 days for M. crozieri and 22 days for M. ferruginea. The epithelium began to form at 30% development in M. crozieri and at 15% development in M. ferruginea. Random myoblasts appeared in peripheral areas of the embryo at 36% and 22-30% development in M. crozeri and M. ferruginea, respectively. Circular and longitudinal muscle bands formed synchronously at 37-44% development in M. crozieri; yolk obscured observations of early myogenesis in M. ferruginea. An orthogonal muscle grid was established by 45-50% development in both species. Diagonal muscles developed in M. ferruginea at 60-71% development. Hence, juveniles of this species hatch with the same basic body-wall musculature as adults. Larvae of M. crozieri did not hatch with diagonal muscles; these muscles are acquired postmetamorphosis. Additionally, a specialized musculature developed in the larval lobes of M. crozieri. Oral musculature was complex and established by 72% development in both species. Our results are comparable to the muscle differentiation reported for other indirect-developing polyclads and for direct-developing species of macrostomid flatworms. Furthermore, they provide additional support that the orthogonal muscle pattern of circular and longitudinal muscles is a symplesiomorphy of Spiralia.

  13. 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

  14. Ultrastructure of the ovary and oogenesis in the flatworm Prosthiostomum siphunculus (Polycladida, Cotylea).

    PubMed

    Gammoudi, Mehrez; Salvenmoser, Willi; Tekaya, Saïda; Egger, Bernhard

    2016-11-01

    Based on light and electron microscopy observations, oogenesis in the cotylean polyclad Prosthiostomum siphunculus was investigated for the first time. The numerous ovarian follicles are dispersed essentially in the dorsal parenchyma. In the follicles, a ventral germinative zone with undifferentiated germs cells of different sizes and a dorsal growth zone with larger growing and abortive oocytes are present. The oogenesis could be subdivided into four stages: (1) Oogonia with a dark nucleus and a dark, ribosome-rich cytoplasm. (2) Early oocyte stage, represented by relatively small cells (10 μm in diameter), a cytoplasm showing some mitochondria and some endoplasmic reticula. (3) Previtellogenic stage, with a decrease of the nucleo-cytoplasmic ratio due to the remarkable increase in ooplasm volume. Immature eggshell globules are observed. (4) Vitellogenic stage, including early vitellogenic ovarian stage, in which a second type of globule (inclusion globule) is formed, and a late vitellogenic uterine stage, in which the inclusion globules are not present anymore. The mature eggshell globules form a peripheral layer under the cell membrane. Eggshell and inclusion globules were analyzed with electron energy loss spectroscopy, electron spectroscopic imaging, protease treatment, and with periodic acid thiocarbohydracide silver proteinate to detect polysaccharides. Chromatoid bodies are present in all four stages. For the first time in a flatworm, we provide evidence that accessory cells, forming a tunica around the ovarian follicles, are epithelial or epithelium-like and likely contribute nutrients for the growth of the oocytes.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Sulphated glycosaminoglycans support an assortment of planarian rhabdite structures.

    PubMed

    Hayes, Matthew J

    2017-03-16

    Planaria are soft-bodied, bilateral flatworms of the phylum Playhelminthes. They are covered in cilia and use ciliary-gliding to traverse the substratum while hunting. Their body surface is covered in a layer of viscous slime primarily derived from specialised secretory granules known as rhabdites. The slime must somehow stay associated with the surface of the animal in aqueous environments whilst also lubricating the interface of the animal and the surfaces over which the animal moves. The slime prevents damage to the animal's soft body and also contributes to adhesion to the substratum. In order to gain insight into how it might achieve these diverse functions, we performed electron microscopic examination of the slime's structure. Analysis of two freshwater flatworms from the UK Schmidtea polychroa (Schmidt, 1861) and Polycelis tenuis (Ijima, 1884) revealed a high level of organisation of the slime layer and a variety of ejected slime structures. We show that these structures are rich in sulphated glycosaminoglycans (sGAGs). Most of these (269 of 285 examined) appear to be topologically-closed spheroids that we name ball-GAGs Another class appears to burst to release flower- and star-like clusters which adhere to motile cilia. We also observe fibrous nets that are associated with entrapped bacteria. Examination of the structure of rhabdites ejected onto a porous surface suggests a mechanism by which their structure allows them to both bind to the porous surface and provide a smooth layer over which the animal could glide. Such sGAG-based structures might provide models for the design of artificial biomimetic replacements for tears, saliva, bio-compatible lubricants or drug-delivery vehicles.

  18. Co-phylogeographic study of the flatworm Gyrodactylus gondae and its goby host Pomatoschistus minutus.

    PubMed

    Huyse, Tine; Oeyen, Merel; Larmuseau, Maarten H D; Volckaert, Filip A M

    2017-04-01

    We performed a comparative phylogeographic study on the monogenean flatworm Gyrodactylus gondae Huyse, Malmberg & Volckaert 2005 (Gyrodactylidae) and its sand goby host Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas, 1770) (Gobiidae). G. gondae is a host-specific parasite with a direct life cycle and a very short generation time. These properties are expected to increase the chance to track the genealogical history of the host with genetic data of the parasite ('magnifying glass principle'). To investigate this hypothesis we screened nine sand goby populations (n=326) along the Atlantic coasts of Europe for Gyrodactylus specimens. Low parasite prevalence resulted in partially overlapping host and parasite datasets. Ninety-two G. gondae collected on five sand goby populations were subsequently sequenced for a 460bp cytochrome c oxidase subunit II (coxII) fragment, which, in combination with previously published haplotype data for the hosts, allowed for partially overlapping host and parasite datasets. Haplotype diversity was lowest in the Irish Sea while nucleotide diversity was highest in the Southern North Sea. The host population also showed the lowest diversity in the Irish Sea but the highest nucleotide diversity, based on cytochrome b sequences of 850bp, was found in Skagerrak. Phylogeographic networks suggest postglacial expansion in both the host and the parasite. Pair-wise population differentiation was however not consistently higher in the parasite than in the host, rejecting the magnifying glass hypothesis for this host-parasite system. The parasite network offered limited resolution and was characterized by many extinctions and/or missing haplotypes, which could be attributed to 1) sampling bias, 2) size fluctuations in the parasite populations resulting in frequent extinctions and genetic drift and 3) the relatively young age of the host-parasite association. A more exhaustive study including a broader geographical and genomic coverage is needed to discriminate among

  19. A dual platform approach to transcript discovery for the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea to establish RNAseq for stem cell and regeneration biology.

    PubMed

    Blythe, Martin J; Kao, Damian; Malla, Sunir; Rowsell, Joanna; Wilson, Ray; Evans, Deborah; Jowett, Jamie; Hall, Amy; Lemay, Virginie; Lam, Sabrina; Aboobaker, A Aziz

    2010-12-14

    The use of planarians as a model system is expanding and the mechanisms that control planarian regeneration are being elucidated. The planarian Schmidtea mediterranea in particular has become a species of choice. Currently the planarian research community has access to this whole genome sequencing project and over 70,000 expressed sequence tags. However, the establishment of massively parallel sequencing technologies has provided the opportunity to define genetic content, and in particular transcriptomes, in unprecedented detail. Here we apply this approach to the planarian model system. We have sequenced, mapped and assembled 581,365 long and 507,719,814 short reads from RNA of intact and mixed stages of the first 7 days of planarian regeneration. We used an iterative mapping approach to identify and define de novo splice sites with short reads and increase confidence in our transcript predictions. We more than double the number of transcripts currently defined by publicly available ESTs, resulting in a collection of 25,053 transcripts described by combining platforms. We also demonstrate the utility of this collection for an RNAseq approach to identify potential transcripts that are enriched in neoblast stem cells and their progeny by comparing transcriptome wide expression levels between irradiated and intact planarians. Our experiments have defined an extensive planarian transcriptome that can be used as a template for RNAseq and can also help to annotate the S. mediterranea genome. We anticipate that suites of other 'omic approaches will also be facilitated by building on this comprehensive data set including RNAseq across many planarian regenerative stages, scenarios, tissues and phenotypes generated by RNAi.

  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

    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.

  2. 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

    2015-09-03

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. A common origin of complex life cycles in parasitic flatworms: evidence from the complete mitochondrial genome of Microcotyle sebastis (Monogenea: Platyhelminthes)

    PubMed Central

    Park, Joong-Ki; Kim, Kyu-Heon; Kang, Seokha; Kim, Won; Eom, Keeseon S; Littlewood, DTJ

    2007-01-01

    Background The parasitic Platyhelminthes (Neodermata) contains three parasitic groups of flatworms, each having a unique morphology, and life style: Monogenea (primarily ectoparasitic), Trematoda (endoparasitic flukes), and Cestoda (endoparasitic tapeworms). The evolutionary origin of complex life cyles (multiple obligate hosts, as found in Trematoda and Cestoda) and of endo-/ecto-parasitism in these groups is still under debate and these questions can be resolved, only if the phylogenetic position of the Monogenea within the Neodermata clade is correctly estimated. Results To test the interrelationships of the major parasitic flatworm groups, we estimated the phylogeny of the Neodermata using complete available mitochondrial genome sequences and a newly characterized sequence of a polyopisthocotylean monogenean Microcotyle sebastis. Comparisons of inferred amino acid sequences and gene arrangement patterns with other published flatworm mtDNAs indicate Monogenea are sister group to a clade of Trematoda+Cestoda. Conclusion Results confirm that vertebrates were the first host for stem group neodermatans and that the addition of a second, invertebrate, host was a single event occurring in the Trematoda+Cestoda lineage. In other words, the move from direct life cycles with one host to complex life cycles with multiple hosts was a single evolutionary event. In association with the evolution of life cycle patterns, our result supports the hypothesis that the most recent common ancestor of the Neodermata giving rise to the Monogenea adopted vertebrate ectoparasitism as its initial life cycle pattern and that the intermediate hosts of the Trematoda (molluscs) and Cestoda (crustaceans) were subsequently added into the endoparasitic life cycles of the Trematoda+Cestoda clade after the common ancestor of these branched off from the monogenean lineage. Complex life cycles, involving one or more intermediate hosts, arose through the addition of intermediate hosts and not the

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Salinity stress from the perspective of the energy-redox axis: Lessons from a marine intertidal flatworm.

    PubMed

    Rivera-Ingraham, Georgina A; Nommick, Aude; Blondeau-Bidet, Eva; Ladurner, Peter; Lignot, Jehan-Hervé

    2016-12-01

    In the context of global change, there is an urgent need for researchers in conservation physiology to understand the physiological mechanisms leading to the acquisition of stress acclimation phenotypes. Intertidal organisms continuously cope with drastic changes in their environmental conditions, making them outstanding models for the study of physiological acclimation. As the implementation of such processes usually comes at a high bioenergetic cost, a mitochondrial/oxidative stress approach emerges as the most relevant approach when seeking to analyze whole-animal responses. Here we use the intertidal flatworm Macrostomum lignano to analyze the bioenergetics of salinity acclimation and its consequences in terms of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species formation and physiological response to counteract redox imbalance. Measures of water fluxes and body volume suggest that M. lignano is a hyper-/iso-regulator. Higher salinities were revealed to be the most energetically expensive conditions, with an increase in mitochondrial density accompanied by increased respiration rates. Such modifications came at the price of enhanced superoxide anion production, likely associated with a high caspase 3 upregulation. These animals nevertheless managed to live at high levels of environmental salinity through the upregulation of several mitochondrial antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase. Contrarily, animals at low salinities decreased their respiration rates, reduced their activity and increased nitric oxide formation, suggesting a certain degree of metabolic arrest. A contradictory increase in dichlorofluorescein fluorescence and an upregulation of gluthathione-S-transferase pi 1 (GSTP1) expression were observed in these individuals. If animals at low salinity are indeed facing metabolic depression, the return to seawater may result in an oxidative burst. We hypothesize that this increase in GSTP1 could be a "preparation for oxidative stress", i.e. a mechanism to

  9. Evidence for Karyotype Polymorphism in the Free-Living Flatworm, Macrostomum lignano, a Model Organism for Evolutionary and Developmental Biology

    PubMed Central

    Schlatter, Aline; Konopatskaia, Irina D.

    2016-01-01

    Over the past decade, the free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano has been successfully used in many areas of biology, including embryology, stem cells, sexual selection, bioadhesion and aging. The increased use of this powerful laboratory model, including the establishment of genomic resources and tools, makes it essential to have a detailed description of the chromosome organization of this species, previously suggested to have a karyotype with 2n = 8 and one pair of large and three pairs of small metacentric chromosomes. We performed cytogenetic analyses for chromosomes of one commonly used inbred line of M. lignano (called DV1) and uncovered unexpected chromosome number variation in the form of aneuploidies of the largest chromosomes. These results prompted us to perform karyotypic studies in individual specimens of this and other lines of M. lignano reared under laboratory conditions, as well as in freshly field-collected specimens from different natural populations. Our analyses revealed a high frequency of aneuploids and in some cases other numerical and structural chromosome abnormalities in laboratory-reared lines of M. lignano, and some cases of aneuploidy were also found in freshly field-collected specimens. Moreover, karyological analyses were performed in specimens of three further species: Macrostomum sp. 8 (a close relative of M. lignano), M. spirale and M. hystrix. Macrostomum sp. 8 showed a karyotype that was similar to that of M. lignano, with tetrasomy for its largest chromosome being the most common karyotype, while the other two species showed a simpler karyotype that is more typical of the genus Macrostomum. These findings suggest that M. lignano and Macrostomum sp. 8 can be used as new models for studying processes of partial genome duplication in genome evolution. PMID:27755577

  10. 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

  11. 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

    2015-11-24

    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

  12. 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

  13. Large-Scale Overproduction and Purification of Recombinant Histone Deacetylase 8 (HDAC8) from the Human-Pathogenic Flatworm Schistosoma mansoni.

    PubMed

    Marek, Martin; Shaik, Tajith B; Duclaud, Sylvie; Pierce, Raymond J; Romier, Christophe

    2016-01-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms underlie the morphological transformations and shifts in virulence of eukaryotic pathogens. The targeting of epigenetics-driven cellular programs thus represents an Achilles' heel of human parasites. Today, zinc-dependent histone deacetylases (HDACs) belong to the most explored epigenetic drug targets in eukaryotic parasites. Here, we describe an optimized protocol for the large-scale overproduction and purification of recombinant smHDAC8, an emerging epigenetic drug target in the multicellular human-pathogenic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni. The strategy employs the robustness of recombinant expression in Escherichia coli together with initial purification through a poly-histidine affinity tag that can be removed by the thrombin protease. This protocol is divided into two steps: (1) large-scale production of smHDAC8 in E. coli, and (2) purification of the target smHDAC8 protein through multiple purification steps.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Inferring the ancestral function of the posterior Hox gene within the bilateria: controlling the maintenance of reproductive structures, the musculature and the nervous system in the acoel flatworm Isodiametra pulchra.

    PubMed

    Moreno, Eduardo; De Mulder, Katrien; Salvenmoser, Willi; Ladurner, Peter; Martínez, Pedro

    2010-01-01

    Molecular phylogenies place the acoel flatworms as the sister-group to the remaining Bilateria, a position that should prove very valuable when trying to understand the evolutionary origins of the bilaterian body plan. A major feature characterizing Bilateria is the presence of two, orthogonal, body axis. In this article we aim at tackling the problem of how the bilaterian anterior-posterior (AP) axis is organized, and how this axis have been established over evolutionary time. To this purpose we have studied the role of some key regulatory genes involved in the control of the AP axis, the Hox family of transcription factors. All acoels studied to date contain a minimal complement of three Hox genes that are all expressed in nested domains along this major axis, providing the oldest evidence for a "Hox vectorial system" working in Bilateria. However, this proposition is not based in the analysis of Hox functions. Here we document the specific roles of one posterior Hox gene, IpHoxPost, in the postembryonic development of the acoel Isodiametra pulchra. The analysis has been done using RNA interference technologies, for the first time in acoels, and we demonstrate that the functions of this gene are restricted to the posterior region of the animal, within the muscular and neural tissues. We conclude, therefore, that the posterior Hox genes were used to specify and maintain defined anatomical regions within the AP axis of animals since the beginning of bilaterian evolution.

  17. Neoblast specialization in regeneration of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-12

    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.

  18. 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

  19. Spoltud-1 is a chromatoid body component required for planarian long-term stem cell self-renewal.

    PubMed

    Solana, Jordi; Lasko, Paul; Romero, Rafael

    2009-04-15

    Freshwater planarians exhibit a striking power of regeneration, based on a population of undifferentiated totipotent stem cells, called neoblasts. These somatic stem cells have several characteristics resembling those of germ line stem cells in other animals, such as the presence of perinuclear RNA granules (chromatoid bodies). We have isolated a Tudor domain-containing gene in the planarian species Schmidtea polychroa, Spoltud-1, and show that it is expressed in neoblast cells, germ line cells and central nervous system, and during embryonic development. Within the neoblasts, Spoltud-1 protein is enriched in chromatoid bodies. Spoltud-1 RNAi eliminates protein expression after 3 weeks, and abolishes the power of regeneration of planarians after 7 weeks. Neoblast cells are eliminated by the RNAi treatment, disappearing at the end rather than gradually during the process. Neoblasts with no detectable Spoltud-1 protein are able to proliferate and differentiate. These results suggest that Spoltud-1 is required for long term stem cell self renewal.

  20. Transcriptional signatures of somatic neoblasts and germline cells in Macrostomum lignano.

    PubMed

    Grudniewska, Magda; Mouton, Stijn; Simanov, Daniil; Beltman, Frank; Grelling, Margriet; de Mulder, Katrien; Arindrarto, Wibowo; Weissert, Philipp M; van der Elst, Stefan; Berezikov, Eugene

    2016-12-20

    The regeneration-capable flatworm Macrostomum lignano is a powerful model organism to study the biology of stem cells in vivo. As a flatworm amenable to transgenesis, it complements the historically used planarian flatworm models, such as Schmidtea mediterranea. However, information on the transcriptome and markers of stem cells in M. lignano is limited. We generated a de novo transcriptome assembly and performed the first comprehensive characterization of gene expression in the proliferating cells of M. lignano, represented by somatic stem cells, called neoblasts, and germline cells. Knockdown of a selected set of neoblast genes, including Mlig-ddx39, Mlig-rrm1, Mlig-rpa3, Mlig-cdk1, and Mlig-h2a, confirmed their crucial role for the functionality of somatic neoblasts during homeostasis and regeneration. The generated M. lignano transcriptome assembly and gene expression signatures of somatic neoblasts and germline cells will be a valuable resource for future molecular studies in M. lignano.

  1. Comparative spermatology of selected polyclad flatworms (platyhelminthes).

    PubMed

    Liana, Marcin K; Litvaitis, Marian K

    2007-10-01

    Sperm ultrastructure of four acotylean (Idioplana atlantica, Armatoplana leptalea, Styloplanocera fasciata, Melloplana ferruginea) and three cotylean polyclads (Pseudoceros bicolor, Phrikoceros mopsus, Enchiridium evelinae) was investigated. All spermatozoa are biflagellate, exhibiting a 9+"1" axoneme pattern. All acotylean axonemes originate and extend within the sperm shaft, and once exiting the shaft, remain attached to it. The flagella of all cotylean spermatozoa exit the shaft immediately and remain free. Structures shared by all species include: an elongated nucleus, in acotyleans located only in the posterior part of the shaft, whereas in cotyleans it extends along the entire sperm body; mitochondria along with small and large dense bodies arranged in a specific pattern; and a ring of microtubules that extends along the entire sperm shaft just beneath the cell membrane. A unique spermatozoon has been found in E. evelinae, where round vesicle-like structures fill the anterior part of the nucleus, and a different type of large dense bodies is present. The spermatozoa of all studied species exhibit numerous characters (axoneme/flagella position, distribution and position of large and small dense bodies, of mitochondria, presence of nuclear vesicles) that may be of phylogenetic value at the family and higher taxonomic levels.

  2. Antimicrobial capacity of the freshwater planarians against S. aureus is under the control of Timeless.

    PubMed

    Tsoumtsa, Landry Laure; Torre, Cedric; Trouplin, Virginie; Coiffard, Benjamin; Gimenez, Gregory; Mege, Jean-Louis; Ghigo, Eric

    2017-01-04

    Planarians, which are non-parasitic flatworms, are highly resistant to bacterial infections. To better understand the mechanisms underlying this resistance, we investigated the role of the circadian machinery in the anti-bacterial response of the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. We identified Smed-Tim from S. mediterranea as a homolog of the mammalian clock gene Tim. We showed via RNA interference that Smed-Tim is required for the anti-microbial activities of Schmidtea mediterranea against Staphylococcus aureus infection during the light/dark cycle. Indeed, S. aureus infection leads to the expression of Smed-Tim, which in turn promotes Smed-Traf6 and Smed-morn2, but not Smed-p38 MAPK expression, 2 master regulators of planarian anti-microbial responses.

  3. [Study of possible involvement of MEK mitogen-activated protein kinase and TGF-β receptor in planarian regeneration processes using pharmacological inhibition analysis].

    PubMed

    Ermakov, A M; Ermakova, O N; Ermolaeva, S A

    2014-01-01

    Possible involvement of MEK mitogen-activated protein kinase and TGF-β receptor in the processes of regeneration and morphogenesis in freshwater planarian flatworms Schmidtea mediterranea was studied using a pharmacological inhibitor analysis. It was found that pharmacological inhibitors of these kinases significantly inhibit the regeneration of the head end of the animals and that this effect is realized due to inhibition of proliferative activity of neoblasts, planarian stem cells. It is shown that that the inhibition of the studied protein kinases in regenerating planarians markedly disturbs stem cell differentiation and morphogenesis.

  4. 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

  5. Acoel flatworms: earliest extant bilaterian Metazoans, not members of Platyhelminthes.

    PubMed

    Ruiz-Trillo, I; Riutort, M; Littlewood, D T; Herniou, E A; Baguña, J

    1999-03-19

    Because of their simple organization the Acoela have been considered to be either primitive bilaterians or descendants of coelomates through secondary loss of derived features. Sequence data of 18S ribosomal DNA genes from non-fast evolving species of acoels and other metazoans reveal that this group does not belong to the Platyhelminthes but represents the extant members of the earliest divergent Bilateria, an interpretation that is supported by recent studies on the embryonic cleavage pattern and nervous system of acoels. This study has implications for understanding the evolution of major body plans, and for perceptions of the Cambrian evolutionary explosion.

  6. 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.

  7. Transcriptional signatures of somatic neoblasts and germline cells in Macrostomum lignano

    PubMed Central

    Grudniewska, Magda; Mouton, Stijn; Simanov, Daniil; Beltman, Frank; Grelling, Margriet; de Mulder, Katrien; Arindrarto, Wibowo; Weissert, Philipp M.; van der Elst, Stefan; Berezikov, Eugene

    2016-01-01

    The regeneration-capable flatworm Macrostomum lignano is a powerful model organism to study the biology of stem cells in vivo. As a flatworm amenable to transgenesis, it complements the historically used planarian flatworm models, such as Schmidtea mediterranea. However, information on the transcriptome and markers of stem cells in M. lignano is limited. We generated a de novo transcriptome assembly and performed the first comprehensive characterization of gene expression in the proliferating cells of M. lignano, represented by somatic stem cells, called neoblasts, and germline cells. Knockdown of a selected set of neoblast genes, including Mlig-ddx39, Mlig-rrm1, Mlig-rpa3, Mlig-cdk1, and Mlig-h2a, confirmed their crucial role for the functionality of somatic neoblasts during homeostasis and regeneration. The generated M. lignano transcriptome assembly and gene expression signatures of somatic neoblasts and germline cells will be a valuable resource for future molecular studies in M. lignano. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.20607.001 PMID:27997336

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. SmedOB1 is Required for Planarian Homeostasis and Regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Yin, Shanshan; Huang, Yan; Zhangfang, Yingnan; Zhong, Xiaoqin; Li, Pengqing; Huang, Junjiu; Liu, Dan; Songyang, Zhou

    2016-01-01

    The planarian flatworm is an emerging model that is useful for studying homeostasis and regeneration due to its unique adult stem cells (ASCs). Previously, planaria were found to share mammalian TTAGGG chromosome ends and telomerases; however, their telomere protection proteins have not yet been identified. In Schmidtea mediterranea, we identified a homologue of the human protection of telomeres 1 (POT1) with an OB-fold (SmedOB1). SmedOB1 is evolutionarily conserved among species and is ubiquitously expressed throughout the whole body. Feeding with SmedOB1 double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) led to homeostasis abnormalities in the head and pharynx. Furthermore, several ASC progeny markers were downregulated, and regeneration was impaired. Here we found that SmedOB1 is required for telomeric DNA-protein complex formation and it associates with the telomere TTAGGG sequence in vitro. Moreover, DNA damage and apoptosis signals in planarian were significantly affected by SmedOB1 RNAi. We also confirmed these phenotypes in Dugesia japonica, another flatworm species. Our work identified a novel telomere-associated protein SmedOB1 in planarian, which is required for planarian homeostasis and regeneration. The phylogenetic and functional conservations of SmedOB1 provide one mechanism by which planarians maintain telomere and genome stability to ensure their immortality and shed light on the regeneration medicine of humans. PMID:27654173

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

    PubMed

    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.

  13. 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

  14. The flatworm planaria as a toxicology and behavioral pharmacology animal model in undergraduate research experiences.

    PubMed

    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.

  15. Preferential regeneration of thioredoxin from parasitic flatworm Fasciola gigantica using glutathione system.

    PubMed

    Gupta, Ankita; Pandey, Tripti; Kumar, Bijay; Tripathi, Timir

    2015-11-01

    The maintenance of cellular redox homeostasis is a crucial adaptive problem faced by parasites, and its disruption can shift the biochemical balance toward the host. The thioredoxin (Trx) system plays a key role in redox metabolism and defense against oxidative stress. In this study, biochemical experiments were performed on Fasciola gigantica Thioredoxin1 (FgTrx1). The recombinant FgTrx1 exists as a monomer and catalyzes the reduction of insulin. FgTrx1 is preferentially regenerated by the glutathione (GSH) system using glutathione reductase (GR). The regeneration of FgTrx1 by the conventional Trx system is much less as compared to the GSH system, suggesting that FgTrx1 could be acting as glutaredoxin (Grx). DNA nicking and hydroperoxide assay suggests that it protects the DNA from radical-induced oxidative damage. Thus, FgTrx1 might play a role in parasite survival as it can regenerate itself even in the absence of the canonical Trx system and also protect the cells from ROS induced damage. Further, we propose that the GR activity of FgTrx1 is not restricted to -CXXC- motif but is regulated by residues present in close proximity to the -CXXC- motif, through manipulation of the redox potential or the pKa of the active site Cys residues.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

    2016-03-14

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Negrete, Lisandro; Brusa, Francisco

    2016-07-11

    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.

  20. The first troglobitic species of freshwater flatworm of the suborder Continenticola (Platyhelminthes) from South America

    PubMed Central

    de Souza, Stella Teles; Morais, Ana Laura Nunes; Cordeiro, Lívia Medeiros; Leal-Zanchet, Ana Maria

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Brazilian cave diversity, especially of invertebrates, is poorly known. The Bodoquena Plateau, which is located in the Cerrado Biome in central Brazil, has approximately 200 recorded caves with a rich system of subterranean water resources and high troglobitic diversity. Herein we describe a new troglobitic species of Girardia that represents the first obligate cave-dwelling species of the suborder Continenticola in South America. Specimens of the new species, which occur in a limestone cave in the Bodoquena Plateau, in the Cerrado biome, are unpigmented and eyeless. Species recognition in the genus Girardia is difficult, due to their great morphological resemblance. However, the new species can be easily recognized by a unique feature in its copulatory apparatus, namely a large, branched bulbar cavity with multiple diverticula. PMID:25632242

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. [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.

  4. 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

  5. Comparative analysis of known miRNAs across platyhelminths.

    PubMed

    Jin, Xiaoliang; Lu, Lixia; Su, Hailong; Lou, Zhongzi; Wang, Fang; Zheng, Yadong; Xu, Guo-Tong

    2013-08-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a subtype of small regulatory RNAs that are involved in numerous biological processes through small RNA-induced silencing networks. In an attempt to explore the phylogeny of miRNAs across five platyhelminths, we integrated annotated miRNAs and their full genomes. We identified conserved miRNA clusters and, in particular, miR-71/2 was conserved from planarian to parasitic flatworms and was expanded in free-living Schmidtea mediterranea. Analysis of 22 miRNA loci provided compelling evidence that most known miRNAs are conserved across platyhelminths. Meanwhile, we also observed alterations of known protein-coding genes flanking miRNA(s), such as transcriptional direction conversion and locus relocation, in around ~ 41% of 22 known miRNA loci. Compared with Echinococcus multilocularis, the majority of these events occurred in evolution-distant Hymenolepis microstoma, Schistosoma japonicum or/and S. mediterranea. These results imply rearrangement events occurred near the known miRNA loci.

  6. Independent and parallel lateral transfer of DNA transposons in tetrapod genomes.

    PubMed

    Novick, Peter; Smith, Jeremy; Ray, David; Boissinot, Stéphane

    2010-01-01

    In animals, the mode of transmission of transposable elements is generally vertical. However, recent studies have suggested that lateral transfer has occurred repeatedly in several distantly related tetrapod lineages, including mammals. Using transposons extracted from the genome of the lizard Anolis carolinensis as probes, we identified four novel families of hAT transposons that share extremely high similarity with elements in other genomes including several mammalian lineages (primates, chiropters, marsupials), one amphibian and one flatworm, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. The discontinuous phylogenetic distribution of these hAT families, coupled with very low synonymous divergence between species, strongly suggests that these elements were laterally transferred to these different species. This indicates that the horizontal transfer of DNA transposons in vertebrates might be more common than previously thought. Yet, it appears that the transfer of DNA transposons did not occur randomly as the same genomes have been invaded independently by different, unrelated transposon families whereas others seem to be immune to lateral transfer. This suggests that some organisms might be intrinsically more vulnerable to DNA transposon lateral transfer, possibly because of a weakened defense against transposons or because they have developed mechanisms to tolerate their impact.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. First insight into CD59-like molecules of adult Fasciola hepatica.

    PubMed

    Shi, Yunliang; Toet, Hayley; Rathinasamy, Vignesh; Young, Neil D; Gasser, Robin B; Beddoe, Travis; Huang, Weiyi; Spithill, Terry W

    2014-09-01

    The present study focussed on investigating CD59-like molecules of Fasciola hepatica. A cDNA encoding a CD59-like protein (termed FhCD59-1) identified previously in the membrane fraction of the F. hepatica tegument was isolated. This homologue was shown to encode a predicted open reading frame (ORF) of 122 amino acids (aa) orthologous to human CD59 with a 25 aa signal peptide, a mature protein containing 10 cysteines and a conserved CD59/Ly-6 family motif "CCXXXXCN". An analysis of cDNAs from two different adult specimens of F. hepatica revealed seven variable types of FhCD59-1 sequences, designated FhCD59-1.1 to FhCD59-1.7, which had 94.3-99.7% amino acid sequence identity upon pairwise comparison. Molecular modeling of FhCD59-1.1 with human CD59 confirmed the presence of the three-finger protein domain found in the CD59 family and predicted three disulphide bonds in the F. hepatica sequence. The interrogation of F. hepatica databases identified two additional sequences, designated FhCD59-2 and FhCD59-3, which had only 23.4-29.5% amino acid identity to FhCD59-1.1. Orthologues of the inferred CD59 protein sequences of F. hepatica were also identified in other flatworms, including Fasciola gigantica, Fascioloides magna, Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma japonicum, Schistosoma mansoni, Clonorchis sinensis, Opisthorchis viverrini, Taenia solium, Echinococcus granulosus and the free living Schmidtea mediterannea. The results revealed a considerable degree of sequence complexity in the CD59-like sequence families in F. hepatica and flatworms. Phylogenetic analysis of CD59-like aa sequences from F. hepatica and flatworms showed that FhCD59-2 clustered with the known surface-associated protein SmCD59-2 of S. mansoni. Relatively well-supported clades specific to schistosomes, fasciolids and opisthorchiids were identified. The qPCR analysis of gene transcription showed that the relative expression of these 3 FhCD59-like sequences varied by 11-47-fold during fluke

  13. Closing the mitochondrial circle on paraphyly of the Monogenea (Platyhelminthes) infers evolution in the diet of parasitic flatworms.

    PubMed

    Perkins, Elizabeth M; Donnellan, Steve C; Bertozzi, Terry; Whittington, Ian D

    2010-09-01

    Relationships between the three classes of Neodermata (parasitic Platyhelminthes) are much debated and restrict our understanding of the evolution of parasitism and contingent adaptations. The historic view of a sister relationship between Cestoda and Monogenea (Cercomeromorphae; larvae bearing posterior hooks) has been dismissed and the weight of evidence against monogenean monophyly has mounted. We present the nucleotide sequence of the complete mitochondrial (mt) genome of Benedenia seriolae (Monogenea: Monopisthocotylea: Capsalidae), the first complete non-gyrodactylid monopisthocotylean mt genome to be reported. We also include nucleotide sequence data for some mt protein coding genes for a second capsalid, Neobenedenia sp. Analyses of the new mt genomes with all available platyhelminth mt genomes provide new phylogenetic hypotheses, which strongly influence perspectives on the evolution of diet in the Neodermata. Our analyses do not support monogenean monophyly but confirm that the Digenea and Cestoda are each monophyletic and sister groups. Epithelial feeding monopisthocotyleans on fish hosts are basal in the Neodermata and represent the first shift to parasitism from free-living ancestors. The next evolutionary step in parasitism was a dietary change from epithelium to blood. The common ancestor of Digenea+Cestoda was monogenean-like and most likely sanguinivorous. From this ancestral condition, adult digeneans and cestodes independently evolved dietary specialisations to suit their diverse microhabitats in their final vertebrate hosts. These improved perspectives on relationships fundamentally enhance our understanding of the evolution of parasitism in the Neodermata and in particular, the evolution of diet.

  14. 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.

  15. Evolution of a novel subfamily of nuclear receptors with members that each contain two DNA binding domains

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

    Background Nuclear receptors (NRs) are important transcriptional modulators in metazoans which regulate transcription through binding to the promoter region of their target gene by the DNA binding domain (DBD) and activation or repression of mRNA synthesis through co-regulators bound to the ligand binding domain (LBD). NRs typically have a single DBD with a LBD. Results Three nuclear receptors named 2DBD-NRs, were identified from the flatworm Schistosoma mansoni that each possess a novel set of two DBDs in tandem with a LBD. They represent a novel NR modular structure: A/B-DBD-DBD-hinge-LBD. The 2DBD-NRs form a new subfamily of NRs, VII. By database mining, 2DBD-NR genes from other flatworm species (Schmidtea mediterranea and Dugesia japonica), from Mollusks (Lottia gigantean) and from arthropods (Daphnia pulex) were also identified. All 2DBD-NRs possess a P-box sequence of CEACKK in the first DBD, which is unique to 2DBD-NRs, and a P-box sequence of CEGCKG in the second DBD. Phylogenetic analyses of both DBD and ligand binding domain sequences showed that 2DBD-NR genes originate from a common two DBD-containing ancestor gene. A single 2DBD-NR orthologue was found in Arthropoda, Platyhelminths and Mollusca. Subsequent 2DBD-NR gene evolution in Mollusks and Platyhelminths involved gene duplication. Chromosome localization of S. mansoni 2DBD-NR genes by Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) suggests that 2DBD-NR genes duplicated on different chromosomes in the Platyhelminths. Dimerization of Sm2DBDα indicates that 2DBD-NRs may act as homodimers, suggesting either that two repeats of a half-site are necessary for each DBD of 2DBD-NRs to bind to its target gene, or that each 2DBD-NR can recognize multiple sites. Conclusion 2DBD-NRs share a common ancestor gene which possessed an extra DBD that likely resulted from a recombination event. After the split of the Arthropods, Mollusks and Platyhelminths, 2DBD-NR underwent a recent duplication in a common ancestor of

  16. 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.

  17. Gene discovery for the carcinogenic human liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini

    PubMed Central

    Laha, Thewarach; Pinlaor, Porntip; Mulvenna, Jason; Sripa, Banchob; Sripa, Manop; Smout, Michael J; Gasser, Robin B; Brindley, Paul J; Loukas, Alex

    2007-01-01

    Background Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) – cancer of the bile ducts – is associated with chronic infection with the liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini. Despite being the only eukaryote that is designated as a 'class I carcinogen' by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, little is known about its genome. Results Approximately 5,000 randomly selected cDNAs from the adult stage of O. viverrini were characterized and accounted for 1,932 contigs, representing ~14% of the entire transcriptome, and, presently, the largest sequence dataset for any species of liver fluke. Twenty percent of contigs were assigned GO classifications. Abundantly represented protein families included those involved in physiological functions that are essential to parasitism, such as anaerobic respiration, reproduction, detoxification, surface maintenance and feeding. GO assignments were well conserved in relation to other parasitic flukes, however, some categories were over-represented in O. viverrini, such as structural and motor proteins. An assessment of evolutionary relationships showed that O. viverrini was more similar to other parasitic (Clonorchis sinensis and Schistosoma japonicum) than to free-living (Schmidtea mediterranea) flatworms, and 105 sequences had close homologues in both parasitic species but not in S. mediterranea. A total of 164 O. viverrini contigs contained ORFs with signal sequences, many of which were platyhelminth-specific. Examples of convergent evolution between host and parasite secreted/membrane proteins were identified as were homologues of vaccine antigens from other helminths. Finally, ORFs representing secreted proteins with known roles in tumorigenesis were identified, and these might play roles in the pathogenesis of O. viverrini-induced CCA. Conclusion This gene discovery effort for O. viverrini should expedite molecular studies of cholangiocarcinogenesis and accelerate research focused on developing new interventions, drugs and vaccines, to

  18. Two new marine flatworms (Platyhelminthes: Rhabditophora: Proseriata) of the genus Otoplana Du Plessis, 1889 from the upper Tuscany sandy shores (Italy).

    PubMed

    Meini, Gianluca

    2013-01-24

    Two new otoplanid species, from the interstitial habitats of the North-Western Mediterranenan sea coast, are described. The specimens show the typical morphological peculiarities of the subfamily Otoplaninae ("Turbellaria", Otoplanidae), but clearly differ from other species described in this group. Otoplana labronica sp. nov. is characterized by a body length of 1.2-1.5 mm, different features of the testes and vitellaries, the male sclerotic apparatus composed of a median aculeus (52-53 μm long) and 16 peculiar spines (19-44 μm long). This new species has the smallest number of spines (17) and the smaller body length, in comparison to all the species of the genus. Otoplana falcataspina sp. nov. is characterized by a body length of 2.3-2.4 mm, distinctive dimensions and arrangement of the vitellaries, the male sclerotic apparatus composed of a median aculeus (50-51 μm long) and 20-21 spines (22-44 μm long). This new species has a limited body length, and only the sexually mature specimens of the new species O. labronica exhibit a smaller size. They were collected below the low water mark on the sandy beaches at Calambrone and Marina di Vecchiano (Pisa, Ligurian Sea, Italy), respectively.

  19. Evidence for the presence of two (Ca(2+)-Mg2+) ATPases with different sensitivities to thapsigargin and cyclopiazonic acid in the human flatworm Schistosoma mansoni.

    PubMed

    Cunha, V M; Reis, J M; Noël, F

    1996-06-01

    The subcellular localization of the (Ca(2+)-Mg2+)ATPase activities present in heterogeneous (P1), nuclear (P2), mitochondrial (P3) and microsomal (P4) fractions obtained by differential centrifugation of Schistosoma mansoni homogenate was investigated. In the microsomal fraction (P4), the (Ca(2+)-Mg2+)ATPase activity was completely blocked by 3 microM thapsigargin, whereas in the more heterogeneous fraction (P1), about 20-30% of this activity was resistant to the drug. The same pattern of inhibition was observed using 20 microM cyclopiazonic acid. The distribution pattern of (Ca(2+)-Mg2+)ATPase activity among the four subcellular fractions (P1 > P4 > > P3 > P2) was completely different from that of [3H]-ouabain binding sites (P1 > or = P4 = P2 > or = P3). These results indicate that the (Ca(2+)-Mg2+)ATPase in S. mansoni is predominantly of the SERCA type (localized in the endoplasmic reticulum). However, there is another enzyme, present in lower proportion that could have a plasma membrane origin (PMCA type), because it is resistant to thapsigargin and cyclopiazonic acid and its inhibition by tamoxifen is antagonized by calmodulin.

  20. Planarian immobilization, partial irradiation, and tissue transplantation.

    PubMed

    Guedelhoefer, Otto C; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2012-08-06

    The planarian, a freshwater flatworm, has proven to be a powerful system for dissecting metazoan regeneration and stem cell biology. Planarian regeneration of any missing or damaged tissues is made possible by adult stem cells termed neoblasts. Although these stem cells have been definitively shown to be pluripotent and singularly capable of reconstituting an entire animal, 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 transplantation and partial irradiation 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 cover the

  1. 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

  2. Trace metal concentrations in single specimens of the intestinal broad flatworm ( Diphyllobothrium latum), compared to their fish host ( Oncorhynchus mykiss) measured by total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woelfl, Stefan; Mages, Margarete; Torres, Patricio

    2008-12-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate (1) whether intestine endoparasites ( Diphyllobothrium latum) accumulate trace elements related to its body size and (2) whether parasites bioconcentrate more trace elements than their host. Freshwater fish (rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss) were sampled in the deep, oligotrophic and uncontaminated Lake Riñihue in Southern Chile. The element concentration of different organs (intestine, muscle, liver) and of the intestine endoparasites were analyzed using total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. The results showed that the mass fraction for Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, and Pb decreased significantly with the body size (dry weight) of the endoparasite. Only Zn did not reveal such a relationship. Small parasites accumulated up to 80 times more Fe, Ni, Mn, Pb, and Cu than large parasites. Compared to the fish organs, small parasites accumulated in maximum 35 to 307 times more Mn, 5 to 255 times more Fe, 98 to 220 times more Ni, 3 to 175 times more Cu, and 0.4 to 12 times more Zn than the fish. Lead was only found in the endoparasite, but not in the fish organs. We conclude that (1) D. latum is a good indicator for trace element accumulation in fishes and that (2) small endoparasites are more sensitive as bioindicators because they showed higher bioconcentrations of trace metals than larger parasites.

  3. Discovery of multiple neuropeptide families in the phylum Platyhelminthes.

    PubMed

    McVeigh, Paul; Mair, Gunnar R; Atkinson, Louise; Ladurner, Peter; Zamanian, Mostafa; Novozhilova, Ekaterina; Marks, Nikki J; Day, Tim A; Maule, Aaron G

    2009-09-01

    Available evidence shows that short amidated neuropeptides are widespread and have important functions within the nervous systems of all flatworms (phylum Platyhelminthes) examined, and could therefore represent a starting point for new lead drug compounds with which to combat parasitic helminth infections. However, only a handful of these peptides have been characterised, the rigorous exploration of the flatworm peptide signalling repertoire having been hindered by the dearth of flatworm genomic data. Through searches of both expressed sequence tags and genomic resources using the basic local alignment search tool (BLAST), we describe 96 neuropeptides on 60 precursors from 10 flatworm species. Most of these (51 predicted peptides on 14 precursors) are novel and are apparently restricted to flatworms; the remainder comprise nine recognised peptide families including FMRFamide-like (FLPs), neuropeptide F (NPF)-like, myomodulin-like, buccalin-like and neuropeptide FF (NPFF)-like peptides; notably, the latter have only previously been reported in vertebrates. Selected peptides were localised immunocytochemically to the Schistosoma mansoni nervous system. We also describe several novel flatworm NPFs with structural features characteristic of the vertebrate neuropeptide Y (NPY) superfamily, previously unreported characteristics which support the common ancestry of flatworm NPFs with the NPY-superfamily. Our dataset provides a springboard for investigation of the functional biology and therapeutic potential of neuropeptides in flatworms, simultaneously launching flatworm neurobiology into the post-genomic era.

  4. Data Analysis Project: Leveraging Massive Textual Corpora Using n-Gram Statistics

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2008-05-01

    Coolmax flatworms no extractions fruits apples, oranges, bananas , grapes, strawberries, peaches, mangoes, mango, peach, pineapple fungi email directories...clairvoyance, El Nino, telepathy, floods, fire planets Hoth, Mars, Jupiter, Geonosis, Yavin IV, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Pluto, sci protozoa giardia lamblia

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-12

    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.

  6. Freshwater Mussels (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionidae) of the Upper Mississippi River: Observations at Selected Sites Within the 9-Foot Navigation Channel Project for the St. Paul District, United States Army Corps of Engineers, 1977 - 1979. Volume I. Text.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1980-09-10

    Platyhelminthes : Trematoda). This point somewhat coun- ters the idea of this population’s viability. Partially reviewed by Fuller (1974), Nearctic...infestation with flukes, a group of parasitic flatworms ( Platyhelminthes : Trematoda). UM -- Upper Mississippi. Unionicolidae, unionicolid -- the

  7. Biological Survey Along the St. Lawrence River for the St. Lawrence Seaway. Additional Locks and other Navigation Improvements Study.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1979-01-01

    only one month (Table 6). Nine phylums were represented - Porifera, Coelenterata, Platyhelminthes , Nematoda, Nematomorpha, Firyozoa, Annel-ida...Hydroids) - colonies Phylum Platyhelminthes Class Turbellaria (Flatworms) Phylum Nematoda (Roundworms) Phylum Nematomorpha (Horsehair worms) Phylum

  8. Identification of Thioredoxin Glutathione Reductase Inhibitors That Kill Cestode and Trematode Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Ross, Fabiana; Hernández, Paola; Porcal, Williams; López, Gloria V.; Cerecetto, Hugo; González, Mercedes; Basika, Tatiana; Carmona, Carlos; Fló, Martín; Maggioli, Gabriela; Bonilla, Mariana; Gladyshev, Vadim N.; Boiani, Mariana; Salinas, Gustavo

    2012-01-01

    Parasitic flatworms are responsible for serious infectious diseases that affect humans as well as livestock animals in vast regions of the world. Yet, the drug armamentarium available for treatment of these infections is limited: praziquantel is the single drug currently available for 200 million people infected with Schistosoma spp. and there is justified concern about emergence of drug resistance. Thioredoxin glutathione reductase (TGR) is an essential core enzyme for redox homeostasis in flatworm parasites. In this work, we searched for flatworm TGR inhibitors testing compounds belonging to various families known to inhibit thioredoxin reductase or TGR and also additional electrophilic compounds. Several furoxans and one thiadiazole potently inhibited TGRs from both classes of parasitic flatworms: cestoda (tapeworms) and trematoda (flukes), while several benzofuroxans and a quinoxaline moderately inhibited TGRs. Remarkably, five active compounds from diverse families possessed a phenylsulfonyl group, strongly suggesting that this moiety is a new pharmacophore. The most active inhibitors were further characterized and displayed slow and nearly irreversible binding to TGR. These compounds efficiently killed Echinococcus granulosus larval worms and Fasciola hepatica newly excysted juveniles in vitro at a 20 µM concentration. Our results support the concept that the redox metabolism of flatworm parasites is precarious and particularly susceptible to destabilization, show that furoxans can be used to target both flukes and tapeworms, and identified phenylsulfonyl as a new drug-hit moiety for both classes of flatworm parasites. PMID:22536349

  9. Identification of thioredoxin glutathione reductase inhibitors that kill cestode and trematode parasites.

    PubMed

    Ross, Fabiana; Hernández, Paola; Porcal, Williams; López, Gloria V; Cerecetto, Hugo; González, Mercedes; Basika, Tatiana; Carmona, Carlos; Fló, Martín; Maggioli, Gabriela; Bonilla, Mariana; Gladyshev, Vadim N; Boiani, Mariana; Salinas, Gustavo

    2012-01-01

    Parasitic flatworms are responsible for serious infectious diseases that affect humans as well as livestock animals in vast regions of the world. Yet, the drug armamentarium available for treatment of these infections is limited: praziquantel is the single drug currently available for 200 million people infected with Schistosoma spp. and there is justified concern about emergence of drug resistance. Thioredoxin glutathione reductase (TGR) is an essential core enzyme for redox homeostasis in flatworm parasites. In this work, we searched for flatworm TGR inhibitors testing compounds belonging to various families known to inhibit thioredoxin reductase or TGR and also additional electrophilic compounds. Several furoxans and one thiadiazole potently inhibited TGRs from both classes of parasitic flatworms: cestoda (tapeworms) and trematoda (flukes), while several benzofuroxans and a quinoxaline moderately inhibited TGRs. Remarkably, five active compounds from diverse families possessed a phenylsulfonyl group, strongly suggesting that this moiety is a new pharmacophore. The most active inhibitors were further characterized and displayed slow and nearly irreversible binding to TGR. These compounds efficiently killed Echinococcus granulosus larval worms and Fasciola hepatica newly excysted juveniles in vitro at a 20 µM concentration. Our results support the concept that the redox metabolism of flatworm parasites is precarious and particularly susceptible to destabilization, show that furoxans can be used to target both flukes and tapeworms, and identified phenylsulfonyl as a new drug-hit moiety for both classes of flatworm parasites.

  10. 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

  11. Transfection of Platyhelminthes.

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. Three new species of Cratera Carbayo et al., 2013 from Araucaria forests with a key to species of the genus (Platyhelminthes, Continenticola)

    PubMed Central

    Rossi, Ilana; Leal-Zanchet, Ana

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Areas of Araucaria moist forest have been considered to constitute hotspots of land flatworm diversity, harbouring a high number of undescribed species. Herein we describe three new species of land flatworms of Cratera Carbayo et al., 2013 occurring in such type of forest in south Brazil. The three species are differentiated from their congeners mainly by their colour pattern, anatomy of the pharynx and prostatic vesicle, and details of the penis papilla and male atrium. An identification key to species of the genus in the Neotropical region is provided. PMID:28144173

  15. 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)

  16. 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)

  17. 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…

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Behaviour-Changing Ingredients in Soft Drinks: An Experiment Developed by School Children in Partnership with a Research Scientist

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Judge, Sarah; Delgaty, Laura; Broughton, Mark; Dyter, Laura; Grimes, Callum; Metcalf, James; Nicholson, Rose; Pennock, Erin; Jankowski, Karl

    2017-01-01

    A team of six children (13-14 years old) developed and conducted an experiment to assess the behaviour of the planarian flatworm, an invertebrate animal model, before, during and after exposure to chemicals. The aim of the project was to engage children in pharmacology and toxicology research. First, the concept that exposure to chemicals can…

  2. 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)

  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

    2015-06-26

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. Predator effects on a detritus-based food web are primarily mediated by non-trophic interactions.

    PubMed

    Majdi, Nabil; Boiché, Anatole; Traunspurger, Walter; Lecerf, Antoine

    2014-07-01

    Predator effects on ecosystems can extend far beyond their prey and are often not solely lethally transmitted. Change in prey traits in response to predation risk can have important repercussions on community assembly and key ecosystem processes (i.e. trait-mediated indirect effects). In addition, some predators themselves alter habitat structure or nutrient cycling through ecological engineering effects. Tracking these non-trophic pathways is thus an important, yet challenging task to gain a better grasp of the functional role of predators. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that, in detritus-based food webs, non-trophic interactions may prevail over purely trophic interactions in determining predator effects on plant litter decomposition. This hypothesis was tested in a headwater stream by modulating the density of a flatworm predator (Polycelis felina) in enclosures containing oak (Quercus robur) leaf litter exposed to natural colonization by small invertebrates and microbial decomposers. Causal path modelling was used to infer how predator effects propagated through the food web. Flatworms accelerated litter decomposition through positive effects on microbial decomposers. The biomass of prey and non-prey invertebrates was not negatively affected by flatworms, suggesting that net predator effect on litter decomposition was primarily determined by non-trophic interactions. Flatworms enhanced the deposition and retention of fine sediments on leaf surface, thereby improving leaf colonization by invertebrates - most of which having strong affinities with interstitial habitats. This predator-induced improvement of habitat availability was attributed to the sticky nature of the mucus that flatworms secrete in copious amount while foraging. Results of path analyses further indicated that this bottom-up ecological engineering effect was as powerful as the top-down effect on invertebrate prey. Our findings suggest that predators have the potential to affect substantially

  6. Planarians: a versatile and powerful model system for molecular studies of regeneration, adult stem cell regulation, aging, and behavior.

    PubMed

    Oviedo, Néstor J; Nicolas, Cindy L; Adams, Dany S; Levin, Michael

    2008-10-01

    INTRODUCTIONIn recent years, planarians have been increasingly recognized as an emerging model organism amenable to molecular genetic techniques aimed at understanding complex biological tasks commonly observed among metazoans. Growing evidence suggests that this model organism is uniquely poised to inform us about the mechanisms of tissue regeneration, stem cell regulation, tissue turnover, pharmacological action of diverse drugs, cancer, and aging. This article provides an overview of the planarian model system with special attention to the species Schmidtea mediterranea. Additionally, information is provided about the most popular use of this organism, together with modern genomic resources and technical approaches.

  7. [Regeneration processes in various species of planarians].

    PubMed

    Sheĭman, I M; Kreshchenko, N D; Netreba, M V

    2010-01-01

    Blastema growth and functional maturation of the pharynx during regeneration in various planarian species were compared. The intensity of blastema growth was highest in Polycelis tenuis; the lowest, in Schmidtea mediterranea. In the sexual and asexual races of Girardia tigrina blastema growth differed inconsiderably. The function of the pharynx during the regeneration of caudal fragments lacking pharynx was manifested in G. tigrina in the usual amount of time, while in the regeneration of head fragments lacking pharynx, this function occured earlier. In other planarian species of the other two typed, the times of pharynx regeneration had no regular character and took longer compared to the same process in G. tigrina.

  8. The pioneer factor Smed-gata456-1 is required for gut cell differentiation and maintenance in planarians.

    PubMed

    González-Sastre, Alejandro; De Sousa, Nídia; Adell, Teresa; Saló, Emili

    2017-01-01

    How adult stem cells differentiate into different cell types remains one of the most intriguing questions in regenerative medicine. Pioneer factors are transcription factors that can bind to and open chromatin, and are among the first elements involved in cell differentiation. We used the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea as a model system to study the role of the gata456 family of pioneer factors in gut cell differentiation during both regeneration and maintenance of the digestive system. Our findings reveal the presence of two members of the gata456 family in the Schmidtea mediterranea genome; Smed-gata456-1 and Smed-gata456-2. Our results show that Smed-gata456-1 is the only ortholog with a gut cell-related function. Smed-gata456-1 is essential for the differentiation of precursors into intestinal cells and for the survival of these differentiated cells, indicating a key role in gut regeneration and maintenance. Furthermore, tissues other than the gut appear normal following Smed-gata456-1 RNA interference (RNAi), indicating a gut-specific function. Importantly, different neoblast subtypes are unaffected by Smed-gata456-1(RNAi), suggesting that 1) Smed-gata456-1 is involved in the differentiation and maintenance, but not in the early determination, of gut cells; and 2) that the stem cell compartment is not dependent on a functional gut.

  9. [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.

  10. Biological Analysis of Three Ponds at Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs CO

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-11-01

    diatom) 4.5 52.6 0.0 Contracted Rotifera 16.8 11.1 20.0 Desmids (green algae) 5.9 58.2 38.4 Planaria sp. (flatworm) 4.8 2.3 4.3 Crustacea nauplii 7.7...Desmids 4.8 3.3 17.3 Bdelloidae rotifer 0.0 1.2 3.5 Planaria sp. 1.7 10.9 0.8 Table 6 - Meiofauna Composition of Sampling Station C (mean number/core...Pleuroxus aduncus (crustacean) 0.0 0.0 43.1 Musculium sp. (bivalve) 1.2 3.2 0.0 Candona sp. (ostracod) 6.9 10.3 0.0 Planaria sp. (flatworm) 4.0 11.1

  11. How might flukes and tapeworms maintain genome integrity without a canonical piRNA pathway?

    PubMed

    Skinner, Danielle E; Rinaldi, Gabriel; Koziol, Uriel; Brehm, Klaus; Brindley, Paul J

    2014-03-01

    Surveillance by RNA interference is central to controlling the mobilization of transposable elements (TEs). In stem cells, Piwi argonaute (Ago) proteins and associated proteins repress mobilization of TEs to maintain genome integrity. This defense mechanism targeting TEs is termed the Piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway. In this opinion article, we draw attention to the situation that the genomes of cestodes and trematodes have lost the piwi and vasa genes that are hallmark characters of the germline multipotency program. This absence of Piwi-like Agos and Vasa helicases prompts the question: how does the germline of these flatworms withstand mobilization of TEs? Here, we present an interpretation of mechanisms likely to defend the germline integrity of parasitic flatworms.

  12. Cicerina debrae n. sp. (Platyhelminthes: Kalyptorhynchia, Cicerinidae) from the Southern Atlantic Coast, USA.

    PubMed

    Tucker, Kea; Stevens, Craig; Smith, Julian P S

    2014-06-24

    Cicerina debrae is described as a new species of kalyptorhynch flatworm belonging to the Cicerinidae. This species was found in surface sediment from the lower half of the beach at two sites in North Carolina and is identical to museum material previously collected from North Carolina and from the Atlantic coast of Florida. C. debrae differs from its congeners in the shape of the ductus spermatici and the copulatory cirrus.

  13. Technology Assessment and Strategy for Development of a Rapid Field Water Microbiology Test Kit

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1991-09-01

    and NEMATHELMINTHES. Medically important members of the phylum PLATYHELMENTHES, the flatworms, belong to the classes: , (1) QESTODA ( tapeworms ) whose...pathology via the consumption of contaminated water or food. [From: Heyneman (1987)]. C-cestode( tapeworm ) N-nematode(roundworm) T-trematode(fluke) Parasite...to medinersis (N) Leg or foot Pakistan, Asia Echinococcus Liver, lung, brain Worldwide granulosus (C) bones, kidney S- 9 C-cestode( tapeworm ) N

  14. Regulatory RNAs in Planarians.

    PubMed

    Pawlicka, Kamila; Perrigue, Patrick M; Barciszewski, Jan

    2016-01-01

    The full scope of regulatory RNA evolution and function in epigenetic processes is still not well understood. The development of planarian flatworms to be used as a simple model organism for research has shown a great potential to address gaps in the knowledge in this field of study. The genomes of planarians encode a wide array of regulatory RNAs that function in gene regulation. Here, we review planarians as a suitable model organism for the identification and function of regulatory RNAs.

  15. Shedding light on photosensitive behaviour in brown planaria (Dugesia Tigrina).

    PubMed

    Davidson, Colin; Prados, Jose; Gibson, Claire L; Young, Andrew M J; Barnes, Darrel; Sherlock, Rachel; Hutchinson, Claire V

    2011-01-01

    The planarian flatworm is one of the simplest animals to develop two eyecups that enable them to detect the presence and direction of light, which they typically avoid. In this study we assessed responses of planaria to different intensities of light. We found that they exhibited a graded, sigmoidal, photonegative response to light intensity. A two-octave increase in luminance (on the upward slope of the sigmoid) corresponded to a 9% increase in the speed planaria travelled to avoid light.

  16. Phylogenetic analysis of dicyemid mesozoans (phylum Dicyemida) from innexin amino acid sequences: dicyemids are not related to Platyhelminthes.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Takahito G; Ogino, Kazutoyo; Tsuneki, Kazuhiko; Furuya, Hidetaka

    2010-06-01

    Dicyemid mesozoans are endoparasites, or endosymbionts, found only in the renal sac of benthic cephalopod molluscs. The body organization of dicyemids is very simple, consisting of usually 10 to 40 cells, with neither body cavities nor differentiated organs. Dicyemids were considered as primitive animals, and the out-group of all metazoans, or as occupying a basal position of lophotrochozoans close to flatworms. We cloned cDNAs encoding for the gap junction component proteins, innexin, from the dicyemids. Its expression pattern was observed by whole-mount in situ hybridization. In adult individuals, the innexin was expressed in calottes, infusorigens, and infusoriform embryos. The unique temporal pattern was observed in the developing infusoriform embryos. Innexin amino acid sequences had taxon-specific indels which enabled identification of the 3 major protostome lineages, i.e., 2 ecdysozoans (arthropods and nematodes) and the lophotrochozoans. The dicyemids show typical, lophotrochozoan-type indels. In addition, the Bayesian and maximum likelihood trees based on the innexin amino acid sequences suggested dicyemids to be more closely related to the higher lophotrochozoans than to the flatworms. Flatworms were the sister group, or consistently basal, to the other lophotrochozoan clade that included dicyemids, annelids, molluscs, and brachiopods.

  17. 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

  18. [Fine structure of glial cells in the central nervous system of the tapeworm Grillotia erinaceus (Cestoda: Trypanorhyncha)].

    PubMed

    Biserova, N M

    2008-01-01

    The problem of glial cells existing in parasitic and free living flatworms is correlated with organization of parenchyma in platyhelmintes. In the contrary to the widespread opinion that myelin-like envelopes and glial cells do not exist in the nervous system of parasitic flatworms, it has been shown by ultrastructural researches that Amphilina foliacea (Cestoda, Amphilinidea) has well developed glial cells and myelin-like envelopes in the ganglia and main cords, which include both glial cells and intercellular components. The aim of our research was to reveal and investigate in details structural components corresponding to the concept of the glial cell in the CNS of Grillotia erinaceus (Cestoda: Trypanorhyncha). Three types of glial cells have been found. The first type is the fibroblast-like glial cells; cells locate in the cerebral ganglion, contain in cytoplasm and extract out fibrillar matrix, form desmosomes and have supporting function. The glial cells of the second type form myeline-like envelope of the giant axons and bulbar nerves in scolex and have laminar cytoplasm. These cells are numerous and exceed in number the neurons bodies into the nerve. The glial cells of the third type form multilayer envelopes in the main nerve cords; extra cellular fibers and gap-junctions take place between the layers. There are contacts between the glial cells of the third type and excretory epithelium but specialized contacts with neurons have been not found. The existing of glial cells in free living and parasitic flatworms is discussed.

  19. Flow cytometry methods for the study of cell-cycle parameters of planarian stem cells.

    PubMed

    Kang, Hara; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2009-05-01

    Due to their characteristic inaccessibility and low numbers, little is known about the cell-cycle dynamics of most stem cells in vivo. A powerful, established methodology to study cell-cycle dynamics is flow cytometry, which is used routinely to study the cell-cycle dynamics of proliferating cells in vitro. Its use in heterogeneous mixtures of cells obtained from whole animals, however, is complicated by the relatively low abundance of cycling to non-cycling cells. We report on flow cytometric methods that take advantage of the abundance of proliferating stem cells in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. The optimized protocols allow us to measure cell-cycle dynamics and follow BrdU-labeled cells specifically in complex mixtures of cells. These methods expand on the growing toolkit being developed to study stem cell biology in planarians, and open the door to detailed cytometric studies of a collectively totipotent population of adult stem cells in vivo.

  20. A functional genomics screen in planarians reveals regulators of whole-brain regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Roberts-Galbraith, Rachel H; Brubacher, John L; Newmark, Phillip A

    2016-01-01

    Planarians regenerate all body parts after injury, including the central nervous system (CNS). We capitalized on this distinctive trait and completed a gene expression-guided functional screen to identify factors that regulate diverse aspects of neural regeneration in Schmidtea mediterranea. Our screen revealed molecules that influence neural cell fates, support the formation of a major connective hub, and promote reestablishment of chemosensory behavior. We also identified genes that encode signaling molecules with roles in head regeneration, including some that are produced in a previously uncharacterized parenchymal population of cells. Finally, we explored genes downregulated during planarian regeneration and characterized, for the first time, glial cells in the planarian CNS that respond to injury by repressing several transcripts. Collectively, our studies revealed diverse molecules and cell types that underlie an animal’s ability to regenerate its brain. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.17002.001 PMID:27612384

  1. A functional genomics screen in planarians reveals regulators of whole-brain regeneration.

    PubMed

    Roberts-Galbraith, Rachel H; Brubacher, John L; Newmark, Phillip A

    2016-09-09

    Planarians regenerate all body parts after injury, including the central nervous system (CNS). We capitalized on this distinctive trait and completed a gene expression-guided functional screen to identify factors that regulate diverse aspects of neural regeneration in Schmidtea mediterranea. Our screen revealed molecules that influence neural cell fates, support the formation of a major connective hub, and promote reestablishment of chemosensory behavior. We also identified genes that encode signaling molecules with roles in head regeneration, including some that are produced in a previously uncharacterized parenchymal population of cells. Finally, we explored genes downregulated during planarian regeneration and characterized, for the first time, glial cells in the planarian CNS that respond to injury by repressing several transcripts. Collectively, our studies revealed diverse molecules and cell types that underlie an animal's ability to regenerate its brain.

  2. Quantitative characterization of planarian wild-type behavior as a platform for screening locomotion phenotypes.

    PubMed

    Talbot, Jared; Schötz, Eva-Maria

    2011-04-01

    Changes in animal behavior resulting from genetic or chemical intervention are frequently used for phenotype characterizations. The majority of these studies are qualitative in nature, especially in systems that go beyond the classical model organisms. Here, we introduce a quantitative method to characterize behavior in the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Wild-type locomotion in confinement was quantified using a wide set of parameters, and the influences of intrinsic intra-worm versus inter-worm variability on our measurements was studied. We also examined the effect of substrate, confinement geometry and the interactions with the boundary on planarian behavior. The method is based on a simple experimental setup, using automated center-of-mass tracking and image analysis, making it an easily implemented alternative to current methods for screening planarian locomotion phenotypes. As a proof of principle, two drug-induced behavioral phenotypes were generated to show the capacity of this method.

  3. 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

    2016-08-09

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Lapan, Sylvain W; Reddien, Peter W

    2012-08-30

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. Analyzing pERK Activation During Planarian Regeneration.

    PubMed

    Fraguas, Susanna; Umesono, Yoshihiko; Agata, Kiyokazu; Cebrià, Francesc

    2017-01-01

    Planarians are an ideal model in which to study stem cell-based regeneration. After amputation, planarian pluripotent stem cells surrounding the wound proliferate to produce the regenerative blastema, in which they differentiate into the missing tissues and structures. Recent independent studies in planarians have shown that Smed-egfr-3, a gene encoding a homologue of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors, and DjerkA, which encodes an extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), may control cell differentiation and blastema growth. However, because these studies were carried in two different planarian species, the relationship between these two genes remains unclear. We have optimized anti-pERK immunostaining in Schmidtea mediterranea using the original protocol developed in Dugesia japonica. Both protocols are reported here as most laboratories worldwide work with one of these two species. Using this protocol we have determined that Smed-egfr-3 appears to be necessary for pERK activation during planarian regeneration.

  7. Planarian homologs of netrin and netrin receptor are required for proper regeneration of the central nervous system and the maintenance of nervous system architecture.

    PubMed

    Cebrià, Francesc; Newmark, Phillip A

    2005-08-01

    Conserved axon guidance mechanisms are essential for proper wiring of the nervous system during embryogenesis; however, the functions of these cues in adults and during regeneration remain poorly understood. Because freshwater planarians can regenerate a functional central nervous system (CNS) from almost any portion of their body, they are useful models in which to study the roles of guidance cues during neural regeneration. Here, we characterize two netrin homologs and one netrin receptor family member from Schmidtea mediterranea. RNAi analyses indicate that Smed-netR (netrin receptor) and Smed-netrin2 are required for proper CNS regeneration and that Smed-netR may mediate the response to Smed-netrin2. Remarkably, Smed-netR and Smed-netrin2 are also required in intact planarians to maintain the proper patterning of the CNS. These results suggest a crucial role for guidance cues, not only in CNS regeneration but also in maintenance of neural architecture.

  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. Embryonic origin of adult stem cells required for tissue homeostasis and regeneration.

    PubMed

    Davies, Erin L; Lei, Kai; Seidel, Christopher W; Kroesen, Amanda E; McKinney, Sean A; Guo, Longhua; Robb, Sofia Mc; Ross, Eric J; Gotting, Kirsten; Alvarado, Alejandro Sánchez

    2017-01-10

    Planarian neoblasts are pluripotent, adult somatic stem cells and lineage-primed progenitors that are required for the production and maintenance of all differentiated cell types, including the germline. Neoblasts, originally defined as undifferentiated cells residing in the adult parenchyma, are frequently compared to embryonic stem cells yet their developmental origin remains obscure. We investigated the provenance of neoblasts during Schmidtea mediterranea embryogenesis, and report that neoblasts arise from an anarchic, cycling piwi-1+ population wholly responsible for production of all temporary and definitive organs during embryogenesis. Early embryonic piwi-1+ cells are molecularly and functionally distinct from neoblasts: they express unique cohorts of early embryo enriched transcripts and behave differently than neoblasts in cell transplantation assays. Neoblast lineages arise as organogenesis begins and are required for construction of all major organ systems during embryogenesis. These subpopulations are continuously generated during adulthood, where they act as agents of tissue homeostasis and regeneration.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Novel RNAi-mediated approach to G protein-coupled receptor deorphanization: proof of principle and characterization of a planarian 5-HT receptor.

    PubMed

    Zamanian, Mostafa; Agbedanu, Prince N; Wheeler, Nicolas J; McVeigh, Paul; Kimber, Michael J; Day, Tim A

    2012-01-01

    G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) represent the largest known superfamily of membrane proteins extending throughout the Metazoa. There exists ample motivation to elucidate the functional properties of GPCRs given their role in signal transduction and their prominence as drug targets. In many target organisms, these efforts are hampered by the unreliable nature of heterologous receptor expression platforms. We validate and describe an alternative loss-of-function approach for ascertaining the ligand and G protein coupling properties of GPCRs in their native cell membrane environment. Our efforts are focused on the phylum Platyhelminthes, given the heavy health burden exacted by pathogenic flatworms, as well as the role of free-living flatworms as model organisms for the study of developmental biology. RNA interference (RNAi) was used in conjunction with a biochemical endpoint assay to monitor cAMP modulation in response to the translational suppression of individual receptors. As proof of principle, this approach was used to confirm the neuropeptide GYIRFamide as the cognate ligand for the planarian neuropeptide receptor GtNPR-1, while revealing its endogenous coupling to Gα(i/o). The method was then extended to deorphanize a novel Gα(s)-coupled planarian serotonin receptor, DtSER-1. A bioinformatics protocol guided the selection of receptor candidates mediating 5-HT-evoked responses. These results provide functional data on a neurotransmitter central to flatworm biology, while establishing the great potential of an RNAi-based deorphanization protocol. Future work can help optimize and adapt this protocol for higher-throughput platforms as well as other phyla.

  13. Molecular phylogeny of the animal kingdom.

    PubMed

    Field, K G; Olsen, G J; Lane, D J; Giovannoni, S J; Ghiselin, M T; Raff, E C; Pace, N R; Raff, R A

    1988-02-12

    A rapid sequencing method for ribosomal RNA was applied to the resolution of evolutionary relationships among Metazoa. Representatives of 22 classes in 10 animal phyla were used to infer phylogenetic relationships, based on evolutionary distances determined from pairwise comparisons of the 18S ribosomal RNA sequences. The classical Eumetazoa are divided into two groups. Cnidarians arose from a protist ancestry different from the second group, the Bilateria. Within the Bilateria, an early split gave rise to Platyhelminthes (flatworms) and the coelomate lineage. Coelomates are thus monophyletic, and they radiated rapidly into four groups: chordates, echinoderms, arthropods, and eucoelomate protostomes.

  14. Cestodes of dogs and cats in North America.

    PubMed

    Conboy, Gary

    2009-11-01

    Cestodes are hermaphroditic flatworms (tapeworms) consisting of a scolex, neck region, and repeating segments. Cestodes lack a mouth, intestine, and body cavity. Life cycles are indirect, with the definitive host acquiring the adult form of the tapeworm by the ingestion of the larval metacestode stage contained in an intermediate host. This article describes the cyclophyllidean and pseudophyllidean groups of infective cestodes. Tapeworm infection is common in dogs and cats in North America. Infection rarely results in clinical disease, but animals infected with tapeworms should be treated. Echinococcosis, though infrequently diagnosed, remains a serious human health threat in North America.

  15. 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.

  16. Anatomy and ultrastructure of the female reproductive system of Pleioplana atomata (Platyhelminthes: Polycladida).

    PubMed

    Liana, Marcin K; Litvaitis, Marian K

    2009-03-01

    The ultrastructure of the female reproductive system of the polyclad flatworm Pleioplana atomata is described. Numerous ovaries are scattered throughout the entire body but are mainly concentrated on the dorsal side. Within an ovary, a germinative zone with oogonia and prefolicular cells is located in the dorsal part of the ovary. The remaining part of the gonad is filled with previtellogenic and early vitellogenic oocytes enwrapped by follicular cells. During previtellogenesis, oocytes produce numerous eggshell globules, which are distributed into the cortical area of the cell in later stages. Eventually, these globules release their contents into the space between the eggshell cover and oolemma. Similar types of globules are also found in others flatworms, and may represent useful phylogenetic characters. Entolecital, vitellogenic oocytes pass to paired uteri, where vitellogenesis is completed. The remainder of the female reproductive system consists of paired thin uterine ducts that join a vagina. The distal part of the long, curved vagina forms a large Lang's vesicle, while the proximal part is connected to a female atrium leading to a female gonopore. We hypothesize that Lang's vesicle functions in the digestion of excess sperm received. Two kinds of different shell (cement) glands that release their secretion into the vagina are identified. Both are unicellular glands and each gland cell connects to the lumen of the vagina via an individual canal. Similar glands in other acotylean polyclads have been implicated in the formation of eggshell covers.

  17. Biochemical and Molecular Study of Carpobrotus edulis Bioactive Properties and Their Effects on Dugesia sicula (Turbellaria, Tricladida) Regeneration.

    PubMed

    Meddeb, Emna; Charni, Mohamed; Ghazouani, Tesnime; Cozzolino, Autilia; Fratianni, Florinda; Raboudi, Faten; Nazzaro, Filomena; Fattouch, Sami

    2017-01-07

    The traditional medicinal properties of Carpobrotus edulis are well recognized, particularly in Tunisia where it is used for wound healing. Thus, in this study, biochemical and molecular properties of its leaves' bioactive aqueous-acetone extract were investigated. The total phenolic content (TPC) of the extract was estimated to be 184 ± 5 mg/100 g of fresh matter (FM). The qualitative and quantitative polyphenolic profile was determined by ultra performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection (UPLC-DAD) and showed that chlorogenic acid was the major compound (43.7%). The extract exhibits potent antioxidant capacities with IC50 = 56.19 and 58.91 μg/ml, as accessed via the anionic DPPH and cationic ABTS radical scavenging assays, respectively. The extract has high antibacterial properties, especially against the Gram+ Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus strains. To investigate the extract effect on regeneration, the flatworm Dugesia sicula Lepori, 1948, was used as a model. The macroscopic analysis of planarian cultures in ordinary medium containing phenolic extract at non-toxic concentrations illustrated that the extract caused morphological changes. Additionally, the molecular study through the fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) technique showed that C. edulis polyphenols can harm the stem cells' development. These results emphasize the ecotoxicological impact of phenolic rejections in the environment on flatworms' physiology.

  18. Identification of members of several homeobox genes in a planarian using a ligation-mediated polymerase chain reaction technique.

    PubMed Central

    Balavoine, G

    1996-01-01

    I have used a novel single-sided specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) strategy inspired by ligation-mediated PCR to clone fragments of divergent homeobox genes from a flatworm, the planarian Polycelis nigra. Eight homeobox-containing fragments were amplified, belonging to the Hox, msh, NK-1 and NK-2 classes. Together with the results obtained from several genomes of platyhelminths, my screening shows the presence of the same array of homeodomain developmental regulators in planarians, traditionally regarded as primitive metazoans in terms of body plan, as in coelomate organisms. However, the presence of a Ubx/abd-A homolog may indicate that platyhelminths are more closely related to protostomes than to deuterostomes and supports the idea that flatworms have inherited an elaborate HOX cluster (seven or eight genes) from their ancestor. Likely homologs of the fly genes tinman, bagpipe and S59 suggest that the mesoderm might be patterned by the same genes in all bilaterally symmetrical animals. Finally, a msh-like gene, a family known to be involved in inductive mechanisms in vertebrates, has been found. These results support the hypothesis that the tremendous diversity of metazoan body plans is specified by a largely conserved array of homeobox-containing developmental genes. PMID:8628690

  19. Granulocytes in Helminth Infection - Who is Calling the Shots?

    PubMed Central

    Makepeace, BL; Martin, C; Turner, JD; Specht, S

    2012-01-01

    Helminths are parasitic organisms that can be broadly described as “worms” due to their elongated body plan, but which otherwise differ in shape, development, migratory routes and the predilection site of the adults and larvae. They are divided into three major groups: trematodes (flukes), which are leaf-shaped, hermaphroditic (except for blood flukes) flatworms with oral and ventral suckers; cestodes (tapeworms), which are segmented, hermaphroditic flatworms that inhabit the intestinal lumen; and nematodes (roundworms), which are dioecious, cylindrical parasites that inhabit intestinal and peripheral tissue sites. Helminths exhibit a sublime co-evolution with the host´s immune system that has enabled them to successfully colonize almost all multicellular species present in every geographical environment, including over two billion humans. In the face of this challenge, the host immune system has evolved to strike a delicate balance between attempts to neutralize the infectious assault versus limitation of damage to host tissues. Among the most important cell types during helminthic invasion are granulocytes: eosinophils, neutrophils and basophils. Depending on the specific context, these leukocytes may have pivotal roles in host protection, immunopathology, or facilitation of helminth establishment. This review provides an overview of the function of granulocytes in helminthic infections. PMID:22360486

  20. On the presence and immunoregulatory functions of extracellular microRNAs in the trematode Fasciola hepatica.

    PubMed

    Fromm, B; Ovchinnikov, V; Høye, E; Bernal, D; Hackenberg, M; Marcilla, A

    2017-02-01

    Liver flukes represent a paraphyletic group of endoparasitic flatworms that significantly affect man either indirectly due to economic damage on livestock or directly as pathogens. A range of studies have focussed on how these macroscopic organisms can evade the immune system and live inside a hostile environment such as the mammalian liver and bile ducts. Recently, microRNAs, a class of short noncoding gene regulators, have been proposed as likely candidates to play roles in this scenario. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key players in development and pathogenicity and are highly conserved between metazoans: identical miRNAs can be found in flatworms and mammalians. Interestingly, miRNAs are enriched in extracellular vesicles (EVs) which are secreted by most cells. EVs constitute an important mode of parasite/host interaction, and recent data illustrate that miRNAs play a vital part. We have demonstrated the presence of miRNAs in the EVs of the trematode species Dicrocoelium dendriticum and Fasciola hepatica (Fhe) and identified potential immune-regulatory miRNAs with targets in the host. After our initial identification of miRNAs expressed by F. hepatica, an assembled genome and additional miRNA data became available. This has enabled us to update the known complement of miRNAs in EVs and speculate on potential immune-regulatory functions that we review here.

  1. 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.

  2. Automated analysis of behavior: a computer-controlled system for drug screening and the investigation of learning.

    PubMed

    Hicks, Caitlin; Sorocco, Debra; Levin, Michael

    2006-08-01

    Efforts to understand cognition will be greatly facilitated by computerized systems that enable the automated analysis of animal behavior. A number of controversies in the invertebrate learning field have resulted from difficulties inherent in manual experiments. Driven by the necessity to overcome these problems during investigation of neural function in planarian flatworms and frog larvae, we designed and developed a prototype for an inexpensive, flexible system that enables automated control and analysis of behavior and learning. Applicable to a variety of small animals such as flatworms and zebrafish, this system allows automated analysis of innate behavior, as well as of learning and memory in a plethora of conditioning paradigms. We present here the schematics of a basic prototype, which overcomes experimenter effects and operator tedium, enabling a large number of animals to be analyzed with transparent on-line access to primary data. A scaled-up version of this technology represents an efficient methodology to screen pharmacological and genetic libraries for novel neuroactive reagents of basic and biomedical relevance.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-01

    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.

  4. 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

  5. An automated training paradigm reveals long-term memory in planarians and its persistence through head regeneration.

    PubMed

    Shomrat, Tal; Levin, Michael

    2013-10-15

    Planarian flatworms are a popular system for research into the molecular mechanisms that enable these complex organisms to regenerate their entire body, including the brain. Classical data suggest that they may also be capable of long-term memory. Thus, the planarian system may offer the unique opportunity to study brain regeneration and memory in the same animal. To establish a system for the investigation of the dynamics of memory in a regenerating brain, we developed a computerized training and testing paradigm that avoided the many issues that confounded previous, manual attempts to train planarians. We then used this new system to train flatworms in an environmental familiarization protocol. We show that worms exhibit environmental familiarization, and that this memory persists for at least 14 days - long enough for the brain to regenerate. We further show that trained, decapitated planarians exhibit evidence of memory retrieval in a savings paradigm after regenerating a new head. Our work establishes a foundation for objective, high-throughput assays in this molecularly tractable model system that will shed light on the fundamental interface between body patterning and stored memories. We propose planarians as key emerging model species for mechanistic investigations of the encoding of specific memories in biological tissues. Moreover, this system is lik ely to have important implications for the biomedicine of stem-cell-derived treatments of degenerative brain disorders in human adults.

  6. Protein Translation Enzyme lysyl-tRNA Synthetase Presents a New Target for Drug Development against Causative Agents of Loiasis and Schistosomiasis

    PubMed Central

    Yogavel, Manickam; Sharma, Amit

    2016-01-01

    Helminth parasites are an assemblage of two major phyla of nematodes (also known as roundworms) and platyhelminths (also called flatworms). These parasites are a major human health burden, and infections caused by helminths are considered under neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These infections are typified by limited clinical treatment options and threat of drug resistance. Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are vital enzymes that decode genetic information and enable protein translation. The specific inhibition of pathogen aaRSs bores well for development of next generation anti-parasitics. Here, we have identified and annotated aaRSs and accessory proteins from Loa loa (nematode) and Schistosoma mansoni (flatworm) to provide a glimpse of these protein translation enzymes within these parasites. Using purified parasitic lysyl-tRNA synthetases (KRSs), we developed series of assays that address KRS enzymatic activity, oligomeric states, crystal structure and inhibition profiles. We show that L. loa and S. mansoni KRSs are potently inhibited by the fungal metabolite cladosporin. Our co-crystal structure of Loa loa KRS-cladosporin complex reveals key interacting residues and provides a platform for structure-based drug development. This work hence provides a new direction for both novel target discovery and inhibitor development against eukaryotic pathogens that include L. loa and S. mansoni. PMID:27806050

  7. Hox genes from the Polystomatidae (Platyhelminthes, Monogenea).

    PubMed

    Badets, Mathieu; Verneau, Olivier

    2009-11-01

    Hox genes form a multigenic family that play a fundamental role during the early stages of development. They are organised in a single cluster and share a 60 amino acid conserved sequence that corresponds to the DNA binding domain, i.e. the homeodomain. Sequence conservation in this region has allowed investigators to explore Hox diversity in the metazoan lineages. Within parasitic flatworms only homeobox sequences of parasite species from the Cestoda and Digenea have been reported. In the present study we surveyed species of the Polyopisthocotylea (Monogenea) in order to clarify Hox identification and diversification processes in the neodermatan lineage. From cloning of degenerative PCR products of the central region of the homeobox, we report one ParaHox and 25 new Hox sequences from 10 species of the Polystomatidae and one species of the Diclidophoridae, which extend Hox gene diversity from 46 to 72 within Neodermata. Hox sequences from the Polyopisthocotylea were annotated and classified from sequence alignments and Bayesian inferences of 178 Hox, ParaHox and related gene families recovered from all available parasitic platyhelminths and other bilaterian taxa. Our results are discussed in the light of the recent Hox evolutionary schemes. They may provide new perspectives to study the transition from turbellarians to parasitic flatworms with complex life-cycles and outline the first steps for evolutionary developmental biological approaches within platyhelminth parasites.

  8. Identification of putative insulin-like peptides and components of insulin signaling pathways in parasitic platyhelminths by the use of genome-wide screening.

    PubMed

    Wang, Shuai; Luo, Xuenong; Zhang, Shaohua; Yin, Cai; Dou, Yongxi; Cai, Xuepeng

    2014-02-01

    No endogenous insulin-like peptides in parasitic flatworms have been reported. Insulin receptors from flukes and tapeworms have been shown to interact directly with the host-derived insulin molecule, which suggests the exploitation of host-derived insulin. In this study, a strategy of genome-wide searches followed by comprehensive analyses of strictly conserved features of the insulin family was used to demonstrate the presence of putative insulin-like peptides in the genomes of six tapeworms and two flukes. In addition, whole insulin signaling pathways were annotated on a genome-wide scale. Two putative insulin-like peptide genes in each genome of tapeworms and one insulin-like peptide gene in each genome of flukes were identified. The comprehensive analyses revealed that all of these peptides showed the common features shared by other members of the insulin family, and the phylogenetic analysis implied a putative gene duplication event in the Cestoda during the evolution of insulin-like peptide genes. The quantitative expression analysis and immunolocalization results suggested a putative role of these peptides in reproduction. Entire sets of major components of the classic insulin signaling pathway were successfully identified, suggesting that this pathway in parasitic flatworms might also regulate many other important biological activities. We believe that the identification of the insulin-like peptides gives us a better understanding of the insulin signaling pathway in these parasites, as well as host-parasite interactions.

  9. Helminth.net: expansions to Nematode.net and an introduction to Trematode.net.

    PubMed

    Martin, John; Rosa, Bruce A; Ozersky, Philip; Hallsworth-Pepin, Kymberlie; Zhang, Xu; Bhonagiri-Palsikar, Veena; Tyagi, Rahul; Wang, Qi; Choi, Young-Jun; Gao, Xin; McNulty, Samantha N; Brindley, Paul J; Mitreva, Makedonka

    2015-01-01

    Helminth.net (http://www.helminth.net) is the new moniker for a collection of databases: Nematode.net and Trematode.net. Within this collection we provide services and resources for parasitic roundworms (nematodes) and flatworms (trematodes), collectively known as helminths. For over a decade we have provided resources for studying nematodes via our veteran site Nematode.net (http://nematode.net). In this article, (i) we provide an update on the expansions of Nematode.net that hosts omics data from 84 species and provides advanced search tools to the broad scientific community so that data can be mined in a useful and user-friendly manner and (ii) we introduce Trematode.net, a site dedicated to the dissemination of data from flukes, flatworm parasites of the class Trematoda, phylum Platyhelminthes. Trematode.net is an independent component of Helminth.net and currently hosts data from 16 species, with information ranging from genomic, functional genomic data, enzymatic pathway utilization to microbiome changes associated with helminth infections. The databases' interface, with a sophisticated query engine as a backbone, is intended to allow users to search for multi-factorial combinations of species' omics properties. This report describes updates to Nematode.net since its last description in NAR, 2012, and also introduces and presents its new sibling site, Trematode.net.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Origin of the epidermis in parasitic platyhelminths.

    PubMed

    Tyler, S; Tyler, M S

    1997-06-01

    The epidermis of members of the major parasitic taxon Neodermata is distinctive among flatworms, being a syncytial, insunk, non-ciliated epidermis that develops through a wholesale replacement of larval epidermis at metamorphosis when the larva attacks a host. How it arose in evolution from what must have been a turbellarian-like ancestor is not immediately evident. While many turbellarian flatworms have also adopted a symbiotic way of life, the literature on ultrastructure of epidermis in these symbionts shows quite a variety of morphologies, many not so different from that of their free-living relatives. Various turbellarians do have syncytial or insunk epidermises or reduction of epidermal ciliation as is characteristic of the Neodermata, but co-occurrence in a single turbellarian of all features common to neodermatans has not been reported. Urastoma cyprinae, for example, which is ectosymbiotic on bivalves, has a ciliated cellular epidermis that is little different from what is known of epidermises of its free-living relatives. The endoparasitic Anoplodium hymanae, from the coelom of sea cucumbers, also bears a ciliated cellular epidermis, as is typical of many other rhabdocoels, but it shows marked phagocytic activity as well as incorporation of endosymbiotic bacteria. The closest similarity to neodermatan epidermis is that of the turbellarian Genostoma kozloffi, an ectosymbiont of the crustacean Nebalia: covering the bulk of the body is a non-ciliated syncytium with multiple branching connections to insunk nucleated portions, much as in epidermis of adult neodermatans and, on its ventral surface, is a field of ciliated cellular insunk epidermis resembling the epidermis of some larval neodermatans. Developmental clues to the origin of the neodermatan epidermis can be seen in turbellarian embryos. Before hatching, embryos of proseriate and triclad embryos go through 3 generations of epidermis, each replacing the next; 2 generations of epidermis are reported in

  15. Hedgehog signaling regulates gene expression in planarian glia

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Irving E; Lapan, Sylvain W; Scimone, M Lucila; Clandinin, Thomas R; Reddien, Peter W

    2016-01-01

    Hedgehog signaling is critical for vertebrate central nervous system (CNS) development, but its role in CNS biology in other organisms is poorly characterized. In the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, hedgehog (hh) is expressed in medial cephalic ganglia neurons, suggesting a possible role in CNS maintenance or regeneration. We performed RNA sequencing of planarian brain tissue following RNAi of hh and patched (ptc), which encodes the Hh receptor. Two misregulated genes, intermediate filament-1 (if-1) and calamari (cali), were expressed in a previously unidentified non-neural CNS cell type. These cells expressed orthologs of astrocyte-associated genes involved in neurotransmitter uptake and metabolism, and extended processes enveloping regions of high synapse concentration. We propose that these cells are planarian glia. Planarian glia were distributed broadly, but only expressed if-1 and cali in the neuropil near hh+ neurons. Planarian glia and their regulation by Hedgehog signaling present a novel tractable system for dissection of glia biology. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.16996.001 PMID:27612382

  16. Embryonic origin of adult stem cells required for tissue homeostasis and regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Davies, Erin L; Lei, Kai; Seidel, Christopher W; Kroesen, Amanda E; McKinney, Sean A; Guo, Longhua; Robb, Sofia MC; Ross, Eric J; Gotting, Kirsten; Alvarado, Alejandro Sánchez

    2017-01-01

    Planarian neoblasts are pluripotent, adult somatic stem cells and lineage-primed progenitors that are required for the production and maintenance of all differentiated cell types, including the germline. Neoblasts, originally defined as undifferentiated cells residing in the adult parenchyma, are frequently compared to embryonic stem cells yet their developmental origin remains obscure. We investigated the provenance of neoblasts during Schmidtea mediterranea embryogenesis, and report that neoblasts arise from an anarchic, cycling piwi-1+ population wholly responsible for production of all temporary and definitive organs during embryogenesis. Early embryonic piwi-1+ cells are molecularly and functionally distinct from neoblasts: they express unique cohorts of early embryo enriched transcripts and behave differently than neoblasts in cell transplantation assays. Neoblast lineages arise as organogenesis begins and are required for construction of all major organ systems during embryogenesis. These subpopulations are continuously generated during adulthood, where they act as agents of tissue homeostasis and regeneration. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.21052.001 PMID:28072387

  17. Regeneration and the need for simpler model organisms.

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2004-01-01

    The problem of regeneration is fundamentally a problem of tissue homeostasis involving the replacement of cells lost to normal 'wear and tear' (cell turnover), and/or injury. This attribute is of particular significance to organisms possessing relatively long lifespans, as maintenance of all body parts and their functional integration is essential for their survival. Because tissue replacement is broadly distributed among multicellular life-forms, and the molecules and mechanisms controlling cellular differentiation are considered ancient evolutionary inventions, it should be possible to gain key molecular insights about regenerative processes through the study of simpler animals. We have chosen to study and develop the freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea as a model system because it is one of the simplest metazoans possessing tissue homeostasis and regeneration, and because it has become relatively easy to molecularly manipulate this organism. The developmental plasticity and longevity of S. mediterranea is in marked contrast to its better-characterized invertebrate cohorts: the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster and the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, both of which have short lifespans and are poor at regenerating tissues. Therefore, planarians present us with new, experimentally accessible contexts in which to study the molecular actions guiding cell fate restriction, differentiation and patterning, each of which is crucial not only for regeneration to occur, but also for the survival and perpetuation of all multicellular organisms. PMID:15293803

  18. 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.

  19. Cell death and tissue remodeling in planarian regeneration.

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-01

    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 initial 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.

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

    PubMed

    Wenemoser, Danielle; Reddien, Peter W

    2010-08-15

    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.

  1. The planarian nanos-like gene Smednos is expressed in germline and eye precursor cells during development and regeneration.

    PubMed

    Handberg-Thorsager, Mette; Saló, Emili

    2007-05-01

    Planarians are highly regenerative organisms with the ability to remake all their cell types, including the germ cells. The germ cells have been suggested to arise from totipotent neoblasts through epigenetic mechanisms. Nanos is a zinc-finger protein with a widely conserved role in the maintenance of germ cell identity. In this work, we describe the expression of a planarian nanos-like gene Smednos in two kinds of precursor cells namely, primordial germ cells and eye precursor cells, during both development and regeneration of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. In sexual planarians, Smednos is expressed in presumptive male primordial germ cells of embryos from stage 8 of embryogenesis and throughout development of the male gonads and in the female primordial germ cells of the ovary. Thus, upon hatching, juvenile planarians do possess primordial germ cells. In the asexual strain, Smednos is expressed in presumptive male and female primordial germ cells. During regeneration, Smednos expression is maintained in the primordial germ cells, and new clusters of Smednos-positive cells appear in the regenerated tissue. Remarkably, during the final stages of development (stage 8 of embryogenesis) and during regeneration of the planarian eye, Smednos is expressed in cells surrounding the differentiating eye cells, possibly corresponding to eye precursor cells. Our results suggest that similar genetic mechanisms might be used to control the differentiation of precursor cells during development and regeneration in planarians.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Germ cell specification and regeneration in planarians.

    PubMed

    Newmark, P A; Wang, Y; Chong, T

    2008-01-01

    In metazoans, two apparently distinct mechanisms specify germ cell fate: Determinate specification (observed in animals including Drosophila, Caenorhabditis elegans, zebra fish, and Xenopus) uses cytoplasmic factors localized to specific regions of the egg, whereas epigenetic specification (observed in many basal metazoans, urodeles, and mammals) involves inductive interactions between cells. Much of our understanding of germ cell specification has emerged from studies of model organisms displaying determinate specification. In contrast, our understanding of epigenetic/inductive specification is less advanced and would benefit from studies of additional organisms. Freshwater planarians--widely known for their remarkable powers of regeneration--are well suited for studying the mechanisms by which germ cells can be induced. Classic experiments showed that planarians can regenerate germ cells from body fragments entirely lacking reproductive structures, suggesting that planarian germ cells could be specified by inductive signals. Furthermore, the availability of the genome sequence of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea, coupled with the animal's susceptibility to systemic RNA interference (RNAi), facilitates functional genomic analyses of germ cell development and regeneration. Here, we describe recent progress in studies of planarian germ cells and frame some of the critical unresolved questions for future work.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. A low percent ethanol method for immobilizing planarians.

    PubMed

    Stevenson, Claire G; Beane, Wendy Scott

    2010-12-14

    Planarians have recently become a popular model system for the study of adult stem cells, regeneration and polarity. The system is attractive for both undergraduate and graduate research labs, since planarian colonies are low cost and easy to maintain. Also in situ hybridization, immunofluorescence and RNA-interference (RNAi) gene knockdown techniques have been developed for planarian studies. However, imaging of live worms (particularly at high magnifications) is difficult because animals are strongly photophobic; they quickly move away from light sources and out of frame. The current methods available to inhibit movement in planarians include RNAi injection and exposure to cold temperatures. The former is labor and time intensive, while the latter precludes the use of many fluorescent reporter dyes. Here, we report a simple, inexpensive and reversible method to immobilize planarians for live imaging. Our data show that a short 1 hour treatment with 3% ethanol (EtOH) is sufficient to inhibit both the fine and gross movements of Schmidtea mediterranea planarians, of the typical size used (4-6 mm), with full recovery of movement within 3-4 hours. Importantly, EtOH treatment did not interfere with regeneration, even after repeated exposure, nor lyse epithelial cells (as assayed by H&E staining). We demonstrate that a short exposure to a low concentration of EtOH is a quick and effective method of immobilizing planarians, one that is easily adaptable to planarians of all sizes and will increase the accessibility of live imaging assays to planarian researchers.

  10. Essential role for the planarian intestinal GATA transcription factor in stem cells and regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Flores, Natasha M.; Oviedo, Néstor J.; Sage, Julien

    2016-01-01

    The cellular turnover of adult tissues and injury-induced repair proceed through an exquisite integration of proliferation, differentiation, and survival signals that involve stem/progenitor cell populations, their progeny, and differentiated tissues. GATA factors are DNA binding proteins that control stem cells and the development of tissues by activating or repressing transcription. Here we examined the role of GATA transcription factors in Schmidtea mediterranea, a freshwater planarian that provides an excellent model to investigate gene function in adult stem cells, regeneration, and differentiation. Smed-gata4/5/6, the homolog of the three mammalian GATA-4,-5,-6 factors is expressed at high levels in differentiated gut cells but also at lower levels in neoblast populations, the planarian stem cells. Smed-gata4/5/6 knock-down results in broad differentiation defects, especially in response to injury. These defects are not restricted to the intestinal lineage. In particular, at late time points during the response to injury, loss of Smed-gata4/5/6 leads to decreased neoblast proliferation and to gene expression changes in several neoblast subpopulations. Thus, Smed-gata4/5/6 plays a key evolutionary conserved role in intestinal differentiation in planarians. These data further support a model in which defects in the intestinal lineage can indirectly affect other differentiation pathways in planarians. PMID:27542689

  11. 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.

  12. Embryonic development of Girardia tigrina (Girard, 1850) (Platyhelminthes, Tricladida, Paludicola).

    PubMed

    Vara, D C; Leal-Zanchet, A M; Lizardo-Daudt, H m

    2008-11-01

    The embryonic development of freshwater triclads is mainly known from studies of species of Dendrocoelum, Planaria, Polycelis, and, more recently, Schmidtea. The present study characterizes the development of Girardia tigrina (Girard, 1850) by means of optical microcopy using glycol methacrylate semi-thin sections. 94 cocoons were collected in the period from laying to hatching, with intervals of up to twenty-four hours. The sequence of morphological changes occurring in the embryo permitted the identification of nine embryonic stages. At the time of cocoon laying, numerous embryos were dispersed among many yolk cells, with a rigid capsule covering the entire cocoon. In the first stage (approx. up to 6 hours after cocoon laying), yolk cells and embryonic cells showed random distribution. Stage II (between 12 and 24 hours after cocoon laying) is characterized by aggregates of blastomeres, which later aggregate forming an enteroblastula. Approximately 2 days after cocoon laying (stage III), formation of the embryonic epidermis and embryonic digestive system took place, the latter degenerating during the subsequent stage. Stage V (until the fourth day) is characterized by the formation of the definitive epidermis. Between 4 and 6 days after laying, organogenesis of the definitive inner organs starts (stage VI). Approximately 14 days after laying (stage IX), formation of the nervous system is completed. At this stage, the embryo shows similar characteristics to those of newly hatched juveniles. The hatching of Girardia tigrina occurs in the period between twelve to twenty-two days after cocoon laying.

  13. 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.

  14. Temporal regulation of planarian eye regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Deochand, Michelle E.; Birkholz, Taylor R.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract While tissue regeneration is typically studied using standard injury models, in nature injuries vary greatly in the amount and location of tissues lost. Planarians have the unique ability to regenerate from many different injuries (including from tiny fragments with no brain), allowing us to study the effects of different injuries on regeneration timelines. We followed the timing of regeneration for one organ, the eye, after multiple injury types that involved tissue loss (single‐ and double‐eye ablation, and decapitation) in Schmidtea mediterranea. Our data reveal that the timing of regeneration remained constant despite changing injury parameters. Optic tissue regrowth, nerve re‐innervation, and functional recovery were similar between injury types (even when the animal was simultaneously regrowing its brain). Changes in metabolic rate (i.e., starving vs. fed regenerates) also had no effect on regeneration timelines. In addition, our data suggest there may exist a role for optic nerve degeneration following eye ablation. Our results suggest that the temporal regulation of planarian eye regeneration is tightly controlled and resistant to variations in injury type. PMID:27800171

  15. Comparative selenoproteome analysis reveals a reduced utilization of selenium in parasitic platyhelminthes.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Liang; Zhu, Hua-Zhang; Xu, Yin-Zhen; Ni, Jia-Zuan; Zhang, Yan; Liu, Qiong

    2013-01-01

    Background. The selenocysteine(Sec)-containing proteins, selenoproteins, are an important group of proteins present in all three kingdoms of life. Although the selenoproteomes of many organisms have been analyzed, systematic studies on selenoproteins in platyhelminthes are still lacking. Moreover, comparison of selenoproteomes between free-living and parasitic animals is rarely studied. Results. In this study, three representative organisms (Schmidtea mediterranea, Schistosoma japonicum and Taenia solium) were selected for comparative analysis of selenoproteomes in Platyhelminthes. Using a SelGenAmic-based selenoprotein prediction algorithm, a total of 37 selenoprotein genes were identified in these organisms. The size of selenoproteomes and selenoprotein families were found to be associated with different lifestyles: free-living organisms have larger selenoproteome whereas parasitic lifestyle corresponds to reduced selenoproteomes. Five selenoproteins, SelT, Sel15, GPx, SPS2 and TR, were found to be present in all examined platyhelminthes as well as almost all sequenced animals, suggesting their essential role in metazoans. Finally, a new splicing form of SelW that lacked the first exon was found to be present in S. japonicum. Conclusions. Our data provide a first glance into the selenoproteomes of organisms in the phylum Platyhelminthes and may help understand function and evolutionary dynamics of selenium utilization in diversified metazoans.

  16. An Outer Arm Dynein Conformational Switch Is Required for Metachronal Synchrony of Motile Cilia in Planaria

    PubMed Central

    Rompolas, Panteleimon; Patel-King, Ramila S.

    2010-01-01

    Motile cilia mediate the flow of mucus and other fluids across the surface of specialized epithelia in metazoans. Efficient clearance of peri-ciliary fluids depends on the precise coordination of ciliary beating to produce metachronal waves. The role of individual dynein motors and the mechanical feedback mechanisms required for this process are not well understood. Here we used the ciliated epithelium of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea to dissect the role of outer arm dynein motors in the metachronal synchrony of motile cilia. We demonstrate that animals that completely lack outer dynein arms display a significant decline in beat frequency and an inability of cilia to coordinate their oscillations and form metachronal waves. Furthermore, lack of a key mechanosensitive regulatory component (LC1) yields a similar phenotype even though outer arms still assemble in the axoneme. The lack of metachrony was not due simply to a decrease in ciliary beat frequency, as reducing this parameter by altering medium viscosity did not affect ciliary coordination. In addition, we did not observe a significant temporal variability in the beat cycle of impaired cilia. We propose that this conformational switch provides a mechanical feedback system within outer arm dynein that is necessary to entrain metachronal synchrony. PMID:20844081

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Essential role for the planarian intestinal GATA transcription factor in stem cells and regeneration.

    PubMed

    Flores, Natasha M; Oviedo, Néstor J; Sage, Julien

    2016-10-01

    The cellular turnover of adult tissues and injury-induced repair proceed through an exquisite integration of proliferation, differentiation, and survival signals that involve stem/progenitor cell populations, their progeny, and differentiated tissues. GATA factors are DNA binding proteins that control stem cells and the development of tissues by activating or repressing transcription. Here we examined the role of GATA transcription factors in Schmidtea mediterranea, a freshwater planarian that provides an excellent model to investigate gene function in adult stem cells, regeneration, and differentiation. Smed-gata4/5/6, the homolog of the three mammalian GATA-4,-5,-6 factors is expressed at high levels in differentiated gut cells but also at lower levels in neoblast populations, the planarian stem cells. Smed-gata4/5/6 knock-down results in broad differentiation defects, especially in response to injury. These defects are not restricted to the intestinal lineage. In particular, at late time points during the response to injury, loss of Smed-gata4/5/6 leads to decreased neoblast proliferation and to gene expression changes in several neoblast subpopulations. Thus, Smed-gata4/5/6 plays a key evolutionary conserved role in intestinal differentiation in planarians. These data further support a model in which defects in the intestinal lineage can indirectly affect other differentiation pathways in planarians.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

    2014-06-20

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. An outer arm Dynein conformational switch is required for metachronal synchrony of motile cilia in planaria.

    PubMed

    Rompolas, Panteleimon; Patel-King, Ramila S; King, Stephen M

    2010-11-01

    Motile cilia mediate the flow of mucus and other fluids across the surface of specialized epithelia in metazoans. Efficient clearance of peri-ciliary fluids depends on the precise coordination of ciliary beating to produce metachronal waves. The role of individual dynein motors and the mechanical feedback mechanisms required for this process are not well understood. Here we used the ciliated epithelium of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea to dissect the role of outer arm dynein motors in the metachronal synchrony of motile cilia. We demonstrate that animals that completely lack outer dynein arms display a significant decline in beat frequency and an inability of cilia to coordinate their oscillations and form metachronal waves. Furthermore, lack of a key mechanosensitive regulatory component (LC1) yields a similar phenotype even though outer arms still assemble in the axoneme. The lack of metachrony was not due simply to a decrease in ciliary beat frequency, as reducing this parameter by altering medium viscosity did not affect ciliary coordination. In addition, we did not observe a significant temporal variability in the beat cycle of impaired cilia. We propose that this conformational switch provides a mechanical feedback system within outer arm dynein that is necessary to entrain metachronal synchrony.

  12. 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

  13. Bioelectrical Regulation of Cell Cycle and the Planarian Model System

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25749155

  14. 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

  15. Evolution and Functional Morphology of the Proboscis in Kalyptorhynchia (Platyhelminthes)

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Julian P. S.; Litvaitis, Marian K.; Gobert, Stefan; Uyeno, Theodore; Artois, Tom

    2015-01-01

    Predatory flatworms belonging to the taxon Kalyptorhynchia are characterized by an anterior muscular proboscis that they use to seize prey. In many cases, the proboscis is armed with hooks, derived either from the extracellular matrix that surrounds the muscles or from intracellular deposits in the epithelium covering the proboscis. Glands associated with the proboscis reportedly are venomous; however, there are few direct tests of this hypothesis. This article reviews the structure and current knowledge of the function of the proboscis in the Kalyptorhynchia, points to areas in which the current understanding of phylogenetic relationships within this taxon is incongruent with our hypothesis of how the proboscis evolved, and addresses areas in need of further research, especially as regards functional morphology and biomechanics. PMID:26002347

  16. 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.

  17. High genetic variability of Schistosoma haematobium in Mali and Nigeria.

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

    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.

  18. ‘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

  19. A simple technique for staining of platyhelminths with the lactophnol cotton blue stain.

    PubMed

    Henedi, Adawia A M; El-Azazy, Osama M E

    2013-08-01

    This paper describes a simple technique for staining of flatworms using lactophenol cotton blue (LPCB). The staining was tested on 2 trematode species: Heterophyes heterophyes and Mesostephanus appendiculatus, and one cestode: Diplopylidium acanthotetra, which were collected from the intestine of stray cats in Kuwait. The specimens were mounted in a small amount of the LPCB stain on a clean slide for 2-3 minutes before covering with a cover slip. The technique rapidly and clearly differentiated the internal structures of the helminthes. Its speed and simplicity are advantages over other staining methods. It is easily used in wide-scale surveys where a large number of platyhelminths have to be identified and it is suitable for field studies.

  20. A geothermal-linked biological oasis in Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

    PubMed

    Lovalvo, D; Clingenpeel, S R; McGinnis, S; Macur, R E; Varley, J D; Inskeep, W P; Glime, J; Nealson, K; McDermott, T R

    2010-09-01

    Hundreds of active and dormant geothermal vents have been located on the floor of Yellowstone Lake, although characterization of the associated biology (macro or micro) has been extremely limited. Herein, we describe an aquatic moss (Fontinalis) colony closely associated with vent emissions that considerably exceeded known temperature maxima for this plant. Vent waters were supersaturated with CO(2), likely accommodating a CO(2) compensation point that would be expected to be quite elevated under these conditions. The moss was colonized by metazoa, including the crustaceans Hyalella and Gammarus, a segmented worm in the Lumbriculidae family, and a flatworm specimen tentatively identified as Polycelis. The presence of these invertebrates suggest a highly localized food chain that derives from the presence of geothermal inputs and thus is analogous to the deep marine vents that support significant biodiversity.

  1. Ultrastructure of Spermatogenesis in the Testis of Paragonimus heterotremus

    PubMed Central

    Uabundit, Nongnut; Kanla, Pipatphong; Puthiwat, Phongphithak; Arunyanart, Channarong; Chaiciwamongkol, Kowit; Maleewong, Wanchai; Intapan, Pewpan M.; Iamsaard, Sitthichai

    2013-01-01

    Lung fluke, Paragonimus heterotremus, is a flatworm causing pulmonary paragonimiasis in cats, dogs, and humans in Southeast Asia. We examined the ultrastructure of the testis of adult P. heterotremus with special attention to spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The full sequence of spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis, from the capsular basal lamina to the luminal surface, was demonstrated. The sequence comprises spermatogonia, spermatocytes with obvious nuclear synaptonemal complexes, spermatids, and eventual spermatozoa. Moreover, full steps of spermatid differentiation were shown which consisted of 1) early stage, 2) differentiation stage representing the flagella, intercentriolar body, basal body, striated rootlets, and electron dense nucleus of thread-like lamellar configuration, and 3) growing spermatid flagella. Detailed ultrastructure of 2 different types of spermatozoa was also shown in this study. PMID:24516272

  2. Constitutive gene expression and specification of tissue identity in adult planarian biology

    PubMed Central

    Reddien, Peter W.

    2011-01-01

    Planarians are flatworms that constitutively maintain adult tissues through cell turnover and can regenerate entire organisms from tiny body fragments. In addition to requiring new cells (from neoblasts), these feats require mechanisms that specify tissue identity in the adult. Critical roles for Wnt and BMP signaling in regeneration and maintenance of the body axes have been uncovered, among other regulatory factors. Available data indicate that genes involved in positional identity regulation at key embryonic stages in other animals display persisting regionalized expression in adult planarians. These expression patterns suggest that a constitutively active gene expression map exists for maintenance of the planarian body. Planarians therefore present a fertile ground for identification of factors regulating regionalization of the metazoan body plan and for study of the attributes of these factors that can lead to maintenance and regeneration of adult tissues. PMID:21680047

  3. The role of estrogens and estrogen receptor signaling pathways in cancer and infertility: the case of schistosomes.

    PubMed

    Botelho, Mónica C; Alves, Helena; Barros, Alberto; Rinaldi, Gabriel; Brindley, Paul J; Sousa, Mário

    2015-06-01

    Schistosoma haematobium, a parasitic flatworm that infects more than 100 million people, mostly in the developing world, is the causative agent of urogenital schistosomiasis, and is associated with a high incidence of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the bladder. Schistosomiasis haematobia also appears to negatively influence fertility, and is particularly associated with female infertility. Given that estrogens and estrogen receptors are key players in human reproduction, we speculate that schistosome estrogen-like molecules may contribute to infertility through hormonal imbalances. Here, we review recent findings on the role of estrogens and estrogen receptors on both carcinogenesis and infertility associated with urogenital schistosomiasis and discuss the basic hormonal mechanisms that might be common in cancer and infertility.

  4. 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.

  5. Counter-insurgents of the blue revolution? Parasites and diseases affecting aquaculture and science.

    PubMed

    Blaylock, Reginald B; Bullard, Stephen A

    2014-12-01

    Aquaculture is the fastest-growing segment of food production and is expected to supply a growing portion of animal protein for consumption by humans. Because industrial aquaculture developed only recently compared to industrial agriculture, its development occurred within the context of a growing environmental awareness and acknowledgment of environmental issues associated with industrial farming. As such, parasites and diseases have become central criticisms of commercial aquaculture. This focus on parasites and diseases, however, has created a nexus of opportunities for research that has facilitated considerable scientific advances in the fields of parasitology and aquaculture. This paper reviews Myxobolus cerebralis , Lepeophtheirus salmonis , white spot syndrome virus, and assorted flatworms as select marquee aquaculture pathogens, summarizes the status of the diseases caused by each and their impacts on aquaculture, and highlights some of the significant contributions these pathogens have made to the science of parasitology and aquaculture.

  6. Clonogenic neoblasts are pluripotent adult stem cells that underlie planarian regeneration.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Daniel E; Wang, Irving E; Reddien, Peter W

    2011-05-13

    Pluripotent cells in the embryo can generate all cell types, but lineage-restricted cells are generally thought to replenish adult tissues. Planarians are flatworms and regenerate from tiny body fragments, a process requiring a population of proliferating cells (neoblasts). Whether regeneration is accomplished by pluripotent cells or by the collective activity of multiple lineage-restricted cell types is unknown. We used ionizing radiation and single-cell transplantation to identify neoblasts that can form large descendant-cell colonies in vivo. These clonogenic neoblasts (cNeoblasts) produce cells that differentiate into neuronal, intestinal, and other known postmitotic cell types and are distributed throughout the body. Single transplanted cNeoblasts restored regeneration in lethally irradiated hosts. We conclude that broadly distributed, adult pluripotent stem cells underlie the remarkable regenerative abilities of planarians.

  7. Complete sequence of the mitochondrial genome of the tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta: gene arrangements indicate that Platyhelminths are Eutrochozoans.

    PubMed

    von Nickisch-Rosenegk, M; Brown, W M; Boore, J L

    2001-05-01

    Using "long-PCR," we amplified in overlapping fragments the complete mitochondrial genome of the tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta (Platyhelminthes: Cestoda) and determined its 13,900-nt sequence. The gene content is the same as that typically found for animal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) except that atp8 appears to be lacking, a condition found previously for several other animals. Despite the small size of this mtDNA, there are two large noncoding regions, one of which contains 13 repeats of a 31-nt sequence and a potential stem-loop structure of 25 bp with an 11-member loop. Large potential secondary structures were identified also for the noncoding regions of two other cestode mtDNAS: Comparison of the mitochondrial gene arrangement of H. diminuta with those previously published supports a phylogenetic position of flatworms as members of the Eutrochozoa, rather than placing them basal to either a clade of protostomes or a clade of coelomates.

  8. 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

  9. Ultrastructure of the excretory system of Trilocularia acanthiaevulgaris (Cestoda, Tetraphyllidea).

    PubMed

    McCullough, J S; Fairweather, I

    1991-01-01

    The fine structure of the excretory system in the juvenile (plerocercoid-like) form of Trilocularia acanthiaevulgaris is described. The flame cell bears a bunch of 50-70 cilia, which are anchored in the cytoplasm by means of basal bodies possessing striated rootlets. All the cilia in the "flame" are aligned in the same direction. The flame and duct cells are connected by interdigitating ribs of cytoplasm separated by a fibrous sheet. Both internal and external leptotriches are also present. The lumen of the excretory ducts is intracellular in origin. The apical surface of the cytoplasm lining the duct is convoluted and its surface area is further amplified by means of microvilli. The fine structure of the excretory system in this primitive tapeworm is compared with that described for other parasitic and free-living flatworms.

  10. The sine oculis homeobox (SIX) family of transcription factors as regulators of development and disease

    PubMed Central

    Kumar, J. P.

    2009-01-01

    The sine oculis homeobox (SIX) protein family is a group of evolutionarily conserved transcription factors that are found in diverse organisms that range from flatworms to humans. These factors are expressed within, and play pivotal developmental roles in, cell populations that give rise to the head, retina, ear, nose, brain, kidney, muscle and gonads. Mutations within the fly and mammalian versions of these genes have adverse consequences on the development of these organs/tissues. Several SIX proteins have been shown to directly influence the cell cycle and are present at elevated levels during tumorigenesis and within several cancers. This review aims to highlight aspects of (1) the evolutionary history of the SIX family; (2) the structural differences and similarities amongst the different SIX proteins; (3) the role that these genes play in retinal development; and (4) the influence that these proteins have on cell proliferation and growth. PMID:18989625

  11. Wnt signaling in planarians: new answers to old questions.

    PubMed

    Almuedo-Castillo, Maria; Sureda-Gómez, Miquel; Adell, Teresa

    2012-01-01

    Wnts are secreted glycoproteins involved in a broad range of essential cell functions, including proliferation, migration and cell-fate determination. Recent years have seen substantial research effort invested in elucidating the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in planarians, flatworms with incredible regenerative capacities. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on the role of canonical (β-catenin-dependent) and non-canonical (β-catenin-independent) Wnt signaling in planarians, not only during regeneration, but also during normal homeostasis. We also describe some of the preliminary data that has been obtained regarding the role of these pathways during embryogenesis. Models are proposed to integrate the different results which have been obtained to date and highlight those questions that still remain to be answered.

  12. Specialized progenitors and regeneration.

    PubMed

    Reddien, Peter W

    2013-03-01

    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.

  13. Centrosome loss in the evolution of planarians.

    PubMed

    Azimzadeh, Juliette; Wong, Mei Lie; Downhour, Diane Miller; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro; Marshall, Wallace F

    2012-01-27

    The centrosome, a cytoplasmic organelle formed by cylinder-shaped centrioles surrounded by a microtubule-organizing matrix, is a hallmark of animal cells. The centrosome is conserved and essential for the development of all animal species described so far. Here, we show that planarians, and possibly other flatworms, lack centrosomes. In planarians, centrioles are only assembled in terminally differentiating ciliated cells through the acentriolar pathway to trigger the assembly of cilia. We identified a large set of conserved proteins required for centriole assembly in animals and note centrosome protein families that are missing from the planarian genome. Our study uncovers the molecular architecture and evolution of the animal centrosome and emphasizes the plasticity of animal cell biology and development.

  14. Telomere analysis of platyhelminths and acanthocephalans by FISH and Southern hybridization.

    PubMed

    Bombarová, Marta; Vítková, Magda; Spakulová, Marta; Koubková, Bozena

    2009-11-01

    We examined the composition of telomeres in chromosomes of parasitic worms, representatives of the flatworm groups Monogenea and Cestoda (Platyhelminthes), and thorny-headed worms (Syndermata: Acanthocephala) by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with different telomeric repeat probes. Our results show that the (TTAGGG)n sequence, supposed to be the ancestral telomeric repeat motif of Metazoa, is conserved in Monogenea (Paradiplozoon homoion) and Cestoda (Caryophyllaeus laticeps, Caryophyllaeides fennica, and Nippotaenia mogurndae) but not in Acanthocephala (Pomphorhynchus laevis and Pomphorhynchus tereticollis). In the Pomphorhynchus species, no hybridization signals were obtained with the "nematode" (TTAGGC)n, "arthropod" (TTAGG)n, and bdelloid (TGTGGG)n telomeric probes using FISH with their chromosomes and Southern hybridization with P. laevis DNA. Therefore, we suggest that parasitic Acanthocephala have evolved yet unknown telomeric repeat motifs or different mechanisms of telomere maintenance.

  15. Evolution and Functional Morphology of the Proboscis in Kalyptorhynchia (Platyhelminthes).

    PubMed

    Smith, Julian P S; Litvaitis, Marian K; Gobert, Stefan; Uyeno, Theodore; Artois, Tom

    2015-08-01

    Predatory flatworms belonging to the taxon Kalyptorhynchia are characterized by an anterior muscular proboscis that they use to seize prey. In many cases, the proboscis is armed with hooks, derived either from the extracellular matrix that surrounds the muscles or from intracellular deposits in the epithelium covering the proboscis. Glands associated with the proboscis reportedly are venomous; however, there are few direct tests of this hypothesis. This article reviews the structure and current knowledge of the function of the proboscis in the Kalyptorhynchia, points to areas in which the current understanding of phylogenetic relationships within this taxon is incongruent with our hypothesis of how the proboscis evolved, and addresses areas in need of further research, especially as regards functional morphology and biomechanics.

  16. Comparative genomic analysis of aspartic proteases in eight parasitic platyhelminths: insights into functions and evolution.

    PubMed

    Wang, Shuai; Wei, Wei; Luo, Xuenong; Wang, Sen; Hu, Songnian; Cai, Xuepeng

    2015-03-15

    We performed genome-wide identifications and comparative genomic analyses of the predicted aspartic proteases (APs) from eight parasitic flatworms, focusing on their evolution, potentials as drug targets and expression patterns. The results revealed that: i) More members of family A01 were identified from the schistosomes than from the cestodes; some evidence implied gene loss events along the class Cestoda, which may be related to the different ways to ingest host nutrition; ii) members in family A22 were evolutionarily highly conserved among all the parasites; iii) one retroviral-like AP in family A28 shared a highly similar predicted 3D structure with the HIV protease, implying its potential to be inhibited by HIV inhibitor-like molecules; and iiii) retrotransposon-associated APs were extensively expanded among these parasites. These results implied that the evolutionary histories of some APs in these parasites might relate to adaptations to their parasitism and some APs might have potential serving as intervention targets.

  17. Helminth infections in domestic dogs from Russia

    PubMed Central

    Moskvina, T. V.; Ermolenko, A. V.

    2016-01-01

    Dogs are the hosts for a wide helminth spectrum including tapeworms, flatworms, and nematodes. These parasites affect the dog health and cause morbidity and mortality, especially in young and old animals. Some species, as Toxocara canis, Ancylostoma caninum, Dipylidium caninum, and Echinococcus spp. are well-known zoonotic parasites worldwide, resulting in high public health risks. Poor data about canine helminth species and prevalence are available in Russia, mainly due to the absence of official guidelines for the control of dog parasites. Moreover, the consequent low quality of veterinary monitoring and use of preventive measures, the high rate of environmental contamination by dog feces and the increase of stray dog populations, make the control of the environmental contamination by dog helminths very difficult in this country. This paper reviews the knowledge on canine helminth fauna and prevalence in Russia. Practical aspects related to diagnosis, treatment, and control of parasitic diseases of dogs in Russia are discussed. PMID:27956777

  18. Hox genes in the parasitic platyhelminthes Mesocestoides corti, Echinococcus multilocularis, and Schistosoma mansoni: evidence for a reduced Hox complement.

    PubMed

    Koziol, Uriel; Lalanne, Ana I; Castillo, Estela

    2009-02-01

    Little is known about the Hox gene complement in parasitic platyhelminthes (Neodermata). With the aim of identifying Hox genes in this group we performed two independent strategies: we performed a PCR survey with degenerate primers directed to the Hox homeobox in the cestode Mesocestoides corti, and we searched genomic assemblies of Echinococcus multilocularis and Schistosoma mansoni. We identified two Hox genes in M. corti, seven in E. multilocularis, and nine in S. mansoni (including five previously reported). The affinities of these sequences, and other previously reported Hox sequences from flatworms, were determined according to phylogenetic analysis, presence of characteristic parapeptide sequences, and unusual intron positions. Our results suggest that the last common ancestor of triclads and neodermatans had a Hox gene complement of at least seven genes, and that this was probably derived by gene loss from a larger ancestral Hox complement in lophotrochozoans.

  19. Discoplana malagasensis sp. nov., a new turbellarian (Platyhelminthes: Polycladida: Leptoplanidae) symbiotic in an ophiuroid (Echinodermata), with a cladistic analysis of the Discoplana/Euplana species.

    PubMed

    Doignon, Gilles; Artois, Tom; Deheyn, Dimitri

    2003-03-01

    A new species of polyclad flatworm from Papua New Guinea is described. It is found symbiotic in the ophiuroid Ophiothrix purpurea von Martens, 1867 (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). Apparently it belongs to the taxon Discoplana Bock, 1913 and can be distinguished from the six previously described Discoplana species by its very short ejaculatory duct and a penial papilla covered with a penial sheath, but without any true sclerotised structures such as a stylet or spines. The cladistic analysis of the Discoplana/ Euplana species, based on morphological features and including two outgroups, reveals that all species of Discoplana, except D. pacificola, form a monophyletic taxon, that is not a synonym of Euplana Girard, 1893. Therefore the name Discoplana is conserved and the new species will be described as Discoplana malagasensis sp. nov. A key for the Discoplana/Euplana group is provided. In this key the biogeographical distribution and possible synonyms are given.

  20. Praziquantel has no direct effect on (Na(+)+K+)-ATPases and (Ca2(+)-Mg2+)ATPases of Schistosoma mansoni.

    PubMed

    Cunha, V M; Noël, F

    1997-01-01

    Therapeutic concentrations of praziquantel produce a rapid and intense contraction of the human flatworm Schistosoma mansoni. As an action on ATPases responsible for calcium homeostasis arises as a possible explanation for the molecular mechanism of this effect, we tested here the effect of praziquantel on different preparations from male adult worms that were previously characterized for their content in (Na(+)+K+)-ATPase and (Ca2(+)-Mg2+)ATPase activities from different origins. Concentrations as high as 100 microM praziquantel did not inhibit (Na(+)+K+)-ATPase from tegument and carcass nor (Ca2(+)-Mg2+)ATPase from heterogeneous (P1) and microsomal (P4) fractions. As 100 microM praziquantel was also without effect on calcium permeability of microsomal vesicles actively loaded with 45Ca2+, the present results discard three hypotheses recently raised for the mechanism of praziquantel-induced contraction of S. mansoni.

  1. 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.

  2. Comparative genomics reveals adaptive evolution of Asian tapeworm in switching to a new intermediate host

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Shuai; Wang, Sen; Luo, Yingfeng; Xiao, Lihua; Luo, Xuenong; Gao, Shenghan; Dou, Yongxi; Zhang, Huangkai; Guo, Aijiang; Meng, Qingshu; Hou, Junling; Zhang, Bing; Zhang, Shaohua; Yang, Meng; Meng, Xuelian; Mei, Hailiang; Li, Hui; He, Zilong; Zhu, Xueliang; Tan, Xinyu; Zhu, Xing-quan; Yu, Jun; Cai, Jianping; Zhu, Guan; Hu, Songnian; Cai, Xuepeng

    2016-01-01

    Taenia saginata, Taenia solium and Taenia asiatica (beef, pork and Asian tapeworms, respectively) are parasitic flatworms of major public health and food safety importance. Among them, T. asiatica is a newly recognized species that split from T. saginata via an intermediate host switch ∼1.14 Myr ago. Here we report the 169- and 168-Mb draft genomes of T. saginata and T. asiatica. Comparative analysis reveals that high rates of gene duplications and functional diversifications might have partially driven the divergence between T. asiatica and T. saginata. We observe accelerated evolutionary rates, adaptive evolutions in homeostasis regulation, tegument maintenance and lipid uptakes, and differential/specialized gene family expansions in T. asiatica that may favour its hepatotropism in the new intermediate host. We also identify potential targets for developing diagnostic or intervention tools against human tapeworms. These data provide new insights into the evolution of Taenia parasites, particularly the recent speciation of T. asiatica. PMID:27653464

  3. 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.

  4. The maintenance and regeneration of the planarian excretory system are regulated by EGFR signaling.

    PubMed

    Rink, Jochen C; Vu, Hanh Thi-Kim; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2011-09-01

    The maintenance of organs and their regeneration in case of injury are crucial to the survival of all animals. High rates of tissue turnover and nearly unlimited regenerative capabilities make planarian flatworms an ideal system with which to investigate these important processes, yet little is known about the cell biology and anatomy of their organs. Here we focus on the planarian excretory system, which consists of internal protonephridial tubules. We find that these assemble into complex branching patterns with a stereotyped succession of cell types along their length. Organ regeneration is likely to originate from a precursor structure arising in the blastema, which undergoes extensive branching morphogenesis. In an RNAi screen of signaling molecules, we identified an EGF receptor (Smed-EGFR-5) as a crucial regulator of branching morphogenesis and maintenance. Overall, our characterization of the planarian protonephridial system establishes a new paradigm for regenerative organogenesis and provides a platform for exploring its functional and evolutionary homologies with vertebrate excretory systems.

  5. Cholinergic, serotoninergic and peptidergic components of the nervous system of Discocotyle sagittata (Monogenea:Polyopisthocotylea).

    PubMed

    Cable, J; Marks, N J; Halton, D W; Shaw, C; Johnston, C F; Tinsley, R C; Gannicott, A M

    1996-12-01

    Cholinergic, serotoninergic (5-HT) and peptidergic neuronal pathways have been demonstrated in both central and peripheral nervous systems of adult Discocotyle sagittata, using enzyme histochemistry and indirect immunocytochemistry in conjunction with confocal scanning laser microscopy. Antisera to 2 native flatworm neuropeptides, neuropeptide F and the FMRFamide-related peptide (FaRP), GNFFRFamide, were employed to detect peptide immunoreactivity. The CNS is composed of paired cerebral ganglia and connecting dorsal commissure, together with several paired longitudinal nerve cords. The main longitudinal nerve cords (lateral, ventral and dorsal) are interconnected at intervals by a series of annular cross-connectives, producing a ladder-like arrangement typical of the platyhelminth nervous system. At the level of the haptor, the ventral cords provide nerve roots which innervate each of the 9 clamps. Cholinergic and peptidergic neuronal organisation was similar, but distinct from that of the serotoninergic components. The PNS and reproductive system are predominantly innervated by peptidergic neurones.

  6. Gastropod-Borne Helminths: A Look at the Snail-Parasite Interplay.

    PubMed

    Giannelli, Alessio; Cantacessi, Cinzia; Colella, Vito; Dantas-Torres, Filipe; Otranto, Domenico

    2016-03-01

    More than 300 million people suffer from a range of diseases caused by gastropod-borne helminths, predominantly flatworms and roundworms, whose life cycles are characterized by a diversified ecology and epidemiology. Despite the plethora of data on these parasites, very little is known of the fundamental biology of their gastropod intermediate hosts, or of the interactions occurring at the snail-helminth interface. In this article, we focus on schistosomes and metastrongylids of human and animal significance, and review current knowledge of snail-parasite interplay. Future efforts aimed at elucidating key elements of the biology and ecology of the snail intermediate hosts, together with an improved understanding of snail-parasite interactions, will aid to identify, plan, and develop new strategies for disease control focused on gastropod intermediate hosts.

  7. 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

  8. Integrins are required for tissue organization and restriction of neurogenesis in regenerating planarians

    PubMed Central

    Seebeck, Florian; März, Martin; Meyer, Anna-Wiebke; Reuter, Hanna; Vogg, Matthias C.; Stehling, Martin; Mildner, Karina; Zeuschner, Dagmar; Rabert, Franziska

    2017-01-01

    Tissue regeneration depends on proliferative cells and on cues that regulate cell division, differentiation, patterning and the restriction of these processes once regeneration is complete. In planarians, flatworms with high regenerative potential, muscle cells express some of these instructive cues. Here, we show that members of the integrin family of adhesion molecules are required for the integrity of regenerating tissues, including the musculature. Remarkably, in regenerating β1-integrin RNAi planarians, we detected increased numbers of mitotic cells and progenitor cell types, as well as a reduced ability of stem cells and lineage-restricted progenitor cells to accumulate at wound sites. These animals also formed ectopic spheroid structures of neural identity in regenerating heads. Interestingly, those polarized assemblies comprised a variety of neural cells and underwent continuous growth. Our study indicates that integrin-mediated cell adhesion is required for the regenerative formation of organized tissues and for restricting neurogenesis during planarian regeneration. PMID:28137894

  9. 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.

  10. Integrins are required for tissue organization and restriction of neurogenesis in regenerating planarians.

    PubMed

    Seebeck, Florian; März, Martin; Meyer, Anna-Wiebke; Reuter, Hanna; Vogg, Matthias C; Stehling, Martin; Mildner, Karina; Zeuschner, Dagmar; Rabert, Franziska; Bartscherer, Kerstin

    2017-03-01

    Tissue regeneration depends on proliferative cells and on cues that regulate cell division, differentiation, patterning and the restriction of these processes once regeneration is complete. In planarians, flatworms with high regenerative potential, muscle cells express some of these instructive cues. Here, we show that members of the integrin family of adhesion molecules are required for the integrity of regenerating tissues, including the musculature. Remarkably, in regenerating β1-integrin RNAi planarians, we detected increased numbers of mitotic cells and progenitor cell types, as well as a reduced ability of stem cells and lineage-restricted progenitor cells to accumulate at wound sites. These animals also formed ectopic spheroid structures of neural identity in regenerating heads. Interestingly, those polarized assemblies comprised a variety of neural cells and underwent continuous growth. Our study indicates that integrin-mediated cell adhesion is required for the regenerative formation of organized tissues and for restricting neurogenesis during planarian regeneration.

  11. 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

  12. A new species of the genus Bothrioplana (Platyhelminthes: Bothrioplanida: Bothrioplanidae) and a new species of the genus Pentacoelum (Tricladida: Bdellouridae) from southern China.

    PubMed

    He, Yi; Zhao, Jia-Qi; Ning, Wan-Ru; Zhuang, Jie-Yi; Zhang, Yu; Wang, An-Tai

    2016-10-31

    Two new species of turbellarians, Bothrioplana sinensis n. sp., and Pentacoelum sinensis n. sp., were described based on their reproductive behavior, ontogenic development, morphology in whole-mounted and sectioned specimens, and 18S rDNA phylogenetic classification. Bothrioplana sinensis n. sp. represents a newly recorded order in China and the second identified species in the genus Bothrioplana. It is characterized by a pair of spherical-shaped well-developed testes located dorsally behind the pharynx, and the common vas deference located ventrally to the gonopore. Phylogenetic analysis showed that this new species is closely related to parasitic flatworms. Pentacoelum sinensis n. sp. is characterized by two uteri instead of lateral bursae located laterally near the tail end and a lack of connection between the posterior intestinal branches. Each uterus has a ventral receptaculum seminalis (also functioning as bursa copulatrix) which has a muscular vagina externa opening obliquely to the ventral side at the tail end.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Elucidating the transcriptome of Fasciola hepatica - a key to fundamental and biotechnological discoveries for a neglected parasite.

    PubMed

    Young, Neil D; Hall, Ross S; Jex, Aaron R; Cantacessi, Cinzia; Gasser, Robin B

    2010-01-01

    Liver flukes of animals are parasitic flatworms (Platyhelminthes: Digenea) of major socioeconomic importance in many countries. Key representatives, such as Fasciola hepatica and F. gigantica, cause "liver fluke disease" (= fascioliasis), which is of major animal health significance worldwide. In particular, F. hepatica is a leading cause of production losses to the livestock (mainly sheep and cattle) and meat industries due to clinical disease, reduced weight gain and milk production, and deaths. This parasite is also a major food-borne pathogen of humans throughout parts of the Middle East, Asia and South America. Currently, there is a significant focus on the development of new approaches for the prevention and control of fascioliasis in livestock. Recent technological advances in genomics and bioinformatics provide unique opportunities for the identification and prevalidation of drug targets and vaccines through a better understanding of the biology of F. hepatica and related species as well as their relationship with their hosts at the molecular level. Surprisingly, despite the widespread socioeconomic impact of fascioliasis, genomic datasets for F. hepatica are scant, limiting the molecular biological research of this parasite. The present article explores specifically the transcriptome of the adult stage of F. hepatica using an integrated genomic-bioinformatic platform. The analysis of the current data reveals numerous molecules of biological relevance, some of which are inferred to be involved in key biological processes or pathways that could serve as targets for new trematocidal drugs or vaccines. Improved insights into the transcriptome of F. hepatica should pave the way for future, comparative analysis of the transcriptomes of other developmental stages of this and related parasites, such as F. gigantica, cancer-causing flatworms (Clonorchis sinensis and Opisthorchis viverrini) and blood flukes (Schistosoma mansoni and S. japonicum). Prediction of the

  18. Planarians: an In Vivo Model for Regenerative Medicine.

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

    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 4.8×10(8) 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.

  19. Planarians as a Model to Assess In Vivo the Role of Matrix Metalloproteinase Genes during Homeostasis and Regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Isolani, Maria Emilia; Abril, Josep F.; Saló, Emili; Deri, Paolo; Bianucci, Anna Maria; Batistoni, Renata

    2013-01-01

    Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are major executors of extracellular matrix remodeling and, consequently, play key roles in the response of cells to their microenvironment. The experimentally accessible stem cell population and the robust regenerative capabilities of planarians offer an ideal model to study how modulation of the proteolytic system in the extracellular environment affects cell behavior in vivo. Genome-wide identification of Schmidtea mediterranea MMPs reveals that planarians possess four mmp-like genes. Two of them (mmp1 and mmp2) are strongly expressed in a subset of secretory cells and encode putative matrilysins. The other genes (mt-mmpA and mt-mmpB) are widely expressed in postmitotic cells and appear structurally related to membrane-type MMPs. These genes are conserved in the planarian Dugesia japonica. Here we explore the role of the planarian mmp genes by RNA interference (RNAi) during tissue homeostasis and regeneration. Our analyses identify essential functions for two of them. Following inhibition of mmp1 planarians display dramatic disruption of tissues architecture and significant decrease in cell death. These results suggest that mmp1 controls tissue turnover, modulating survival of postmitotic cells. Unexpectedly, the ability to regenerate is unaffected by mmp1(RNAi). Silencing of mt-mmpA alters tissue integrity and delays blastema growth, without affecting proliferation of stem cells. Our data support the possibility that the activity of this protease modulates cell migration and regulates anoikis, with a consequent pivotal role in tissue homeostasis and regeneration. Our data provide evidence of the involvement of specific MMPs in tissue homeostasis and regeneration and demonstrate that the behavior of planarian stem cells is critically dependent on the microenvironment surrounding these cells. Studying MMPs function in the planarian model provides evidence on how individual proteases work in vivo in adult tissues. These results

  20. To Each His Own

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carter, Jason A.; Lind, Christine H.; Truong, M. Phuong; Collins, Eva-Maria S.

    2015-10-01

    Planarians are among the most complex animals with the ability to regenerate complete organisms from small tissue pieces. This ability allows them to reproduce by splitting themselves into a head and a tail piece, making them a rare example of asexual reproduction via transverse fission in multi-cellular organisms. Due to the stochastic nature of long reproductive cycles, which range from days to months, few and primarily qualitative studies have been conducted to understand the reproductive behaviors of asexual planarians. We have executed the largest long-term study on planarian asexual reproduction to date, tracking more than 23,000 reproductive events of three common planarian species found in Europe, North America, and Asia, respectively: Schmidtea mediterranea, Dugesia tigrina, and Dugesia japonica. This unique data collection allowed us to perform a detailed statistical analysis of their reproductive strategies. Since the three species share a similar anatomy and mode of reproduction by transverse division, we were surprised to find that each species had acquired its own distinct strategy for optimizing its reproductive success. We statistically examined each strategy, associated trade-offs, and the potential regulatory mechanisms on the population level. Interestingly, models for cell cycle length regulation in unicellular organisms could be directly applied to describe reproductive cycle lengths of planarians, despite the difference in underlying biological mechanisms. Finally, we examined the ecological implications of each strategy through intra- and inter-species competition experiments and found that D. japonica outcompeted the other two species due to its relatively equal distribution of resources on head and tail pieces, its cannibalistic behaviors and ability to thrive in crowded environments. These results show that this species would pose a serious threat to endogenous planarian populations if accidentally introduced in their habitats.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. De novo assembly and validation of planaria transcriptome by massive parallel sequencing and shotgun proteomics.

    PubMed

    Adamidi, Catherine; Wang, Yongbo; Gruen, Dominic; Mastrobuoni, Guido; You, Xintian; Tolle, Dominic; Dodt, Matthias; Mackowiak, Sebastian D; Gogol-Doering, Andreas; Oenal, Pinar; Rybak, Agnieszka; Ross, Eric; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro; Kempa, Stefan; Dieterich, Christoph; Rajewsky, Nikolaus; Chen, Wei

    2011-07-01

    Freshwater planaria are a very attractive model system for stem cell biology, tissue homeostasis, and regeneration. The genome of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea has recently been sequenced and is estimated to contain >20,000 protein-encoding genes. However, the characterization of its transcriptome is far from complete. Furthermore, not a single proteome of the entire phylum has been assayed on a genome-wide level. We devised an efficient sequencing strategy that allowed us to de novo assemble a major fraction of the S. mediterranea transcriptome. We then used independent assays and massive shotgun proteomics to validate the authenticity of transcripts. In total, our de novo assembly yielded 18,619 candidate transcripts with a mean length of 1118 nt after filtering. A total of 17,564 candidate transcripts could be mapped to 15,284 distinct loci on the current genome reference sequence. RACE confirmed complete or almost complete 5' and 3' ends for 22/24 transcripts. The frequencies of frame shifts, fusion, and fission events in the assembled transcripts were computationally estimated to be 4.2%-13%, 0%-3.7%, and 2.6%, respectively. Our shotgun proteomics produced 16,135 distinct peptides that validated 4200 transcripts (FDR ≤1%). The catalog of transcripts assembled in this study, together with the identified peptides, dramatically expands and refines planarian gene annotation, demonstrated by validation of several previously unknown transcripts with stem cell-dependent expression patterns. In addition, our robust transcriptome characterization pipeline could be applied to other organisms without genome assembly. All of our data, including homology annotation, are freely available at SmedGD, the S. mediterranea genome database.

  5. Planarians as a model to assess in vivo the role of matrix metalloproteinase genes during homeostasis and regeneration.

    PubMed

    Isolani, Maria Emilia; Abril, Josep F; Saló, Emili; Deri, Paolo; Bianucci, Anna Maria; Batistoni, Renata

    2013-01-01

    Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are major executors of extracellular matrix remodeling and, consequently, play key roles in the response of cells to their microenvironment. The experimentally accessible stem cell population and the robust regenerative capabilities of planarians offer an ideal model to study how modulation of the proteolytic system in the extracellular environment affects cell behavior in vivo. Genome-wide identification of Schmidtea mediterranea MMPs reveals that planarians possess four mmp-like genes. Two of them (mmp1 and mmp2) are strongly expressed in a subset of secretory cells and encode putative matrilysins. The other genes (mt-mmpA and mt-mmpB) are widely expressed in postmitotic cells and appear structurally related to membrane-type MMPs. These genes are conserved in the planarian Dugesia japonica. Here we explore the role of the planarian mmp genes by RNA interference (RNAi) during tissue homeostasis and regeneration. Our analyses identify essential functions for two of them. Following inhibition of mmp1 planarians display dramatic disruption of tissues architecture and significant decrease in cell death. These results suggest that mmp1 controls tissue turnover, modulating survival of postmitotic cells. Unexpectedly, the ability to regenerate is unaffected by mmp1(RNAi). Silencing of mt-mmpA alters tissue integrity and delays blastema growth, without affecting proliferation of stem cells. Our data support the possibility that the activity of this protease modulates cell migration and regulates anoikis, with a consequent pivotal role in tissue homeostasis and regeneration. Our data provide evidence of the involvement of specific MMPs in tissue homeostasis and regeneration and demonstrate that the behavior of planarian stem cells is critically dependent on the microenvironment surrounding these cells. Studying MMPs function in the planarian model provides evidence on how individual proteases work in vivo in adult tissues. These results

  6. A quantitative metabolomics peek into planarian regeneration.

    PubMed

    Natarajan, Nivedita; Ramakrishnan, Padma; Lakshmanan, Vairavan; Palakodeti, Dasaradhi; Rangiah, Kannan

    2015-05-21

    The fresh water planarian species Schmidtea mediterranea is an emerging stem cell model because of its capability to regenerate a whole animal from a small piece of tissue. It is one of the best model systems to address the basic mechanisms essential for regeneration. Here, we are interested in studying the roles of various amines, thiols and nucleotides in planarian regeneration, stem cell function and growth. We developed mass spectrometry based quantitative methods and validated the differential enrichment of 35 amines, 7 thiol metabolites and 4 nucleotides from both intact and regenerating planarians. Among the amines, alanine in sexual and asparagine in asexual are the highest (>1000 ng/mg) in the intact planarians. The levels of thiols such as cysteine and GSH are 651 and 1107 ng mg(-1) in planarians. Among the nucleotides, the level of cGMP is the lowest (0.03 ng mg(-1)) and the level of AMP is the highest (187 ng mg(-1)) in both of the planarian strains. We also noticed increasing levels of amines in both anterior and posterior regenerating planarians. The blastema from day 3 regenerating planarians also showed higher amounts of many amines. Interestingly, the thiol (cysteine and GSH) levels are well maintained during planarian regeneration. This suggests an inherent and effective mechanism to control induced oxidative stress because of the robust regeneration and stem cell proliferation. Like in intact planarians, the level of cGMP is also very low in regenerating planarians. Surprisingly, the levels of amines and thiols in head regenerating blastemas are ∼3 times higher compared to those for tail regenerating blastemas. Thus our results strongly indicate the potential roles of amines, thiols and nucleotides in planarian regeneration.

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-04-03

    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.

  8. 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

  9. BRIC-100VC Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC)-100VC

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richards, Stephanie E.; Levine, Howard G. (Compiler); Romero, Vergel

    2016-01-01

    The Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) is an anodized-aluminum cylinder used to provide passive stowage for investigations of the effects of space flight on small specimens. The BRIC 100 mm petri dish vacuum containment unit (BRIC-100VC) has supported Dugesia japonica (flatworm) within spring under normal atmospheric conditions for 29 days in space and Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus L. (daylily) somatic embryo development within a 5% CO2 gaseous environment for 4.5 months in space. BRIC-100VC is a completely sealed, anodized-aluminum cylinder (Fig. 1) providing containment and structural support of the experimental specimens. The top and bottom lids of the canister include rapid disconnect valves for filling the canister with selected gases. These specialized valves allow for specific atmospheric containment within the canister, providing a gaseous environment defined by the investigator. Additionally, the top lid has been designed with a toggle latch and O-ring assembly allowing for prompt sealing and removal of the lid. The outside dimensions of the BRIC-100VC canisters are 16.0 cm (height) x 11.4 cm (outside diameter). The lower portion of the canister has been equipped with sufficient storage space for passive temperature and relative humidity data loggers. The BRIC- 100VC canister has been optimized to accommodate standard 100 mm laboratory petri dishes or 50 mL conical tubes. Depending on storage orientation, up to 6 or 9 canisters have been flown within an International Space Station (ISS) stowage locker.

  10. Vertically- and horizontally-transmitted memories – the fading boundaries between regeneration and inheritance in planaria

    PubMed Central

    Neuhof, Moran; Levin, Michael; Rechavi, Oded

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The Weismann barrier postulates that genetic information passes only from the germline to the soma and not in reverse, thus providing an obstacle to the inheritance of acquired traits. Certain organisms such as planaria – flatworms that can reproduce through asymmetric fission – avoid the limitations of this barrier, thus blurring the distinction between the processes of inheritance and development. In this paper, we re-evaluate canonical ideas about the interaction between developmental, genetic and evolutionary processes through the lens of planaria. Biased distribution of epigenetic effects in asymmetrically produced parts of a regenerating organism could increase variation and therefore affect the species' evolution. The maintenance and fixing of somatic experiences, encoded via stable biochemical or physiological states, may contribute to evolutionary processes in the absence of classically defined generations. We discuss different mechanisms that could induce asymmetry between the two organisms that eventually develop from the regenerating parts, including one particularly fascinating source – the potential capacity of the brain to produce long-lasting epigenetic changes. PMID:27565761

  11. Storm-event-transport of urban-use pesticides to streams likely impairs invertebrate assemblages

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carpenter, Kurt; Kuivila, Kathryn; Hladik, Michelle; Haluska, Tana L.; Michael B. Cole,

    2016-01-01

    Insecticide use in urban areas results in the detection of these compounds in streams following stormwater runoff at concentrations likely to cause toxicity for stream invertebrates. In this 2013 study, stormwater runoff and streambed sediments were analyzed for 91 pesticides dissolved in water and 118 pesticides on sediment. Detections included 33 pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, degradates, and a synergist. Patterns in pesticide occurrence reveal transport of dissolved and sediment-bound pesticides, including pyrethroids, from upland areas through stormwater outfalls to receiving streams. Nearly all streams contained at least one insecticide at levels exceeding an aquatic-life benchmark, most often for bifenthrin and (or) fipronil. Multiple U.S. EPA benchmark or criterion exceedances occurred in 40 % of urban streams sampled. Bed sediment concentrations of bifenthrin were highly correlated (p < 0.001) with benthic invertebrate assemblages. Non-insects and tolerant invertebrates such as amphipods, flatworms, nematodes, and oligochaetes dominated streams with relatively high concentrations of bifenthrin in bed sediments, whereas insects, sensitive invertebrates, and mayflies were much more abundant at sites with no or low bifenthrin concentrations. The abundance of sensitive invertebrates, % EPT, and select mayfly taxa were strongly negatively correlated with organic-carbon normalized bifenthrin concentrations in streambed sediments. Our findings from western Clackamas County, Oregon (USA), expand upon previous research demonstrating the transport of pesticides from urban landscapes and linking impaired benthic invertebrate assemblages in urban streams with exposure to pyrethroid insecticides.

  12. Phylogeography of Saproxylic and Forest Floor Invertebrates from Tallaganda, South-eastern Australia

    PubMed Central

    Garrick, Ryan C.; Rowell, David M.; Sunnucks, Paul

    2012-01-01

    The interaction between physiogeographic landscape context and certain life history characteristics, particularly dispersal ability, can generate predictable outcomes for how species responded to Pleistocene (and earlier) climatic changes. Furthermore, the extent to which impacts of past landscape-level changes ‘scale-up’ to whole communities has begun to be addressed via comparative phylogeographic analyses of co-distributed species. Here we present an overview of a body of research on flightless low-mobility forest invertebrates, focusing on two springtails and two terrestrial flatworms, from Tallaganda on the Great Dividing Range of south-eastern Australia. These species are distantly-related, and represent contrasting trophic levels (i.e., slime-mold-grazers vs. higher-level predators). However, they share an association with the dead wood (saproxylic) habitat. Spatial patterns of intraspecific genetic diversity partly conform to topography-based divisions that circumscribe five ‘microgeographic regions’ at Tallaganda. In synthesizing population processes and past events that generated contemporary spatial patterns of genetic diversity in these forest floor invertebrates, we highlight cases of phylogeographic congruence, pseudo-congruence, and incongruence. Finally, we propose conservation-oriented recommendations for the prioritisation of areas for protection. PMID:26467960

  13. Phylogeography of Saproxylic and Forest Floor Invertebrates from Tallaganda, South-eastern Australia.

    PubMed

    Garrick, Ryan C; Rowell, David M; Sunnucks, Paul

    2012-02-29

    The interaction between physiogeographic landscape context and certain life history characteristics, particularly dispersal ability, can generate predictable outcomes for how species responded to Pleistocene (and earlier) climatic changes. Furthermore, the extent to which impacts of past landscape-level changes 'scale-up' to whole communities has begun to be addressed via comparative phylogeographic analyses of co-distributed species. Here we present an overview of a body of research on flightless low-mobility forest invertebrates, focusing on two springtails and two terrestrial flatworms, from Tallaganda on the Great Dividing Range of south-eastern Australia. These species are distantly-related, and represent contrasting trophic levels (i.e., slime-mold-grazers vs. higher-level predators). However, they share an association with the dead wood (saproxylic) habitat. Spatial patterns of intraspecific genetic diversity partly conform to topography-based divisions that circumscribe five 'microgeographic regions' at Tallaganda. In synthesizing population processes and past events that generated contemporary spatial patterns of genetic diversity in these forest floor invertebrates, we highlight cases of phylogeographic congruence, pseudo-congruence, and incongruence. Finally, we propose conservation-oriented recommendations for the prioritisation of areas for protection.

  14. Serotonin Influences Locomotion in the Nudibranch Mollusc Melibe leonina

    PubMed Central

    LEWIS, STEFANIE L.; LYONS, DEBORAH E.; MEEKINS, TIFFANIE L.; NEWCOMB, JAMES M.

    2015-01-01

    Serotonin (5-HT) influences locomotion in many animals, from flatworms to mammals. This study examined the effects of 5-HT on locomotion in the nudibranch mollusc Melibe leonina (Gould, 1852). M. leonina exhibits two modes of locomotion, crawling and swimming. Animals were bath-immersed in a range of concentrations of 5-HT or injected with various 5-HT solutions into the hemolymph and then monitored for locomotor activity. In contrast to other gastropods studied, M. leonina showed no significant effect of 5-HT on the distance crawled or the speed of crawling. However, the highest concentration (10−3 mol l−1 for bath immersion and 10−5 mol l−1 for injection) significantly increased the time spent swimming and the swimming speed. The 5-HT receptor antagonist methysergide inhibited the influence of 5-HT on the overall amount of swimming but not on swimming speed. These results suggest that 5-HT influences locomotion at the behavioral level in M. leonina. In conjunction with previous studies on the neural basis of locomotion in M. leonina, these results also suggest that this species is an excellent model system for investigating the 5-HT modulation of locomotion. PMID:21712224

  15. Topiramate antagonizes NMDA- and AMPA-induced seizure-like activity in planarians.

    PubMed

    Rawls, Scott M; Thomas, Timmy; Adeola, Mobilaji; Patil, Tanvi; Raymondi, Natalie; Poles, Asha; Loo, Michael; Raffa, Robert B

    2009-10-01

    The mechanism of anticonvulsant action of topiramate includes inhibition of glutamate-activated ion channels. The evidence is most convincing for direct inhibitory action at the ionotropic AMPA (alpha-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid) and kainate ((2S,3S,4S)-3-(Carboxymethyl)-4-prop-1-en-2-ylpyrrolidine-2-carboxylic acid) glutamate receptor subtypes. Less direct connection has been made to the NMDA (N-Methyl-d-aspartate) subtype. In the present study, we demonstrate that NMDA and AMPA produce concentration-dependent seizure-like activity in planarians, a type of flatworm which possesses mammalian-like neurotransmitters. In contrast, planarians exposed to the inhibitory amino acid, glycine, did not display pSLA. For combination experiments, topiramate significantly reduced planarian seizure-like activity (pSLA) produced by NMDA or AMPA. Additionally, NMDA-induced pSLA was antagonized by either an NMDA receptor antagonist (MK-801) or AMPA receptor antagonist (DNQX), thus suggesting that NMDA-induced pSLA was mediated by NMDA and non-NMDA receptors. The present results provide pharmacologic evidence of a functional inhibitory action of topiramate on glutamate receptor activity in invertebrates and provide a sensitive, quantifiable end-point for studying anti-seizure pharmacology.

  16. Reconstruction of dopaminergic neural network and locomotion function in planarian regenerates.

    PubMed

    Nishimura, Kaneyasu; Kitamura, Yoshihisa; Inoue, Takeshi; Umesono, Yoshihiko; Sano, Shozo; Yoshimoto, Kanji; Inden, Masatoshi; Takata, Kazuyuki; Taniguchi, Takashi; Shimohama, Shun; Agata, Kiyokazu

    2007-07-01

    Planarian, an invertebrate flatworm, has a high capacity for regeneration when compared with other worms and animals. We show here for the first time that the reconstructed dopamine (DA) neural network regulates locomotion and behavior in planarian regenerates. The gene encoding tyrosine hydroxylase in the planarian Dugesia japonica (DjTH) was identified. DjTH protein was coexpressed with aromatic amino acid decarboxylase-like A (DjAADCA) in the planarian central nervous system (CNS). In addition, DjTH-knockdown planarians lost the ability to synthesize DA, but showed no change in 5-hydroxytryptamine synthesis. When the planarian body was amputated, DjTH-positive neurons were regenerated in the brain newly rebuilt from the tail piece at Day 3, and the DjTH-positive axonal and dendritic neural network in the CNS (dopaminergic tiara) was reconstructed at Days 5-7. At that time, autonomic locomotion and methamphetamine-induced hyperkinesia were also suppressed in DjTH-knockdown planarians. Planarian locomotion and behavior seem to be regulated in both cilia- and muscle-dependent manners. In DjTH-knockdown planarians, muscle-mediated locomotion and behavior were significantly attenuated. These results suggest that DA neurons play a key role in the muscle-mediated movement in planarians.

  17. Treatment with 6-hydroxydopamine in planaria (Dugesia gonocephala s.l.): morphological and behavioral study.

    PubMed

    Caronti, B; Margotta, V; Merante, A; Pontieri, F E; Palladini, G

    1999-07-01

    Morpho-functional and behavioral effects of exposure to 6-hydroxydopamine (OHDA)-HCI (24 microg/ml per day for 24 h and 7 days) were studied in planarias (Dugesia gonocephala s.l.). Exposure to 6-OHDA-HC1 for 24 h produced hypokinesia of the specimens. These behavioral changes were more pronounced, leading to complete immobility, after 7 days of exposure to the neurotoxin. Moreover, specimens exposed to 6-OHDA-HCI for 24 h and 7 days failed to show any behavioral response to nomifensine, thus furnishing evidence of the damage of presynaptic dopamine terminals. Exposure to 6-OHDA-HCl for 24 h significantly reduced cathecolamine content in neuropil region, as demonstrated by histochemistry, and electron-dense presynaptic vesicles, as observed on electron microscopy examination. All these alterations were significantly more pronounced and were accompanied by swelling and strong increase of electron-density in cytoplasm of numerous neurons after exposure to the neurotoxin for 7 days. This appears to be the first demonstration of the neurotoxic effects of 6-OHDA-HCI in flatworms.

  18. Gap junction proteins: master regulators of the planarian stem cell response to tissue maintenance and injury.

    PubMed

    Peiris, T Harshani; Oviedo, Néstor J

    2013-01-01

    Gap junction (GJ) proteins are crucial mediators of cell-cell communication during embryogenesis, tissue regeneration and disease. GJ proteins form plasma membrane channels that facilitate passage of small molecules across cells and modulate signaling pathways and cellular behavior in different tissues. These properties have been conserved throughout evolution, and in most invertebrates GJ proteins are known as innexins. Despite their critical relevance for physiology and disease, the mechanisms by which GJ proteins modulate cell behavior are poorly understood. This review summarizes findings from recent work that uses planarian flatworms as a paradigm to analyze GJ proteins in the complexity of the whole organism. The planarian model allows access to a large pool of adult somatic stem cells (known as neoblasts) that support physiological cell turnover and tissue regeneration. Innexin proteins are present in planarians and play a fundamental role in controlling neoblast behavior. We discuss the possibility that GJ proteins participate as cellular sensors that inform neoblasts about local and systemic physiological demands. We believe that functional analyses of GJ proteins will bring a complementary perspective to studies that focus on the temporal expression of genes. Finally, integrating functional studies along with molecular genetics and epigenetic approaches would expand our understanding of cellular regulation in vivo and greatly enhance the possibilities for rationally modulating stem cell behavior in their natural environment. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: The communicating junctions, roles and dysfunctions.

  19. A pharmacological study of cocaine activity in planaria.

    PubMed

    Palladini, G; Ruggeri, S; Stocchi, F; De Pandis, M F; Venturini, G; Margotta, V

    1996-09-01

    Planaria has been proposed as a suitable research model in neurobiology because of its relatively simple organization. Dopaminergic agonists induce in this flatworm typical hyperkinesias that can be antagonized by dopaminergic blocking agents. The neurochemical basis of the effects of cocaine in vertebrates has not been fully elucidated, but the inhibition of catecholamine reuptake at a presynaptic level seems to play an important role. In this study we analyzed the involvement of the dopaminergic system in the mechanism of action of cocaine in planaria. The dose-related effects of cocaine on planaria motility and the response to cocaine treatment associated with the administration of specific D1 or D2 dopamine agonists and antagonists were investigated. The effects of reuptake inhibitors on cocaine activity were also studied. Planaria specimens treated with low doses of cocaine become motionless, whereas high doses induce a typical behavioural response, identical to the response induced by specific D2 agonists. This response is inhibited by a D2 selective blocking agent. Nomifensine, a specific dopamine reuptake inhibitor, induces a mixed D1/D2 response. The results of these experiments are discussed, also in relation with the conservation of dopaminergic receptors during evolution.

  20. Carbamazepine inhibits distinct chemoconvulsant-induced seizure-like activity in Dugesia tigrina.

    PubMed

    Ramakrishnan, Latha; Desaer, Cassie

    2011-10-01

    Planaria, non-parasitic flatworms, were recently shown to be a simple yet sensitive model for investigating the pharmacology of convulsants and anticonvulsants. The present findings show that three distinct chemoconvulsants, (-)-nicotine, picrotoxin, and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), induce dose-dependent seizure-like paroxysms in the planarian Dugesia tigrina. Carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine, iminodibenzyl derivatives, exhibit anticonvulsive effects mediated mainly through the inactivation of voltage-gated sodium channels. Apart from these primary molecular targets, both carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine are known to activate γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A)) receptors and inhibit NMDA activated glutamate receptors and neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). The present study shows that in D. tigrina both carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine inhibit chemoconvulsant-induced seizure behaviors in a dose-dependent manner. Carbamazepine (100 μM) decreased by ~65% the cumulative mean planarian seizure-like activity (pSLA) observed in the presence of (-)-nicotine (10 μM), picrotoxin (5mM), or NMDA (3mM), whereas oxcarbazepine (1 μM) decreased by 45% the cumulative mean pSLA induced by (-)-nicotine (10μM). The results demonstrate, for the first time, the anti-seizure pharmacology of carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine in an invertebrate seizure model.

  1. The distribution of dimethylsulfoniopropionate in tropical Pacific coral reef invertebrates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Alstyne, Kathryn L.; Schupp, Peter; Slattery, Marc

    2006-08-01

    Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is an important component of the global sulfur cycle and may be involved, via its cleavage product dimethylsulfide, in climate regulation. Although it is common in many algae, reports of DMSP in animals, particularly tropical invertebrates, are limited. This study examined the distribution of DMSP in a diverse group of coral reef invertebrates. DMSP was present in all 22 species of cnidarians and ranged from 9 to 723 μmol g-1 of dry mass (DM) with a mean (± 1SD) of 110 ± 180 μmol g-1 DM. It was not detected in a flatworm and an ascidian or in two of five sponges. Concentrations in sponges ranged from undetectable to 16 μmol g-1 DM with a mean of 4 ± 7 μmol g-1 DM. Within the cnidarians, DMSP concentrations did not differ among orders. Among cnidarian species, DMSP concentrations were correlated with symbiotic zooxanthellae densities. Within cnidarian species, DMSP concentrations of individuals were positively correlated with zooxanthellae densities in three of the four species examined. We speculate that DMSP is dietarily derived in sponges and derived from zooxanthellae in the cnidarians. The functions of DMSP in coral reef invertebrates are not known.

  2. Inter-phyla studies on neuropeptides: the potential for broad-spectrum anthelmintic and/or endectocide discovery.

    PubMed

    Mousley, A; Maule, A G; Halton, D W; Marks, N J

    2005-01-01

    Flatworm, nematode and arthropod parasites have proven their ability to develop resistance to currently available chemotherapeutics. The heavy reliance on chemotherapy and the ability of target species to develop resistance has prompted the search for novel drug targets. In view of its importance to parasite/pest survival, the neuromusculature of parasitic helminths and pest arthropod species remains an attractive target for the discovery of novel endectocide targets. Exploitation of the neuropeptidergic system in helminths and arthropods has been hampered by a limited understanding of the functional roles of individual peptides and the structure of endogenous targets, such as receptors. Basic research into these systems has the potential to facilitate target characterization and its offshoots (screen development and drug identification). Of particular interest to parasitologists is the fact that selected neuropeptide families are common to metazoan pest species (nematodes, platyhelminths and arthropods) and fulfil specific roles in the modulation of muscle function in each of the three phyla. This article reviews the inter-phyla activity of two peptide families, the FMRFamide-like peptides and allatostatins, on motor function in helminths and arthropods and discusses the potential of neuropeptide signalling as a target system that could uncover novel endectocidal agents.

  3. Differential antigenic protein recovery from Taenia solium cyst tissues using several detergents.

    PubMed

    Navarrete-Perea, José; Orozco-Ramírez, Rodrigo; Moguel, Bárbara; Sciutto, Edda; Bobes, Raúl J; Laclette, Juan P

    2015-07-01

    Human and porcine cysticercosis is caused by the larval stage of the flatworm Taenia solium (Cestoda). The protein extracts of T. solium cysts are complex mixtures including cyst's and host proteins. Little is known about the influence of using different detergents in the efficiency of solubilization-extraction of these proteins, including relevant antigens. Here, we describe the use of CHAPS, ASB-14 and Triton X-100, alone or in combination in the extraction buffers, as a strategy to notably increase the recovery of proteins that are usually left aside in insoluble fractions of cysts. Using buffer with CHAPS alone, 315 protein spots were detected through 2D-PAGE. A total of 255 and 258 spots were detected using buffers with Triton X-100 or ASB-14, respectively. More protein spots were detected when detergents were combined, i.e., 2% CHAPS, 1% Triton X-100 and 1% ASB-14 allowed detection of up to 368 spots. Our results indicated that insoluble fractions of T. solium cysts were rich in antigens, including several glycoproteins that were sensitive to metaperiodate treatment. Host proteins, a common component in protein extracts of cysts, were present in larger amounts in soluble than insoluble fractions of cysts proteins. Finally, antigens present in the insoluble fraction were more appropriate as a source of antigens for diagnostic procedures.

  4. Evolution, molecular epidemiology and perspectives on the research of taeniid parasites with special emphasis on Taenia solium.

    PubMed

    Bobes, Raúl J; Fragoso, Gladis; Fleury, Agnès; García-Varela, Martín; Sciutto, Edda; Larralde, Carlos; Laclette, Juan P

    2014-04-01

    Human cysticercosis is known since old historical times in Greece and China; however, human infections by tapeworms have accompanied human beings for more that hundred thousand years. The disease is tightly bound to poverty and lack of hygiene, and has been eradicated in developed countries, but continues being a public health problem in developing countries of Latin-American, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and is also remerging in a number of non endemic countries. It is considered a neglected disease. Here we revise a number of key scientific contributions on taeniid biology that open new avenues for more effective approaches to the control of cysticercosis. The evolution of flatworms and class Cestoda is analyzed, with special emphasis on the emergence of taeniid parasites and the colonization of the human species by tapeworms. The complex molecular host-parasite interplay in this relationship as result of co-evolution between two distantly related organisms. The relevant host and parasite's factors, in the prospect of identifying species-specific molecular markers useful in epidemiological studies carried out in endemic countries. The new possibilities arising with the characterization of the genomes for several species of tapeworms, including a deeper understanding of these organisms, as well as improved tools for diagnosis, vaccination and drug treatment. The need to revise the current control and management strategies for this tropical neglected disease.

  5. Yap1, transcription regulator in the Hippo signaling pathway, is required for Xenopus limb bud regeneration.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, Shinichi; Tamura, Koji; Yokoyama, Hitoshi

    2014-04-01

    The Hippo signaling pathway is conserved from insects to mammals and is important for multiple processes, including cell proliferation, apoptosis and tissue homeostasis. Hippo signaling is also crucial for regeneration, including intercalary regeneration, of the whole body in the flatworm and of the leg in the cricket. However, its role in vertebrate epimorphic regeneration is unknown. Therefore, to identify principles of regeneration that are conserved among bilaterians, we investigated the role of Hippo signaling in the limb bud regeneration of an anuran amphibian, Xenopus laevis. We found that a transcription factor, Yap1, an important downstream effector of Hippo signaling, is upregulated in the regenerating limb bud. To evaluate Yap1׳s function in limb bud regeneration, we made transgenic animals that expressed a dominant-negative form of Yap under a heat-shock promoter. Overexpression of a dominant-negative form of Yap in tadpoles reduced cell proliferation, induced ectopic apoptosis, perturbed the expression domains of limb-patterning genes including hoxa13, hoxa11, and shh in the regenerating limb bud. Transient expression of a dominant-negative Yap in transgenic tadpoles also caused limb bud regeneration defects, and reduced intercalary regeneration. These results indicate that Yap1 has a crucial role in controlling the limb regenerative capacity in Xenopus, and suggest that the involvement of Hippo signaling in regeneration is conserved between vertebrates and invertebrates. This finding provides molecular evidence that common principles underlie regeneration across phyla, and may contribute to the development of new therapies in regenerative medicine.

  6. Direct regulatory interaction of the eyeless protein with an eye-specific enhancer in the sine oculis gene during eye induction in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Niimi, T; Seimiya, M; Kloter, U; Flister, S; Gehring, W J

    1999-05-01

    The Pax-6 gene encodes a transcription factor with two DNA-binding domains, a paired and a homeodomain, and is expressed during eye morphogenesis and development of the nervous system. Pax-6 homologs have been isolated from a wide variety of organisms ranging from flatworms to humans. Since loss-of-function mutants in insects and mammals lead to an eyeless phenotype and Pax-6 orthologs from distantly related species are capable of inducing ectopic eyes in Drosophila, we have proposed that Pax-6 is a universal master control gene for eye morphogenesis. To determine the extent of evolutionary conservation of the eye morphogenetic pathway, we have begun to identify subordinate target genes of Pax-6. Previously we have shown that expression of two genes, sine oculis (so) and eyes absent (eya), is induced by eyeless (ey), the Pax-6 homolog of Drosophila. Here we present evidence from ectopic expression studies in transgenic flies, from transcription activation studies in yeast, and from gel shift assays in vitro that the EY protein activates transcription of sine oculis by direct interaction with an eye-specific enhancer in the long intron of the so gene.

  7. Drug Target Exploitable Structural Features of Adenylyl Cyclase Activity in Schistosoma mansoni

    PubMed Central

    Mbah, Andreas N.; Kamga, Henri L.; Awofolu, Omotayo R.; Isokpehi, Raphael D.

    2012-01-01

    The draft genome sequence of the parasitic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni (S. mansoni), a cause of schistosomiasis, encodes a predicted guanosine triphosphate (GTP) binding protein tagged Smp_059340.1. Smp_059340.1 is predicted to be a member of the G protein alpha-s subunit responsible for regulating adenylyl cyclase activity in S. mansoni and a possible drug target against the parasite. Our structural bioinformatics analyses identified key amino acid residues (Ser53, Thr188, Asp207 and Gly210) in the two molecular switches responsible for cycling the protein between active (GTP bound) and inactive (GDP bound) states. Residue Thr188 is located on Switch I region while Gly210 is located on Switch II region with Switch II longer than Switch I. The Asp207 is located on the G3 box motif and Ser53 is the binding residue for magnesium ion. These findings offer new insights into the dynamic and functional determinants of the Smp_059340.1 protein in regulating the S. mansoni life cycle. The binding interfaces and their residues could be used as starting points for selective modulations of interactions within the pathway using small molecules, peptides or mutagenesis. PMID:23133313

  8. Molecular phylogeny of land and freshwater planarians (Tricladida, Platyhelminthes): from freshwater to land and back.

    PubMed

    Alvarez-Presas, Marta; Baguñà, Jaume; Riutort, Marta

    2008-05-01

    The suborder Tricladida (phylum Platyhelminthes) comprises the well-known free-living flatworms, taxonomically grouped into three infraorders according to their ecology: Maricola (marine planarians), Paludicola (freshwater planarians), and Terricola (land planarians). Molecular analyses have demonstrated that the Paludicola are paraphyletic, the Terricola being the sister group of one of the three paludicolan families, the Dugesiidae. However, neither 18S rDNA nor COI based trees have been able to resolve the relationships among species of Terricola and Dugesiidae, particularly the monophyly of Terricola. Here, we present new molecular data including sequences of nuclear genes (18S rDNA, 28S rDNA) and a mitochondrial gene (COI) of a wider sample of dugesiid and terricolan species. The new sequences have been analyzed, together with those previously obtained, in independent and concatenated analyses using maximum likelihood and bayesian methods. The results show that, although some parts of the trees remain poorly resolved, they support a monophyletic origin for Terricola followed by a likely return of some species to freshwater habitats. Relationships within the monophyletic group of Dugesiidae are clearly resolved, and relationships among some terricolan subfamilies are also clearly established and point to the need for a thorough revision of Terricola taxonomy.

  9. Twelve invertebrate and eight fish species new to the marine fauna of Madeira, and a discussion of the zoogeography of the area

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wirtz, Peter

    1998-06-01

    The benthic ctenophore Vallicula multiformis, a large undescribed flatworm species of the genus Pseudoceros, the prosobranch gastropod Tonna maculosa, the opisthobranch gastropods Placida cf. dendritica, Caloria elegans, Aeolidiella sanguinea, Janolus cristatus, the decapod Balssia gasti, the sea urchin Schizaster canaliferus and the tunicates Clavelina lepadiformis, Clavelina dellavallei and Pycnoclavella taureanensis are recorded from Madeira for the first time. This is the first record of a platyctenid ctenophore in the eastern Atlantic. The teleost fishes Pomatoschistus pictus, Vaneaugobius canariensis, Chromogobius sp., Nerophis ophidion, Hippocampus hippocampus, Acanthocybium solandri, Sphyraena viridensis and Sphyraena barracuda are recorded from Madeira for the first time. The presence of the sea-hare Aplysia dactylomela at Madeira is confirmed; the species has increased tremendously in abundance in the last four years. The crocodile fish Grammoplites gruveli can occasionally be found in the mantle cavity of cuttlefish ( Sepia officinalis) sold at the fish market of Funchal, but does not originate from Madeiran waters. An analysis of 100 new records from the coastal fauna of Madeira shows that, while predominantly of lusitanian, mediterranean and mauritanian affinity, Madeira’s shallow water fauna contains a large component of tropical species.

  10. The evolutionary ecology of complex lifecycle parasites: linking phenomena with mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Auld, S K J R; Tinsley, M C

    2015-02-01

    Many parasitic infections, including those of humans, are caused by complex lifecycle parasites (CLPs): parasites that sequentially infect different hosts over the course of their lifecycle. CLPs come from a wide range of taxonomic groups-from single-celled bacteria to multicellular flatworms-yet share many common features in their life histories. Theory tells us when CLPs should be favoured by selection, but more empirical studies are required in order to quantify the costs and benefits of having a complex lifecycle, especially in parasites that facultatively vary their lifecycle complexity. In this article, we identify ecological conditions that favour CLPs over their simple lifecycle counterparts and highlight how a complex lifecycle can alter transmission rate and trade-offs between growth and reproduction. We show that CLPs participate in dynamic host-parasite coevolution, as more mobile hosts can fuel CLP adaptation to less mobile hosts. Then, we argue that a more general understanding of the evolutionary ecology of CLPs is essential for the development of effective frameworks to manage the many diseases they cause. More research is needed identifying the genetics of infection mechanisms used by CLPs, particularly into the role of gene duplication and neofunctionalisation in lifecycle evolution. We propose that testing for signatures of selection in infection genes will reveal much about how and when complex lifecycles evolved, and will help quantify complex patterns of coevolution between CLPs and their various hosts. Finally, we emphasise four key areas where new research approaches will provide fertile opportunities to advance this field.

  11. Regulation of immunity by Taeniids: lessons from animal models and in vitro studies.

    PubMed

    Peón, A N; Ledesma-Soto, Y; Terrazas, L I

    2016-03-01

    Taeniidae is the largest family of the Cyclophyllidea order of parasites despite being composed of just two genera: Taenia spp and Echinococcus spp. These parasites are flatworms with a terrestrial life cycle, having an immature or larval stage called metacestode, which develops into the mature form within the intestine of the primary host after being consumed in raw or poorly cooked meat. Consumed eggs hatch into oncospheres, penetrate the intestinal walls and are transported via the bloodstream to later develop into metacestodes within the muscles and internal organs of secondary and sometimes primary hosts, thereby initiating the cycle again. Larval stages of both Taenia spp and Echinococcus spp are well known to produce tissue-dwelling, long-lasting infections; in this stage, these parasites can reach centimetres (macroparasites) and both genera may cause life-threatening diseases in humans. Establishing such long-term infections requires an exceptional ability to modulate host immunity for long periods of time. In this review, we analyse the immunoregulatory mechanisms induced by these tapeworms and their products, mainly discussing the importance of taeniid strategies to successfully colonize their hosts, such as antigen-presenting cell phenotype manipulation and the consequent induction of T-cell anergy, among others.

  12. Planarian Hedgehog/Patched establishes anterior–posterior polarity by regulating Wnt signaling

    PubMed Central

    Yazawa, Shigenobu; Umesono, Yoshihiko; Hayashi, Tetsutaro; Tarui, Hiroshi; Agata, Kiyokazu

    2009-01-01

    Despite long-standing interest, the molecular mechanisms underlying the establishment of anterior–posterior (AP) polarity remain among the unsolved mysteries in metazoans. In the planarians (a family of flatworms), canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling is required for posterior specification, as it is in many animals. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating the posterior-specific induction of Wnt genes according to the AP polarity have remained unclear. Here, we demonstrate that Hedgehog (Hh) signaling is responsible for the establishment of AP polarity via its regulation of the transcription of Wnt family genes during planarian regeneration. We found that RNAi gene knockdown of Dugesia japonica patched (Djptc) caused ectopic tail formation in the anterior blastema of body fragments, resulting in bipolar-tails regeneration. In contrast, RNAi of hedgehog (Djhh) and gli (Djgli) caused bipolar-heads regeneration. We show that Patched-mediated Hh signaling was crucial for posterior specification, which is established by regulating the transcription of Wnt genes via downstream Gli activity. Moreover, differentiated cells were responsible for the posterior specification of undifferentiated stem cells through Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Surprisingly, Djhh was expressed in neural cells all along the ventral nerve cords (along the AP axis), but not in the posterior blastema of body fragments, where the expression of Wnt genes was induced for posteriorization. We therefore propose that Hh signals direct head or tail regeneration according to the AP polarity, which is established by Hh signaling activity along the body's preexisting nervous system. PMID:20018728

  13. Helminth infections predispose mice to pneumococcal pneumonia but not to other pneumonic pathogens.

    PubMed

    Apiwattanakul, Nopporn; Thomas, Paul G; Kuhn, Raymond E; Herbert, De'Broski R; McCullers, Jonathan A

    2014-10-01

    Pneumonia is the leading killer of children worldwide. Here, we report that helminth-infected mice develop fatal pneumonia when challenged with Streptococcus pneumoniae. Mice were chronically infected with either the flatworm Taenia crassiceps or the roundworm Heligmosomoides polygyrus. Upon challenge with a pneumonic type 3 strain of S. pneumoniae (A66.1), the worm-infected mice developed pneumonia at a rate and to a degree higher than age-matched control mice as measured by bioluminescent imaging and lung titers. This predisposition to pneumonia appears to be specific to S. pneumoniae, as worm-infected mice did not show evidence of increased morbidity when challenged with a lethal dose of influenza virus or sublethal doses of Staphylococcus aureus or Listeria monocytogenes. The defect was also present when worm-infected mice were challenged with a type 2 sepsis-causing strain (D39); an increased rate of pneumonia, decreased survival, and increased lung and blood titers were found. Pneumococcal colonization and immunity against acute otitis media were unaffected. Anti-helminthic treatment in the H. polygyrus model reversed this susceptibility. We conclude that helminth coinfection predisposes mice to fatal pneumococcal pneumonia by promoting increased outgrowth of bacteria in the lungs and blood. These data have broad implications for the prevention and treatment for pneumonia in the developing world, where helminth infections are endemic and pneumococcal pneumonia is common.

  14. Rickettsiae, protozoa, and opisthokonta/metazoa.

    PubMed

    Schmutzhard, Erich; Helbok, Raimund

    2014-01-01

    Rhizobiales (formerly named Rickettsiales) cause in rare instances meningitis and meningovasculitis, respectively. In case of history of exposure, infection by Rhizobiales needs to be considered since both diagnosis and therapy may be extremely difficult and pathogen-specific. The same applies to protozoa; in this chapter, Babesia species, free-living amoebae and Entamoeba histolytica infection, including severe meningitis and brain abscess, infection by Trypanosoma species (South American and African trypanosomiasis) are discussed with respect to history, epidemiology, clinical signs, and symptoms as well as differential diagnosis and therapy. Parasitic flatworms and roundworms, potentially able to invade the central nervous system, trematodes (flukes), cestodes (in particular, Cysticercus cellulosae), but also nematodes (in particular, Strongyloides spp. in the immunocompromised) are of worldwide importance. In contrast, filarial worms, Toxocara spp., Trichinella spp., Gnathostoma and Angiostrongylus spp. are seen only in certain geographically confined areas. Even more regionally confined are infestations of the central nervous system by metazoa, in particular, tongue worms (=arthropods) or larvae of flies (=maggots). The aim of this chapter is (1) to alert the neurologist to these infections, and (2) to enable the attending emergency neurologist to take a knowledgeable history, with an emphasis on epidemiology, clinical signs, and symptoms as well as therapeutic management possibilities.

  15. THE ANALYSIS OF NEUROMUSCULAR MECHANISMS IN CHITON.

    PubMed

    Crozier, W J

    1920-07-20

    1. The degree of curvature of the body and of the girdle of a Chiton is determined by the activity of antagonistic muscle groups. At a certain, early stage in the strychninization of a Chiton the reciprocal inhibition involved in the natural use of these muscle groups is reversed, such that extensor muscles, rather than, as normally, flexor muscles, contract as the result of stimulation. This condition involves a reversal, under strychnine, of the normally positive stereotropism of the foot, and of the usual response of the mollusk to an increased illumination of its ventral surface. Strychnine reversal of this character is not a matter of the relative strength of the opposed muscle groups, for the flexor muscles are the more powerful and are the ones always shortened in tetanic contraction. 2. Nicotine, in contrast to strychnine, primarily induces contraction of flexor muscles. Its effects, moreover, are in a degree selective, being notably exerted on "cerebral" nervous structures. Curare is devoid of characteristic action on the neuromuscular responses of Chiton. 3. The chemical organization of the neuromuscular organs of Chiton, as far as revealed by these tests, corresponds to a more simple condition than is inferred for gastropods. In particular, the behavior with respect to curare resembles more that of the neuromuscular apparatus of flatworms.

  16. The Zn Finger protein Iguana impacts Hedgehog signaling by promoting ciliogenesis

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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 that utilize epidermal cilia for locomotion. RNA interference of Smed-iguana in the planarian S. 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

  17. Assessing the root of bilaterian animals with scalable phylogenomic methods.

    PubMed

    Hejnol, Andreas; Obst, Matthias; Stamatakis, Alexandros; Ott, Michael; Rouse, Greg W; Edgecombe, Gregory D; Martinez, Pedro; Baguñà, Jaume; Bailly, Xavier; Jondelius, Ulf; Wiens, Matthias; Müller, Werner E G; Seaver, Elaine; Wheeler, Ward C; Martindale, Mark Q; Giribet, Gonzalo; Dunn, Casey W

    2009-12-22

    A clear picture of animal relationships is a prerequisite to understand how the morphological and ecological diversity of animals evolved over time. Among others, the placement of the acoelomorph flatworms, Acoela and Nemertodermatida, has fundamental implications for the origin and evolution of various animal organ systems. Their position, however, has been inconsistent in phylogenetic studies using one or several genes. Furthermore, Acoela has been among the least stable taxa in recent animal phylogenomic analyses, which simultaneously examine many genes from many species, while Nemertodermatida has not been sampled in any phylogenomic study. New sequence data are presented here from organisms targeted for their instability or lack of representation in prior analyses, and are analysed in combination with other publicly available data. We also designed new automated explicit methods for identifying and selecting common genes across different species, and developed highly optimized supercomputing tools to reconstruct relationships from gene sequences. The results of the work corroborate several recently established findings about animal relationships and provide new support for the placement of other groups. These new data and methods strongly uphold previous suggestions that Acoelomorpha is sister clade to all other bilaterian animals, find diminishing evidence for the placement of the enigmatic Xenoturbella within Deuterostomia, and place Cycliophora with Entoprocta and Ectoprocta. The work highlights the implications that these arrangements have for metazoan evolution and permits a clearer picture of ancestral morphologies and life histories in the deep past.

  18. Assessing the root of bilaterian animals with scalable phylogenomic methods

    PubMed Central

    Hejnol, Andreas; Obst, Matthias; Stamatakis, Alexandros; Ott, Michael; Rouse, Greg W.; Edgecombe, Gregory D.; Martinez, Pedro; Baguñà, Jaume; Bailly, Xavier; Jondelius, Ulf; Wiens, Matthias; Müller, Werner E. G.; Seaver, Elaine; Wheeler, Ward C.; Martindale, Mark Q.; Giribet, Gonzalo; Dunn, Casey W.

    2009-01-01

    A clear picture of animal relationships is a prerequisite to understand how the morphological and ecological diversity of animals evolved over time. Among others, the placement of the acoelomorph flatworms, Acoela and Nemertodermatida, has fundamental implications for the origin and evolution of various animal organ systems. Their position, however, has been inconsistent in phylogenetic studies using one or several genes. Furthermore, Acoela has been among the least stable taxa in recent animal phylogenomic analyses, which simultaneously examine many genes from many species, while Nemertodermatida has not been sampled in any phylogenomic study. New sequence data are presented here from organisms targeted for their instability or lack of representation in prior analyses, and are analysed in combination with other publicly available data. We also designed new automated explicit methods for identifying and selecting common genes across different species, and developed highly optimized supercomputing tools to reconstruct relationships from gene sequences. The results of the work corroborate several recently established findings about animal relationships and provide new support for the placement of other groups. These new data and methods strongly uphold previous suggestions that Acoelomorpha is sister clade to all other bilaterian animals, find diminishing evidence for the placement of the enigmatic Xenoturbella within Deuterostomia, and place Cycliophora with Entoprocta and Ectoprocta. The work highlights the implications that these arrangements have for metazoan evolution and permits a clearer picture of ancestral morphologies and life histories in the deep past. PMID:19759036

  19. Dissections of fresh skulls confirm low prevalence of Troglotrema acutum (Trematoda: Troglotrematidae) in German badgers (Meles meles).

    PubMed

    Heddergott, M; Frantz, A C; Jenrich, J; Müller, F

    2015-02-01

    We examined 131 European badgers Meles meles (Linnaeus, 1758) from 67 localities in central Germany for the presence of the cranial trematode Troglotrema acutum, as previous studies based on museum skulls might have underestimated the prevalence of the parasite in this host. We detected the flatworm in only three individuals that originated from the Rhoen Mountains (Thurigina and Bavaria). While the cranium of one host individual showed the lesions and the sponge-like widening of certain regions of the skullcap that are typical of a T. acutum infection, the skulls of the two remaining badgers did not show any deformations. The three badgers were infected by eight, 20, and 49 T. acutum individuals, respectively. Eggs of the trematode parasite were detected in the paranasal sinuses of two badgers. While badgers infected with T. acutum may not show any surface bone lesions, the results of the present study do not contradict the conclusion that the badger is only an accidental host of T. acutum.

  20. Community structure, population structure and topographical specialisation of Gyrodactylus (monogenea) ectoparasites living on sympatric stickleback species.

    PubMed

    Raeymaekers, Joost A M; Huyse, Tine; Maelfait, Hannelore; Hellemans, Bart; Volckaert, Filip A M

    2008-09-01

    In order to disentangle the contribution of host and parasite biology to host specificity, we compared the structure and population dynamics of the Gyrodactylus (von Nordmann, 1832) flatworm community living on sympatric three-spined Gasterosteus aculeatus L. and nine-spined Pungitius pungitius (L.) stickleback. Between April 2002 and March 2003, a small lowland creek was sampled monthly. Species identity of about 75% of the worms per host was determined with a genetic nuclear marker (ITS1). Each stickleback species hosted a characteristic gill- and fin-parasitic Gyrodactylus: G. arcuatus Bychowsky, 1933 and G. gasterostei Gläser, 1974 respectively infecting the three-spined stickleback, with G. rarus Wegener, 1910 and G. pungitii Malmberg, 1964 infecting the nine-spined stickleback. Host size and seasonal dynamics were strong determinants of parasite abundance. A strong interaction between host and parasite species determined infection levels and affected three levels of parasite organisation: community structure, population structure and topographical specialisation. Community and population structure were shaped by asymmetric cross-infections, resulting in a net transmission of the Gyro-dactylus species typical of the nine-spined stickleback towards the three-spined stickleback. Host density was not a major determinant of parasite exchange. Aggregation and topographical specialisation of the Gyrodactylus species of the three-spined stickleback were more pronounced than that of the nine-spined stickleback.

  1. The Gyrodactylus (Monogenea, Gyrodactylidae) parasite fauna of freshwater sand gobies (Teleostei, Gobioidei) in their centre of endemism, with description of seven new species.

    PubMed

    Vanhove, Maarten P M; Economou, Alcibiades N; Zogaris, Stamatis; Giakoumi, Sofia; Zanella, Davor; Volckaert, Filip A M; Huyse, Tine

    2014-02-01

    While Gobioidei comprises showcases of (adaptive) radiation, the scientific interest they yielded did not ensure full understanding of goby biodiversity. Even in a well-studied region like Europe, wide knowledge gaps remain. Sand gobies represent one of the few clades whose monogenean parasites have been thoroughly studied. However, in the Balkans, part of the sand gobies' centre of endemism, these parasites were unstudied. We focus on Greek and Croatian freshwater gobies. From five sand goby species, the first parasites are reported, describing seven new Gyrodactylus species. Economidichthys pygmaeus harbours Gyrodactylus benedeni sp. n. and Gyrodactylus dorlodoti sp. n. Its congener E. trichonis hosts G. meelkopae sp. n. Knipowitschia milleri was found to host G. charon sp. n., K. thessala is infected by G. bios sp. n., and K. croatica by G. douglasadamsi sp. n. and G. hellemansi sp. n. Gyrodactylus bubyri was found on its type host K. caucasica. A diverse parasite fauna is expected for a region known for its biodiversity and endemism. The contribution of parasites to species richness in such hotspots is overlooked. The observed species richness per host is rather low compared to the better-studied eastern Atlantic sand gobies. Host vicariance is considered to mediate parasite specificity in this fauna. Some new flatworm species display unique morphological features, such as the remarkable size of the marginal hook sickle proper compared to its foot in the Economidichthys parasites, or a characteristically kinked marginal hook sickle in G. douglasadamsi sp. n. These features reflect their hosts' endemism in the Balkans.

  2. PlanMine--a mineable resource of planarian biology and biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Brandl, Holger; Moon, HongKee; Vila-Farré, Miquel; Liu, Shang-Yun; Henry, Ian; Rink, Jochen C

    2016-01-04

    Planarian flatworms are in the midst of a renaissance as a model system for regeneration and stem cells. Besides two well-studied model species, hundreds of species exist worldwide that present a fascinating diversity of regenerative abilities, tissue turnover rates, reproductive strategies and other life history traits. PlanMine (http://planmine.mpi-cbg.de/) aims to accomplish two primary missions: First, to provide an easily accessible platform for sharing, comparing and value-added mining of planarian sequence data. Second, to catalyze the comparative analysis of the phenotypic diversity amongst planarian species. Currently, PlanMine houses transcriptomes independently assembled by our lab and community contributors. Detailed assembly/annotation statistics, a custom-developed BLAST viewer and easy export options enable comparisons at the contig and assembly level. Consistent annotation of all transcriptomes by an automated pipeline, the integration of published gene expression information and inter-relational query tools provide opportunities for mining planarian gene sequences and functions. For inter-species comparisons, we include transcriptomes of, so far, six planarian species, along with images, expert-curated information on their biology and pre-calculated cross-species sequence homologies. PlanMine is based on the popular InterMine system in order to make the rich biology of planarians accessible to the general life sciences research community.

  3. The genome of the blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni.

    PubMed

    Berriman, Matthew; Haas, Brian J; LoVerde, Philip T; Wilson, R Alan; Dillon, Gary P; Cerqueira, Gustavo C; Mashiyama, Susan T; Al-Lazikani, Bissan; Andrade, Luiza F; Ashton, Peter D; Aslett, Martin A; Bartholomeu, Daniella C; Blandin, Gaelle; Caffrey, Conor R; Coghlan, Avril; Coulson, Richard; Day, Tim A; Delcher, Art; DeMarco, Ricardo; Djikeng, Appolinaire; Eyre, Tina; Gamble, John A; Ghedin, Elodie; Gu, Yong; Hertz-Fowler, Christiane; Hirai, Hirohisha; Hirai, Yuriko; Houston, Robin; Ivens, Alasdair; Johnston, David A; Lacerda, Daniela; Macedo, Camila D; McVeigh, Paul; Ning, Zemin; Oliveira, Guilherme; Overington, John P; Parkhill, Julian; Pertea, Mihaela; Pierce, Raymond J; Protasio, Anna V; Quail, Michael A; Rajandream, Marie-Adèle; Rogers, Jane; Sajid, Mohammed; Salzberg, Steven L; Stanke, Mario; Tivey, Adrian R; White, Owen; Williams, David L; Wortman, Jennifer; Wu, Wenjie; Zamanian, Mostafa; Zerlotini, Adhemar; Fraser-Liggett, Claire M; Barrell, Barclay G; El-Sayed, Najib M

    2009-07-16

    Schistosoma mansoni is responsible for the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis that affects 210 million people in 76 countries. Here we present analysis of the 363 megabase nuclear genome of the blood fluke. It encodes at least 11,809 genes, with an unusual intron size distribution, and new families of micro-exon genes that undergo frequent alternative splicing. As the first sequenced flatworm, and a representative of the Lophotrochozoa, it offers insights into early events in the evolution of the animals, including the development of a body pattern with bilateral symmetry, and the development of tissues into organs. Our analysis has been informed by the need to find new drug targets. The deficits in lipid metabolism that make schistosomes dependent on the host are revealed, and the identification of membrane receptors, ion channels and more than 300 proteases provide new insights into the biology of the life cycle and new targets. Bioinformatics approaches have identified metabolic chokepoints, and a chemogenomic screen has pinpointed schistosome proteins for which existing drugs may be active. The information generated provides an invaluable resource for the research community to develop much needed new control tools for the treatment and eradication of this important and neglected disease.

  4. Toxicity of a hazardous chemical mixture in the planarian, Dugesia dorotocephala

    SciTech Connect

    Ramsdell, H.S.; Matthews, C.M.

    1995-12-31

    The responses of the planarian, Dugesia dorotocephala to toxic chemical mixtures representative of water contaminants associated with hazardous waste sites have been studied in laboratory experiments. These free-living flatworms are readily maintained under laboratory conditions and are a useful invertebrate model for toxicology studies. Their widespread occurrence also makes them potentially useful for environmental studies. Mature asexual Dugesia dorotocephala were exposed for 14 days to mixtures of seven contaminants frequently detected in water at hazardous waste sites. The complete 1X mixture contained both metals (As, 3.1 ppm; Cr, 0.7 ppm; Pb, 3.7 ppm) and organics (chloroform, 1.5 ppm; benzene, 5.0 ppm; phenol, 3.4 ppm; trichloroethylene, 3.8 ppm). Groups of planaria were treated with the complete mixture at 0.1X, 1X and 10X concentrations. Additional groups were exposed to the metals-only or organics-only submixtures, also at 0.1X, 1X and 10X concentrations. Treatment solutions were renewed daily. Suppression of fissioning was observed in all of the 1X and 10X treatment groups. Significant mortality occurred only in the 10X complete and 1 0X metals-only treatments. It appears that the toxic effects of the complete mixture are primarily associated with the metal components.

  5. Phylogenetic position of phylum Nemertini, inferred from 18S rRNA sequences: molecular data as a test of morphological character homology.

    PubMed

    Turbeville, J M; Field, K G; Raff, R A

    1992-03-01

    Partial 18S rRNA sequence of the nemertine Cerebratulus lacteus was obtained and compared with those of coelomate metazoans and acoelomate platyhelminths to test whether nemertines share a most recent common ancestor with the platyhelminths, as traditionally has been implied, or whether nemertines lie within a protostome coelomate clade, as suggested by more recent morphological analyses. Maximum-parsimony analysis supports the inclusion of the nemertine within a protostome-coelomate clade that falls within a more inclusive coelomate clade. Bootstrap analysis indicates strong support for a monophyletic Coelomata composed of a deuterostome and protostome-coelomate clade. Support for a monophyletic protostome Coelomata is weak. Inference by distance analysis is consistent with that of maximum parsimony. Analysis of down-weighted paired sites by maximum parsimony reveals variation in topology only within the protostome-coelomate clade. The relationships among the protostome coelomates cannot be reliably inferred from the partial sequences, suggesting that coelomate protostomes diversified rapidly. Results with evolutionary parsimony are consistent with the inclusion of the nemertine in a coelomate clade. The molecular inference corroborates recent morphological character analyses that reveal no synapomorphies of nemertines and flatworms but instead suggest that the circulatory system and rhynchocoel of nemertines are homologous to coelomic cavities of protostome coelomates, thus supporting the corresponding hypothesis that nemertines belong within a protostome-coelomate clade. The sequence data provide an independent test of morphological character homology.

  6. The synthesis of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) by cultured, symbiotic dinoflagellates.

    PubMed

    T Banaszak1 A; LaJeunesse; Trench

    2000-06-28

    We tested the hypothesis that there is a relation between phylotypes (phylogenetic types, as determined by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and partial sequence analysis of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (SSUrDNA)) and the synthesis of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) by symbiotic dinoflagellates under the influence of ultraviolet radiation (UV-B/A) and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). We exposed 27 isolates of symbiotic dinoflagellates simultaneously to UV-B/A and PAR, and subsequently determined the MAAs present in cell extracts and in the media. The algae used included 24 isolates of Symbiodinium spp. originating from jellyfishes, sea anemones, zoanthids, scleractinians, octocorals, and bivalves, and three others in the genera Gymnodinium, Gloeodinium and Amphidinium from a jellyfish, an hydrocoral and a flatworm, respectively. In this study, all of the phylotype A Symbiodinium spp. synthesized up to three identified MAAs. None of the 11 cultured phylotypes B and C Symbiodinium spp. synthesized MAAs. The three non-Symbiodinium symbionts also synthesized up to three MAAs. The results support a conclusion that phylotype A Symbiodinium spp. have a high predilection for the synthesis of MAAs, while phylotypes B and C do not. Synthesis of MAAs by symbiotic dinoflagellates in culture does not appear to relate directly to depths or to the UV exposure regimes from which the consortia were collected.

  7. From the roots of parasitology: Hippocrates' first scientific observations in helminthology.

    PubMed

    Trompoukis, Constantinos; German, Vasilios; Falagas, Matthew E

    2007-08-01

    Although knowledge of intestinal parasites predates Hippocrates, the Hippocratic Corpus provides the first scientific observations about the clinical perception and treatment of helminthic diseases. These observations follow the scientific principles of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, who relied on knowledge and observation. This article is based on a systematic study of the Hippocratic texts, and presents observations on diseases caused by intestinal parasites with respect to regularity of appearance, patient age, symptoms, and treatment. Three types of helminths are described: "helmins strongyle" (roundworm), "helmins plateia" (flatworm), and "ascaris" (which corresponds to Enterobius vermicularis). Helminthic diseases primarily appear during childhood, well after teething. The described systemic symptoms include weakness, sickness, discomfort, tiredness, anorexia, and emotional instability; gastrointestinal symptoms include change in bowel movements, vomiting, and colic pain in the epigastrium. We identified several accounts of cases of helminthic diseases in the Hippocratic texts. Of particular interest are the descriptions of a helminth emerging from a fistula in the navel region and the surgical treatment of helminthic diseases, reinforced by being described on a dedicatory inscription at the Asclepion in Epidaurus. We finally encountered the use of powerful purgatives as antihelminthics, which have been widely used, even into the 21st century.

  8. Ivermectin sensitivity is an ancient trait affecting all ecdysozoa but shows phylogenetic clustering among sepsid flies

    PubMed Central

    Puniamoorthy, Nalini; Schäfer, Martin A; Römbke, Jörg; Meier, Rudolf; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U

    2014-01-01

    Avermectins are potent and popular veterinary pharmaceuticals used globally to fight parasites of livestock and humans. By disturbing ion channel transport through the membrane, avermectins are effective against endo- and ectoparasitic round and horsehair worms (Nematoida), insects, or ticks (Arthropoda), but not against Plathelminthes, including flatworms (Trematoda) and tapeworms (Cestoda), or segmented worms (Annelida). Unfortunately, excreted avermectins have strong nontarget effects on beneficial arthropods such as the insect community decomposing livestock dung, ultimately impeding this important ecosystem function to the extent that regulators mandate standardized eco-toxicological tests of dung organisms worldwide. We show that the ancient phylogenetic pattern and qualitative mechanism of avermectin sensitivity is conserved and compatible with most recent phylogenomic hypotheses grouping the Nematoida with the Arthropoda as Ecdysozoa (molting animals). At the species level, we demonstrate phylogenetic clustering in ivermectin sensitivities of 23 species of sepsid dung flies (Diptera: Sepsidae). This clustered 500-fold quantitative variation in sensitivity may indicate recent lineage-specific responses to selection, but more likely reflects pre-existing genetic variation with pleiotropic effects on eco-toxicological responses to pollutants. Regardless, our results question the common practice in eco-toxicology of choosing single test species to infer detrimental effects on entire species communities, which should ideally assess a representative taxonomic sample. PMID:24944568

  9. Antagonistic Self-Organizing Patterning Systems Control Maintenance and Regeneration of the Anteroposterior Axis in Planarians.

    PubMed

    Stückemann, Tom; Cleland, James Patrick; Werner, Steffen; Thi-Kim Vu, Hanh; Bayersdorf, Robert; Liu, Shang-Yun; Friedrich, Benjamin; Jülicher, Frank; Rink, Jochen Christian

    2017-02-06

    Planarian flatworms maintain their body plan in the face of constant internal turnover and can regenerate from arbitrary tissue fragments. Both phenomena require self-maintaining and self-organizing patterning mechanisms, the molecular mechanisms of which remain poorly understood. We show that a morphogenic gradient of canonical Wnt signaling patterns gene expression along the planarian anteroposterior (A/P) axis. Our results demonstrate that gradient formation likely occurs autonomously in the tail and that an autoregulatory module of Wnt-mediated Wnt expression both shapes the gradient at steady state and governs its re-establishment during regeneration. Functional antagonism between the tail Wnt gradient and an unknown head patterning system further determines the spatial proportions of the planarian A/P axis and mediates mutually exclusive molecular fate choices during regeneration. Overall, our results suggest that the planarian A/P axis is patterned by self-organizing patterning systems deployed from either end that are functionally coupled by mutual antagonism.

  10. A Generic and Cell-Type-Specific Wound Response Precedes Regeneration in Planarians.

    PubMed

    Wurtzel, Omri; Cote, Lauren E; Poirier, Amber; Satija, Rahul; Regev, Aviv; Reddien, Peter W

    2015-12-07

    Regeneration starts with injury. Yet how injuries affect gene expression in different cell types and how distinct injuries differ in gene expression remain unclear. We defined the transcriptomes of major cell types of planarians--flatworms that regenerate from nearly any injury--and identified 1,214 tissue-specific markers across 13 cell types. RNA sequencing on 619 single cells revealed that wound-induced genes were expressed either in nearly all cell types or specifically in one of three cell types (stem cells, muscle, or epidermis). Time course experiments following different injuries indicated that a generic wound response is activated with any injury regardless of the regenerative outcome. Only one gene, notum, was differentially expressed early between anterior- and posterior-facing wounds. Injury-specific transcriptional responses emerged 30 hr after injury, involving context-dependent patterning and stem-cell-specialization genes. The regenerative requirement of every injury is different; however, our work demonstrates that all injuries start with a common transcriptional response.

  11. Vertically- and horizontally-transmitted memories - the fading boundaries between regeneration and inheritance in planaria.

    PubMed

    Neuhof, Moran; Levin, Michael; Rechavi, Oded

    2016-09-15

    The Weismann barrier postulates that genetic information passes only from the germline to the soma and not in reverse, thus providing an obstacle to the inheritance of acquired traits. Certain organisms such as planaria - flatworms that can reproduce through asymmetric fission - avoid the limitations of this barrier, thus blurring the distinction between the processes of inheritance and development. In this paper, we re-evaluate canonical ideas about the interaction between developmental, genetic and evolutionary processes through the lens of planaria. Biased distribution of epigenetic effects in asymmetrically produced parts of a regenerating organism could increase variation and therefore affect the species' evolution. The maintenance and fixing of somatic experiences, encoded via stable biochemical or physiological states, may contribute to evolutionary processes in the absence of classically defined generations. We discuss different mechanisms that could induce asymmetry between the two organisms that eventually develop from the regenerating parts, including one particularly fascinating source - the potential capacity of the brain to produce long-lasting epigenetic changes.

  12. Selective amputation of the pharynx identifies a FoxA-dependent regeneration program in planaria.

    PubMed

    Adler, Carolyn E; Seidel, Chris W; McKinney, Sean A; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2014-04-15

    Planarian flatworms regenerate every organ after amputation. Adult pluripotent stem cells drive this ability, but how injury activates and directs stem cells into the appropriate lineages is unclear. Here we describe a single-organ regeneration assay in which ejection of the planarian pharynx is selectively induced by brief exposure of animals to sodium azide. To identify genes required for pharynx regeneration, we performed an RNAi screen of 356 genes upregulated after amputation, using successful feeding as a proxy for regeneration. We found that knockdown of 20 genes caused a wide range of regeneration phenotypes and that RNAi of the forkhead transcription factor FoxA, which is expressed in a subpopulation of stem cells, specifically inhibited regrowth of the pharynx. Selective amputation of the pharynx therefore permits the identification of genes required for organ-specific regeneration and suggests an ancient function for FoxA-dependent transcriptional programs in driving regeneration. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02238.001.

  13. Stem cell systems and regeneration in planaria.

    PubMed

    Rink, Jochen C

    2013-03-01

    Planarians are members of the Platyhelminthes (flatworms). These animals have evolved a remarkable stem cell system. A single pluripotent adult stem cell type ("neoblast") gives rise to the entire range of cell types and organs in the planarian body plan, including a brain, digestive-, excretory-, sensory- and reproductive systems. Neoblasts are abundantly present throughout the mesenchyme and divide continuously. The resulting stream of progenitors and turnover of differentiated cells drive the rapid self-renewal of the entire animal within a matter of weeks. Planarians grow and literally de-grow ("shrink") by the food supply-dependent adjustment of organismal turnover rates, scaling body plan proportions over as much as a 50-fold size range. Their dynamic body architecture further allows astonishing regenerative abilities, including the regeneration of complete and perfectly proportioned animals even from tiny tissue remnants. Planarians as an experimental system, therefore, provide unique opportunities for addressing a spectrum of current problems in stem cell research, including the evolutionary conservation of pluripotency, the dynamic organization of differentiation lineages and the mechanisms underlying organismal stem cell homeostasis. The first part of this review focuses on the molecular biology of neoblasts as pluripotent stem cells. The second part examines the fascinating mechanistic and conceptual challenges posed by a stem cell system that epitomizes a universal design principle of biological systems: the dynamic steady state.

  14. Reactivating head regrowth in a regeneration-deficient planarian species.

    PubMed

    Liu, S-Y; Selck, C; Friedrich, B; Lutz, R; Vila-Farré, M; Dahl, A; Brandl, H; Lakshmanaperumal, N; Henry, I; Rink, J C

    2013-08-01

    Species capable of regenerating lost body parts occur throughout the animal kingdom, yet close relatives are often regeneration incompetent. Why in the face of 'survival of the fittest' some animals regenerate but others do not remains a fascinating question. Planarian flatworms are well known and studied for their ability to regenerate from minute tissue pieces, yet species with limited regeneration abilities have been described even amongst planarians. Here we report the characterization of the regeneration defect in the planarian Dendrocoelum lacteum and its successful rescue. Tissue fragments cut from the posterior half of the body of this species are unable to regenerate a head and ultimately die. We find that this defect originates during the early stages of head specification, which require inhibition of canonical Wnt signalling in other planarian species. Notably, RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown of Dlac-β-catenin-1, the Wnt signal transducer, restored the regeneration of fully functional heads on tail pieces, rescuing D. lacteum's regeneration defect. Our results demonstrate the utility of comparative studies towards the reactivation of regenerative abilities in regeneration-deficient animals. Furthermore, the availability of D. lacteum as a regeneration-impaired planarian model species provides a first step towards elucidating the evolutionary mechanisms that ultimately determine why some animals regenerate and others do not.

  15. Β-catenin-dependent control of positional information along the AP body axis in planarians involves a teashirt family member.

    PubMed

    Reuter, Hanna; März, Martin; Vogg, Matthias C; Eccles, David; Grífol-Boldú, Laura; Wehner, Daniel; Owlarn, Suthira; Adell, Teresa; Weidinger, Gilbert; Bartscherer, Kerstin

    2015-01-13

    Wnt/β-catenin signaling regulates tissue homeostasis and regeneration in metazoans. In planarians-flatworms with high regenerative potential-Wnt ligands are thought to control tissue polarity by shaping a β-catenin activity gradient along the anterior-posterior axis, yet the downstream mechanisms are poorly understood. We performed an RNA sequencing (RNA-seq)-based screen and identified hundreds of β-catenin-dependent transcripts, of which several were expressed in muscle tissue and stem cells in a graded fashion. In particular, a teashirt (tsh) ortholog was induced in a β-catenin-dependent manner during regeneration in planarians and zebrafish, and RNAi resulted in two-headed planarians. Strikingly, intact planarians depleted of tsh induced anterior markers and slowly transformed their tail into a head, reminiscent of β-catenin RNAi phenotypes. Given that β-catenin RNAi enhanced the formation of muscle cells expressing anterior determinants in tail regions, our study suggests that this pathway controls tissue polarity through regulating the identity of differentiating cells during homeostasis and regeneration.

  16. Planarians sense simulated microgravity and hypergravity.

    PubMed

    Adell, Teresa; Saló, Emili; van Loon, Jack J W A; Auletta, Gennaro

    2014-01-01

    Planarians are flatworms, which belong to the phylum Platyhelminthes. They have been a classical subject of study due to their amazing regenerative ability, which relies on the existence of adult totipotent stem cells. Nowadays they are an emerging model system in the field of developmental, regenerative, and stem cell biology. In this study we analyze the effect of a simulated microgravity and a hypergravity environment during the process of planarian regeneration and embryogenesis. We demonstrate that simulated microgravity by means of the random positioning machine (RPM) set at a speed of 60 °/s but not at 10 °/s produces the dead of planarians. Under hypergravity of 3 g and 4 g in a large diameter centrifuge (LDC) planarians can regenerate missing tissues, although a decrease in the proliferation rate is observed. Under 8 g hypergravity small planarian fragments are not able to regenerate. Moreover, we found an effect of gravity alterations in the rate of planarian scission, which is its asexual mode of reproduction. No apparent effects of altered gravity were found during the embryonic development.

  17. Scrunching: a novel escape gait in planarians.

    PubMed

    Cochet-Escartin, Olivier; Mickolajczyk, Keith J; Collins, Eva-Maria S

    2015-09-10

    The ability to escape a predator or other life-threatening situations is central to animal survival. Different species have evolved unique strategies under anatomical and environmental constraints. In this study, we describe a novel musculature-driven escape gait in planarians, 'scrunching', which is quantitatively different from other planarian gaits, such as gliding and peristalsis. We show that scrunching is a conserved gait among different flatworm species, underlying its importance as an escape mechanism. We further demonstrate that it can be induced by a variety of physical stimuli, including amputation, high temperature, electric shock and low pH. We discuss the functional basis for scrunching as the preferential gait when gliding is impaired due to a disruption of mucus production. Finally, we show that the key mechanical features of scrunching are adequately captured by a simple biomechanical model that is solely based on experimental data from traction force microscopy and tissue rheology without fit parameters. Together, our results form a complete description of this novel form of planarian locomotion. Because scrunching has distinct dynamics, this gait can serve as a robust behavioral readout for studies of motor neuron and muscular functions in planarians and in particular the restoration of these functions during regeneration.

  18. Insights into bilaterian evolution from three spiralian genomes

    SciTech Connect

    Simakov, Oleg; Marletaz, Ferdinand; Cho, Sung-Jin; Edsinger-Gonzales, Eric; Havlak, Paul; Hellsten, Uffe; Kuo, Dian-Han; Larsson, Tomas; Lv, Jie; Arendt, Detlev; Savage, Robert; Osoegawa, Kazutoyo; de Jong, Pieter; Grimwood, Jane; Chapman, Jarrod A.; Shapiro, Harris; Otillar, Robert P.; Terry, Astrid Y.; Boore, Jeffrey L.; Grigoriev, Igor V.; Lindberg, David R.; Seaver, Elaine C.; Weisblat, David A.; Putnam, Nicholas H.; Rokhsar, Daniel S.; Aerts, Andrea

    2012-01-07

    Current genomic perspectives on animal diversity neglect two prominent phyla, the molluscs and annelids, that together account for nearly one-third of known marine species and are important both ecologically and as experimental systems in classical embryology1, 2, 3. Here we describe the draft genomes of the owl limpet (Lottia gigantea), a marine polychaete (Capitella teleta) and a freshwater leech (Helobdella robusta), and compare them with other animal genomes to investigate the origin and diversification of bilaterians from a genomic perspective. We find that the genome organization, gene structure and functional content of these species are more similar to those of some invertebrate deuterostome genomes (for example, amphioxus and sea urchin) than those of other protostomes that have been sequenced to date (flies, nematodes and flatworms). The conservation of these genomic features enables us to expand the inventory of genes present in the last common bilaterian ancestor, establish the tripartite diversification of bilaterians using multiple genomic characteristics and identify ancient conserved long- and short-range genetic linkages across metazoans. Superimposed on this broadly conserved pan-bilaterian background we find examples of lineage-specific genome evolution, including varying rates of rearrangement, intron gain and loss, expansions and contractions of gene families, and the evolution of clade-specific genes that produce the unique content of each genome.

  19. Myogenesis in two polyclad platyhelminths with indirect development, Pseudoceros canadensis and Stylostomum sanjuania.

    PubMed

    Semmler, Henrike; Wanninger, Andreas

    2010-01-01

    Myogenesis of two representatives of Platyhelminthes, Stylostomum sanjuania and Pseudoceros canadensis, was followed from egg deposition until well-differentiated free-swimming larval stages, using F-actin staining and confocal laserscanning microscopy. Zonulae adhaerentes are the only structures to stain before 50% of development between egg deposition and hatching in S. sanjuania, and before 67% of development in P. canadenis. Subsequently, irregular fibers appear in the embryo, followed by a helicoid muscle close to the apical pole. Three longitudinal muscle pairs form, of which the dorsal pair remains more pronounced than the others. Gradually, new muscles form by branching or from double-stranded muscle zones adjacent to existing muscles. This results in an elaborate muscular bodywall that consists of a single helicoid muscle as well as multiple circular and longitudinal muscles. Diverse retractor muscles insert at the sphincter muscles around the stomodeum. The overall arrangement and formation mode of the larval musculature appears very similar in both species, although only P. canadensis has a primary circular muscle posterior to the helicoid muscle. Muscle formation in the apical region of the embryo precedes that at the abapical pole and the primary longitudinal muscles form slightly later than the primary circular muscles. Myogenesis and larval myoanatomy appears highly conserved among polyclad flatworms, but differs significantly from that of other trochozoan clades. Our data suggest that the larval muscular ground pattern of polyclad larvae comprises a bodywall consisting of a helicoid muscle, circular and longitudinal muscles, several retractor muscles, and sphincter muscles around the stomodeum.

  20. A comprehensive molecular phylogeny of dalytyphloplanida (platyhelminthes: rhabdocoela) reveals multiple escapes from the marine environment and origins of symbiotic relationships.

    PubMed

    Van Steenkiste, Niels; Tessens, Bart; Willems, Wim; Backeljau, Thierry; Jondelius, Ulf; Artois, Tom

    2013-01-01

    In this study we elaborate the phylogeny of Dalytyphloplanida based on complete 18S rDNA (156 sequences) and partial 28S rDNA (125 sequences), using a Maximum Likelihood and a Bayesian Inference approach, in order to investigate the origin of a limnic or limnoterrestrial and of a symbiotic lifestyle in this large group of rhabditophoran flatworms. The results of our phylogenetic analyses and ancestral state reconstructions indicate that dalytyphloplanids have their origin in the marine environment and that there was one highly successful invasion of the freshwater environment, leading to a large radiation of limnic and limnoterrestrial dalytyphloplanids. This monophyletic freshwater clade, Limnotyphloplanida, comprises the taxa Dalyelliidae, Temnocephalida, and most Typhloplanidae. Temnocephalida can be considered ectosymbiotic Dalyelliidae as they are embedded within this group. Secondary returns to brackish water and marine environments occurred relatively frequently in several dalyeliid and typhloplanid taxa. Our phylogenies also show that, apart from the Limnotyphloplanida, there have been only few independent invasions of the limnic environment, and apparently these were not followed by spectacular speciation events. The distinct phylogenetic positions of the symbiotic taxa also suggest multiple origins of commensal and parasitic life strategies within Dalytyphloplanida. The previously established higher-level dalytyphloplanid clades are confirmed in our topologies, but many of the traditional families are not monophyletic. Alternative hypothesis testing constraining the monophyly of these families in the topologies and using the approximately unbiased test, also statistically rejects their monophyly.

  1. Two new Otoplanid species (Platyhelminthes: Rhabditophora: Proseriata) of the genera Orthoplana Steinböck, 1932 and Postbursoplana Ax, 1956 from the Tuscan coast (Italy).

    PubMed

    Meini, Gianluca

    2015-04-16

    Two new species of marine flatworms, collected on the sandy shores of Tuscany, are described. These species exhibit the morphological characteristics of the subfamilies Otoplaninae and Parotoplaninae ("Turbellaria", Otoplanidae), but clearly differ from other described species. Orthoplana lunae sp. nov., is characterized by a body length of 1.4-1.6 mm, distinctive features of the testes and vitellaries, the male sclerotic apparatus composed of a median stylet (48-49 μm long), and 19 spines (17-44 μm long). Postbursoplana donoraticensis sp. nov., is characterized by a body length of 1.6-1.8 mm, the distribution of testes and vitellaries, the male sclerotic apparatus composed of 10 spines (46-70 μm). This new species has a greater body length relative to other species in this genus. They were collected along the sandy shores at low water mark at Partaccia (Marina di Massa, Ligurian Sea, Italy) and Marina di Donoratico (Livorno, Ligurian Sea, Italy), respectively.

  2. The complete mitochondrial genome of Neobenedenia melleni (Platyhelminthes: Monogenea): mitochondrial gene content, arrangement and composition compared with two Benedenia species.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Juan; Wu, Xiangyun; Li, Yanwei; Zhao, Mengwei; Xie, Mingquan; Li, Anxing

    2014-10-01

    The complete mitochondrial (mt) genome sequences of Neobenedenia melleni were determined and compared with those of Benedenia seriolae and B. hoshinai. This circular genome comprises 13,270 bp and includes all 36 typical mt genes found in flatworms. Total AT content of N. melleni is 75.9 %. ATG is the most common start codon, while nad4L is initiated by GTG. All protein-coding genes are predicted to terminate with TAG and TAA. N. melleni has the trnR with a TCG anticodon, which is the same to B. seriolae but different from B. hoshinai (ACG). The mt gene arrangement of N. melleni is similar to that of B. seriolae and B. hoshinai with the exception of three translocations (trnF, trnT and trnG). The overlapped region between nad4L and nad4 was found in the N. melleni mt genome, which was also reported for the published Gyrodactylus species, but it was not found in those of B. seriolae and B. hoshinai, which are non-coding regions instead. The present study provides useful molecular characters for species or strain identification and systematic studies of this parasite.

  3. Nonuniform processes of chromosome evolution in sedges (Carex: Cyperaceae).

    PubMed

    Hipp, Andrew L

    2007-09-01

    Holocentric chromosomes-chromosomes that lack localized centromeres-occur in numerous unrelated clades of insects, flatworms, and angiosperms. Chromosome number changes in such organisms often result from fission and fusion events rather than polyploidy. In this study, I test the hypothesis that chromosome number evolves according to a uniform process in Carex section Ovales (Cyperaceae), the largest New World section of an angiosperm genus renowned for its chromosomal variability and species richness. I evaluate alternative models of chromosome evolution that allow for shifts in both stochastic and deterministic evolutionary processes and that quantify the rate of evolution and heritability/phylogenetic dependence of chromosome number. Estimates of Ornstein-Uhlenbeck model parameters and tree-scaling parameters in a generalized least squares framework demonstrate that (1) chromosome numbers evolve rapidly toward clade-specific stationary distributions that cannot be explained by constant variance (Brownian motion) evolutionary models, (2) chromosome evolution in the section is rapid and exhibits little phylogenetic inertia, and (3) explaining the phylogenetic pattern of chromosome numbers in the section entails inferring a shift in evolutionary dynamics at the root of a derived clade. The finding that chromosome evolution is not a uniform process in sedges provides a novel example of karyotypic orthoselection in an organism with holocentric chromosomes.

  4. A survey of schistosome protein domain types: insights into unique biological properties

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, Austin L.; Friedman, Robert

    2012-01-01

    Using the PROSITE database and search tools, we conducted a comprehensive bioinformatic analysis of the predicted protein sequences of the flatworm parasites Schistosoma mansoni and S. japonicum and seven other animal genomes in order to identify novel schistosome-specific features. Our analyses revealed a relative paucity of proline-rich domains in schistosomes in comparison with their human host and a corresponding enrichment in schistosomes of asparagine-rich, serine-rich, and threonine-rich domains. Domain types found in both schistosome species but not in human included the two-component system sensor histidine kinase/response regulator; C83 family peptidase; DyP-type peroxidase; and densovirus NS1-type domain. Unique features of the schistosome proteome may help guide development of new drugs, while the presence of a densovirus-derived protein in S. mansoni suggests that this species may be infected by a virus of this group, which might be useful as a biological control agent. PMID:21315771

  5. Gross and microscopic pathology of hard and soft corals in New Caledonia.

    PubMed

    Work, Thierry M; Aeby, Greta S; Lasne, Gregory; Tribollet, Aline

    2014-07-01

    We surveyed the reefs of Grande Terre, New Caledonia, for coral diseases in 2010 and 2013. Lesions encountered in hard and soft corals were systematically described at the gross and microscopic level. We sampled paired and normal tissues from 101 and 65 colonies in 2010 and 2013, respectively, comprising 51 species of corals from 27 genera. Tissue loss was the most common gross lesion sampled (40%) followed by discoloration (28%), growth anomalies (13%), bleaching (10%), and flatworm infestation (1%). When grouped by gross lesions, the diversity of microscopic lesions as measured by Shannon-Wiener index was highest for tissue loss, followed by discoloration, bleaching, and growth anomaly. Our findings document an extension of the range of certain diseases such as Porites trematodiasis and endolithic hypermycosis (dark spots) to the Western Pacific as well as the presence of a putative cnidarian endosymbiont. We also expand the range of species infected by cell-associated microbial aggregates, and confirm the trend that these aggregates predominate in dominant genera of corals in the Indo-Pacific. This study highlights the importance of including histopathology as an integral component of baseline coral disease surveys, because a given gross lesion might be associated with multiple potential causative agents.

  6. The expanding epigenetic landscape of non-model organisms.

    PubMed

    Bonasio, Roberto

    2015-01-01

    Epigenetics studies the emergence of different phenotypes from a single genotype. Although these processes are essential to cellular differentiation and transcriptional memory, they are also widely used in all branches of the tree of life by organisms that require plastic but stable adaptation to their physical and social environment. Because of the inherent flexibility of epigenetic regulation, a variety of biological phenomena can be traced back to evolutionary adaptations of few conserved molecular pathways that converge on chromatin. For these reasons chromatin biology and epigenetic research have a rich history of chasing discoveries in a variety of model organisms, including yeast, flies, plants and humans. Many more fascinating examples of epigenetic plasticity lie outside the realm of model organisms and have so far been only sporadically investigated at a molecular level; however, recent progress on sequencing technology and genome editing tools have begun to blur the lines between model and non-model organisms, opening numerous new avenues for investigation. Here, I review examples of epigenetic phenomena in non-model organisms that have emerged as potential experimental systems, including social insects, fish and flatworms, and are becoming accessible to molecular approaches.

  7. Diversity of Spine Synapses in Animals

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Ya-Xian; Mattson, Mark P.; Yao, Pamela J.

    2016-01-01

    Here we examine the structure of the various types of spine synapses throughout the animal kingdom. Based on available evidence, we suggest that there are two major categories of spine synapses: invaginating and non-invaginating, with distributions that vary among different groups of animals. In the simplest living animals with definitive nerve cells and synapses, the cnidarians and ctenophores, most chemical synapses do not form spine synapses. But some cnidarians have invaginating spine synapses, especially in photoreceptor terminals of motile cnidarians with highly complex visual organs, and also in some mainly sessile cnidarians with rapid prey capture reflexes. This association of invaginating spine synapses with complex sensory inputs is retained in the evolution of higher animals in photoreceptor terminals and some mechanoreceptor synapses. In contrast to invaginating spine synapse, non-invaginating spine synapses have been described only in animals with bilateral symmetry, heads and brains, associated with greater complexity in neural connections. This is apparent already in the simplest bilaterians, the flatworms, which can have well-developed non-invaginating spine synapses in some cases. Non-invaginating spine synapses diversify in higher animal groups. We also discuss the functional advantages of having synapses on spines and more specifically, on invaginating spines. And finally we discuss pathologies associated with spine synapses, concentrating on those systems and diseases where invaginating spine synapses are involved. PMID:27230661

  8. Nervous system and ciliary structures of Micrognathozoa (Gnathifera): evolutionary insight from an early branch in Spiralia

    PubMed Central

    Worsaae, Katrine

    2016-01-01

    Recent studies show that Gnathifera, comprising Rotifera, Gnathostomulida and Micrognathozoa, constitute the sister group to the remaining Spiralia (containing, e.g. flatworms, segmented worms and molluscs). Therefore, a better understanding of Gnathifera is central for unravelling the evolution of the highly diverse Spiralia. Here, we describe the previously unstudied nervous system and ciliary structures of Micrognathozoa, using immunohistochemistry and confocal laser scanning microscopy. The nervous system is simple with a large brain, paired sub-esophageal ganglia, two trunk commissures, two pairs of ventral longitudinal nerves and peripheral nerves. The paired ventro-lateral nerve cords are confirmed to be a symplesiomorphy of Gnathifera (possibly even Spiralia), whereas the paired ventro-median nerves are not previously reported in Gnathifera. A pharyngeal ganglion is described for Micrognathozoa: a complex structure with two apical tufts of ciliary receptors, now shown to be shared by all Gnathifera. The ventral pattern of external ciliophores is re-described, and protonephridia with multi-ciliated collecting tubules similar to those of Rotifera are confirmed. A range of new details from a simple nervous system and complex set of ciliary structures in a microscopic metazoan are hereby unravelled. The many resemblances with Rotifera corroborate their close relationship, and shed more light on the evolution of Gnathifera. PMID:27853545

  9. Storm-event-transport of urban-use pesticides to streams likely impairs invertebrate assemblages.

    PubMed

    Carpenter, Kurt D; Kuivila, Kathryn M; Hladik, Michelle L; Haluska, Tana; Cole, Michael B

    2016-06-01

    Insecticide use in urban areas results in the detection of these compounds in streams following stormwater runoff at concentrations likely to cause toxicity for stream invertebrates. In this 2013 study, stormwater runoff and streambed sediments were analyzed for 91 pesticides dissolved in water and 118 pesticides on sediment. Detections included 33 pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, degradates, and a synergist. Patterns in pesticide occurrence reveal transport of dissolved and sediment-bound pesticides, including pyrethroids, from upland areas through stormwater outfalls to receiving streams. Nearly all streams contained at least one insecticide at levels exceeding an aquatic-life benchmark, most often for bifenthrin and (or) fipronil. Multiple U.S. EPA benchmark or criterion exceedances occurred in 40 % of urban streams sampled. Bed sediment concentrations of bifenthrin were highly correlated (p < 0.001) with benthic invertebrate assemblages. Non-insects and tolerant invertebrates such as amphipods, flatworms, nematodes, and oligochaetes dominated streams with relatively high concentrations of bifenthrin in bed sediments, whereas insects, sensitive invertebrates, and mayflies were much more abundant at sites with no or low bifenthrin concentrations. The abundance of sensitive invertebrates, % EPT, and select mayfly taxa were strongly negatively correlated with organic-carbon normalized bifenthrin concentrations in streambed sediments. Our findings from western Clackamas County, Oregon (USA), expand upon previous research demonstrating the transport of pesticides from urban landscapes and linking impaired benthic invertebrate assemblages in urban streams with exposure to pyrethroid insecticides.

  10. How is a giant sperm ejaculated? Anatomy and function of the sperm pump, or "Zenker organ," in Pseudocandona marchica (Crustacea, Ostracoda, Candonidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamada, Shinnosuke; Matzke-Karasz, Renate

    2012-07-01

    `Giant sperm', in terms of exceptionally long spermatozoa, occur in a variety of taxa in the animal kingdom, predominantly in arthropod groups, but also in flatworms, mollusks, and others. In some freshwater ostracods (Cypridoidea), filamentous sperm cells reach up to ten times the animal's body length; nonetheless, during a single copulation several dozen sperm cells can be transferred to the female's seminal receptacle. This highly effective ejaculation has traditionally been credited to a chitinous-muscular structure within the seminal duct, which has been interpreted as a sperm pump. We investigated this organ, also known as the Zenker organ, of a cypridoid ostracod, Pseudocandona marchica, utilizing light and electron microscope techniques and produced a three-dimensional reconstruction based on serial semi-thin histological sections. This paper shows that numerous muscle fibers surround the central tube of the Zenker organ, running in parallel with the central tube and that a thin cellular layer underlies the muscular layer. A cellular inner tube exists inside the central tube. A chitinous-cellular structure at the entrance of the organ has been recognized as an ejaculatory valve. In male specimens during copulation, we confirmed a small hole derived from the passage of a single spermatozoon through the valve. The new data allowed for proposing a detailed course of operation of the Zenker organ during giant sperm ejaculation.

  11. Development of “-omics” research in Schistosoma spp. and -omics-based new diagnostic tools for schistosomiasis

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Shuqi; Hu, Wei

    2014-01-01

    Schistosomiasis, caused by dioecious flatworms in the genus Schistosoma, is torturing people from many developing countries nowadays and frequently leads to severe morbidity and mortality of the patients. Praziquantel based chemotherapy and morbidity control for this disease adopted currently necessitate viable and efficient diagnostic technologies. Fortunately, those “-omics” researches, which rely on high-throughput experimental technologies to produce massive amounts of informative data, have substantially contributed to the exploitation and innovation of diagnostic tools of schistosomiasis. In its first section, this review provides a concise conclusion on the progresses pertaining to schistosomal “-omics” researches to date, followed by a comprehensive section on the diagnostic methods of schistosomiasis, especially those innovative ones based on the detection of antibodies, antigens, nucleic acids, and metabolites with a focus on those achievements inspired by “-omics” researches. Finally, suggestions about the design of future diagnostic tools of schistosomiasis are proposed, in order to better harness those data produced by “-omics” studies. PMID:25018752

  12. Aging and longevity in the simplest animals and the quest for immortality.

    PubMed

    Petralia, Ronald S; Mattson, Mark P; Yao, Pamela J

    2014-07-01

    Here we review the examples of great longevity and potential immortality in the earliest animal types and contrast and compare these to humans and other higher animals. We start by discussing aging in single-celled organisms such as yeast and ciliates, and the idea of the immortal cell clone. Then we describe how these cell clones could become organized into colonies of different cell types that lead to multicellular animal life. We survey aging and longevity in all of the basal metazoan groups including ctenophores (comb jellies), sponges, placozoans, cnidarians (hydras, jellyfish, corals and sea anemones) and myxozoans. Then we move to the simplest bilaterian animals (with a head, three body cell layers, and bilateral symmetry), the two phyla of flatworms. A key determinant of longevity and immortality in most of these simple animals is the large numbers of pluripotent stem cells that underlie the remarkable abilities of these animals to regenerate and rejuvenate themselves. Finally, we discuss briefly the evolution of the higher bilaterians and how longevity was reduced and immortality lost due to attainment of greater body complexity and cell cycle strategies that protect these complex organisms from developing tumors. We also briefly consider how the evolution of multiple aging-related mechanisms/pathways hinders our ability to understand and modify the aging process in higher organisms.

  13. Methods for rearing Mesostoma ehrenbergii in the laboratory for cell biology experiments, including identification of factors that influence production of different egg types.

    PubMed

    Hoang, Carina; Ferraro-Gideon, Jessica; Gauthier, Kimberley; Forer, Arthur

    2013-10-01

    Mesostoma ehrenbergii spermatocytes are uniquely useful to study various aspects of cell division. Their chromosomes are large in size and few in number, with only three bivalent and four univalent chromosomes. During prometaphase, bipolar bivalents oscillate regularly to and from the poles for 1-2 hours. The univalents remain at the poles but occasionally move from one pole to the other. In addition, a precocious cleavage furrow forms during prometaphase and remains partially constricted until anaphase. Attempts to rear these animals indefinitely in laboratory conditions, however, have been mostly unsuccessful because of their reproductive strategy. M. ehrenbergii are hermaphroditic flatworms that can produce viviparous offspring (termed S eggs) and/or diapausing eggs (termed D eggs) and they follow either one of two reproductive patterns: (1) they first form S eggs and following the delivery of these eggs produce D eggs, or (2) they only produce D eggs. When only D eggs are formed, which is common under laboratory conditions, the stocks die out until the D eggs hatch, which is irregular and creates unpredictable wait times. Consequently, in order to maintain M. ehrenbergii stocks to study their spermatocytes, we examined various factors that might influence egg-type production. Feeding them daily and keeping them at 25°C favours S egg production. Currently, our cultures have reached the 53rd generation. We herein describe our rearing and dissection methods, and some experiments which led to our present rearing methods.

  14. Major acid endopeptidases of the blood-feeding monogenean Eudiplozoon nipponicum (Heteronchoinea: Diplozoidae).

    PubMed

    Jedličková, Lucie; Dvořáková, Hana; Kašný, Martin; Ilgová, Jana; Potěšil, David; Zdráhal, Zbyněk; Mikeš, Libor

    2016-04-01

    In parasitic flatworms, acid endopeptidases are involved in crucial processes, including digestion, invasion, interactions with the host immune system, etc. In haematophagous monogeneans, however, no solid information has been available about the occurrence of these enzymes. Here we aimed to identify major cysteine and aspartic endopeptidase activities in Eudiplozoon nipponicum, an invasive haematophagous parasite of common carp. Employing biochemical, proteomic and molecular tools, we found that cysteine peptidase activities prevailed in soluble protein extracts and excretory/secretory products (ESP) of E. nipponicum; the major part was cathepsin L-like in nature supplemented with cathepsin B-like activity. Significant activity of the aspartic cathepsin D also occurred in soluble protein extracts. The degradation of haemoglobin in the presence of ESP and worm protein extracts was completely inhibited by a combination of cysteine and aspartic peptidase inhibitors, and diminished by particular cathepsin L, B and D inhibitors. Mass spectrometry revealed several tryptic peptides in ESP matching to two translated sequences of cathepsin L genes, which were amplified from cDNA of E. nipponicum and bioinformatically annotated. The dominance of cysteine peptidases of cathepsin L type in E. nipponicum resembles the situation in, e.g. fasciolid trematodes.

  15. Selective amputation of the pharynx identifies a FoxA-dependent regeneration program in planaria

    PubMed Central

    Adler, Carolyn E; Seidel, Chris W; McKinney, Sean A; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro

    2014-01-01

    Planarian flatworms regenerate every organ after amputation. Adult pluripotent stem cells drive this ability, but how injury activates and directs stem cells into the appropriate lineages is unclear. Here we describe a single-organ regeneration assay in which ejection of the planarian pharynx is selectively induced by brief exposure of animals to sodium azide. To identify genes required for pharynx regeneration, we performed an RNAi screen of 356 genes upregulated after amputation, using successful feeding as a proxy for regeneration. We found that knockdown of 20 genes caused a wide range of regeneration phenotypes and that RNAi of the forkhead transcription factor FoxA, which is expressed in a subpopulation of stem cells, specifically inhibited regrowth of the pharynx. Selective amputation of the pharynx therefore permits the identification of genes required for organ-specific regeneration and suggests an ancient function for FoxA-dependent transcriptional programs in driving regeneration. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02238.001 PMID:24737865

  16. Bilaterians of the Precambrian—Cambrian transition and the annelid—arthropod relationship

    PubMed Central

    Valentine, James W.

    1989-01-01

    The Late Proterozoic fossil record contains the remains of animals that may represent a grade of organization not found among living metazoans. These forms were segmented and large enough to require a hemocoel, yet evidently were not capable of forming penetrating burrows, which are essentially absent from contemporaneous sediments containing locally common but chiefly horizontal trace fossils. As has been noted, there is no evidence that Late Proterozoic invertebrates possessed a coelom suited for peristaltic burrowing. Therefore, the annelidan body plan had probably not appeared. It is not implausible, however, that coelomic spaces in the form of ducts or organ sacs were present in Late Proterozoic segmented forms. Uniramians, some of which employ the hemocoel hydrostatically in lobopodal locomotion, may be allied to segmented hemocoelic forms not unlike sprigginids. Coelomic spaces may have been exploited in some protoarthropod lineages to enhance pedal-wave locomotion, but probably there are no eucoelomic forms in arthropodan ancestry. Annelids may represent an early divergent branch of seriated worms, perhaps rather nemertine-like at first, that developed eucoelomic compartments only in Cambrian time. The extinct grade is most likely to have arisen from flatworm-like ancestors. Of all the proposed phylogenies examined, only that of Manton closely anticipates these interpretations of the early metazoan fossil record. Images PMID:16594022

  17. Australian spiny mountain crayfish and their temnocephalan ectosymbionts: an ancient association on the edge of coextinction?

    PubMed

    Hoyal Cuthill, Jennifer F; Sewell, Kim B; Cannon, Lester R G; Charleston, Michael A; Lawler, Susan; Littlewood, D Timothy J; Olson, Peter D; Blair, David

    2016-05-25

    Australian spiny mountain crayfish (Euastacus, Parastacidae) and their ecotosymbiotic temnocephalan flatworms (Temnocephalida, Platyhelminthes) may have co-occurred and interacted through deep time, during a period of major environmental change. Therefore, reconstructing the history of their association is of evolutionary, ecological, and conservation significance. Here, time-calibrated Bayesian phylogenies of Euastacus species and their temnocephalans (Temnohaswellia and Temnosewellia) indicate near-synchronous diversifications from the Cretaceous. Statistically significant cophylogeny correlations between associated clades suggest linked evolutionary histories. However, there is a stronger signal of codivergence and greater host specificity in Temnosewellia, which co-occurs with Euastacus across its range. Phylogeography and analyses of evolutionary distinctiveness (ED) suggest that regional differences in the impact of climate warming and drying had major effects both on crayfish and associated temnocephalans. In particular, Euastacus and Temnosewellia show strong latitudinal gradients in ED and, conversely, in geographical range size, with the most distinctive, northern lineages facing the greatest risk of extinction. Therefore, environmental change has, in some cases, strengthened ecological and evolutionary associations, leaving host-specific temnocephalans vulnerable to coextinction with endangered hosts. Consequently, the extinction of all Euastacus species currently endangered (75%) predicts coextinction of approximately 60% of the studied temnocephalans, with greatest loss of the most evolutionarily distinctive lineages.

  18. Scrunching: a novel escape gait in planarians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cochet-Escartin, Olivier; Mickolajczyk, Keith J.; Collins, Eva-Maria S.

    2015-10-01

    The ability to escape a predator or other life-threatening situations is central to animal survival. Different species have evolved unique strategies under anatomical and environmental constraints. In this study, we describe a novel musculature-driven escape gait in planarians, ‘scrunching’, which is quantitatively different from other planarian gaits, such as gliding and peristalsis. We show that scrunching is a conserved gait among different flatworm species, underlying its importance as an escape mechanism. We further demonstrate that it can be induced by a variety of physical stimuli, including amputation, high temperature, electric shock and low pH. We discuss the functional basis for scrunching as the preferential gait when gliding is impaired due to a disruption of mucus production. Finally, we show that the key mechanical features of scrunching are adequately captured by a simple biomechanical model that is solely based on experimental data from traction force microscopy and tissue rheology without fit parameters. Together, our results form a complete description of this novel form of planarian locomotion. Because scrunching has distinct dynamics, this gait can serve as a robust behavioral readout for studies of motor neuron and muscular functions in planarians and in particular the restoration of these functions during regeneration.

  19. Molluscicidal sesquiterpene lactones from species of the tribe Vernonieae (Compositae).

    PubMed

    Borkosky, Susana; Ponce de León, Susana; Juárez, Gabriela; Sierra, Manuel González; Bardón, Alicia

    2009-04-01

    Schistosomiasis is caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma, and some snails, particularly of the genus Biomphalaria (Planorbidae), are directly implicated in the transmission of the disease. Continuing with our investigations of bioactive plant constituents, we evaluated and report in the present article, the molluscicidal effects of 16 sesquiterpene lactones, as well as the commercial reagents tetrahydrofuran, furfural, and furfuryl alcohol, on an adult population of B. peregrina. The natural sesquiterpene lactones tested are characteristic constituents of species of the tribe Vernonieae, family Asteraceae. Compounds 1-3 and 7 came from a Bolivian collection of Vernonanthura pinguis, compounds 4 and 5 from an Argentine collection of Cyrtocymura cincta var. cincta, 6 was obtained from a Bolivian collection of Eirmocephala megaphylla, 8-14 from an Argentine collection of Centratherum punctatum ssp. punctatum, and compounds 15 and 16 were obtained by chemical derivatization from 5 and 14, respectively. Ten of the sesquiterpene lactones displayed moderate molluscicidal activity (LD50<100 microg/ml). Commercial reagents were inactive.

  20. Spermiogenesis and spermatozoon ultrastructure of Hunterella nodulosa (Cestoda: Caryophyllidea), a monozoic parasite of suckers (Catostomidae) in North America.

    PubMed

    Yoneva, Aneta; Levron, Celine; Oros, Mikulás; Orosová, Martina; Scholz, Tomás

    2012-09-01

    Spermiogenesis and ultrastructure of mature spermatozoon of the caryophyllidean cestode Hunterella nodulosa, a parasite of suckers (Catostomidae), have been studied by transmission electron microscopy. This monozoic tapeworm is unique in its mode of attachment and represents the second North American species studied. The process of spermiogenesis of H. nodulosa follows the general pattern already described in other caryophyllideans. The most characteristic feature is the presence of a slight rotation of the flagellar bud, which seems to be a typical character of spermiogenesis in this cestode group. The mature spermatozoon of H. nodulosa is characterized by the presence of one axoneme of 9 + "1" type of the trepaxonematan flatworms surrounded by a semi-arc of cortical microtubules in its anterior extremity, parallel nucleus and cortical microtubules arranged in a parallel pattern, which corresponds to the Type III pattern of cestode spermatozoa according to Levron et al. (2010). Comparison of the present data with those available for other caryophyllideans did not reveal substantial differences, even though they belong to different families, infect different hosts (catostomid, cyprinid and siluriform fishes) and occur in distant zoogeographical regions. This indicates uniformity of the process of sperm formation and spermatozoon ultrastructure in one of the evolutionarily most ancient groups of tapeworms.

  1. Reduced host-specificity in a parasite infecting non-littoral Lake Tanganyika cichlids evidenced by intraspecific morphological and genetic diversity

    PubMed Central

    Kmentová, Nikol; Gelnar, Milan; Mendlová, Monika; Van Steenberge, Maarten; Koblmüller, Stephan; Vanhove, Maarten P. M.

    2016-01-01

    Lake Tanganyika is well-known for its high species-richness and rapid radiation processes. Its assemblage of cichlid fishes recently gained momentum as a framework to study parasite ecology and evolution. It offers a rare chance to investigate the influence of a deepwater lifestyle in a freshwater fish-parasite system. Our study represents the first investigation of parasite intraspecific genetic structure related to host specificity in the lake. It focused on the monogenean flatworm Cichlidogyrus casuarinus infecting deepwater cichlids belonging to Bathybates and Hemibates. Morphological examination of C. casuarinus had previously suggested a broad host range, while the lake’s other Cichlidogyrus species are usually host specific. However, ongoing speciation or cryptic diversity could not be excluded. To distinguish between these hypotheses, we analysed intraspecific diversity of C. casuarinus. Monogeneans from nearly all representatives of the host genera were examined using morphometrics, geomorphometrics and genetics. We confirmed the low host-specificity of C. casuarinus based on morphology and nuclear DNA. Yet, intraspecific variation of sclerotized structures was observed. Nevertheless, the highly variable mitochondrial DNA indicated recent population expansion, but no ongoing parasite speciation, confirming, for the first time in freshwater, reduced parasite host specificity in the deepwater realm, probably an adaptation to low host availability. PMID:28004766

  2. Complete Sequence of the mitochondrial genome of the tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta: Gene arrangements indicate that platyhelminths are eutrochozoans

    SciTech Connect

    von Nickisch-Rosenegk, Markus; Brown, Wesley M.; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2001-01-01

    Using ''long-PCR'' we have amplified in overlapping fragments the complete mitochondrial genome of the tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta (Platyhelminthes: Cestoda) and determined its 13,900 nucleotide sequence. The gene content is the same as that typically found for animal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) except that atp8 appears to be lacking, a condition found previously for several other animals. Despite the small size of this mtDNA, there are two large non-coding regions, one of which contains 13 repeats of a 31 nucleotide sequence and a potential stem-loop structure of 25 base pairs with an 11-member loop. Large potential secondary structures are identified also for the non-coding regions of two other cestode mtDNAs. Comparison of the mitochondrial gene arrangement of H. diminuta with those previously published supports a phylogenetic position of flatworms as members of the Eutrochozoa, rather than being basal to either a clade of protostomes or a clade of coelomates.

  3. First evidence that drugs of abuse produce behavioral sensitization and cross sensitization in planarians.

    PubMed

    Rawls, Scott M; Patil, Tavni; Yuvasheva, Ekaternia; Raffa, Robert B

    2010-07-01

    Behavioral sensitization in mammals, including humans, is sensitive to factors such as administration route, testing environment, and pharmacokinetic confounds, unrelated to the drugs themselves that are difficult to eliminate. Simpler animals less susceptible to these confounding influences may be advantageous substitutes for studying sensitization. We tested this hypothesis by determining whether planarians display sensitization and cross sensitization to cocaine and glutamate. Planarian hyperactivity was quantified as the number of C-like hyperkinesias during a 1-min drug exposure. Planarians exposed initially to cocaine (or glutamate) on day 1 were challenged with cocaine (or glutamate) after 2 or 6 days of abstinence. Acute cocaine or glutamate produced concentration-related hyperactivity. Cocaine or glutamate challenge after 2 and 6 days of abstinence enhanced the hyperactivity, indicating the substances produced planarian behavioral sensitization. Cross-sensitization experiments showed that cocaine produced greater hyperactivity in planarians earlier exposed to glutamate than in glutamate-naive planarians, and vice versa. Behavioral responses were pharmacologically selective because neither scopolamine nor caffeine produced planarian behavioral sensitization despite causing hyperactivity after initial administration, and acute gamma-aminobutyric acid did not cause hyperactivity. Demonstration of pharmacologically selective behavioral sensitization in planarians suggests that these flatworms represent a sensitive in-vivo model to study cocaine behavioral sensitization and to screen potential abuse-deterrent therapeutics.

  4. Screening in planarians identifies MORN2 as a key component in LC3-associated phagocytosis and resistance to bacterial infection.

    PubMed

    Abnave, Prasad; Mottola, Giovanna; Gimenez, Gregory; Boucherit, Nicolas; Trouplin, Virginie; Torre, Cedric; Conti, Filippo; Ben Amara, Amira; Lepolard, Catherine; Djian, Benjamin; Hamaoui, Daniel; Mettouchi, Amel; Kumar, Atul; Pagnotta, Sophie; Bonatti, Stefano; Lepidi, Hubert; Salvetti, Alessandra; Abi-Rached, Laurent; Lemichez, Emmanuel; Mege, Jean-Louis; Ghigo, Eric

    2014-09-10

    Dugesia japonica planarian flatworms are naturally exposed to various microbes but typically survive this challenge. We show that planarians eliminate bacteria pathogenic to Homo sapiens, Caenorhabditis elegans, and/or Drosophila melanogaster and thus represent a model to identify innate resistance mechanisms. Whole-transcriptome analysis coupled with RNAi screening of worms infected with Staphylococcus aureus or Legionella pneumophila identified 18 resistance genes with nine human orthologs, of which we examined the function of MORN2. Human MORN2 facilitates phagocytosis-mediated restriction of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, L. pneumophila, and S. aureus in macrophages. MORN2 promotes the recruitment of LC3, an autophagy protein also involved in phagocytosis, to M. tuberculosis-containing phagosomes and subsequent maturation to degradative phagolysosomes. MORN2-driven trafficking of M. tuberculosis to single-membrane, LC3-positive compartments requires autophagy-related proteins Atg5 and Beclin-1, but not Ulk-1 and Atg13, highlighting the importance of MORN2 in LC3-associated phagocytosis. These findings underscore the value of studying planarian defenses to identify immune factors.

  5. Planarians Sense Simulated Microgravity and Hypergravity

    PubMed Central

    Adell, Teresa; Saló, Emili; van Loon, Jack J. W. A.

    2014-01-01

    Planarians are flatworms, which belong to the phylum Platyhelminthes. They have been a classical subject of study due to their amazing regenerative ability, which relies on the existence of adult totipotent stem cells. Nowadays they are an emerging model system in the field of developmental, regenerative, and stem cell biology. In this study we analyze the effect of a simulated microgravity and a hypergravity environment during the process of planarian regeneration and embryogenesis. We demonstrate that simulated microgravity by means of the random positioning machine (RPM) set at a speed of 60 °/s but not at 10 °/s produces the dead of planarians. Under hypergravity of 3 g and 4 g in a large diameter centrifuge (LDC) planarians can regenerate missing tissues, although a decrease in the proliferation rate is observed. Under 8 g hypergravity small planarian fragments are not able to regenerate. Moreover, we found an effect of gravity alterations in the rate of planarian scission, which is its asexual mode of reproduction. No apparent effects of altered gravity were found during the embryonic development. PMID:25309918

  6. PlanMine – a mineable resource of planarian biology and biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Brandl, Holger; Moon, HongKee; Vila-Farré, Miquel; Liu, Shang-Yun; Henry, Ian; Rink, Jochen C.

    2016-01-01

    Planarian flatworms are in the midst of a renaissance as a model system for regeneration and stem cells. Besides two well-studied model species, hundreds of species exist worldwide that present a fascinating diversity of regenerative abilities, tissue turnover rates, reproductive strategies and other life history traits. PlanMine (http://planmine.mpi-cbg.de/) aims to accomplish two primary missions: First, to provide an easily accessible platform for sharing, comparing and value-added mining of planarian sequence data. Second, to catalyze the comparative analysis of the phenotypic diversity amongst planarian species. Currently, PlanMine houses transcriptomes independently assembled by our lab and community contributors. Detailed assembly/annotation statistics, a custom-developed BLAST viewer and easy export options enable comparisons at the contig and assembly level. Consistent annotation of all transcriptomes by an automated pipeline, the integration of published gene expression information and inter-relational query tools provide opportunities for mining planarian gene sequences and functions. For inter-species comparisons, we include transcriptomes of, so far, six planarian species, along with images, expert-curated information on their biology and pre-calculated cross-species sequence homologies. PlanMine is based on the popular InterMine system in order to make the rich biology of planarians accessible to the general life sciences research community. PMID:26578570

  7. PIWI homologs mediate Histone H4 mRNA localization to planarian chromatoid bodies

    PubMed Central

    Rouhana, Labib; Weiss, Jennifer A.; King, Ryan S.; Newmark, Phillip A.

    2014-01-01

    The well-known regenerative abilities of planarian flatworms are attributed to a population of adult stem cells called neoblasts that proliferate and differentiate to produce all cell types. A characteristic feature of neoblasts is the presence of large cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein granules named chromatoid bodies, the function of which has remained largely elusive. This study shows that histone mRNAs are a common component of chromatoid bodies. Our experiments also demonstrate that accumulation of histone mRNAs, which is typically restricted to the S phase of eukaryotic cells, is extended during the cell cycle of neoblasts. The planarian PIWI homologs SMEDWI-1 and SMEDWI-3 are required for proper localization of germinal histone H4 (gH4) mRNA to chromatoid bodies. The association between histone mRNA and chromatoid body components extends beyond gH4 mRNA, since transcripts of other core histone genes were also found in these structures. Additionally, piRNAs corresponding to loci of every core histone type have been identified. Altogether, this work provides evidence that links PIWI proteins and chromatoid bodies to histone mRNA regulation in planarian stem cells. The molecular similarities between neoblasts and undifferentiated cells of other organisms raise the possibility that PIWI proteins might also regulate histone mRNAs in stem cells and germ cells of other metazoans. PMID:24903754

  8. Harnessing the Toxocara Genome to Underpin Toxocariasis Research and New Interventions.

    PubMed

    Gasser, Robin B; Korhonen, Pasi K; Zhu, Xing-Quan; Young, Neil D

    2016-01-01

    Parasitic worms, such as flatworms (platyhelminths) and roundworms (nematodes), cause substantial morbidity and mortality in animals and people globally. The ascaridoid nematode Toxocara canis is a zoonotic parasite of socioeconomic significance worldwide. In humans, this worm causes toxocariasis (disease) mainly in underprivileged communities in both the developed and developing worlds. While reasonably well studied from clinical and epidemiological perspectives, little is understood about the molecular biology of T. canis, its relationship with its hosts and the disease that it causes. However, a recent report of the draft genome and transcriptomes of T. canis should underpin many fundamental and applied research areas in the future. The present article gives a background on Toxocara and toxocariasis, a brief account of diagnostic approaches for specific identification and genetic analysis, and gives a perspective on the impact that the genome of T. canis and advanced molecular technologies could have on our understanding of the parasite and the diseases that it causes as well as the design of new and improved approaches for the diagnosis, treatment and control of toxocariasis.

  9. Detection of Rat Lungworm in Intermediate, Definitive, and Paratenic Hosts Obtained from Environmental Sources

    PubMed Central

    Bishop, Henry S; da Silva, Alexandre J

    2013-01-01

    Angiostrongylus cantonensis is the most common parasite causing human eosinophilic meningitis worldwide. The geographical distribution of this disease has changed dramatically in the last few decades. Various methods have been used to detect A. cantonensis in host animals around the world. A survey of mollusks collected on the island of Hawai‘i in 2005 using PCR showed an infection rate of 24–78% depending on the mollusk species. In this study, samples from intermediate, definitive, and paratenic hosts were analyzed to further determine the presence of A. cantonensis in the United States. All samples were from Hawai‘i, except for the apple snails (Pomacea maculata) that were collected in New Orleans, Louisiana. Angiostrongylus cantonensis was detected in the majority of species examined, including the apple snails from New Orleans and flatworms (planarians) from Hawai‘i. Among the mollusks examined, the semi-slug Parmarion martensi had the highest parasite load, with an average larval burden of 445 larvae in 25 mg of tissue, as estimated by real-time PCR. In contrast, slime excreted from these highly infected mollusks contained no or very little A. cantonensis DNA. Analysis of definitive hosts (Rattus spp.) showed discrepancies between morphological and PCR-based identification; 54% of the rats were positive based on morphology, while 100% of tissue samples from these animals were positive by real-time PCR. This indicates that necropsies of rodents could underestimate the infection rates in definitive hosts of A. cantonensis. PMID:23901387

  10. Detection of rat lungworm in intermediate, definitive, and paratenic hosts obtained from environmental sources.

    PubMed

    Qvarnstrom, Yvonne; Bishop, Henry S; da Silva, Alexandre J

    2013-06-01

    Angiostrongylus cantonensis is the most common parasite causing human eosinophilic meningitis worldwide. The geographical distribution of this disease has changed dramatically in the last few decades. Various methods have been used to detect A. cantonensis in host animals around the world. A survey of mollusks collected on the island of Hawa'i in 2005 using PCR showed an infection rate of 24-78% depending on the mollusk species. In this study, samples from intermediate, definitive, and paratenic hosts were analyzed to further determine the presence of A. cantonensis in the United States. All samples were from Hawa'i, except for the apple snails (Pomacea maculata) that were collected in New Orleans, Louisiana. Angiostrongylus cantonensis was detected in the majority of species examined, including the apple snails from New Orleans and flatworms (planarians) from Hawa'i. Among the mollusks examined, the semi-slug Parmarion martensi had the highest parasite load, with an average larval burden of 445 larvae in 25 mg of tissue, as estimated by real-time PCR. In contrast, slime excreted from these highly infected mollusks contained no or very little A. cantonensis DNA. Analysis of definitive hosts (Rattus spp.) showed discrepancies between morphological and PCR-based identification; 54% of the rats were positive based on morphology, while 100% of tissue samples from these animals were positive by real-time PCR. This indicates that necropsies of rodents could underestimate the infection rates in definitive hosts of A. cantonensis.

  11. Phenotypic engineering of sperm-production rate confirms evolutionary predictions of sperm competition theory

    PubMed Central

    Sekii, Kiyono; Vizoso, Dita B.; Kuales, Georg; De Mulder, Katrien; Ladurner, Peter; Schärer, Lukas

    2013-01-01

    Sperm production is a key male reproductive trait and an important parameter in sperm competition theory. Under sperm competition, paternity success is predicted to depend strongly on male allocation to sperm production. Furthermore, because sperm production is inherently costly, individuals should economize in sperm expenditure, and conditional adjustment of the copulation frequency according to their sperm availability may be expected. However, experimental studies showing effects of sperm production on mating behaviour and paternity success have so far been scarce, mainly because sperm production is difficult to manipulate directly in animals. Here, we used phenotypic engineering to manipulate sperm-production rate, by employing dose-dependent RNA interference (RNAi) of a spermatogenesis-specific gene, macbol1, in the free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano. We demonstrate (i) that our novel dose-dependent RNAi approach allows us to induce high variability in sperm-production rate; (ii) that a reduced sperm-production rate is associated with a decreased copulation frequency, suggesting conditional adjustment of mating behaviour; and (iii) that both sperm production and copulation frequency are important determinants of paternity success in a competitive situation, as predicted by sperm competition theory. Our study clearly documents the potential of phenotypic engineering via dose-dependent RNAi to test quantitative predictions of evolutionary theory. PMID:23446521

  12. The evaluation of the activity of medicinal remedies of plant and animal origin on the regeneration of the earthworms’ tail segments

    PubMed Central

    Bybin, Viktor Alexandrovich; Stom, Daevard Iosifovich

    2015-01-01

    Now, in the global community there is enough hard recommendation to replace the vertebrate test animals into simpler organisms at the development, testing, and evaluation of the quality pharmaceuticals. The feature of planarian to regenerate in new individual planarian from a piece, which is only 1/7 of the original animal, allowed to create the alternative methods of testing of drugs, dietary supplements, water quality, influence of electromagnetic fields, and other radiations. The tests on planarian can replace the ones that are held today on mammals. However, the lacks of the bioassays based on the planarian regeneration are the need for complex and expensive video equipment for recording the regrowth of worms’ body, the difficulties of culturing of flatworms and fairly long period of response. These difficulties can be avoided by using another group of the worms of type Annelida. The new individual can be fully recovered only from the front half of the body in many species of earthworms. Thus, the influence of the pharmaceuticals from earthworms, mummy, and Orthilia secunda on the ability of earthworms to regenerate lost tail segments has been investigated. The relations of the activity of preparations tested with doses and the time of the storage have been revealed. The principal possibility of applicability of the test reaction studied as a way to evaluate the effects and quality of remedies based on medicinal plants and earthworms has been shown. PMID:26692755

  13. The use of planarians as in vivo animal model to study laser biomodulation effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Munin, Egberto; Garcia, Neila Maria Rocha; Braz, Allison Gustavo; de Souza, Sandra Cristina; Alves, Leandro Procópio; Salgado, Miguel Angel Castillo; Pilla, Viviane

    2007-02-01

    A variety of effects is attributed to the photo stimulation of tissues, such as improved healing of ulcers, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, stimulation of the proliferation of cells of different origins and stimulation of bone repair. Some investigations that make qualitative evaluations, like wound healing and evaluation of pain and edema, can be conducted in human subjects. However, deeper investigations on the mechanisms of action of the light stimulus and other quantitative works that requires biopsies or destructive analysis has to be carried out in animal models or in cell cultures. In this work, we propose the use of planarians as a model to study laser-tissue interaction. Contrasting with cell cultures and unicellular organisms, planarians are among the simplest organism having tissue layers, central nerve system, digestive and excretory system that might have been platforms for the evolution of the complex and highly organized tissues and organs found in higher organisms. For the present study, 685 nm laser radiation was employed. Planarians were cut transversally, in a plane posterior to the auricles. The body fragments were left to regenerate and the proliferation dynamics of stem cells was studied by using histological analysis. Maximum cell count was obtained for the laser treated group at the 4 th experimental day. At that experimental time, we also had the largest difference between the irradiated and the non-irradiated control group. We concluded that the studied flatworm could be an interesting animal model for in vivo studies of laser-tissue interactions.

  14. Precocious (pre-anaphase) cleavage furrows in Mesostoma spermatocytes.

    PubMed

    Forer, Arthur; Pickett-Heaps, Jeremy

    2010-08-01

    It generally is assumed that cleavage furrows start ingression at anaphase, but this is not always true. Cleavage furrows are initiated during prometaphase in spermatocytes of the flatworm Mesostoma, becoming detectable soon after the spindles achieve bipolarity. The furrows deepen during prometaphase, but ingression soon arrests. After anaphase the pre-existing furrow recommences its ingression and rapidly cleaves the cell. Such "precocious" furrowing also commonly occurs in diatoms and other algae. The position of the "precocious" cleavage furrow changes when there are changes in the distribution of chromosomes. Each of the 4 unipolarly-oriented univalent chromosomes moves to a pole at the start of prometaphase but later in prometaphase may move to the opposite pole. The furrow position adjusts during prometaphase according to the numbers of univalents at the two poles: when there are two univalent chromosomes at each pole the furrow is symmetrical at the spindle equator, but when there are unequal numbers at the poles the furrow shifts 2-3 microm toward the half-spindle with fewer univalents. Nocodazole causes spindle microtubules to disappear. After addition of nocodazole, bivalents become detached from one pole and move toward the other, which causes the furrow to shift 2-3 microm toward the pole with fewer chromosomes. Furrow positioning thus is sensitive to the positioning of chromosomes in the spindle and furrow positions change in the absence of spindle microtubules.

  15. The expanding epigenetic landscape of non-model organisms

    PubMed Central

    Bonasio, Roberto

    2015-01-01

    Epigenetics studies the emergence of different phenotypes from a single genotype. Although these processes are essential to cellular differentiation and transcriptional memory, they are also widely used in all branches of the tree of life by organisms that require plastic but stable adaptation to their physical and social environment. Because of the inherent flexibility of epigenetic regulation, a variety of biological phenomena can be traced back to evolutionary adaptations of few conserved molecular pathways that converge on chromatin. For these reasons chromatin biology and epigenetic research have a rich history of chasing discoveries in a variety of model organisms, including yeast, flies, plants and humans. Many more fascinating examples of epigenetic plasticity lie outside the realm of model organisms and have so far been only sporadically investigated at a molecular level; however, recent progress on sequencing technology and genome editing tools have begun to blur the lines between model and non-model organisms, opening numerous new avenues for investigation. Here, I review examples of epigenetic phenomena in non-model organisms that have emerged as potential experimental systems, including social insects, fish and flatworms, and are becoming accessible to molecular approaches. PMID:25568458

  16. Resource-dependent sex-allocation in a simultaneous hermaphrodite.

    PubMed

    Vizoso, D B; Schärer, L

    2007-05-01

    Most sex allocation theory is based on the relationship between the resource investment into male and female reproduction and the consequent fitness returns (often called fitness-gain curves). Here we investigate the effects of resource availability on the sex allocation of a simultaneously hermaphroditic animal, the free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano. We kept the worms under different resource levels and determined the size of their testes and ovaries over a period of time. At higher resource levels, worms allocated relatively more into the female function, suggesting a saturating male fitness-gain curve for this species. A large part of the observed effect was due to a correlated increase in body size, showing size-dependent sex allocation in M. lignano. However, a significant part of the overall effect was independent of body size, and therefore likely due to the differences in resource availability. Moreover, in accordance with a saturating male fitness-gain curve, the worms developed the male gonads first. As the group size was kept constant, our results contrast with expectations from sex allocation models that deal with local mate competition alone, and with previous experiments that test these models.

  17. Diet assessment of the Atlantic Sea Nettle Chrysaora quinquecirrha in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, using next-generation sequencing.

    PubMed

    Meredith, Robert W; Gaynor, John J; Bologna, Paul A X

    2016-12-01

    Next-generation sequencing (NGS) methodologies have proven useful in deciphering the food items of generalist predators, but have yet to be applied to gelatinous animal gut and tentacle content. NGS can potentially supplement traditional methods of visual identification. Chrysaora quinquecirrha (Atlantic sea nettle) has progressively become more abundant in Mid-Atlantic United States' estuaries including Barnegat Bay (New Jersey), potentially having detrimental effects on both marine organisms and human enterprises. Full characterization of this predator's diet is essential for a comprehensive understanding of its impact on the food web and its management. Here, we tested the efficacy of NGS for prey item determination in the Atlantic sea nettle. We implemented a NGS 'shotgun' approach to randomly sequence DNA fragments isolated from gut lavages and gastric pouch/tentacle picks of eight and 84 sea nettles, respectively. These results were verified by visual identification and co-occurring plankton tows. Over 550 000 contigs were assembled from ~110 million paired-end reads. Of these, 100 contigs were confidently assigned to 23 different taxa, including soft-bodied organisms previously undocumented as prey species, including copepods, fish, ctenophores, anemones, amphipods, barnacles, shrimp, polychaete worms, flukes, flatworms, echinoderms, gastropods, bivalves and hemichordates. Our results not only indicate that a 'shotgun' NGS approach can supplement visual identification methods, but targeted enrichment of a specific amplicon/gene is not a prerequisite for identifying Atlantic sea nettle prey items.

  18. Paralogues of nuclear ribosomal genes conceal phylogenetic signals within the invasive Asian fish tapeworm lineage: evidence from next generation sequencing data.

    PubMed

    Brabec, Jan; Kuchta, Roman; Scholz, Tomáš; Littlewood, D Timothy J

    2016-08-01

    Complete mitochondrial genomes and nuclear rRNA operons of eight geographically distinct isolates of the Asian fish tapeworm Schyzocotyle acheilognathi (syn. Bothriocephalus acheilognathi), representing the parasite's global diversity spanning four continents, were fully characterised using an Illumina sequencing platform. This cestode species represents an extreme example of a highly invasive, globally distributed pathogen of veterinary importance with exceptionally low host specificity unseen elsewhere within the parasitic flatworms. In addition to eight specimens of S. acheilognathi, we fully characterised its closest known relative and the only congeneric species, Schyzocotyle nayarensis, from cyprinids in the Indian subcontinent. Since previous nucleotide sequence data on the Asian fish tapeworm were restricted to a single molecular locus of questionable phylogenetic utility-the nuclear rRNA genes-separating internal transcribed spacers-the mitogenomic data presented here offer a unique opportunity to gain the first detailed insights into both the intraspecific phylogenetic relationships and population genetic structure of the parasite, providing key baseline information for future research in the field. Additionally, we identify a previously unnoticed source of error and demonstrate the limited utility of the nuclear rRNA sequences, including the internal transcribed spacers that has likely misled most of the previous molecular phylogenetic and population genetic estimates on the Asian fish tapeworm.

  19. Mating behavior and the evolution of sperm design

    PubMed Central

    Schärer, Lukas; Littlewood, D. Timothy J.; Waeschenbach, Andrea; Yoshida, Wataru; Vizoso, Dita B.

    2011-01-01

    Sperm are the most diverse of all animal cell types, and much of the diversity in sperm design is thought to reflect adaptations to the highly variable conditions under which sperm function and compete to achieve fertilization. Recent work has shown that these conditions often evolve rapidly as a consequence of multiple mating, suggesting a role for sexual selection and sexual conflict in the evolution of sperm design. However, very little of the striking diversity in sperm design is understood functionally, particularly in internally fertilizing organisms. We use phylogenetic comparative analyses covering 16 species of the hermaphroditic flatworm genus Macrostomum to show that a complex sperm design is associated with reciprocal mating and that this complexity is lost secondarily when hypodermic insemination—sperm injection through the epidermis—evolves. Specifically, the complex sperm design, which includes stiff lateral bristles, is likely a male persistence trait associated with sexual conflicts over the fate of received ejaculates and linked to female resistance traits, namely an intriguing postcopulatory sucking behavior and a thickened epithelium of the sperm-receiving organ. Our results suggest that the interactions between sperm donor, sperm, and sperm recipient can change drastically when hypodermic insemination evolves, involving convergent evolution of a needle-like copulatory organ, a simpler sperm design, and a simpler female genital morphology. Our study documents that a shift in the mating behavior may alter fundamentally the conditions under which sperm compete and thereby lead to a drastic change in sperm design. PMID:21220334

  20. Aging and longevity in the simplest animals and the quest for immortality

    PubMed Central

    Petralia, Ronald S.; Mattson, Mark P.; Yao, Pamela J.

    2014-01-01

    Here we review the examples of great longevity and potential immortality in the earliest animal types and contrast and compare these to humans and other higher animals. We start by discussing aging in single-celled organisms such as yeast and ciliates, and the idea of the immortal cell clone. Then we describe how these cell clones could become organized into colonies of different cell types that lead to multicellular animal life. We survey aging and longevity in all of the basal metazoan groups including ctenophores (comb jellies), sponges, placozoans, cnidarians (hydras, jellyfish, corals and sea anemones) and myxozoans. Then we move to the simplest bilaterian animals (with a head, three body cell layers, and bilateral symmetry), the two phyla of flatworms. A key determinant of longevity and immortality in most of these simple animals is the large numbers of pluripotent stem cells that underlie the remarkable abilities of these animals to regenerate and rejuvenate themselves. Finally, we discuss briefly the evolution of the higher bilaterians and how longevity was reduced and immortality lost due to attainment of greater body complexity and cell cycle strategies that protect these complex organisms from developing tumors. We also briefly consider how the evolution of multiple aging-related mechanisms/pathwayshinders our ability to understand and modify the aging process in higher organisms. PMID:24910306

  1. Gross and microscopic pathology of hard and soft corals in New Caledonia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Work, Thierry M.; Aeby, Greta S.; Lasne, Gregory; Tribollet, Aline

    2014-01-01

    We surveyed the reefs of Grande Terre, New Caledonia, for coral diseases in 2010 and 2013. Lesions encountered in hard and soft corals were systematically described at the gross and microscopic level. We sampled paired and normal tissues from 101 and 65 colonies in 2010 and 2013, respectively, comprising 51 species of corals from 27 genera. Tissue loss was the most common gross lesion sampled (40%) followed by discoloration (28%), growth anomalies (13%), bleaching (10%), and flatworm infestation (1%). When grouped by gross lesions, the diversity of microscopic lesions as measured by Shannon–Wiener index was highest for tissue loss, followed by discoloration, bleaching, and growth anomaly. Our findings document an extension of the range of certain diseases such as Porites trematodiasis and endolithic hypermycosis (dark spots) to the Western Pacific as well as the presence of a putative cnidarian endosymbiont. We also expand the range of species infected by cell-associated microbial aggregates, and confirm the trend that these aggregates predominate in dominant genera of corals in the Indo-Pacific. This study highlights the importance of including histopathology as an integral component of baseline coral disease surveys, because a given gross lesion might be associated with multiple potential causative agents.

  2. An animal model to study human muscular diseases involving mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation.

    PubMed

    Lemieux, Hélène; Warren, Blair E

    2012-08-01

    Mitochondria are producing most of the energy needed for many cellular functions by a process named oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). It is now well recognized that mitochondrial dysfunctions are involved in several pathologies or degenerative processes, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and aging. Animal models are currently used to try to understand the role of mitochondria in human diseases but a major problem is that mitochondria from different species and tissues are variable in terms of regulation. Analysis of mitochondrial function in three species of planarian flatworms (Tricladia, Platyhelminthes) shows that they share a very rare characteristic with human mitochondria: a strong control of oxidative phosphorylation by the phosphorylation system. The ratio of coupled OXPHOS over maximal electron transport capacity after uncoupling (electron transport system; ETS) well below 1.0 indicates that the phosphorylation system is limiting the rate of OXPHOS. The OXPHOS/ETS ratios are 0.62 ± 0.06 in Dugesia tigrina, 0.63 ± 0.05 in D. dorotocephala and 0.62 ± 0.05 in Procotyla fluviatilis, comparable to the value measured in human muscles. To our knowledge, no other animal model displays this peculiarity. This new model offers a venue in which to test the phosphorylation system as a potential therapeutic control point within humans.

  3. Study 8: Prevalence and load of Nanophyetus salmincola infection in outmigrating steelhead trout from five Puget Sound rivers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chen, M.F.; Stewart, B.A.; Senkvik, Kevin; Hershberger, Paul

    2015-01-01

    Nanophyetus salmincola is a parasitic trematode, or flatworm, that infects salmonid fishes in the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, and portions of California. The adult worm lives in the intestine of fish-eating birds and mammals. Eggs shed into the water hatch into miracidia which penetrate the first intermediate host, one of two species of snail Juga plicifera or J. silicula. Asexual reproduction occurs within the snail. Free-swimming cercaria are released from the snail and penetrate the secondary intermediate host, often a salmonid fish, in fresh and brackish water. The cercaria encyst as metacercaria in various organs of the fish, including gills, muscle and heart, but favor the posterior kidney. Penetration and migration by the cercaria through the fish causes damage to nearly every organ system. Once encysted, metacercaria survive the ocean phase of salmonid life cycle. N. salmincola is a likely contributor to mortality of juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) during the early ocean rearing phase, and it is the most prevalent pathogen of outmigrating steelhead in the estuaries of the Pacific Northwest.A field survey was implemented from March-June 2014 to compare the prevalence and parasite load of N. salmincola infections in outmigrating steelhead from five Puget Sound watersheds and to assess changes in infection levels that occurred during the smolt out-migration through each watershed. N. salmincola infection prevalence and parasite loads were determined by counting metacercaria in posterior kidney samples. Tissue samples were collected and examined by standard histological methods.

  4. Reol: R interface to the Encyclopedia of Life.

    PubMed

    Banbury, Barbara L; O'Meara, Brian C

    2014-06-01

    The Encyclopedia of Life is a website that hosts information about life on Earth. Its mission is to increase awareness and understanding of living nature through a freely accessible digital source. Information is publicly available through graphical webpages (browser interface) or through an application programming interface (API). We developed Reol, an open-source package for the R environment, which downloads data from the EOL API, searches for and extracts specific information, and builds tables with quantitative data and/or hierarchical classifications. We provide a detailed description how Reol can be used as a bridge between the R environment and the EOL API to extract quantitative or hierarchical content. It will be particularly useful for researchers who want information about taxonomic groups of interest (for example: how much information is known about flatworm species? What are the taxonomic synonyms for bird species?) or construct a taxonomic tree. Reol is a tool for researchers who wish to download and gather data from EOL or its provider pages. We provide numerous functions within R for downloading, gathering data in different forms, creating taxonomic trees, and plotting data, which work with functions already available through various packages. It joins a growing body of R packages that interact with web-based APIs to streamline data acquisition, thereby easing the analysis of large publicly available datasets.

  5. Expression pattern of Piwi-like genes in adult Myzostoma cirriferum (Annelida).

    PubMed

    Weigert, Anne; Helm, Conrad; Hausen, Harald; Zakrzewski, Anne-C; Bleidorn, Christoph

    2013-09-01

    Piwi-like genes are a subgroup of Argonaute genes which participate as gene regulators by gene silencing. In most bilaterians, such as mouse, human, insects, and zebrafish, their expression is mostly limited to gonadal stem cells. But there are some striking exceptions to this pattern; flatworms and acoels also express Piwi-like genes in somatic stem cells, due to their unique replacement system. Annelid species like Capitella teleta and Platynereis dumerilii express these genes in cells of the posterior growth zone as well as in gonadal stem cells. To investigate the expression pattern of Piwi-like genes in another annelid, we established in situ hybridization for adult Myzostoma cirriferum. Piwi-like gene transcripts recovered in an mRNA-seq library of pooled adult stages of M. cirriferum were expanded using RACE PCR, cloned and sequenced. ML analysis confirmed the identity of both transcripts as part of the Piwi1-like or Piwi2-like subfamily of Argonaute proteins. The results of in situ hybridization studies show that the expression of both Piwi-like genes, Mc-Piwi1 and Mc-Piwi2, is clearly located only in gonadal stem cells, and as such we did not find any evidence for the existence of a posterior growth zone nor expression in somatic stem cells.

  6. Rooting gene trees without outgroups: EP rooting.

    PubMed

    Sinsheimer, Janet S; Little, Roderick J A; Lake, James A

    2012-01-01

    Gene sequences are routinely used to determine the topologies of unrooted phylogenetic trees, but many of the most important questions in evolution require knowing both the topologies and the roots of trees. However, general algorithms for calculating rooted trees from gene and genomic sequences in the absence of gene paralogs are few. Using the principles of evolutionary parsimony (EP) (Lake JA. 1987a. A rate-independent technique for analysis of nucleic acid sequences: evolutionary parsimony. Mol Biol Evol. 4:167-181) and its extensions (Cavender, J. 1989. Mechanized derivation of linear invariants. Mol Biol Evol. 6:301-316; Nguyen T, Speed TP. 1992. A derivation of all linear invariants for a nonbalanced transversion model. J Mol Evol. 35:60-76), we explicitly enumerate all linear invariants that solely contain rooting information and derive algorithms for rooting gene trees directly from gene and genomic sequences. These new EP linear rooting invariants allow one to determine rooted trees, even in the complete absence of outgroups and gene paralogs. EP rooting invariants are explicitly derived for three taxon trees, and rules for their extension to four or more taxa are provided. The method is demonstrated using 18S ribosomal DNA to illustrate how the new animal phylogeny (Aguinaldo AMA et al. 1997. Evidence for a clade of nematodes, arthropods, and other moulting animals. Nature 387:489-493; Lake JA. 1990. Origin of the metazoa. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 87:763-766) may be rooted directly from sequences, even when they are short and paralogs are unavailable. These results are consistent with the current root (Philippe H et al. 2011. Acoelomorph flatworms are deuterostomes related to Xenoturbella. Nature 470:255-260).

  7. Evidence for Novel Pharmacological Sensitivities of Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) Channels in Schistosoma mansoni

    PubMed Central

    Bais, Swarna; Churgin, Matthew A.; Fang-Yen, Christopher; Greenberg, Robert M.

    2015-01-01

    Schistosomiasis, caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma, is a neglected tropical disease affecting hundreds of millions globally. Praziquantel (PZQ), the only drug currently available for treatment and control, is largely ineffective against juvenile worms, and reports of PZQ resistance lend added urgency to the need for development of new therapeutics. Ion channels, which underlie electrical excitability in cells, are validated targets for many current anthelmintics. Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are a large family of non-selective cation channels. TRP channels play key roles in sensory transduction and other critical functions, yet the properties of these channels have remained essentially unexplored in parasitic helminths. TRP channels fall into several (7–8) subfamilies, including TRPA and TRPV. Though schistosomes contain genes predicted to encode representatives of most of the TRP channel subfamilies, they do not appear to have genes for any TRPV channels. Nonetheless, we find that the TRPV1-selective activators capsaicin and resiniferatoxin (RTX) induce dramatic hyperactivity in adult worms; capsaicin also increases motility in schistosomula. SB 366719, a highly-selective TRPV1 antagonist, blocks the capsaicin-induced hyperactivity in adults. Mammalian TRPA1 is not activated by capsaicin, yet knockdown of the single predicted TRPA1-like gene (SmTRPA) in S. mansoni effectively abolishes capsaicin-induced responses in adult worms, suggesting that SmTRPA is required for capsaicin sensitivity in these parasites. Based on these results, we hypothesize that some schistosome TRP channels have novel pharmacological sensitivities that can be targeted to disrupt normal parasite neuromuscular function. These results also have implications for understanding the phylogeny of metazoan TRP channels and may help identify novel targets for new or repurposed therapeutics. PMID:26655809

  8. In silico analysis of the fucosylation-associated genome of the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni: cloning and characterization of the fucosyltransferase multigene family.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Nathan A; Anderson, Tavis K; Yoshino, Timothy P

    2013-01-01

    Fucosylated glycans of the parasitic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni play key roles in its development and immunobiology. In the present study we used a genome-wide homology-based bioinformatics approach to search for genes that contribute to fucosylated glycan expression in S. mansoni, specifically the α2-, α3-, and α6-fucosyltransferases (FucTs), which transfer L-fucose from a GDP-L-fucose donor to an oligosaccharide acceptor. We identified and in silico characterized several novel schistosome FucT homologs, including six α3-FucTs and six α6-FucTs, as well as two protein O-FucTs that catalyze the unrelated transfer of L-fucose to serine and threonine residues of epidermal growth factor- and thrombospondin-type repeats. No α2-FucTs were observed. Primary sequence analyses identified key conserved FucT motifs as well as characteristic transmembrane domains, consistent with their putative roles as fucosyltransferases. Most genes exhibit alternative splicing, with multiple transcript variants generated. A phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that schistosome α3- and α6-FucTs form monophyletic clades within their respective gene families, suggesting multiple gene duplications following the separation of the schistosome lineage from the main evolutionary tree. Quantitative decreases in steady-state transcript levels of some FucTs during early larval development suggest a possible mechanism for differential expression of fucosylated glycans in schistosomes. This study systematically identifies the complete repertoire of FucT homologs in S. mansoni and provides fundamental information regarding their genomic organization, genetic variation, developmental expression, and evolutionary history.

  9. Profiling of proteolytic enzymes in the gut of the tick Ixodes ricinus reveals an evolutionarily conserved network of aspartic and cysteine peptidases

    PubMed Central

    Sojka, Daniel; Franta, Zdeněk; Horn, Martin; Hajdušek, Ondřej; Caffrey, Conor R; Mareš, Michael; Kopáček, Petr

    2008-01-01

    Background Ticks are vectors for a variety of viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases in human and domestic animals. To survive and reproduce ticks feed on host blood, yet our understanding of the intestinal proteolytic machinery used to derive absorbable nutrients from the blood meal is poor. Intestinal digestive processes are limiting factors for pathogen transmission since the tick gut presents the primary site of infection. Moreover, digestive enzymes may find practical application as anti-tick vaccine targets. Results Using the hard tick, Ixodes ricinus, we performed a functional activity scan of the peptidase complement in gut tissue extracts that demonstrated the presence of five types of peptidases of the cysteine and aspartic classes. We followed up with genetic screens of gut-derived cDNA to identify and clone genes encoding the cysteine peptidases cathepsins B, L and C, an asparaginyl endopeptidase (legumain), and the aspartic peptidase, cathepsin D. By RT-PCR, expression of asparaginyl endopeptidase and cathepsins B and D was restricted to gut tissue and to those developmental stages feeding on blood. Conclusion Overall, our results demonstrate the presence of a network of cysteine and aspartic peptidases that conceivably operates to digest host blood proteins in a concerted manner. Significantly, the peptidase components of this digestive network are orthologous to those described in other parasites, including nematodes and flatworms. Accordingly, the present data and those available for other tick species support the notion of an evolutionary conservation of a cysteine/aspartic peptidase system for digestion that includes ticks, but differs from that of insects relying on serine peptidases. PMID:18348719

  10. A second-generation device for automated training and quantitative behavior analyses of molecularly-tractable model organisms.

    PubMed

    Blackiston, Douglas; Shomrat, Tal; Nicolas, Cindy L; Granata, Christopher; Levin, Michael

    2010-12-17

    A deep understanding of cognitive processes requires functional, quantitative analyses of the steps leading from genetics and the development of nervous system structure to behavior. Molecularly-tractable model systems such as Xenopus laevis and planaria offer an unprecedented opportunity to dissect the mechanisms determining the complex structure of the brain and CNS. A standardized platform that facilitated quantitative analysis of behavior would make a significant impact on evolutionary ethology, neuropharmacology, and cognitive science. While some animal tracking systems exist, the available systems do not allow automated training (feedback to individual subjects in real time, which is necessary for operant conditioning assays). The lack of standardization in the field, and the numerous technical challenges that face the development of a versatile system with the necessary capabilities, comprise a significant barrier keeping molecular developmental biology labs from integrating behavior analysis endpoints into their pharmacological and genetic perturbations. Here we report the development of a second-generation system that is a highly flexible, powerful machine vision and environmental control platform. In order to enable multidisciplinary studies aimed at understanding the roles of genes in brain function and behavior, and aid other laboratories that do not have the facilities to undergo complex engineering development, we describe the device and the problems that it overcomes. We also present sample data using frog tadpoles and flatworms to illustrate its use. Having solved significant engineering challenges in its construction, the resulting design is a relatively inexpensive instrument of wide relevance for several fields, and will accelerate interdisciplinary discovery in pharmacology, neurobiology, regenerative medicine, and cognitive science.

  11. Introgressive Hybridization of Schistosoma haematobium Group Species in Senegal: Species Barrier Break Down between Ruminant and Human Schistosomes

    PubMed Central

    Webster, Bonnie L.; Diaw, Oumar T.; Seye, Mohmoudane M.; Webster, Joanne P.; Rollinson, David

    2013-01-01

    Background Schistosomes are dioecious parasitic flatworms, which live in the vasculature of their mammalian definitive hosts. They are the causative agent of schistosomiasis, a disease of considerable medical and veterinary importance in tropical and subtropical regions. Schistosomes undergo a sexual reproductive stage within their mammalian host enabling interactions between different species, which may result in hybridization if the species involved are phylogenetically close. In Senegal, three closely related species in the Schistosoma haematobium group are endemic: S. haematobium, which causes urogenital schistosomiasis in humans, and S. bovis and S. curassoni, which cause intestinal schistosomiasis in cows, sheep and goats. Methodology/Principal Findings Large-scale multi-loci molecular analysis of parasite samples collected from children and domestic livestock across Senegal revealed that interactions and hybridization were taking place between all three species. Evidence of hybridization between S. haematobium/S. curassoni and S. haematobium/S. bovis was commonly found in children from across Senegal, with 88% of the children surveyed in areas of suspected species overlap excreting hybrid miracidia. No S. haematobium worms or hybrids thereof were found in ruminants, although S. bovis and S. curassoni hybrid worms were found in cows. Complementary experimental mixed species infections in laboratory rodents confirmed that males and females of each species readily pair and produce viable hybrid offspring. Conclusions/Significance These data provide indisputable evidence for: the high occurrence of bidirectional hybridization between these Schistosoma species; the first conclusive evidence for the natural hybridisation between S. haematobium and S. curassoni; and demonstrate that the transmission of the different species and their hybrids appears focal. Hybridization between schistosomes has been known to influence the disease epidemiology and enhance phenotypic

  12. Biochemical and Parasitological Studies on the Effect of hUCB-Selected CD34+ Progenitor/Stem Cells in Mice Infected with Schistosoma mansoni

    PubMed Central

    Abou-Zied, Akram M.; Soliman, Rasha H.; Hefila, Shorouk M.; Imam, Samir A.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Objectives: Placenta and blood that remained in the umbilical cord is routinely available as a discarded tissue after deliveries and it is free of any legal, moral, ethical or religious objections, providing a high number of multipotent CD34+ progenitor and stem cells. Using ex vivo isolated CD34+ cells from human umbilical cord blood (hUCB) have emerged as promising candidates to treat various diseases, including exogenous pathogenic infections. We have expanded to build a rational approach to study the effect of CD34+ cells after damaged liver tissues by the devastating human parasitic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni. Methods and Results: Experimental studies were conducted in the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science and Departments of Parasitology and Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, SCU, Egypt. We have studied the impact of ex vivo preparation of CD34+ cells from hUCB on S. mansoni-induced liver fibrosis de novo, and treated for shorter and longer periods in vivo. Ova count, ALT and albumin were measured at specific time interval and histopathological examination of liver was conducted to confirm the biochemical results. The data obtained were statistically analyzed by ANOVA between groups. It was found that the administration of CD34+ cells have modestly reduced liver damage; reduced the S. mansoni infection associated elevation in serum levels of ALT; significantly improved serum levels of albumin and reduced egg granuloma diameter in the livers. Conclusions: We demonstrated that CD34+ cells can markedly ameliorated liver fibrosis in vivo and may be beneficial for therapy to recover organ structure and/or function of S. mansoni-infected mice. PMID:25473447

  13. The role of the immunological background of mice in the genetic variability of Schistosoma mansoni as detected by random amplification of polymorphic DNA.

    PubMed

    Cossa-Moiane, I L; Mendes, T; Ferreira, T M; Mauricio, I; Calado, M; Afonso, A; Belo, S

    2015-11-01

    Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by flatworms of the genus Schistosoma. Among the Schistosoma species known to infect humans, S. mansoni is the most frequent cause of intestinal schistosomiasis in sub-Saharan Africa and South America: the World Health Organization estimates that about 200,000 deaths per year result from schistosomiasis in sub-Saharan Africa alone. The Schistosoma life cycle requires two different hosts: a snail as intermediate host and a mammal as definitive host. People become infected when they come into contact with water contaminated with free-living larvae (e.g. when swimming, fishing, washing). Although S. mansoni has mechanisms for escaping the host immune system, only a minority of infecting larvae develop into adults, suggesting that strain selection occurs at the host level. To test this hypothesis, we compared the Belo Horizonte (BH) strain of S. mansoni recovered from definitive hosts with different immunological backgrounds using random amplification of polymorphic DNA-polymerase chain reaction (RAPD-PCR). Schistosoma mansoni DNA profiles of worms obtained from wild-type (CD1 and C57BL/6J) and mutant (Jα18- / - and TGFβRIIdn) mice were analysed. Four primers produced polymorphic profiles, which can therefore potentially be used as reference biomarkers. All male worms were genetically distinct from females isolated from the same host, with female worms showing more specific fragments than males. Of the four host-derived schistosome populations, female and male adults recovered from TGFβRIIdn mice showed RAPD-PCR profiles that were most similar to each other. Altogether, these data indicate that host immunological backgrounds can influence the genetic diversity of parasite populations.

  14. Polymerase chain reaction for the amplification of the 121-bp repetitive sequence of Schistosoma mansoni: a highly sensitive potential diagnostic tool for areas of low endemicity.

    PubMed

    Ferrer, E; Pérez, F; Bello, I; Bolívar, A; Lares, M; Osorio, A; León, L; Amarista, M; Incani, R N

    2015-11-01

    Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma, whose diagnosis has limitations, such as the low sensitivity and specificity of parasitological and immunological methods, respectively. In the present study an alternative molecular technique requiring previous standardization was carried out using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the amplification of a 121-bp highly repetitive sequence for Schistosoma mansoni. DNA was extracted from eggs of S. mansoni by salting out. Different conditions were standardized for the PCR technique, including the concentration of reagents and the DNA template, annealing temperature and number of cycles, followed by the determination of the analytical sensitivity and specificity of the technique. Furthermore, the standardized PCR technique was employed in DNA extracted, using Chelex®100, from samples of sera of patients with an immunodiagnosis of schistosomiasis. The optimal conditions for the PCR were 2.5 mm MgCl2, 150 mm deoxynucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs), 0.4 μm primers, 0.75 U DNA polymerase, using 35 cycles and an annealing temperature of 63°C. The analytical sensitivity of the PCR was 10 attograms of DNA and the specificity was 100%. The DNA sequence was successfully detected in the sera of two patients, demonstrating schistosomiasis transmission, although low, in the community studied. The standardized PCR technique, using smaller amounts of reagents than in the original protocol, is highly sensitive and specific for the detection of DNA from S. mansoni and could be an important tool for diagnosis in areas of low endemicity.

  15. Endogenous growth factor stimulation of hemocyte proliferation induces resistance to Schistosoma mansoni challenge in the snail host.

    PubMed

    Pila, Emmanuel A; Gordy, Michelle A; Phillips, Valerie K; Kabore, Alethe L; Rudko, Sydney P; Hanington, Patrick C

    2016-05-10

    Digenean trematodes are a large, complex group of parasitic flatworms that infect an incredible diversity of organisms, including humans. Larval development of most digeneans takes place within a snail (Gastropoda). Compatibility between snails and digeneans is often very specific, such that suitable snail hosts define the geographical ranges of diseases caused by these worms. The immune cells (hemocytes) of a snail are sentinels that act as a crucial barrier to infection by larval digeneans. Hemocytes coordinate a robust and specific immunological response, participating directly in parasite killing by encapsulating and clearing the infection. Hemocyte proliferation and differentiation are influenced by unknown digenean-specific exogenous factors. However, we know nothing about the endogenous control of hemocyte development in any gastropod model. Here, we identify and functionally characterize a progranulin [Biomphalaria glabrata granulin (BgGRN)] from the snail B. glabrata, a natural host for the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni Granulins are growth factors that drive proliferation of immune cells in organisms, spanning the animal kingdom. We demonstrate that BgGRN induces proliferation of B. glabrata hemocytes, and specifically drives the production of an adherent hemocyte subset that participates centrally in the anti-digenean defense response. Additionally, we demonstrate that susceptible B. glabrata snails can be made resistant to infection with S. mansoni by first inducing hemocyte proliferation with BgGRN. This marks the functional characterization of an endogenous growth factor of a gastropod mollusc, and provides direct evidence of gain of resistance in a snail-digenean infection model using a defined factor to induce snail resistance to infection.

  16. Evolution and Origin of HRS, a Protein Interacting with Merlin, the Neurofibromatosis 2 Gene Product

    PubMed Central

    Omelyanchuk, Leonid V.; Pertseva, Julia A.; Burns, Sarah S.; Chang, Long-Sheng

    2009-01-01

    Hepatocyte growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase substrate (HRS) is an endosomal protein required for trafficking receptor tyrosine kinases from the early endosome to the lysosome. HRS interacts with Merlin, the Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) gene product, and this interaction may be important for Merlin’s tumor suppressor activity. Understanding the evolution, origin, and structure of HRS may provide new insight into Merlin function. We show that HRS homologs are present across a wide range of Metazoa with the yeast Vps27 protein as their most distant ancestor. The phylogenetic tree of the HRS family coincides with species evolution and divergence, suggesting a unique function for HRS. Sequence alignment shows that various protein domains of HRS, including the VHS domain, the FYVE domain, the UIM domain, and the clathrin-binding domain, are conserved from yeast to multicellular organisms. The evolutionary transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms was accompanied by the appearance of a binding site for Merlin, which emerges in the early Metazoa after its separation from flatworms. In addition to the region responsible for growth suppression, the Merlin-binding and STAM-binding domains of HRS are conserved among multicellular organisms. The residue equivalent to tyrosine-377, which is phosphorylated in the human HRS protein, is highly conserved throughout the HRS family. Three additional conserved boxes lacking assigned functions are found in the HRS proteins of Metazoa. While boxes 1 and 3 may constitute the Eps-15-and Snx1-binding sites, respectively, box 2, containing the residue equivalent to tyrosine-377, is likely to be important for HRS phosphorylation. While several functional domains are conserved throughout the HRS family, the STAM-binding, Merlin-binding, and growth suppression domains evolved in the early Metazoa around the time the Merlin protein emerged. As these domains appear during the transition to multicellularity, their functional

  17. Amino acid transport in schistosomes: Characterization of the permeaseheavy chain SPRM1hc.

    PubMed

    Krautz-Peterson, Greice; Camargo, Simone; Huggel, Katja; Verrey, François; Shoemaker, Charles B; Skelly, Patrick J

    2007-07-27

    Schistosomes are human parasitic flatworms that constitute an important public health problem globally. Adult parasites live in the bloodstream where they import nutrients such as amino acids across their body surface (the tegument). One amino acid transporter, Schistosome Permease 1 light chain, SPRM1lc, a member of the glycoprotein-associated family of transporters (gpaAT), has been characterized in schistosomes. Only a single member of the SLC3 family of glycoproteins that associate with gpaATs is found following extensive searching of the genomes of Schistosoma mansoni and S. japonicum. In this report, we characterize this schistosome permease heavy chain (SPRM1hc) gene and protein. The 72-kDa gene product is predicted to possess a single transmembrane domain, a (betaalpha)(8) (TIM barrel) conformation and a catalytic triad. Xenopus oocytes functionally expressing SPRM1hc with SPRM1lc import phenylalanine, arginine, lysine, alanine, glutamine, histidine, tryptophan, and leucine. Biochemical characterization demonstrates that in Xenopus extracts and in schistosome extracts SPRM1hc is associated into a high molecular weight complex with SPRM1lc that is disrupted by reducing agents. Quantitative real-time PCR and Western analysis demonstrate that SPRM1hc is expressed in each schistosome life stage examined (eggs, cercariae, schistosomula, adult males and females). SPRM1hc is widely distributed throughout adult male and female worms as determined by immunolocalization. Consistent with the hypothesis that SPRM1hc functions to facilitate nutrient uptake from host blood, immunogold electron microscopy confirms that the protein is distributed on the host-interactive tegumental membranes. We propose that surface-exposed, host-interactive, nutrient-transporting proteins like the SPRM1 heterodimer are promising vaccine candidates.

  18. Cell cultures from marine invertebrates: new insights for capturing endless stemness.

    PubMed

    Rinkevich, Baruch

    2011-06-01

    Despite several decades of extensive research efforts, there is yet no single permanent cell line available from marine invertebrates as these cells stop dividing in vitro within 24-72 h after their isolation, starting cellular quiescence. This ubiquitous quiescent state should be modified in a way that at least some of the quiescent cells will become pluripotent, so they will have the ability to divide and become immortal. Following the above need, this essay introduces the rationale that the discipline of marine invertebrates' cell culture should gain from applying of two research routes, relevant to mammalian systems but less explored in the marine arena. The first is the use of adult stem cells (ASC) from marine organisms. Many marine invertebrate taxa maintain large pools of ASC in adulthood. Ample evidence attests that these cells from sponges, cnidarians, flatworms, crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms, and ascidians play important roles in maintenance, regeneration, and asexual cloning, actively proliferating in vivo, resembling the vertebrates' cancer stem cells features. The second route is to target resting somatic cell constituents, manipulating them in the same way as has recently been performed on mammalian induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. While "iPS cells" are the outcome of an experimental manipulation, ASC are natural and rather frequent in a number of marine invertebrates. Above two cell categories reveal that there are more than a few types of seeds (cells) waiting to be sowed in the right soil (in vitro environmental conditions) for acquiring stemness and immortality. This rationale carries the potential to revolutionize the discipline of marine invertebrate cell cultures. When cultured "correctly," ASC and "iPS cells" from marine invertebrates may stay in their primitive stage and proliferate without differentiating into cells lineages, harnessing the stem cell's inherent abilities of self-replication versus differentiated progenies, toward

  19. The phylogenetic position of Acoela as revealed by the complete mitochondrial genome of Symsagittifera roscoffensis

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Acoels are simply organized unsegmented worms, lacking hindgut and anus. Several publications over recent years challenge the long-held view that acoels are early offshoots of the flatworms. Instead a basal position as sister group to all other bilaterian animals was suggested, mainly based on molecular evidence. This led to the view that features of acoels might reflect those of the last common ancestor of Bilateria, and resulted in several evo-devo studies trying to interpret bilaterian evolution using acoels as a proxy model for the "Urbilateria". Results We describe the first complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a member of the Acoela, Symsagittifera roscoffensis. Gene content and circular organization of the mitochondrial genome does not significantly differ from other bilaterian animals. However, gene order shows no similarity to any other mitochondrial genome within the Metazoa. Phylogenetic analyses of concatenated alignments of amino acid sequences from protein coding genes support a position of Acoela and Nemertodermatida as the sister group to all other Bilateria. Our data provided no support for a sister group relationship between Xenoturbellida and Acoela or Acoelomorpha. The phylogenetic position of Xenoturbella bocki as sister group to or part of the deuterostomes was also unstable. Conclusions Our phylogenetic analysis supports the view that acoels and nemertodermatids are the earliest divergent extant lineage of Bilateria. As such they remain a valid source for seeking primitive characters present in the last common ancestor of Bilateria. Gene order of mitochondrial genomes seems to be very variable among Acoela and Nemertodermatida and the groundplan for the metazoan mitochondrial genome remains elusive. More data are needed to interpret mitochondrial genome evolution at the base of Bilateria. PMID:20942955

  20. Phylogenomics of Lophotrochozoa with Consideration of Systematic Error.

    PubMed

    Kocot, Kevin M; Struck, Torsten H; Merkel, Julia; Waits, Damien S; Todt, Christiane; Brannock, Pamela M; Weese, David A; Cannon, Johanna T; Moroz, Leonid L; Lieb, Bernhard; Halanych, Kenneth M

    2017-03-01

    Phylogenomic studies have improved understanding of deep metazoan phylogeny and show promise for resolving incongruences among analyses based on limited numbers of loci. One region of the animal tree that has been especially difficult to resolve, even with phylogenomic approaches, is relationships within Lophotrochozoa (the animal clade that includes molluscs, annelids, and flatworms among others). Lack of resolution in phylogenomic analyses could be due to insufficient phylogenetic signal, limitations in taxon and/or gene sampling, or systematic error. Here, we investigated why lophotrochozoan phylogeny has been such a difficult question to answer by identifying and reducing sources of systematic error. We supplemented existing data with 32 new transcriptomes spanning the diversity of Lophotrochozoa and constructed a new set of Lophotrochozoa-specific core orthologs. Of these, 638 orthologous groups (OGs) passed strict screening for paralogy using a tree-based approach. In order to reduce possible sources of systematic error, we calculated branch-length heterogeneity, evolutionary rate, percent missing data, compositional bias, and saturation for each OG and analyzed increasingly stricter subsets of only the most stringent (best) OGs for these five variables. Principal component analysis of the values for each factor examined for each OG revealed that compositional heterogeneity and average patristic distance contributed most to the variance observed along the first principal component while branch-length heterogeneity and, to a lesser extent, saturation contributed most to the variance observed along the second. Missing data did not strongly contribute to either. Additional sensitivity analyses examined effects of removing taxa with heterogeneous branch lengths, large amounts of missing data, and compositional heterogeneity. Although our analyses do not unambiguously resolve lophotrochozoan phylogeny, we advance the field by reducing the list of viable hypotheses

  1. Exploiting Gene Families for Phylogenomic Analysis of Myzostomid Transcriptome Data

    PubMed Central

    Hartmann, Stefanie; Helm, Conrad; Nickel, Birgit; Meyer, Matthias; Struck, Torsten H.; Tiedemann, Ralph; Selbig, Joachim; Bleidorn, Christoph

    2012-01-01

    Background In trying to understand the evolutionary relationships of organisms, the current flood of sequence data offers great opportunities, but also reveals new challenges with regard to data quality, the selection of data for subsequent analysis, and the automation of steps that were once done manually for single-gene analyses. Even though genome or transcriptome data is available for representatives of most bilaterian phyla, some enigmatic taxa still have an uncertain position in the animal tree of life. This is especially true for myzostomids, a group of symbiotic (or parasitic) protostomes that are either placed with annelids or flatworms. Methodology Based on similarity criteria, Illumina-based transcriptome sequences of one myzostomid were compared to protein sequences of one additional myzostomid and 29 reference metazoa and clustered into gene families. These families were then used to investigate the phylogenetic position of Myzostomida using different approaches: Alignments of 989 sequence families were concatenated, and the resulting superalignment was analyzed under a Maximum Likelihood criterion. We also used all 1,878 gene trees with at least one myzostomid sequence for a supertree approach: the individual gene trees were computed and then reconciled into a species tree using gene tree parsimony. Conclusions Superalignments require strictly orthologous genes, and both the gene selection and the widely varying amount of data available for different taxa in our dataset may cause anomalous placements and low bootstrap support. In contrast, gene tree parsimony is designed to accommodate multilocus gene families and therefore allows a much more comprehensive data set to be analyzed. Results of this supertree approach showed a well-resolved phylogeny, in which myzostomids were part of the annelid radiation, and major bilaterian taxa were found to be monophyletic. PMID:22276131

  2. Invaded Invaders: Infection of Invasive Brown Treesnakes on Guam by an Exotic Larval Cestode with a Life Cycle Comprised of Non-Native Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Klug, Page E.; Reed, Robert N.

    2015-01-01

    Background Multiple host introductions to the same non-native environment have the potential to complete life cycles of parasites incidentally transported with them. Our goal was to identify a recently detected parasitic flatworm in the invasive Brown Treesnake (Boiga irregularis) on the remote Pacific island of Guam. We considered possible factors influencing parasite transmission, and tested for correlations between infection status and potential indicators of host fitness. We used genetic data from the parasite and information about the native ranges of other possible non-native hosts to hypothesize how it arrived on Guam and how its life cycle may be currently supported. Methods We identified the parasite by comparing larval morphology and mtDNA sequences with other Pseudophyllid tapeworms. We assessed probability of infection in individual snakes using logistic regression and examined different factors influencing presence of parasites in hosts. Results We identified the parasite as the pseudophyllid cestode Spirometra erinaceieuropaei, with all sampled worms from multiple snakes sharing a single mtDNA haplotype. Infection appears to be limited to the only freshwater watershed on the island, where infection prevalence was high (77.5%). Larger snakes had a higher probability of being infected, consistent with the chronic nature of such infections. While infection status was positively correlated with body condition, infected snakes tended to have lower intra-peritoneal fat body mass, potentially indicating a negative effect on energy stores. Conclusions We discovered that B. irregularis inhabiting a small area of forested habitat in a freshwater watershed on Guam are often infected by a novel parasite of Asian origin. While further work is needed, this species of Spirometra, itself a non-native species, likely depends on a suite of recently introduced hosts from different parts of the world to complete the life cycle. This baseline study provides little

  3. A Second-Generation Device for Automated Training and Quantitative Behavior Analyses of Molecularly-Tractable Model Organisms

    PubMed Central

    Blackiston, Douglas; Shomrat, Tal; Nicolas, Cindy L.; Granata, Christopher; Levin, Michael

    2010-01-01

    A deep understanding of cognitive processes requires functional, quantitative analyses of the steps leading from genetics and the development of nervous system structure to behavior. Molecularly-tractable model systems such as Xenopus laevis and planaria offer an unprecedented opportunity to dissect the mechanisms determining the complex structure of the brain and CNS. A standardized platform that facilitated quantitative analysis of behavior would make a significant impact on evolutionary ethology, neuropharmacology, and cognitive science. While some animal tracking systems exist, the available systems do not allow automated training (feedback to individual subjects in real time, which is necessary for operant conditioning assays). The lack of standardization in the field, and the numerous technical challenges that face the development of a versatile system with the necessary capabilities, comprise a significant barrier keeping molecular developmental biology labs from integrating behavior analysis endpoints into their pharmacological and genetic perturbations. Here we report the development of a second-generation system that is a highly flexible, powerful machine vision and environmental control platform. In order to enable multidisciplinary studies aimed at understanding the roles of genes in brain function and behavior, and aid other laboratories that do not have the facilities to undergo complex engineering development, we describe the device and the problems that it overcomes. We also present sample data using frog tadpoles and flatworms to illustrate its use. Having solved significant engineering challenges in its construction, the resulting design is a relatively inexpensive instrument of wide relevance for several fields, and will accelerate interdisciplinary discovery in pharmacology, neurobiology, regenerative medicine, and cognitive science. PMID:21179424

  4. Displaced phylogeographic signals from Gyrodactylus arcuatus, a parasite of the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus, suggest freshwater glacial refugia in Europe.

    PubMed

    Lumme, Jaakko; Mäkinen, Hannu; Ermolenko, Alexey V; Gregg, Jacob L; Ziętara, Marek S

    2016-08-01

    We examined the global mitochondrial phylogeography of Gyrodactylus arcuatus, a flatworm ectoparasite of three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus. In accordance with the suggested high divergence rate of 13%/million years, the genetic variation of the parasite was high: haplotype diversity h=0.985 and nucleotide diversity π=0.0161. The differentiation among the parasite populations was substantial (Φst=0.759), with two main allopatric clades (here termed Euro and North) accounting for 54% of the total genetic variation. The diversity center of the Euro clade was in the Baltic Sea, while the North clade was spread across the Barents and White Seas. A single haplotype within the North clade was found in the western and eastern Pacific Ocean. Divergence of main clades was estimated to be circa 200 thousand years ago. Each main clade was further divided into six distinct subclades, estimated to have diverged in isolation since 135 thousand years ago. This second division corresponds approximately to the Eemian interglacial predating the last glacial maximum. A demographic expansion of the subclades is associated with colonisation of northern Europe since the last glacial maximum, circa 15-40 thousand years ago. The parasite phylogeny is most likely explained by sequential isolated bottlenecks and expansions in numerous allopatric refugia. The postglacial intermingling and high variation in the marine parasite populations, separately in the Baltic and Barents Seas, suggest low competition of divergent parasite matrilines, coupled with a large population size and high rate of dispersal of hosts. The genetic contribution of the assumed refugial fish populations maintaining the parasite during the last glacial maximum was not detected among the marine sticklebacks, which perhaps were infected after range expansion.

  5. Hybrid origin of Baltic salmon-specific parasite Gyrodactylus salaris: a model for speciation by host switch for hemiclonal organisms.

    PubMed

    Kuusela, Jussi; Zietara, Marek S; Lumme, J

    2007-12-01

    Host switching explains the high species number of ectoparasitic, viviparous, mainly parthenogenetic but potentially hermaphroditic flatworms of the genus Gyrodactylus. The starlike mitochondrial phylogeny of Gyrodactylus salaris suggested parallel divergence of several clades on grayling (also named as Gyrodactylus thymalli) and an embedded sister clade on Baltic salmon. The hypothesis that the parasite switched from grayling to salmon during the glacial diaspora was tested using a 493-bp nuclear DNA marker ADNAM1. The parasites on salmon in lakes Onega and Ladoga were heterozygous for divergent ADNAM1 alleles WS1 and BS1, found as nearly fixed in grayling parasites in the White Sea and Baltic Sea basins, respectively. In the Baltic salmon-specific mtDNA clade, the WS/BS heterozygosity was maintained in 23 out of the 24 local clones. The permanently heterozygous clade was endemic in the Baltic Sea basin, and it had accumulated variation in mtDNA (31 variable sites on 1600 bp) and in the alleles of the nuclear locus (two point mutations and three nucleotide conversions along 493 bp). Mendelian shuffling of the nuclear alleles between the local clones indicated rare sex within the clade, but the WS/BS heterozygosity was lost in only one salmon hatchery clone, which was heterozygous WS1/WS3. The Baltic salmon-specific G. salaris lineage was monophyletic, descending from a single historical hybridization and consequential host switch, frozen by permanent heterozygosity. A possible time for the hybridization of grayling parasite strains from the White Sea and Baltic Sea basins was during the Eemian interglacial 132 000 years bp. Strains having a separate divergent mtDNA observed on farmed rainbow trout, and on salmon in Russian lake Kuito were suggested to be clones derived from secondary and tertiary recombination events.

  6. MicroRNA loci support conspecificity of Gyrodactylus salaris and Gyrodactylus thymalli (Platyhelminthes: Monogenea).

    PubMed

    Fromm, Bastian; Burow, Susann; Hahn, Christoph; Bachmann, Lutz

    2014-10-01

    The monogenean flatworm Gyrodactylus salaris is a serious threat to wild and farmed Atlantic salmon stocks in Norway. Morphologically, the closely related but harmless Gyrodactylus thymalli on grayling can hardly be distinguished from G. salaris. Until now, molecular approaches could not resolve unambiguously whether G. salaris and G. thymalli represent just one polytypic species, two polytypic species or a complex of more than two species. In the first known genome-wide analysis utilizing 37 conserved microRNA loci, the genetic differentiation of seven populations of G. salaris and G. thymalli was assessed. The concatenated alignment spanned 21,742bp including 62 variable positions. A neighbor-joining cluster analysis did not support any host-based or mitochondrial haplotype-based grouping of strains. We conclude that a two species concept for G. salaris and G. thymalli does not reflect meaningful biological entities. Instead, G. salaris and G. thymalli are just one species comprising several pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains on various primary hosts. Following the International Code for Zoological Nomenclature, G. salaris Malmberg, 1957 is the valid species name with G. thymalli Žitňan, 1960 becoming the junior synonym. Accordingly, the range of G. salaris is significantly increased, given that formerly G. salaris-free countries such as e.g., Great Britain are now within the species' natural range. The synonymization of G. salaris and G. thymalli implies severe challenges to current disease management routines, which assume that G. salaris and G. thymalli are readily distinguishable. Protocols for reliable identification of pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains of G. salaris need to be developed.

  7. Stimulating Neoblast-Like Cell Proliferation in Juvenile Fasciola hepatica Supports Growth and Progression towards the Adult Phenotype In Vitro

    PubMed Central

    Rathinasamy, Vignesh; Toet, Hayley; McCammick, Erin; O’Connor, Anna; Marks, Nikki J.; Mousley, Angela; Brennan, Gerard P.; Halton, David W.; Spithill, Terry W.; Maule, Aaron G.

    2016-01-01

    Fascioliasis (or fasciolosis) is a socioeconomically important parasitic disease caused by liver flukes of the genus Fasciola. Flukicide resistance has exposed the need for new drugs and/or a vaccine for liver fluke control. A rapidly improving ‘molecular toolbox’ for liver fluke encompasses quality genomic/transcriptomic datasets and an RNA interference platform that facilitates functional genomics approaches to drug/vaccine target validation. The exploitation of these resources is undermined by the absence of effective culture/maintenance systems that would support in vitro studies on juvenile fluke development/biology. Here we report markedly improved in vitro maintenance methods for Fasciola hepatica that achieved 65% survival of juvenile fluke after 6 months in standard cell culture medium supplemented with 50% chicken serum. We discovered that this long-term maintenance was dependent upon fluke growth, which was supported by increased proliferation of cells resembling the “neoblast” stem cells described in other flatworms. Growth led to dramatic morphological changes in juveniles, including the development of the digestive tract, reproductive organs and the tegument, towards more adult-like forms. The inhibition of DNA synthesis prevented neoblast-like cell proliferation and inhibited growth/development. Supporting our assertion that we have triggered the development of juveniles towards adult-like fluke, mass spectrometric analyses showed that growing fluke have an excretory/secretory protein profile that is distinct from that of newly-excysted juveniles and more closely resembles that of ex vivo immature and adult fluke. Further, in vitro maintained fluke displayed a transition in their movement from the probing behaviour associated with migrating stage worms to a slower wave-like motility seen in adults. Our ability to stimulate neoblast-like cell proliferation and growth in F. hepatica underpins the first simple platform for their long-term in

  8. Immunization with Fasciola hepatica thioredoxin glutathione reductase failed to confer protection against fasciolosis in cattle.

    PubMed

    Maggioli, Gabriela; Bottini, Gualberto; Basika, Tatiana; Alonzo, Pablo; Salinas, Gustavo; Carmona, Carlos

    2016-07-15

    The liver fluke Fasciola hepatica remains an important agent of food-borne trematode disease producing great economic losses due to its negative effect on productivity of livestock grazing in temperate areas. The prevailing control strategy based on anthelmintic drugs is unsustainable due to widespread resistance hence vaccination appears as an attractive option to pursue. In this study we evaluate the effect of vaccination in calves with a functional recombinant thioredoxin glutathione reductase (rFhTGR) from liver fluke, a critical antioxidant enzyme at the crossroads of the thioredoxin and glutathione metabolism in flatworms. The recombinant enzyme produced in Escherichia coli was tested in two vaccination experiments; in the first trial rFhTGR was administered in combination with Freund́s Incomplete Adjuvant (FIA) in a three-inoculation scheme on weeks 0, 4 and 8; in the second trial rFhTGR was given mixed with Adyuvac 50 or Alum as adjuvants on weeks 0 and 4. In both cases calves were challenged with metacercariae (400 in the first and 500 in the second trial) 2 weeks after the last inoculation. Our results demonstrate that two or three doses of the vaccine induced a non-significant reduction in worm counts of 8.2% (FIA), 3.8% (Adyuvac 50) and 23.0% (Alum) compared to adjuvant controls indicating that rFhTGR failed to induce a protective immunity in challenged calves. All vaccine formulations induced a mixed IgG1/IgG2 response but no booster was observed after challenge. No correlations between antibody titres and worm burdens were found.

  9. JNK controls the onset of mitosis in planarian stem cells and triggers apoptotic cell death required for regeneration and remodeling.

    PubMed

    Almuedo-Castillo, María; Crespo-Yanez, Xenia; Crespo, Xenia; Seebeck, Florian; Bartscherer, Kerstin; Salò, Emili; Adell, Teresa

    2014-06-01

    Regeneration of lost tissues depends on the precise interpretation of molecular signals that control and coordinate the onset of proliferation, cellular differentiation and cell death. However, the nature of those molecular signals and the mechanisms that integrate the cellular responses remain largely unknown. The planarian flatworm is a unique model in which regeneration and tissue renewal can be comprehensively studied in vivo. The presence of a population of adult pluripotent stem cells combined with the ability to decode signaling after wounding enable planarians to regenerate a complete, correctly proportioned animal within a few days after any kind of amputation, and to adapt their size to nutritional changes without compromising functionality. Here, we demonstrate that the stress-activated c-jun-NH2-kinase (JNK) links wound-induced apoptosis to the stem cell response during planarian regeneration. We show that JNK modulates the expression of wound-related genes, triggers apoptosis and attenuates the onset of mitosis in stem cells specifically after tissue loss. Furthermore, in pre-existing body regions, JNK activity is required to establish a positive balance between cell death and stem cell proliferation to enable tissue renewal, remodeling and the maintenance of proportionality. During homeostatic degrowth, JNK RNAi blocks apoptosis, resulting in impaired organ remodeling and rescaling. Our findings indicate that JNK-dependent apoptotic cell death is crucial to coordinate tissue renewal and remodeling required to regenerate and to maintain a correctly proportioned animal. Hence, JNK might act as a hub, translating wound signals into apoptotic cell death, controlled stem cell proliferation and differentiation, all of which are required to coordinate regeneration and tissue renewal.

  10. Identification of planarian homeobox sequences indicates the antiquity of most Hox/homeotic gene subclasses.

    PubMed Central

    Balavoine, G; Telford, M J

    1995-01-01

    The homeotic gene complex (HOM-C) is a cluster of genes involved in the anteroposterior axial patterning of animal embryos. It is composed of homeobox genes belonging to the Hox/HOM superclass. Originally discovered in Drosophila, Hox/HOM genes have been identified in organisms as distantly related as arthropods, vertebrates, nematodes, and cnidarians. Data obtained in parallel from the organization of the complex, the domains of gene expression during embryogenesis, and phylogenetic relationships allow the subdivision of the Hox/HOM superclass into five classes (lab, pb/Hox3, Dfd, Antp, and Abd-B) that appeared early during metazoan evolution. We describe a search for homologues of these genes in platyhelminths, triploblast metazoans emerging as an outgroup to the great coelomate ensemble. A degenerate PCR screening for Hox/HOM homeoboxes in three species of triclad planarians has revealed 10 types of Antennapedia-like genes. The homeobox-containing sequences of these PCR fragments allowed the amplification of the homeobox-coding exons for five of these genes in the species Polycelis nigra. A phylogenetic analysis shows that two genes are clear orthologues of Drosophila labial, four others are members of a Dfd/Antp superclass, and a seventh gene, although more difficult to classify with certainty, may be related to the pb/Hox3 class. Together with previously identified Hox/HOM genes in other flatworms, our analyses demonstrate the existence of an elaborate family of Hox/HOM genes in the ancestor of all triploblast animals. Images Fig. 4 PMID:7638172

  11. The chimerical and multifaceted marine acoel Symsagittifera roscoffensis: from photosymbiosis to brain regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Bailly, Xavier; Laguerre, Laurent; Correc, Gaëlle; Dupont, Sam; Kurth, Thomas; Pfannkuchen, Anja; Entzeroth, Rolf; Probert, Ian; Vinogradov, Serge; Lechauve, Christophe; Garet-Delmas, Marie-José; Reichert, Heinrich; Hartenstein, Volker

    2014-01-01

    A remarkable example of biological engineering is the capability of some marine animals to take advantage of photosynthesis by hosting symbiotic algae. This capacity, referred to as photosymbiosis, is based on structural and functional complexes that involve two distantly unrelated organisms. These stable photosymbiotic associations between metazoans and photosynthetic protists play fundamental roles in marine ecology as exemplified by reef communities and their vulnerability to global changes threats. Here we introduce a photosymbiotic tidal acoel flatworm, Symsagittifera roscoffensis, and its obligatory green algal photosymbiont, Tetraselmis convolutae (Lack of the algal partner invariably results in acoel lethality emphasizing the mandatory nature of the photosymbiotic algae for the animal's survival). Together they form a composite photosymbiotic unit, which can be reared in controlled conditions that provide easy access to key life-cycle events ranging from early embryogenesis through the induction of photosymbiosis in aposymbiotic juveniles to the emergence of a functional “solar-powered” mature stage. Since it is possible to grow both algae and host under precisely controlled culture conditions, it is now possible to design a range of new experimental protocols that address the mechanisms and evolution of photosymbiosis. S. roscoffensis thus represents an emerging model system with experimental advantages that complement those of other photosymbiotic species, in particular corals. The basal taxonomic position of S. roscoffensis (and acoels in general) also makes it a relevant model for evolutionary studies of development, stem cell biology and regeneration. Finally, it's autotrophic lifestyle and lack of calcification make S. roscoffensis a favorable system to study the role of symbiosis in the response of marine organisms to climate change (e.g., ocean warming and acidification). In this article we summarize the state of knowledge of the biology of S

  12. Patterns of coral disease across the Hawaiian Archipelago: Relating disease to environment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Aeby, G.S.; Williams, G.J.; Franklin, E.C.; Kenyon, J.; Cox, E.F.; Coles, S.; Work, T.M.

    2011-01-01

    In Hawaii, coral reefs occur across a gradient of biological (host abundance), climatic (sea surface temperature anomalies) and anthropogenic conditions from the human-impacted reefs of the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) to the pristine reefs of the northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). Coral disease surveys were conducted at 142 sites from across the Archipelago and disease patterns examined. Twelve diseases were recorded from three coral genera (Porites, Montipora, Acropora) with Porites having the highest prevalence. Porites growth anomalies (PorGAs) were significantly more prevalent within and indicative of reefs in the MHI and Porites trematodiasis (PorTrm) was significantly more prevalent within and indicative of reefs in the NWHI. Porites tissue loss syndrome (PorTLS) was also important in driving regional differences but that relationship was less clear. These results highlight the importance of understanding disease ecology when interpreting patterns of disease occurrence. PorTrm is caused by a parasitic flatworm that utilizes multiple hosts during its life cycle (fish, mollusk and coral). All three hosts must be present for the disease to occur and higher host abundance leads to higher disease prevalence. Thus, a high prevalence of PorTrm on Hawaiian reefs would be an indicator of a healthy coral reef ecosystem. In contrast, the high occurrence of PorGAs within the MHI suggests that PorGAs are related, directly or indirectly, to some environmental co-factor associated with increased human population sizes. Focusing on the three indicator diseases (PorGAs, PorTrm, PorTLS) we used statistical modeling to examine the underlying associations between disease prevalence and 14 different predictor variables (biotic and abiotic). All three diseases showed positive associations with host abundance and negative associations with thermal stress. The association with human population density differed among disease states with PorGAs showing a positive and PorTrm showing

  13. Seasonal variation in chaetognath and parasite species assemblages along the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Lozano-Cobo, Horacio; Prado-Rosas, María Del Carmen Gómez Del; Sánchez-Velasco, Laura; Gómez-Gutiérrez, Jaime

    2017-03-30

    Chaetognaths are abundant carnivores with broad distributions that are intermediate hosts of trophically transmitted parasites. Monthly variations in chaetognath and parasite species distributions, abundance, prevalence, and intensity related to seasonal environmental changes were recorded in 2004 and 2005 in Laguna Nichupté, a coral reef, and the adjoining continental shelf of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Of 12 chaetognath species plus Sagitta spp., only 5 (Ferosagitta hispida, Flaccisagitta enflata, Sagitta spp., Serratosagitta serratodentata, and Pterosagitta draco) were parasitized. These species were parasitized with 33 types of flatworms and unidentified cysts (likely protozoan ciliates), having an overall mean prevalence of 6%. Digenean metacercaria larvae numerically dominated the parasite assemblages. Cluster analysis defined 2 chaetognath species assemblages. One included 7 species inside Laguna Nichupté, where F. hispida was numerically dominant (98.9%); the other contained 13 chaetognath species in the continental shelf-coral reef region, where F. enflata was abundant (53%). Canonical correspondence analysis showed that Laguna Nichupté had highly variable and hostile conditions (relatively low salinity and high temperature) for chaetognath species except for F. hispida. The higher density of F. hispida promoted greater parasite diversity (23 types), dominated by Brachyphallus sp. metacercariae. F. enflata prevailed in the continental shelf-coral reef area, which had stable high salinity and relatively low temperature. Monilicaecum and unidentified digenean 'type g' infected 5 chaetognath species on the continental shelf. Distinct primary hosts (mollusks and copepods) and contrasting environmental conditions (salinity, dissolved oxygen concentration, and temperature) between Laguna Nichupté and the continental shelf promoted distinct chaetognath species assemblages, resulting in distinct parasite diversity and prevalence patterns.

  14. Somatic stem cells express Piwi and Vasa genes in an adult ctenophore: ancient association of "germline genes" with stemness.

    PubMed

    Alié, Alexandre; Leclère, Lucas; Jager, Muriel; Dayraud, Cyrielle; Chang, Patrick; Le Guyader, Hervé; Quéinnec, Eric; Manuel, Michaël

    2011-02-01

    Stem cells are essential for animal development and adult tissue homeostasis, and the quest for an ancestral gene fingerprint of stemness is a major challenge for evolutionary developmental biology. Recent studies have indicated that a series of genes, including the transposon silencer Piwi and the translational activator Vasa, specifically involved in germline determination and maintenance in classical bilaterian models (e.g., vertebrates, fly, nematode), are more generally expressed in adult multipotent stem cells in other animals like flatworms and hydras. Since the progeny of these multipotent stem cells includes both somatic and germinal derivatives, it remains unclear whether Vasa, Piwi, and associated genes like Bruno and PL10 were ancestrally linked to stemness, or to germinal potential. We have investigated the expression of Vasa, two Piwi paralogues, Bruno and PL10 in Pleurobrachia pileus, a member of the early-diverging phylum Ctenophora, the probable sister group of cnidarians. These genes were all expressed in the male and female germlines, and with the exception of one of the Piwi paralogues, they showed similar expression patterns within somatic territories (tentacle root, comb rows, aboral sensory complex). Cytological observations and EdU DNA-labelling and long-term retention experiments revealed concentrations of stem cells closely matching these gene expression areas. These stem cell pools are spatially restricted, and each specialised in the production of particular types of somatic cells. These data unveil important aspects of cell renewal within the ctenophore body and suggest that Piwi, Vasa, Bruno, and PL10 belong to a gene network ancestrally acting in two distinct contexts: (i) the germline and (ii) stem cells, whatever the nature of their progeny.

  15. Convergent origins and rapid evolution of spliced leader trans-splicing in metazoa: insights from the ctenophora and hydrozoa.

    PubMed

    Derelle, Romain; Momose, Tsuyoshi; Manuel, Michael; Da Silva, Corinne; Wincker, Patrick; Houliston, Evelyn

    2010-04-01

    Replacement of mRNA 5' UTR sequences by short sequences trans-spliced from specialized, noncoding, spliced leader (SL) RNAs is an enigmatic phenomenon, occurring in a set of distantly related animal groups including urochordates, nematodes, flatworms, and hydra, as well as in Euglenozoa and dinoflagellates. Whether SL trans-splicing has a common evolutionary origin and biological function among different organisms remains unclear. We have undertaken a systematic identification of SL exons in cDNA sequence data sets from non-bilaterian metazoan species and their closest unicellular relatives. SL exons were identified in ctenophores and in hydrozoan cnidarians, but not in other cnidarians, placozoans, or sponges, or in animal unicellular relatives. Mapping of SL absence/presence obtained from this and previous studies onto current phylogenetic trees favors an evolutionary scenario involving multiple origins for SLs during eumetazoan evolution rather than loss from a common ancestor. In both ctenophore and hydrozoan species, multiple SL sequences were identified, showing high sequence diversity. Detailed analysis of a large data set generated for the hydrozoan Clytia hemisphaerica revealed trans-splicing of given mRNAs by multiple alternative SLs. No evidence was found for a common identity of trans-spliced mRNAs between different hydrozoans. One feature found specifically to characterize SL-spliced mRNAs in hydrozoans, however, was a marked adenosine enrichment immediately 3' of the SL acceptor splice site. Our findings of high sequence divergence and apparently indiscriminate use of SLs in hydrozoans, along with recent findings in other taxa, indicate that SL genes have evolved rapidly in parallel in diverse animal groups, with constraint on SL exon sequence evolution being apparently rare.

  16. Life history and propagation of the endangered dromedary pearlymussel (Dromus dromas) (Bivalvia:Unionidae)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jones, J.W.; Neves, R.J.; Ahlstedt, S.A.; Mair, R.A.

    2004-01-01

    The reproduction, demography, and propagation of the endangered dromedary pearlymussel (Dromus dromas) (Lea, 1834) were studied in the Clinch and Powell rivers, Tennessee. Viable populations of the dromedary pearlymussel now occur only in the Clinch and Powell rivers; the species has been extirpated from the remaining portions of its range in the Cumberland and Tennessee river drainages. Females are long-term winter brooders, and they are gravid from October to June. Glochidia are contained in conglutinates that are red to white and resemble freshwater leeches or flatworms. Conglutinates are 20 to 40 mm long and are released through the excurrent aperture. Estimates of fecundity based on 7 gravid females collected from the Clinch River were 55,110 to 253,050 glochidia/mussel. The ages of 66 valves of D. dromas were determined by thin-sectioning and ranged from 3 to 25 y. Annual growth averaged 5 mm/y until age 10 and decreased to ???1.2 mm/ y thereafter. Nineteen fish species were tested for suitability as hosts for glochidia. Ten were confirmed as hosts through induced infestations of glochidia: black sculpin (Cottus baileyi), greenside darter (Etheostoma blennioides), fantail darter (Etheostoma flabellare), snubnose darter (Etheostoma simoterum), tangerine darter (Percina aurantiaca), blotchside logperch (Percina burtoni), logperch (Percina caprodes), channel darter (Percina copelandi), gilt darter (Percina evides), and Roanoke darter (Percina roanoka). Juveniles produced from these hosts were cultured in dishes held in nonrecirculating aquaculture systems containing fine sediment (<105 ??m) and were fed the green alga Nannochloropsis oculata every 2 d. Survival of 2810 newly metamorphosed juveniles was 836 (29.7%) after 1 to 2 wk.

  17. Modeling Planarian Regeneration: A Primer for Reverse-Engineering the Worm

    PubMed Central

    Lobo, Daniel; Beane, Wendy S.; Levin, Michael

    2012-01-01

    A mechanistic understanding of robust self-assembly and repair capabilities of complex systems would have enormous implications for basic evolutionary developmental biology as well as for transformative applications in regenerative biomedicine and the engineering of highly fault-tolerant cybernetic systems. Molecular biologists are working to identify the pathways underlying the remarkable regenerative abilities of model species that perfectly regenerate limbs, brains, and other complex body parts. However, a profound disconnect remains between the deluge of high-resolution genetic and protein data on pathways required for regeneration, and the desired spatial, algorithmic models that show how self-monitoring and growth control arise from the synthesis of cellular activities. This barrier to progress in the understanding of morphogenetic controls may be breached by powerful techniques from the computational sciences—using non-traditional modeling approaches to reverse-engineer systems such as planaria: flatworms with a complex bodyplan and nervous system that are able to regenerate any body part after traumatic injury. Currently, the involvement of experts from outside of molecular genetics is hampered by the specialist literature of molecular developmental biology: impactful collaborations across such different fields require that review literature be available that presents the key functional capabilities of important biological model systems while abstracting away from the often irrelevant and confusing details of specific genes and proteins. To facilitate modeling efforts by computer scientists, physicists, engineers, and mathematicians, we present a different kind of review of planarian regeneration. Focusing on the main patterning properties of this system, we review what is known about the signal exchanges that occur during regenerative repair in planaria and the cellular mechanisms that are thought to underlie them. By establishing an engineering

  18. SMG-1 and mTORC1 act antagonistically to regulate response to injury and growth in planarians.

    PubMed

    González-Estévez, Cristina; Felix, Daniel A; Smith, Matthew D; Paps, Jordi; Morley, Simon J; James, Victoria; Sharp, Tyson V; Aboobaker, A Aziz

    2012-01-01

    Planarian flatworms are able to both regenerate their whole bodies and continuously adapt their size to nutrient status. Tight control of stem cell proliferation and differentiation during these processes is the key feature of planarian biology. Here we show that the planarian homolog of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase-related kinase (PIKK) family member SMG-1 and mTOR complex 1 components are required for this tight control. Loss of smg-1 results in a hyper-responsiveness to injury and growth and the formation of regenerative blastemas that remain undifferentiated and that lead to lethal ectopic outgrowths. Invasive stem cell hyper-proliferation, hyperplasia, hypertrophy, and differentiation defects are hallmarks of this uncontrolled growth. These data imply a previously unappreciated and novel physiological function for this PIKK family member. In contrast we found that planarian members of the mTOR complex 1, tor and raptor, are required for the initial response to injury and blastema formation. Double smg-1 RNAi experiments with tor or raptor show that abnormal growth requires mTOR signalling. We also found that the macrolide rapamycin, a natural compound inhibitor of mTORC1, is able to increase the survival rate of smg-1 RNAi animals by decreasing cell proliferation. Our findings support a model where Smg-1 acts as a novel regulator of both the response to injury and growth control mechanisms. Our data suggest the possibility that this may be by suppressing mTOR signalling. Characterisation of both the planarian mTORC1 signalling components and another PIKK family member as key regulators of regeneration and growth will influence future work on regeneration, growth control, and the development of anti-cancer therapies that target mTOR signalling.

  19. The Retinoblastoma pathway regulates stem cell proliferation in freshwater planarians.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Shu Jun; Pearson, Bret J

    2013-01-15

    Freshwater planarians are flatworms of the Lophotrochozoan superphylum and are well known for their regenerative abilities, which rely on a large population of pluripotent adult stem cells. However, the mechanisms by which planarians maintain a precise population of adult stem cells while balancing proliferation and cell death, remain to be elucidated. Here we have identified, characterized, and functionally tested the core Retinoblastoma (Rb) pathway components in planarian adult stem cell biology. The Rb pathway is an ancient and conserved mechanism of proliferation control from plants to animals and is composed of three core components: an Rb protein, and a transcription factor heterodimer of E2F and DP proteins. Although the planarian genome contains all components of the Rb pathway, we found that they have undergone gene loss from the ancestral state, similar to other species in their phylum. The single Rb homolog (Smed-Rb) was highly expressed in planarian stem cells and was required for stem cell maintenance, similar to the Rb-homologs p107 and p130 in vertebrates. We show that planarians and their phylum have undergone the most severe reduction in E2F genes observed thus far, and the single remaining E2F was predicted to be a repressive-type E2F (Smed-E2F4-1). Knockdown of either Smed-E2F4-1 or its dimerization partner Dp (Smed-Dp) by RNAi resulted in temporary hyper-proliferation. Finally, we showed that known Rb-interacting genes in other systems, histone deacetylase 1 and cyclinD (Smed-HDAC1; Smed-cycD), were similar to Rb in expression and phenotypes when knocked down by RNAi, suggesting that these established interactions with Rb may also be conserved in planarians. Together, these results showed that planarians use the conserved components of the Rb tumor suppressor pathway to control proliferation and cell survival.

  20. The first multi-gene phylogeny of the Macrostomorpha sheds light on the evolution of sexual and asexual reproduction in basal Platyhelminthes.

    PubMed

    Janssen, Toon; Vizoso, Dita B; Schulte, Gregor; Littlewood, D Timothy J; Waeschenbach, Andrea; Schärer, Lukas

    2015-11-01

    The Macrostomorpha-an early branching and species-rich clade of free-living flatworms-is attracting interest because it contains Macrostomum lignano, a versatile model organism increasingly used in evolutionary, developmental, and molecular biology. We elucidate the macrostomorphan molecular phylogeny inferred from both nuclear (18S and 28S rDNA) and mitochondrial (16S rDNA and COI) marker genes from 40 representatives. Although our phylogeny does not recover the Macrostomorpha as a statistically supported monophyletic grouping, it (i) confirms many taxa previously proposed based on morphological evidence, (ii) permits the first placement of many families and genera, and (iii) reveals a number of unexpected placements. Specifically, Myozona and Bradynectes are outside the three classic families (Macrostomidae, Microstomidae and Dolichomacrostomidae) and the asexually fissioning Myomacrostomum belongs to a new subfamily, the Myozonariinae nov. subfam. (Dolichomacrostomidae), rather than diverging early. While this represents the first evidence for asexuality among the Dolichomacrostomidae, we show that fissioning also occurs in another Myozonariinae, Myozonaria fissipara nov. sp. Together with the placement of the (also fissioning) Microstomidae, namely as the sister taxon of Dolichomacrostomidae, this suggests that fissioning is not basal within the Macrostomorpha, but rather restricted to the new taxon Dolichomicrostomida (Dolichomacrostomidae+Microstomidae). Furthermore, our phylogeny allows new insights into the evolution of the reproductive system, as ancestral state reconstructions reveal convergent evolution of gonads, and male and female genitalia. Finally, the convergent evolution of sperm storage organs in the female genitalia appears to be linked to the widespread occurrence of hypodermic insemination among the Macrostomorpha.

  1. Private Selective Sweeps Identified from Next-Generation Pool-Sequencing Reveal Convergent Pathways under Selection in Two Inbred Schistosoma mansoni Strains

    PubMed Central

    Clément, Julie A. J.; Toulza, Eve; Gautier, Mathieu; Parrinello, Hugues; Roquis, David; Boissier, Jérôme; Rognon, Anne; Moné, Hélène; Mouahid, Gabriel; Buard, Jérôme; Mitta, Guillaume; Grunau, Christoph

    2013-01-01

    Background The trematode flatworms of the genus Schistosoma, the causative agents of schistosomiasis, are among the most prevalent parasites in humans, affecting more than 200 million people worldwide. In this study, we focused on two well-characterized strains of S. mansoni, to explore signatures of selection. Both strains are highly inbred and exhibit differences in life history traits, in particular in their compatibility with the intermediate host Biomphalaria glabrata. Methodology/Principal Findings We performed high throughput sequencing of DNA from pools of individuals of each strain using Illumina technology and identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and copy number variations (CNV). In total, 708,898 SNPs were identified and roughly 2,000 CNVs. The SNPs revealed low nucleotide diversity (π = 2×10−4) within each strain and a high differentiation level (Fst = 0.73) between them. Based on a recently developed in-silico approach, we further detected 12 and 19 private (i.e. specific non-overlapping) selective sweeps among the 121 and 151 sweeps found in total for each strain. Conclusions/Significance Functional annotation of transcripts lying in the private selective sweeps revealed specific selection for functions related to parasitic interaction (e.g. cell-cell adhesion or redox reactions). Despite high differentiation between strains, we identified evolutionary convergence of genes related to proteolysis, known as a key virulence factor and a potential target of drug and vaccine development. Our data show that pool-sequencing can be used for the detection of selective sweeps in parasite populations and enables one to identify biological functions under selection. PMID:24349597

  2. Chemical and Genetic Validation of the Statin Drug Target to Treat the Helminth Disease, Schistosomiasis

    PubMed Central

    Rojo-Arreola, Liliana; Long, Thavy; Asarnow, Dan; Suzuki, Brian M.; Singh, Rahul; Caffrey, Conor R.

    2014-01-01

    The mevalonate pathway is essential in eukaryotes and responsible for a diversity of fundamental synthetic activities. 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGR) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the pathway and is targeted by the ubiquitous statin drugs to treat hypercholesterolemia. Independent reports have indicated the cidal effects of statins against the flatworm parasite, S. mansoni, and the possibility that SmHMGR is a useful drug target to develop new statin-based anti-schistosome therapies. For six commercially available statins, we demonstrate concentration- and time-dependent killing of immature (somule) and adult S. mansoni in vitro at sub-micromolar and micromolar concentrations, respectively. Cidal activity trends with statin lipophilicity whereby simvastatin and pravastatin are the most and least active, respectively. Worm death is preventable by excess mevalonate, the product of HMGR. Statin activity against somules was quantified both manually and automatically using a new, machine learning-based automated algorithm with congruent results. In addition, to chemical targeting, RNA interference (RNAi) of HMGR also kills somules in vitro and, again, lethality is blocked by excess mevalonate. Further, RNAi of HMGR of somules in vitro subsequently limits parasite survival in a mouse model of infection by up to 80%. Parasite death, either via statins or specific RNAi of HMGR, is associated with activation of apoptotic caspase activity. Together, our genetic and chemical data confirm that S. mansoni HMGR is an essential gene and the relevant target of statin drugs. We discuss our findings in context of a potential drug development program and the desired product profile for a new schistosomiasis drug. PMID:24489942

  3. SMG-1 and mTORC1 Act Antagonistically to Regulate Response to Injury and Growth in Planarians

    PubMed Central

    González-Estévez, Cristina; Felix, Daniel A.; Smith, Matthew D.; Paps, Jordi; Morley, Simon J.; James, Victoria; Sharp, Tyson V.; Aboobaker, A. Aziz

    2012-01-01

    Planarian flatworms are able to both regenerate their whole bodies and continuously adapt their size to nutrient status. Tight control of stem cell proliferation and differentiation during these processes is the key feature of planarian biology. Here we show that the planarian homolog of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase-related kinase (PIKK) family member SMG-1 and mTOR complex 1 components are required for this tight control. Loss of smg-1 results in a hyper-responsiveness to injury and growth and the formation of regenerative blastemas that remain undifferentiated and that lead to lethal ectopic outgrowths. Invasive stem cell hyper-proliferation, hyperplasia, hypertrophy, and differentiation defects are hallmarks of this uncontrolled growth. These data imply a previously unappreciated and novel physiological function for this PIKK family member. In contrast we found that planarian members of the mTOR complex 1, tor and raptor, are required for the initial response to injury and blastema formation. Double smg-1 RNAi experiments with tor or raptor show that abnormal growth requires mTOR signalling. We also found that the macrolide rapamycin, a natural compound inhibitor of mTORC1, is able to increase the survival rate of smg-1 RNAi animals by decreasing cell proliferation. Our findings support a model where Smg-1 acts as a novel regulator of both the response to injury and growth control mechanisms. Our data suggest the possibility that this may be by suppressing mTOR signalling. Characterisation of both the planarian mTORC1 signalling components and another PIKK family member as key regulators of regeneration and growth will influence future work on regeneration, growth control, and the development of anti-cancer therapies that target mTOR signalling. PMID:22479207

  4. Development of a Halotolerant Community in the St. Lucia Estuary (South Africa) during a Hypersaline Phase

    PubMed Central

    Carrasco, Nicola K.; Perissinotto, Renzo

    2012-01-01

    Background The St. Lucia Estuary, Africa's largest estuarine lake, is currently experiencing unprecedented freshwater deprivation which has resulted in a northward gradient of drought effects, with hypersaline conditions in its northern lakes. Methodology/Principal Findings This study documents the changes that occurred in the biotic communities at False Bay from May 2010 to June 2011, in order to better understand ecosystem functioning in hypersaline habitats. Few zooplankton taxa were able to withstand the harsh environmental conditions during 2010. These were the flatworm Macrostomum sp., the harpacticoid copepod Cletocamptus confluens, the cyclopoid copepod Apocyclops cf. dengizicus and the ciliate Fabrea cf. salina. In addition to their exceptional salinity tolerance, they were involved in a remarkably simple food web. In June 2009, a bloom of an orange-pigmented cyanobacterium (Cyanothece sp.) was recorded in False Bay and persisted uninterruptedly for 18 months. Stable isotope analysis suggests that this cyanobacterium was the main prey item of F. cf. salina. This ciliate was then consumed by A. cf. dengizicus, which in turn was presumably consumed by flamingos as they flocked in the area when the copepods attained swarming densities. On the shore, cyanobacteria mats contributed to a population explosion of the staphylinid beetle Bledius pilicollis. Although zooplankton disappeared once salinities exceeded 130, many taxa are capable of producing spores or resting cysts to bridge harsh periods. The hypersaline community was disrupted by heavy summer rains in 2011, which alleviated drought conditions and resulted in a sharp increase in zooplankton stock and diversity. Conclusions/Significance Despite the current freshwater deprivation crisis, the False Bay region has shown to be resilient, harboring a unique biodiversity with species that are capable of enduring harsh environmental conditions. However, further freshwater deprivation may extend beyond the

  5. Investment choices in post-embryonic development: quantifying interactions among growth, regeneration, and asexual reproduction in the annelid Pristina leidyi.

    PubMed

    Zattara, Eduardo E; Bely, Alexandra E

    2013-12-01

    Animals capable of multiple forms of post-embryonic development, such as growth, regeneration, and asexual reproduction, must make choices about which processes to invest in. What strategies guide post-embryonic resource allocation investments? We investigated this question in the annelid Pristina leidyi, which can grow continuously, regenerates well, and reproduces asexually by fission. We found that in this species growth is concentrated in three zones: a subterminal posterior zone (forming new segments), a mid-body zone (forming fission zones), and a previously undescribed subterminal anterior zone at the base of the prostomium (which we suggest continually builds the prostomium through a "conveyor-belt" like process). Body-wide counts of proliferating cells are greater under high food than low food conditions but proliferation patterns themselves are independent of feeding level. Proliferation patterns are strongly affected by amputation, however, with proliferation rapidly shutting-down throughout the body, except at the wound site, following injury. Relative investment to fission and regeneration is highly context-dependent, being sensitive to the position of the cut and the stage of fission. Outcomes range from fission acceleration and regeneration stalling (high fission:regeneration investment) to resorption of fission zones and progression of regeneration (low fission:regeneration investment). Our findings reveal strong interactions between growth, regeneration, and fission and demonstrate a particularly important effect of injury on resource allocation patterns. Patterns of resource investment in P. leidyi show similarities to those described in two other groups that evolved fission independently (naidine annelids and catenulid flatworms), suggesting that similar developmental and physiological contexts may drive convergent evolution of resource allocation strategies.

  6. Development in vitro of the neuromusculature of two strigeid trematodes, Apatemon cobitidis proterorhini and Cotylurus erraticus.

    PubMed

    Stewart, Michael T; Mousley, Angela; Koubková, Bozena; Sebelová, Sárka; Marks, Nikki J; Halton, David W

    2003-04-01

    Confocal microscopy interfaced with cytochemical procedures has been used to monitor development of the major muscle systems and associated serotoninergic (5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine) and peptidergic (FaRP, FMRFamide-related peptide) innervation of the strigeid trematodes, Apatemon cobitidis proterorhini and Cotylurus erraticus during cultivation in vitro. Sexually undifferentiated metacercariae were successfully grown to ovigerous adults using tissue culture medium NCTC 135, chicken serum and egg albumen. Eggs were produced after 5 days in culture but had abnormal shells and failed to embryonate. 5-HT and FaRP (the flatworm FaRP, GYIRFamide) were localised immunocytochemically in both central and peripheral nervous systems of developing worms. During cultivation, the central serotoninergic and FaRPergic neuronal pathways of the forebody became more extensive, but retained the same basic orthogonal arrangement as found in the excysted metacercaria. Longitudinal extensor and flexor muscles of the hindbody provide support for the developing reproductive complex. The male reproductive tracts were established in advance (day 3) of those of the female system (day 4); completion of the latter was marked by the appearance of the ootype/egg chamber. The inner longitudinal muscle fibres of the female tract appeared prior to the outer and more densely arranged circular muscles. Circular fibres dominate the muscle complement of both alimentary and reproductive tracts. 5-HT- and GYIRFamide-immunoreactivities were demonstrable in the central nervous system (CNS) and subtegumental parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) throughout the culture period, but innervation of the developing reproductive structures was reactive just for 5-HT. Only at the onset of egg production was FaRP-IR observed in the reproductive system and was expressed only in the innervation of the ootype, a finding consistent with the view that FaRPs may regulate egg assembly in platyhelminths.

  7. Septins of Platyhelminths: identification, phylogeny, expression and localization among developmental stages of Schistosoma mansoni.

    PubMed

    Zeraik, Ana E; Rinaldi, Gabriel; Mann, Victoria H; Popratiloff, Anastas; Araujo, Ana P U; Demarco, Ricardo; Brindley, Paul J

    2013-01-01

    Septins are a family of eukaryotic GTP binding proteins conserved from yeasts to humans. Originally identified in mutants of budding yeast, septins participate in diverse cellular functions including cytokinesis, organization of actin networks, cell polarity, vesicle trafficking and many others. Septins assemble into heteroligomers to form filaments and rings. Here, four septins of Schistosoma mansoni are described, which appear to be conserved within the phylum Platyhelminthes. These orthologues were related to the SEPT5, SEPT10 and SEPT7 septins of humans, and hence we have termed the schistosome septins SmSEPT5, SmSEPT10, SmSEPT7.1 and SmSEPT7.2. Septin transcripts were detected throughout the developmental cycle of the schistosome and a similar expression profile was observed for septins in the stages examined, consistent with concerted production of these proteins to form heterocomplexes. Immunolocalization analyses undertaken with antibodies specific for SmSEPT5 and SmSEPT10 revealed a broad tissue distribution of septins in the schistosomulum and colocalization of septin and actin in the longitudinal and circular muscles of the sporocyst. Ciliated epidermal plates of the miracidium were rich in septins. Expression levels for these septins were elevated in germ cells in the miracidium and sporocyst. Intriguingly, septins colocalize with the protonephridial system of the cercaria, which extends laterally along the length of this larval stage. Together, the findings revealed that schistosomes expressed several septins which likely form filaments within the cells, as in other eukaryotes. Identification and localization demonstrating a broad distribution of septins across organs and tissues of schistosome contributes towards the understanding of septins in schistosomes and other flatworms.

  8. Platyzoan paraphyly based on phylogenomic data supports a noncoelomate ancestry of spiralia.

    PubMed

    Struck, Torsten H; Wey-Fabrizius, Alexandra R; Golombek, Anja; Hering, Lars; Weigert, Anne; Bleidorn, Christoph; Klebow, Sabrina; Iakovenko, Nataliia; Hausdorf, Bernhard; Petersen, Malte; Kück, Patrick; Herlyn, Holger; Hankeln, Thomas

    2014-07-01

    Based on molecular data three major clades have been recognized within Bilateria: Deuterostomia, Ecdysozoa, and Spiralia. Within Spiralia, small-sized and simply organized animals such as flatworms, gastrotrichs, and gnathostomulids have recently been grouped together as Platyzoa. However, the representation of putative platyzoans was low in the respective molecular phylogenetic studies, in terms of both, taxon number and sequence data. Furthermore, increased substitution rates in platyzoan taxa raised the possibility that monophyletic Platyzoa represents an artifact due to long-branch attraction. In order to overcome such problems, we employed a phylogenomic approach, thereby substantially increasing 1) the number of sampled species within Platyzoa and 2) species-specific sequence coverage in data sets of up to 82,162 amino acid positions. Using established and new measures (long-branch score), we disentangled phylogenetic signal from misleading effects such as long-branch attraction. In doing so, our phylogenomic analyses did not recover a monophyletic origin of platyzoan taxa that, instead, appeared paraphyletic with respect to the other spiralians. Platyhelminthes and Gastrotricha formed a monophylum, which we name Rouphozoa. To the exclusion of Gnathifera, Rouphozoa and all other spiralians represent a monophyletic group, which we name Platytrochozoa. Platyzoan paraphyly suggests that the last common ancestor of Spiralia was a simple-bodied organism lacking coelomic cavities, segmentation, and complex brain structures, and that more complex animals such as annelids evolved from such a simply organized ancestor. This conclusion contradicts alternative evolutionary scenarios proposing an annelid-like ancestor of Bilateria and Spiralia and several independent events of secondary reduction.

  9. Differences in ecological structure, function, and native species abundance between native and invaded Hawaiian streams.

    PubMed

    Holitzki, Tara M; MacKenzie, Richard A; Wiegner, Tracy N; McDermid, Karla J

    2013-09-01

    Poeciliids, one of the most invasive species worldwide, are found on almost every continent and have been identified as an "invasive species of concern" in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. Despite their global prevalence, few studies have quantified their impacts on tropical stream ecosystem structure, function, and biodiversity. Utilizing Hawaiian streams as model ecosystems, we documented how ecological structure, function, and native species abundance differed between poeciliid-free and poeciliid-invaded tropical streams. Stream nutrient yields, benthic biofilm biomass, densities of macroinvertebrates and fish, and community structures of benthic algae, macroinvertebrates, and fish were compared between streams with and without established poeciliid populations on the island of Hawai'i, Hawaii, USA. Sum nitrate (sigmaNO3(-) = NO3(-) + NO2(-)), total nitrogen, and total organic carbon yields were eight times, six times, and five times higher, respectively, in poeciliid streams than in poeciliid-free streams. Benthic biofilm ash-free dry mass was 1.5x higher in poeciliid streams than in poeciliid-free streams. Percentage contributions of chironomids and hydroptilid caddisflies to macroinvertebrate densities were lower in poeciliid streams compared to poeciliid-free streams, while percentage contributions of Cheumatopsyche analis caddisflies, Dugesia sp. flatworms, and oligochaetes were higher. Additionally, mean densities of native gobies were two times lower in poeciliid streams than in poeciliid-free ones, with poeciliid densities being approximately eight times higher than native fish densities. Our results, coupled with the wide distribution of invasive poeciliids across Hawaii and elsewhere in the tropics, suggest that poeciliids may negatively impact the ecosystem structure, function, and native species abundance of tropical streams they invade. This underscores the need for increased public awareness to prevent future introductions and for

  10. Endogenous growth factor stimulation of hemocyte proliferation induces resistance to Schistosoma mansoni challenge in the snail host

    PubMed Central

    Pila, Emmanuel A.; Gordy, Michelle A.; Phillips, Valerie K.; Kabore, Alethe L.; Rudko, Sydney P.; Hanington, Patrick C.

    2016-01-01

    Digenean trematodes are a large, complex group of parasitic flatworms that infect an incredible diversity of organisms, including humans. Larval development of most digeneans takes place within a snail (Gastropoda). Compatibility between snails and digeneans is often very specific, such that suitable snail hosts define the geographical ranges of diseases caused by these worms. The immune cells (hemocytes) of a snail are sentinels that act as a crucial barrier to infection by larval digeneans. Hemocytes coordinate a robust and specific immunological response, participating directly in parasite killing by encapsulating and clearing the infection. Hemocyte proliferation and differentiation are influenced by unknown digenean-specific exogenous factors. However, we know nothing about the endogenous control of hemocyte development in any gastropod model. Here, we identify and functionally characterize a progranulin [Biomphalaria glabrata granulin (BgGRN)] from the snail B. glabrata, a natural host for the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni. Granulins are growth factors that drive proliferation of immune cells in organisms, spanning the animal kingdom. We demonstrate that BgGRN induces proliferation of B. glabrata hemocytes, and specifically drives the production of an adherent hemocyte subset that participates centrally in the anti-digenean defense response. Additionally, we demonstrate that susceptible B. glabrata snails can be made resistant to infection with S. mansoni by first inducing hemocyte proliferation with BgGRN. This marks the functional characterization of an endogenous growth factor of a gastropod mollusc, and provides direct evidence of gain of resistance in a snail-digenean infection model using a defined factor to induce snail resistance to infection. PMID:27114544

  11. The ichnogenus Curvolithus revisited

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Buatois, L.A.; Mangano, M.G.; Mikulas, R.; Maples, C.G.

    1998-01-01

    locomotion trace (Repichnia) of endostratal carnivores, possibly gastropods, flatworms, or nemerteans. Curvolithus is a component of the Cruziana ichnofacies in shallow-marine facies, either of normal salinity or slightly brackish, in the latter case typically associated with fan deltas.

  12. A Creek to Bay Biological Assessment in Oakland, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahumada, E.; Ramirez, N.; Lopez, A.; Avila, M.; Ramirez, J.; Arroyo, D.; Bracho, H.; Casanova, A.; Pierson, E.

    2011-12-01

    In 2007, the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) assessed the impact of trash on water quality in the Peralta Creek which is located in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, CA. This 2011 follow-up study will take further steps in evaluating the physical and biological impacts of pollution and human development on Peralta Creek and in the San Leandro Bay, where the Creek empties into the larger San Francisco Bay estuary. This study will utilize two forms of biological assessment in order to determine the level of water quality and ecosystem health of Peralta Creek and San Leandro Bay in Oakland, California. A Rapid Bioassesment Protocal (RBP) will be used as the method of biological assessment for Peralta Creek. RBP uses a biotic index of benthic macroinvertebrates to provide a measure of a water body's health. Larval trematodes found in two mud snails (Ilynassa obsoleta and Cerithidea californica) will be used to evaluate the health of the San Leandro Bay. Due to the complex life cycle of trematodes, the measure of trematode diversity and richness in host species serves as an indicator of estuarine health (Huspeni 2005). We have completed the assessment of one section of Peralta Creek, located at 2465 34th Avenue, Oakland, CA 94601. Abundance results indicate a moderately healthy creek because there were high levels of pollution tolerant benthic macroinvertebrates. The tolerant group of benthic macroinvertebrates includes such organisms as flatworms, leeches, and scuds. This is possibly due to this section of the creek being pumped up to the surface from culverts impacting the macroinvertebrate's life cycle. Another contributing factor to creek health is the amount of organic debris found in the creek, which inhibits the flow and oxygenation of the water, allowing for more pollution tolerant aquatic insects to persist. Further investigation is being conducted to fully assess the Peralta Creek watershed; from the preliminary results one can surmise that

  13. Genomic linkage map of the human blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni

    PubMed Central

    Criscione, Charles D; Valentim, Claudia LL; Hirai, Hirohisa; LoVerde, Philip T; Anderson, Timothy JC

    2009-01-01

    Background Schistosoma mansoni is a blood fluke that infects approximately 90 million people. The complete life cycle of this parasite can be maintained in the laboratory, making this one of the few experimentally tractable human helminth infections, and a rich literature reveals heritable variation in important biomedical traits such as virulence, host-specificity, transmission and drug resistance. However, there is a current lack of tools needed to study S. mansoni's molecular, quantitative, and population genetics. Our goal was to construct a genetic linkage map for S. mansoni, and thus provide a new resource that will help stimulate research on this neglected pathogen. Results We genotyped grandparents, parents and 88 progeny to construct a 5.6 cM linkage map containing 243 microsatellites positioned on 203 of the largest scaffolds in the genome sequence. The map allows 70% of the estimated 300 Mb genome to be ordered on chromosomes, and highlights where scaffolds have been incorrectly assembled. The markers fall into eight main linkage groups, consistent with seven pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes, and we were able to anchor linkage groups to chromosomes using fluorescent in situ hybridization. The genome measures 1,228.6 cM. Marker segregation reveals higher female recombination, confirms ZW inheritance patterns, and identifies recombination hotspots and regions of segregation distortion. Conclusions The genetic linkage map presented here is the first for S. mansoni and the first for a species in the phylum Platyhelminthes. The map provides the critical tool necessary for quantitative genetic analysis, aids genome assembly, and furnishes a framework for comparative flatworm genomics and field-based molecular epidemiological studies. PMID:19566921

  14. JNK Controls the Onset of Mitosis in Planarian Stem Cells and Triggers Apoptotic Cell Death Required for Regeneration and Remodeling

    PubMed Central

    Almuedo-Castillo, María; Crespo, Xenia; Seebeck, Florian; Bartscherer, Kerstin; Salò, Emili; Adell, Teresa

    2014-01-01

    Regeneration of lost tissues depends on the precise interpretation of molecular signals that control and coordinate the onset of proliferation, cellular differentiation and cell death. However, the nature of those molecular signals and the mechanisms that integrate the cellular responses remain largely unknown. The planarian flatworm is a unique model in which regeneration and tissue renewal can be comprehensively studied in vivo. The presence of a population of adult pluripotent stem cells combined with the ability to decode signaling after wounding enable planarians to regenerate a complete, correctly proportioned animal within a few days after any kind of amputation, and to adapt their size to nutritional changes without compromising functionality. Here, we demonstrate that the stress-activated c-jun–NH2–kinase (JNK) links wound-induced apoptosis to the stem cell response during planarian regeneration. We show that JNK modulates the expression of wound-related genes, triggers apoptosis and attenuates the onset of mitosis in stem cells specifically after tissue loss. Furthermore, in pre-existing body regions, JNK activity is required to establish a positive balance between cell death and stem cell proliferation to enable tissue renewal, remodeling and the maintenance of proportionality. During homeostatic degrowth, JNK RNAi blocks apoptosis, resulting in impaired organ remodeling and rescaling. Our findings indicate that JNK-dependent apoptotic cell death is crucial to coordinate tissue renewal and remodeling required to regenerate and to maintain a correctly proportioned animal. Hence, JNK might act as a hub, translating wound signals into apoptotic cell death, controlled stem cell proliferation and differentiation, all of which are required to coordinate regeneration and tissue renewal. PMID:24922054

  15. Agmatine: identification and inhibition of methamphetamine, kappa opioid, and cannabinoid withdrawal in planarians.

    PubMed

    Rawls, Scott M; Gerber, Kristin; Ding, Zhe; Roth, Christopher; Raffa, Robert B

    2008-12-01

    Agmatine blocks morphine physical dependence in mammals, but its effects on withdrawal signs caused by other abused drugs have been less studied. One of the reasons is that withdrawal to some of these drugs is difficult to quantify in mammals. An alternative to mammals is planarians, a type of flatworm. Planarians possess mammalian-like neurotransmitters and display withdrawal from amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, cocaine, and opioids. The withdrawal is manifested as a reduction in locomotor behavior following discontinuation of drug exposure. In the present study, our goal was to identify agmatine in planarians and to determine if planarians exposed to agmatine display withdrawal to methamphetamine, a cannabinoid receptor agonist (WIN 55,212-2), or a kappa-opioid receptor agonist (U-50,488H). Neurochemical experiments revealed that the concentration of agmatine in planarians was 185 +/- 33.7 pmol per mg of planarian weight (dry weight). In behavioral experiments, withdrawal (i.e., reduced locomotor activity) was observed when planarians exposed to each drug (10 microM) for 60 min were placed into water. The withdrawal was attenuated when methamphetamine- or U-50,488H-exposed planarians were tested in agmatine (100 microM). Withdrawal was inhibited similarly when planarians coexposed to agmatine (100 microM) plus methamphetamine (10 microM), WIN 55,212-2 (10 microM), or U-50,488H (10 microM) were tested in water. Arginine, the metabolic precursor to agmatine, was ineffective. Our results identify endogenous agmatine in planarians and demonstrate that agmatine exposure blocks withdrawal to three different drugs in planarians. This suggests that a change in agmatine signaling is a common mechanism in the withdrawal caused by these drugs, at least in planarians.

  16. Control measures for slug and snail hosts of Angiostrongylus cantonensis, with special reference to the semi-slug Parmarion martensi.

    PubMed

    Hollingsworth, Robert G; Howe, Kathleen; Jarvi, Susan I

    2013-06-01

    Slugs and snails (class Gastropoda) are the obligate intermediate hosts of the rat lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis. This nematode is the causative agent of human angiostrongyliasis and the most common cause of human eosinophilic meningoencephalitis. Humans can become infected by accidental consumption of slugs or snails and possibly flatworms (or a portion of one of these animals) in fresh produce, but the slime from these animals can contain nematodes and may also constitute a disease risk. Gastropod carriers in Hawa'i include, among other species, giant African snails, veronicellid slugs, and the semi-slug Parmarion martensi. This latter species was first discovered on the island of Hawa'i in 2004 and is now common in the area where the majority of the state's documented cases of human angiostrongyliasis occurred between 2005 and 2011. This species is considered a high risk carrier of A. cantonensis because of its climbing behavior, abundance around human dwellings, and high worm burdens. One individual collected from east Hawa'i Island contained >6,800 infective third stage A. cantonensis larvae. Common and efficient control methods for slugs and snails include sanitation (eg, removal of objects that serve as hiding places) and the use of poison food baits, such as those containing metaldehyde and iron. An iron-containing bait that is relatively safe to non-target organisms was effective in controlling semi-slugs in cage experiments, although it killed more slowly than a metaldehyde-containing bait and the majority of slugs affected did not die until 1-2 weeks following ingestion.

  17. Control Measures for Slug and Snail Hosts of Angiostrongylus cantonensis, with Special Reference to the Semi-slug Parmarion martensi

    PubMed Central

    Howe, Kathleen; Jarvi, Susan I

    2013-01-01

    Slugs and snails (class Gastropoda) are the obligate intermediate hosts of the rat lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis. This nematode is the causative agent of human angiostrongyliasis and the most common cause of human eosinophilic meningoencephalitis. Humans can become infected by accidental consumption of slugs or snails and possibly flatworms (or a portion of one of these animals) in fresh produce, but the slime from these animals can contain nematodes and may also constitute a disease risk. Gastropod carriers in Hawai‘i include, among other species, giant African snails, veronicellid slugs, and the semi-slug Parmarion martensi. This latter species was first discovered on the island of Hawai‘i in 2004 and is now common in the area where the majority of the state's documented cases of human angiostrongyliasis occurred between 2005 and 2011. This species is considered a high risk carrier of A. cantonensis because of its climbing behavior, abundance around human dwellings, and high worm burdens. One individual collected from east Hawai‘i Island contained >6,800 infective third stage A. cantonensis larvae. Common and efficient control methods for slugs and snails include sanitation (eg, removal of objects that serve as hiding places) and the use of poison food baits, such as those containing metaldehyde and iron. An iron-containing bait that is relatively safe to non-target organisms was effective in controlling semi-slugs in cage experiments, although it killed more slowly than a metaldehyde-containing bait and the majority of slugs affected did not die until 1–2 weeks following ingestion. PMID:23901389

  18. The Planorbid Snail Biomphalaria glabrata Expresses a Hemocyanin-Like Sequence in the Albumen Gland

    PubMed Central

    Peña, Janeth J.; Adema, Coen M.

    2016-01-01

    The parasitic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni, causative agent of human intestinal schistosomiasis in South America, relies importantly on the freshwater snail Biomphalaria glabrata as intermediate host to achieve development of cercariae that infect humans. The recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) to integrate snail control in efforts to counter schistosomiasis transmission provides impetus for in depth study of B. glabrata biology. Our analysis indicates that two distinct hemocyanin-like genes (hcl-1 and hcl-2) are present in B. glabrata, a snail that uses hemoglobin for oxygen transport. Characterization of BAC clones yielded the full length hcl-1 gene, which is comprised of three functional unit (FU) domains at the amino acid level. Database searches and in silico analyses identified the second hcl gene (hcl-2), composed of six FU domains. Both genes are unusual for lacking canonical residues and having fewer FU domains than typical molluscan hemocyanins that contain 7–8 FUs. Reverse transcription PCR demonstrated that Hcl-1 is expressed in a manner that correlates with reproductive maturity in the albumen gland (AG), an immune- and reproduction-relevant organ. Immune cross-reactivity with anti-keyhole limpet hemocyanin (α-KLH) antiserum and tandem-mass spectrometry validated the presence of Hcl-1 protein in the AG and egg mass fluid (EMF). The evolutionary conservation of hemocyanin-like sequences in B. glabrata in the presence of the oxygen carrier hemoglobin, combined with our results, suggest that the Hcl-1protein has a functional role in general and/or reproductive biology. Further investigations are needed to explore Hcl-1 as a potential target for snail control. PMID:28036345

  19. A Stable Thoracic Hox Code and Epimorphosis Characterize Posterior Regeneration in Capitella teleta

    PubMed Central

    de Jong, Danielle M.; Seaver, Elaine C.

    2016-01-01

    flatworms. PMID:26894631

  20. Schistosome Feeding and Regurgitation

    PubMed Central

    Skelly, Patrick J.; Da'dara, Akram A.; Li, Xiao-Hong; Castro-Borges, William; Wilson, R. Alan

    2014-01-01

    Schistosomes are parasitic flatworms that infect >200 million people worldwide, causing the chronic, debilitating disease schistosomiasis. Unusual among parasitic helminths, the long-lived adult worms, continuously bathed in blood, take up nutrients directly across the body surface and also by ingestion of blood into the gut. Recent proteomic analyses of the body surface revealed the presence of hydrolytic enzymes, solute, and ion transporters, thus emphasising its metabolic credentials. Furthermore, definition of the molecular mechanisms for the uptake of selected metabolites (glucose, certain amino acids, and water) establishes it as a vital site of nutrient acquisition. Nevertheless, the amount of blood ingested into the gut per day is considerable: for males ∼100 nl; for the more actively feeding females ∼900 nl, >4 times body volume. Ingested erythrocytes are lysed as they pass through the specialized esophagus, while leucocytes become tethered and disabled there. Proteomics and transcriptomics have revealed, in addition to gut proteases, an amino acid transporter in gut tissue and other hydrolases, ion, and lipid transporters in the lumen, implicating the gut as the site for acquisition of essential lipids and inorganic ions. The surface is the principal entry route for glucose, whereas the gut dominates amino acid acquisition, especially in females. Heme, a potentially toxic hemoglobin degradation product, accumulates in the gut and, since schistosomes lack an anus, must be expelled by the poorly understood process of regurgitation. Here we place the new observations on the proteome of body surface and gut, and the entry of different nutrient classes into schistosomes, into the context of older studies on worm composition and metabolism. We suggest that the balance between surface and gut in nutrition is determined by the constraints of solute diffusion imposed by differences in male and female worm morphology. Our conclusions have major implications for

  1. Characterization of a Fasciola gigantica protein carrying two DM9 domains reveals cellular relocalization property.

    PubMed

    Phadungsil, Wansika; Smooker, Peter M; Vichasri-Grams, Suksiri; Grams, Rudi

    2016-01-01

    Even at the present age of whole-organism analysis, e.g., genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics, the biological roles of many proteins remain unresolved. Classified among the proteins of unknown function is a family of proteins harboring repeats of the DM9 domain, a 60-75 amino acids motif first described in a small number of Drosophila melanogaster proteins. Proteins may carry two or more DM9 domains either in combination with other domains or as their sole constituent. Here we have characterized a 16.8 kDa Fasciola gigantica protein comprising two tandem repeated DM9 domains (FgDM9-1). The protein was located in the parenchyma of the immature and mature parasite and consequently it was not detected in the ES product of the parasite but only in the whole worm extract. Interestingly, extraction with SDS yielded a substantially higher amount of the protein suggesting association with insoluble cell components. In Sf9 insect cells a heterologously expressed EGFP-FgDM9-1 chimera showed cell-wide distribution but relocated to vesicle-like structures in the cytoplasm after stimulating cellular stress by bacteria, heat shock or chloroquine. These structures did not colocalize with the markers of endocytosis/phagocytosis ubiquitin, RAB7, GABARAP. The same behavior was noted for Aedes aegypti PRS1, a homologous mosquito DM9 protein as a positive control while EGFP did not exhibit such relocation in the insect cells. Cross-linking experiments on soluble recombinant FgDM9-1 indicated that the protein can undergo specific oligomerization. It is speculated that proteins carrying the DM9 domain have a role in vesicular transport in flatworms and insects.

  2. Application Of Stable Isotope Analysis To Study Temporal Changes In Foraging Ecology In A Highly Endangered Amphibian

    PubMed Central

    Gillespie, J. Hayley

    2013-01-01

    Background Understanding dietary trends for endangered species may be essential to assessing the effects of ecological disturbances such as habitat modification, species introductions or global climate change. Documenting temporal variation in prey selection may also be crucial for understanding population dynamics. However, the rarity, secretive behaviours and obscure microhabitats of some endangered species can make direct foraging observations difficult or impossible. Furthermore, the lethality or invasiveness of some traditional methods of dietary analysis (e.g. gut contents analysis, gastric lavage) makes them inappropriate for such species. Stable isotope analysis facilitates non-lethal, indirect analysis of animal diet that has unrealized potential in the conservation of endangered organisms, particularly amphibians. Methodology/findings I determined proportional contributions of aquatic macroinvertebrate prey to the diet of an endangered aquatic salamander Eurycea sosorum over a two-year period using stable isotope analysis of 13/12C and 15/14N and the Bayesian stable isotope mixing model SIAR. I calculated Strauss’ dietary electivity indices by comparing these proportions with changing relative abundance of potential prey species through time. Stable isotope analyses revealed that a previously unknown prey item (soft-bodied planarian flatworms in the genus Dugesia) made up the majority of E. sosorum diet. Results also demonstrate that E. sosorum is an opportunistic forager capable of diet switching to include a greater proportion of alternative prey when Dugesia populations decline. There is also evidence of intra-population dietary variation. Conclusions/significance Effective application of stable isotope analysis can help circumvent two key limitations commonly experienced by researchers of endangered species: the inability to directly observe these species in nature and the invasiveness or lethality of traditional methods of dietary analysis. This

  3. Large Scale Screening of Digeneans for Neorickettsia Endosymbionts Using Real-Time PCR Reveals New Neorickettsia Genotypes, Host Associations and Geographic Records

    PubMed Central

    Greiman, Stephen E.; Tkach, Vasyl V.; Pulis, Eric; Fayton, Thomas J.; Curran, Stephen S.

    2014-01-01

    Digeneans are endoparasitic flatworms with complex life cycles including one or two intermediate hosts (first of which is always a mollusk) and a vertebrate definitive host. Digeneans may harbor intracellular endosymbiotic bacteria belonging to the genus Neorickettsia (order Rickettsiales, family Anaplasmataceae). Some Neorickettsia are able to invade cells of the digenean's vertebrate host and are known to cause diseases of wildlife and humans. In this study we report the results of screening 771 digenean samples for Neorickettsia collected from various vertebrates in terrestrial, freshwater, brackish, and marine habitats in the United States, China and Australia. Neorickettsia were detected using a newly designed real-time PCR protocol targeting a 152 bp fragment of the heat shock protein coding gene, GroEL, and verified with nested PCR and sequencing of a 1371 bp long region of 16S rRNA. Eight isolates of Neorickettsia have been obtained. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that 7 of these isolates, provisionally named Neorickettsia sp. 1–7 (obtained from allocreadiid Crepidostomum affine, haploporids Saccocoelioides beauforti and Saccocoelioides lizae, faustulid Bacciger sprenti, deropegid Deropegus aspina, a lecithodendriid, and a pleurogenid) represent new genotypes and one (obtained from Metagonimoides oregonensis) was identical to a published sequence of Neorickettsia known as SF agent. All digenean species reported in this study represent new host records. Three of the 6 digenean families (Haploporidae, Pleurogenidae, and Faustulidae) are also reported for the first time as hosts of Neorickettsia. We have detected Neorickettsia in digeneans from China and Australia for the first time based on PCR and sequencing evidence. Our findings suggest that further surveys from broader geographic regions and wider selection of digenean taxa are likely to reveal new Neorickettsia lineages as well as new digenean host associations. PMID

  4. Towards an understanding of Mesocestoides vogae fatty acid binding proteins' roles.

    PubMed

    Alvite, Gabriela; Garrido, Natalia; Kun, Alejandra; Paulino, Margot; Esteves, Adriana

    2014-01-01

    Two fatty acid binding proteins, MvFABPa and MvFABPb were identified in the parasite Mesocestoides vogae (Platyhelmithes, Cestoda). Fatty acid binding proteins are small intracellular proteins whose members exhibit great diversity. Proteins of this family have been identified in many organisms, of which Platyhelminthes are among the most primitive. These proteins have particular relevance in flatworms since de novo synthesis of fatty acids is absent. Fatty acids should be captured from the media needing an efficient transport system to uptake and distribute these molecules. While HLBPs could be involved in the shuttle of fatty acids to the surrounding host tissues and convey them into the parasite, FABPs could be responsible for the intracellular trafficking. In an effort to understand the role of MvFABPs in fatty acid transport of M. vogae larvae, we analysed the intracellular localization of both MvFABPs and the co-localization with in vivo uptake of fatty acid analogue BODIPY FL C16. Immunohistochemical studies on larvae sections using specific antibodies, showed a diffuse cytoplasmic distribution of each protein with some expression in nuclei and mitochondria. MvFABPs distribution was confirmed by mass spectrometry identification from 2D-electrophoresis of larvae subcellular fractions. This work is the first report showing intracellular distribution of MvFABPs as well as the co-localization of these proteins with the BODIPY FL C16 incorporated from the media. Our results suggest that fatty acid binding proteins could target fatty acids to cellular compartments including nuclei. In this sense, M. vogae FABPs could participate in several cellular processes fulfilling most of the functions attributed to vertebrate's counterparts.

  5. Towards an Understanding of Mesocestoides vogae Fatty Acid Binding Proteins’ Roles

    PubMed Central

    Alvite, Gabriela; Garrido, Natalia; Kun, Alejandra; Paulino, Margot; Esteves, Adriana

    2014-01-01

    Two fatty acid binding proteins, MvFABPa and MvFABPb were identified in the parasite Mesocestoides vogae (Platyhelmithes, Cestoda). Fatty acid binding proteins are small intracellular proteins whose members exhibit great diversity. Proteins of this family have been identified in many organisms, of which Platyhelminthes are among the most primitive. These proteins have particular relevance in flatworms since de novo synthesis of fatty acids is absent. Fatty acids should be captured from the media needing an efficient transport system to uptake and distribute these molecules. While HLBPs could be involved in the shuttle of fatty acids to the surrounding host tissues and convey them into the parasite, FABPs could be responsible for the intracellular trafficking. In an effort to understand the role of MvFABPs in fatty acid transport of M. vogae larvae, we analysed the intracellular localization of both MvFABPs and the co-localization with in vivo uptake of fatty acid analogue BODIPY FL C16. Immunohistochemical studies on larvae sections using specific antibodies, showed a diffuse cytoplasmic distribution of each protein with some expression in nuclei and mitochondria. MvFABPs distribution was confirmed by mass spectrometry identification from 2D-electrophoresis of larvae subcellular fractions. This work is the first report showing intracellular distribution of MvFABPs as well as the co-localization of these proteins with the BODIPY FL C16 incorporated from the media. Our results suggest that fatty acid binding proteins could target fatty acids to cellular compartments including nuclei. In this sense, M. vogae FABPs could participate in several cellular processes fulfilling most of the functions attributed to vertebrate’s counterparts. PMID:25347286

  6. Cloning and characterization of a bone morphogenetic protein homologue of Schistosoma japonicum.

    PubMed

    Liu, Rong; Zhao, Qin-ping; Ye, Qing; Xiong, Tao; Tang, Chun-lian; Dong, Hui-fen; Jiang, Ming-sen

    2013-09-01

    Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are known to play an important role in the regulation of cell proliferation, survival, differentiation and apoptosis in many vertebrates and invertebrates through the TGF-β signaling pathway. Although the TGF-β signaling pathway exists in schistosomes, BMP homologue, a ligand of TGF-β in Schistosoma japonicum, has not yet been identified. In this study, a BMP homologue of S. japonicum was cloned and characterized. The full length SjBMP cDNA is 3,020 bp and encodes 928 amino acids, which include a TGF-β superfamily conserved domain at the C-terminus. BLAST analysis showed that, SjBMP has 68%, 51% and 43% homology with BMP from Schistosoma mansoni, Schmidtea mediterranea and Dugesia japonica at the amino acid level, respectively. According to data from real-time PCR, SjBMP was expressed in lung-stage schistosomula, 21-day liver-stage schistosomula, 50-day adult worms (the male and female), and eggs. The PCR data also indicated that, there was a ≈ 27- and ≈ 37-fold increase of SjBMP transcripts in the lung-stage schistosomula and eggs, respectively, and that there was relatively more SjBMP transcript in the adult male worm than in the adult female, in which the hepatic schistosomula was set as the calibrator for calculation. In situ hybridization based on FITC-labeled specific antisense oligonucleotide probes showed that SjBMP mRNA localized to the ovary of female worms and the integument and epithelium of female and male worms. After treatment with double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) at a concentration of 8 × 10(-2) μg/ml, which was added to the culture medium every other day for a week, the level of SjBMP mRNA in the cultured adult mixed-sex S. japonicum decreased at a range of ≈ 25-98% within 7 days compared with the level of SjBMP mRNA in the blank control group. On the 2nd day, the number of eggs produced per pair of worms decreased 28.7%, and the percent of normal eggs also decreased (12.7% vs. 4.3%) in the SjBMP ds

  7. The invasive land planarian Platydemus manokwari (Platyhelminthes, Geoplanidae): records from six new localities, including the first in the USA.

    PubMed

    Justine, Jean-Lou; Winsor, Leigh; Barrière, Patrick; Fanai, Crispus; Gey, Delphine; Han, Andrew Wee Kien; La Quay-Velázquez, Giomara; Lee, Benjamin Paul Yi-Hann; Lefevre, Jean-Marc; Meyer, Jean-Yves; Philippart, David; Robinson, David G; Thévenot, Jessica; Tsatsia, Francis

    2015-01-01

    The land planarian Platydemus manokwari de Beauchamp, 1963 or "New Guinea flatworm" is a highly invasive species, mainly in the Pacific area, and recently in Europe (France). We report specimens from six additional countries and territories: New Caledonia (including mainland and two of the Loyalty Islands, Lifou and Maré), Wallis and Futuna Islands, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida, USA. We analysed the COI gene (barcoding) in these specimens with two sets of primers and obtained 909 bp long sequences. In addition, specimens collected in Townsville (Australia) were also sequenced. Two haplotypes of the COI sequence, differing by 3.7%, were detected: the "World haplotype" found in France, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Singapore, Florida and Puerto Rico; and the "Australian haplotype" found in Australia. The only locality with both haplotypes was in the Solomon Islands. The country of origin of Platydemus manokwari is New Guinea, and Australia and the Solomon Islands are the countries closest to New Guinea from which we had specimens. These results suggest that two haplotypes exist in the area of origin of the species, but that only one of the two haplotypes (the "World haplotype") has, through human agency, been widely dispersed. However, since P. manokwari is now recorded from 22 countries in the world and we have genetic information from only 8 of these, with none from New Guinea, this analysis provides only partial knowledge of the genetic structure of the invasive species. Morphological analysis of specimens from both haplotypes has shown some differences in ratio of the genital structures but did not allow us to interpret the haplotypes as different species. The new reports from Florida and Puerto Rico are firsts for the USA, for the American continent, and the Caribbean. P. manokwari is a known threat for endemic terrestrial molluscs and its presence is a matter of concern. While most of the infected territories reported until now were

  8. Theoretical computer science and the natural sciences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marchal, Bruno

    2005-12-01

    I present some fundamental theorems in computer science and illustrate their relevance in Biology and Physics. I do not assume prerequisites in mathematics or computer science beyond the set N of natural numbers, functions from N to N, the use of some notational conveniences to describe functions, and at some point, a minimal amount of linear algebra and logic. I start with Cantor's transcendental proof by diagonalization of the non enumerability of the collection of functions from natural numbers to the natural numbers. I explain why this proof is not entirely convincing and show how, by restricting the notion of function in terms of discrete well defined processes, we are led to the non algorithmic enumerability of the computable functions, but also-through Church's thesis-to the algorithmic enumerability of partial computable functions. Such a notion of function constitutes, with respect to our purpose, a crucial generalization of that concept. This will make easy to justify deep and astonishing (counter-intuitive) incompleteness results about computers and similar machines. The modified Cantor diagonalization will provide a theory of concrete self-reference and I illustrate it by pointing toward an elementary theory of self-reproduction-in the Amoeba's way-and cellular self-regeneration-in the flatworm Planaria's way. To make it easier, I introduce a very simple and powerful formal system known as the Schoenfinkel-Curry combinators. I will use the combinators to illustrate in a more concrete way the notion introduced above. The combinators, thanks to their low-level fine grained design, will also make it possible to make a rough but hopefully illuminating description of the main lessons gained by the careful observation of nature, and to describe some new relations, which should exist between computer science, the science of life and the science of inert matter, once some philosophical, if not theological, hypotheses are made in the cognitive sciences. In the

  9. Assessing coral health and disease from digital photographs and in situ surveys.

    PubMed

    Page, C A; Field, S N; Pollock, F J; Lamb, J B; Shedrawi, G; Wilson, S K

    2017-01-01

    Methods for monitoring the status of marine communities are increasingly adopting the use of images captured in the field. However, it is not always clear how data collected from photographic images relate to historic data collected using traditional underwater visual census methods. Here, we compare coral health and disease data collected in situ by scuba divers with photographic images collected simultaneously at 12 coral reef sites. Five globally relevant coral diseases were detected on 194 colonies from in situ surveys and 79 colonies from photos, whilst 698 colonies from in situ surveys and 535 colonies from photos exhibited signs of compromised health other than disease. Comparisons of in situ surveys with photographic analyses indicated that the number of disease cases occurring in the examined coral populations (prevalence) was six times higher (4.5 vs. 0.8% of colonies), whilst compromised health was three times higher (14 vs. 4% of colonies) from in situ surveys. Skeletal eroding band disease, sponge overgrowth and presence of Waminoa flatworms were not detected in photographs, though they were identified in situ. Estimates of black band disease and abnormally pigmented coral tissues were similar between the two methods. Estimates of the bleached and healthy colonies were also similar between methods and photographic analyses were a strong predictor of bleached (r (2) = 0.8) and healthy (r (2) = 0.5) colony prevalence from in situ surveys. Moreover, when data on disease and compromised health states resulting in white or pale coral colony appearance were pooled, the prevalence of 'white' colonies from in situ (14%) and photographic analyses (11%) were statistically similar. Our results indicate that information on coral disease and health collected by in situ surveys and photographic analyses are not directly comparable, with in situ surveys generally providing higher estimates of prevalence and greater ability to identify some diseases and

  10. Fluorescent sperm in a transparent worm: validation of a GFP marker to study sexual selec