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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 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

  5. 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.

  6. High multiple paternity and low last-male sperm precedence in a hermaphroditic planarian flatworm: consequences for reciprocity patterns.

    PubMed

    Pongratz, N; Michiels, N K

    2003-06-01

    It is difficult to predict a priori how mating success translates into fertilization success in simultaneous hermaphrodites with internal fertilization. Whereas insemination decisions will be determined by male interests, fertilization will depend on female interests, possibly leading to discrepancies between insemination and fertilization patterns. The planarian flatworm Schmidtea polychroa, a simultaneous hermaphrodite in which mating partners trade sperm was studied. Sperm can be stored for months yet individuals mate frequently. Using microsatellites, maternity and paternity data were obtained from 748 offspring produced in six groups of 10 individuals during four weeks. Adults produced young from four mates on average. Reciprocal fertilization between two mates was found in only 41 out of 110 registered mate combinations, which is clearly less than what is predicted from insemination patterns. Multiple paternity was high: > 80% of all cocoons had two to five fathers for only three to five offspring per cocoon. Because animals were collected from a natural population, 28% of all hatchlings were sired by unknown sperm donors in the field, despite a 10-day period of acclimatization and within-group mating. This percentage decreased only moderately throughout the experiment, showing that sperm can be stored and used for at least a month, despite frequent mating and sperm digestion. The immediate paternity a sperm donor could expect to obtain was only about 25%. Male reproductive success increased linearly with the number of female partners, providing support for Bateman's principle in hermaphrodites. Our results suggest that hermaphrodites do not trade fertilizations when trading sperm during insemination, lending support to the view that such conditional sperm exchange is driven by exchange of resources.

  7. 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

  8. Neuropeptides in flatworms.

    PubMed

    Gustafsson, M K S; Halton, D W; Kreshchenko, N D; Movsessian, S O; Raikova, O I; Reuter, M; Terenina, N B

    2002-11-01

    The use of well-characterized antibodies raised to neuronal signal substances and their application through immunocytochemistry and confocal scanning laser microscopy has revolutionized studies of the flatworm nervous system (NS). Data about flatworm neuropeptides and the spatial relationship between neuropeptides and other neuronal signal substances and muscle fibers are presented. Neuropeptides form a large part of the flatworm NS. Neuropeptides are especially important as myoexcitatory transmitters or modulators, controlling the musculature of the attachment organs, the stomatogastric and the reproductive systems.

  9. 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)

  10. 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)

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

    PubMed

    Chen, Bing; Wen, Jian-Fan

    2011-08-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. Neuropeptide signalling systems in flatworms.

    PubMed

    McVeigh, P; Kimber, M J; Novozhilova, E; Day, T A

    2005-01-01

    Two distinct families of neuropeptides are known to endow platyhelminth nervous systems - the FMRFamide-like peptides (FLPs) and the neuropeptide Fs (NPFs). Flatworm FLPs are structurally simple, each 4-6 amino acids in length with a carboxy terminal aromatic-hydrophobic-Arg-Phe-amide motif. Thus far, four distinct flatworm FLPs have been characterized, with only one of these from a parasite. They have a widespread distribution within the central and peripheral nervous system of every flatworm examined, including neurones serving the attachment organs, the somatic musculature and the reproductive system. The only physiological role that has been identified for flatworm FLPs is myoexcitation. Flatworm NPFs are believed to be invertebrate homologues of the vertebrate neuropeptide Y (NPY) family of peptides. Flatworm NPFs are 36-39 amino acids in length and are characterized by a caboxy terminal GRPRFamide signature and conserved tyrosine residues at positions 10 and 17 from the carboxy terminal. Like FLPs, NPF occurs throughout flatworm nervous systems, although less is known about its biological role. While there is some evidence for a myoexcitatory action in cestodes and flukes, more compelling physiological data indicate that flatworm NPF inhibits cAMP levels in a manner that is characteristic of NPY action in vertebrates. The widespread expression of these neuropeptides in flatworm parasites highlights the potential of these signalling systems to yield new targets for novel anthelmintics. Although platyhelminth FLP and NPF receptors await identification, other molecules that play pivotal roles in neuropeptide signalling have been uncovered. These enzymes, involved in the biosynthesis and processing of flatworm neuropeptides, have recently been described and offer other distinct and attractive targets for therapeutic interference.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Genetic dissection of the planarian reproductive system through characterization of Schmidtea mediterranea CPEB homologs.

    PubMed

    Rouhana, Labib; Tasaki, Junichi; Saberi, Amir; Newmark, Phillip A

    2017-06-01

    Cytoplasmic polyadenylation is a mechanism of mRNA regulation prevalent in metazoan germ cells; it is largely dependent on Cytoplasmic Polyadenylation Element Binding proteins (CPEBs). Two CPEB homologs were identified in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Smed-CPEB1 is expressed in ovaries and yolk glands of sexually mature planarians, and required for oocyte and yolk gland development. In contrast, Smed-CPEB2 is expressed in the testes and the central nervous system; its function is required for spermatogenesis as well as non-autonomously for development of ovaries and accessory reproductive organs. Transcriptome analysis of CPEB knockdown animals uncovered a comprehensive collection of molecular markers for reproductive structures in S. mediterranea, including ovaries, testes, yolk glands, and the copulatory apparatus. Analysis by RNA interference revealed contributions for a dozen of these genes during oogenesis, spermatogenesis, or capsule formation. We also present evidence suggesting that Smed-CPEB2 promotes translation of Neuropeptide Y-8, a prohormone required for planarian sexual maturation. These findings provide mechanistic insight into potentially conserved processes of germ cell development, as well as events involved in capsule deposition by flatworms. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Genetic dissection of the planarian reproductive system through characterization of Schmidtea mediterranea CPEB homologs

    PubMed Central

    Rouhana, Labib; Tasaki, Junichi; Saberi, Amir; Newmark, Phillip A.

    2017-01-01

    Cytoplasmic polyadenylation is a mechanism of mRNA regulation prevalent in metazoan germ cells; it is largely dependent on Cytoplasmic Polyadenylation Element Binding proteins (CPEBs). Two CPEB homologs were identified in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Smed-CPEB1 is expressed in ovaries and yolk glands of sexually mature planarians, and required for oocyte and yolk gland development. In contrast, Smed-CPEB2 is expressed in the testes and the central nervous system; its function is required for spermatogenesis as well as non-autonomously for development of ovaries and accessory reproductive organs. Transcriptome analysis of CPEB knockdown animals uncovered a comprehensive collection of molecular markers for reproductive structures in S. mediterranea, including ovaries, testes, yolk glands, and the copulatory apparatus. Analysis by RNA interference revealed contributions for a dozen of these genes during oogenesis, spermatogenesis, or capsule formation. We also present evidence suggesting that Smed-CPEB2 promotes translation of Neuropeptide Y-8, a prohormone required for planarian sexual maturation. These findings provide mechanistic insight into potentially conserved processes of germ cell development, as well as events involved in capsule deposition by flatworms. PMID:28434803

  1. Mitochondrial genomes of parasitic flatworms.

    PubMed

    Le, Thanh H; Blair, David; McManus, Donald P

    2002-05-01

    Complete or near-complete mitochondrial genomes are now available for 11 species or strains of parasitic flatworms belonging to the Trematoda and the Cestoda. The organization of these genomes is not strikingly different from those of other eumetazoans, although one gene (atp8) commonly found in other phyla is absent from flatworms. The gene order in most flatworms has similarities to those seen in higher protostomes such as annelids. However, the gene order has been drastically altered in Schistosoma mansoni, which obscures this possible relationship. Among the sequenced taxa, base composition varies considerably, creating potential difficulties for phylogeny reconstruction. Long non-coding regions are present in all taxa, but these vary in length from only a few hundred to approximately 10000 nucleotides. Among Schistosoma spp., the long non-coding regions are rich in repeats and length variation among individuals is known. Data from mitochondrial genomes are valuable for studies on species identification, phylogenies and biogeography.

  2. 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

  3. Substantial loss of conserved and gain of novel MicroRNA families in flatworms.

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

    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}]).

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Wnt gene loss in flatworms.

    PubMed

    Riddiford, Nick; Olson, Peter D

    2011-10-01

    Wnt genes encode secreted glycoproteins that act in cell-cell signalling to regulate a wide array of developmental processes, ranging from cellular differentiation to axial patterning. Discovery that canonical Wnt/β-catenin signalling is responsible for regulating head/tail specification in planarian regeneration has recently highlighted their importance in flatworm (phylum Platyhelminthes) development, but examination of their roles in the complex development of the diverse parasitic groups has yet to be conducted. Here, we characterise Wnt genes in the model tapeworm Hymenolepis microstoma and mine genomic resources of free-living and parasitic species for the presence of Wnts and downstream signalling components. We identify orthologs through a combination of BLAST and phylogenetic analyses, showing that flatworms have a highly reduced and dispersed complement that includes orthologs of only five subfamilies (Wnt1, Wnt2, Wnt4, Wnt5 and Wnt11) and fewer paralogs in parasitic flatworms (5-6) than in planarians (9). All major signalling components are identified, including antagonists and receptors, and key binding domains are intact, indicating that the canonical (Wnt/β-catenin) and non-canonical (planar cell polarity and Wnt/Ca(2+)) pathways are functional. RNA-Seq data show expression of all Hymenolepis Wnts and most downstream components in adults and larvae with the notable exceptions of wnt1, expressed only in adults, and wnt2 expressed only in larvae. The distribution of Wnt subfamilies in animals corroborates the idea that the last common ancestor of the Cnidaria and Bilateria possessed all contemporary Wnts and highlights the extent of gene loss in flatworms.

  7. 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

  8. Developmental diversity in free-living flatworms.

    PubMed

    Martín-Durán, José María; Egger, Bernhard

    2012-03-19

    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

  9. 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.

  10. 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. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

    Egger, Bernhard; Gschwentner, Robert; Rieger, Reinhard

    2007-02-01

    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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Classical transmitters and their receptors in flatworms.

    PubMed

    Ribeiro, P; El-Shehabi, F; Patocka, N

    2005-01-01

    The flatworm nervous system employs a wide repertoire of neuroactive substances, including small chemical messengers, the so called classical transmitters, and several types of neuropeptides. A large body of research accumulated over four decades has provided a wealth of information on the tissue localization and effects of these substances, their biochemistry and, recently, their molecular modes of action in all major classes of flatworms. This evidence will be reviewed, with particular emphasis on the small (classical) transmitters and the receptors that mediate their effects. One of the themes that will emerge from this discussion is that classical transmitters regulate core activities such as movement, metabolism and transport, and thus are essential for survival of the organism. In addition, the evidence shows that flatworms have multiple neurotransmitter receptors, many with unusual pharmacological features, which make them particularly attractive as drug targets. Understanding the molecular basis of these distinctive properties, and developing new, more specific receptor agonists and antagonists will undoubtedly become a major challenge in future research.

  20. The head-regeneration transcriptome of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Planarian flatworms can regenerate their head, including a functional brain, within less than a week. Despite the enormous potential of these animals for medical research and regenerative medicine, the mechanisms of regeneration and the molecules involved remain largely unknown. Results To identify genes that are differentially expressed during early stages of planarian head regeneration, we generated a de novo transcriptome assembly from more than 300 million paired-end reads from planarian fragments regenerating the head at 16 different time points. The assembly yielded 26,018 putative transcripts, including very long transcripts spanning multiple genomic supercontigs, and thousands of isoforms. Using short-read data from two platforms, we analyzed dynamic gene regulation during the first three days of head regeneration. We identified at least five different temporal synexpression classes, including genes specifically induced within a few hours after injury. Furthermore, we characterized the role of a conserved Runx transcription factor, smed-runt-like1. RNA interference (RNAi) knockdown and immunofluorescence analysis of the regenerating visual system indicated that smed-runt-like1 encodes a transcriptional regulator of eye morphology and photoreceptor patterning. Conclusions Transcriptome sequencing of short reads allowed for the simultaneous de novo assembly and differential expression analysis of transcripts, demonstrating highly dynamic regulation during head regeneration in planarians. PMID:21846378

  1. The head-regeneration transcriptome of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Sandmann, Thomas; Vogg, Matthias C; Owlarn, Suthira; Boutros, Michael; Bartscherer, Kerstin

    2011-08-16

    Planarian flatworms can regenerate their head, including a functional brain, within less than a week. Despite the enormous potential of these animals for medical research and regenerative medicine, the mechanisms of regeneration and the molecules involved remain largely unknown. To identify genes that are differentially expressed during early stages of planarian head regeneration, we generated a de novo transcriptome assembly from more than 300 million paired-end reads from planarian fragments regenerating the head at 16 different time points. The assembly yielded 26,018 putative transcripts, including very long transcripts spanning multiple genomic supercontigs, and thousands of isoforms. Using short-read data from two platforms, we analyzed dynamic gene regulation during the first three days of head regeneration. We identified at least five different temporal synexpression classes, including genes specifically induced within a few hours after injury. Furthermore, we characterized the role of a conserved Runx transcription factor, smed-runt-like1. RNA interference (RNAi) knockdown and immunofluorescence analysis of the regenerating visual system indicated that smed-runt-like1 encodes a transcriptional regulator of eye morphology and photoreceptor patterning. Transcriptome sequencing of short reads allowed for the simultaneous de novo assembly and differential expression analysis of transcripts, demonstrating highly dynamic regulation during head regeneration in planarians.

  2. Conservation and diversification of small RNA pathways within flatworms.

    PubMed

    Fontenla, Santiago; Rinaldi, Gabriel; Smircich, Pablo; Tort, Jose F

    2017-09-11

    Small non-coding RNAs, including miRNAs, and gene silencing mediated by RNA interference have been described in free-living and parasitic lineages of flatworms, but only few key factors of the small RNA pathways have been exhaustively investigated in a limited number of species. The availability of flatworm draft genomes and predicted proteomes allowed us to perform an extended survey of the genes involved in small non-coding RNA pathways in this phylum. Overall, findings show that the small non-coding RNA pathways are conserved in all the analyzed flatworm linages; however notable peculiarities were identified. While Piwi genes are amplified in free-living worms they are completely absent in all parasitic species. Remarkably all flatworms share a specific Argonaute family (FL-Ago) that has been independently amplified in different lineages. Other key factors such as Dicer are also duplicated, with Dicer-2 showing structural differences between trematodes, cestodes and free-living flatworms. Similarly, a very divergent GW182 Argonaute interacting protein was identified in all flatworm linages. Contrasting to this, genes involved in the amplification of the RNAi interfering signal were detected only in the ancestral free living species Macrostomum lignano. We here described all the putative small RNA pathways present in both free living and parasitic flatworm lineages. These findings highlight innovations specifically evolved in platyhelminths presumably associated with novel mechanisms of gene expression regulation mediated by small RNA pathways that differ to what has been classically described in model organisms. Understanding these phylum-specific innovations and the differences between free living and parasitic species might provide clues to adaptations to parasitism, and would be relevant for gene-silencing technology development for parasitic flatworms that infect hundreds of million people worldwide.

  3. 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''.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

    Bailly, Xavier; Reichert, Heinrich; Hartenstein, Volker

    2013-05-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Bailly, Xavier; Reichert, Heinrich; Hartenstein, Volker

    2012-01-01

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

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2017-02-25

    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.

  11. The dawn of bilaterian animals: the case of acoelomorph flatworms.

    PubMed

    Baguñà, Jaume; Riutort, Marta

    2004-10-01

    The origin of the bilaterian metazoans from radial ancestors is one of the biggest puzzles in animal evolution. A way to solve it is to identify the nature and main features of the last common ancestor of the bilaterians (LCB). Recent progress in molecular phylogeny has shown that many platyhelminth flatworms, regarded for a long time as basal bilaterians, now belong to the lophotrochozoan protostomates. In contrast, the LCB is now considered a complex organism bearing several features of modern bilaterians. Here we discuss an alternative view, in which acoelomorph (Acoela + Nemertodermatida) flatworms, which do not belong to the Platyhelminthes, represent the earliest extant bilaterian clade. Sequences from ribosomal and other nuclear genes, Hox cluster genes, and reinterpretation of some morphological features strongly support the basal position of acoelomorphs arguing against a complex LCB. This reconstruction backs the old planuloid-acoeloid hypothesis and may help our understanding of the evolution of body axes, Hox genes and the Cambrian explosion.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    Novel fossil discoveries have contributed to our understanding of the evolutionary appearance of parasitism in flatworms. Furthermore, genetic analyses with greater coverage have shifted our views on the coevolution of parasitic flatworms and their hosts. The putative record of parasitic flatworms is consistent with extant host associations and so can be used to put constraints on the evolutionary origin of the parasites themselves. The future lies in new molecular clock analyses combined with additional discoveries of exceptionally preserved flatworms associated with hosts and coprolites. Besides direct evidence, the host fossil record and biogeography have the potential to constrain their evolutionary history, albeit with caution needed to avoid circularity, and a need for calibrations to be implemented in the most conservative way. This might result in imprecise, but accurate divergence estimates for the evolution of parasitic flatworms. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-15

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

  15. 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

  16. Increased taxon sampling reveals thousands of hidden orthologs in flatworms.

    PubMed

    Martín-Durán, José M; Ryan, Joseph F; Vellutini, Bruno C; Pang, Kevin; Hejnol, Andreas

    2017-07-01

    Gains and losses shape the gene complement of animal lineages and are a fundamental aspect of genomic evolution. Acquiring a comprehensive view of the evolution of gene repertoires is limited by the intrinsic limitations of common sequence similarity searches and available databases. Thus, a subset of the gene complement of an organism consists of hidden orthologs, i.e., those with no apparent homology to sequenced animal lineages-mistakenly considered new genes-but actually representing rapidly evolving orthologs or undetected paralogs. Here, we describe Leapfrog, a simple automated BLAST pipeline that leverages increased taxon sampling to overcome long evolutionary distances and identify putative hidden orthologs in large transcriptomic databases by transitive homology. As a case study, we used 35 transcriptomes of 29 flatworm lineages to recover 3427 putative hidden orthologs, some unidentified by OrthoFinder and HaMStR, two common orthogroup inference algorithms. Unexpectedly, we do not observe a correlation between the number of putative hidden orthologs in a lineage and its "average" evolutionary rate. Hidden orthologs do not show unusual sequence composition biases that might account for systematic errors in sequence similarity searches. Instead, gene duplication with divergence of one paralog and weak positive selection appear to underlie hidden orthology in Platyhelminthes. By using Leapfrog, we identify key centrosome-related genes and homeodomain classes previously reported as absent in free-living flatworms, e.g., planarians. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that hidden orthologs comprise a significant proportion of the gene repertoire in flatworms, qualifying the impact of gene losses and gains in gene complement evolution. © 2017 Martín-Durán et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

  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. 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

  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. In situ hybridization protocol for enhanced detection of gene expression in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea has emerged as a powerful model for studies of regenerative, stem cell, and germ cell biology. Whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH) and whole-mount fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) are critical methods for determining gene expression patterns in planarians. While expression patterns for a number of genes have been elucidated using established protocols, determining the expression patterns for particularly low-abundance transcripts remains a challenge. Results We show here that a short bleaching step in formamide dramatically enhances signal intensity of WISH and FISH. To further improve signal sensitivity we optimized blocking conditions for multiple anti-hapten antibodies, developed a copper sulfate quenching step that virtually eliminates autofluorescence, and enhanced signal intensity through iterative rounds of tyramide signal amplification. For FISH on regenerating planarians, we employed a heat-induced antigen retrieval step that provides a better balance between permeabilization of mature tissues and preservation of regenerating tissues. We also show that azide most effectively quenches peroxidase activity between rounds of development for multicolor FISH experiments. Finally, we apply these modifications to elucidate the expression patterns of a few low-abundance transcripts. Conclusion The modifications we present here provide significant improvements in signal intensity and signal sensitivity for WISH and FISH in planarians. Additionally, these modifications might be of widespread utility for whole-mount FISH in other model organisms. PMID:23497040

  1. 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.

  2. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23974438

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-01-01

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

  7. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. Atp8 is in the ground pattern of flatworm mitochondrial genomes.

    PubMed

    Egger, Bernhard; Bachmann, Lutz; Fromm, Bastian

    2017-05-26

    To date, mitochondrial genomes of more than one hundred flatworms (Platyhelminthes) have been sequenced. They show a high degree of similarity and a strong taxonomic bias towards parasitic lineages. The mitochondrial gene atp8 has not been confidently annotated in any flatworm sequenced to date. However, sampling of free-living flatworm lineages is incomplete. We addressed this by sequencing the mitochondrial genomes of the two small-bodied (about 1 mm in length) free-living flatworms Stenostomum sthenum and Macrostomum lignano as the first representatives of the earliest branching flatworm taxa Catenulida and Macrostomorpha respectively. We have used high-throughput DNA and RNA sequence data and PCR to establish the mitochondrial genome sequences and gene orders of S. sthenum and M. lignano. The mitochondrial genome of S. sthenum is 16,944 bp long and includes a 1,884 bp long inverted repeat region containing the complete sequences of nad3, rrnS, and nine tRNA genes. The model flatworm M. lignano has the smallest known mitochondrial genome among free-living flatworms, with a length of 14,193 bp. The mitochondrial genome of M. lignano lacks duplicated genes, however, tandem repeats were detected in a non-coding region. Mitochondrial gene order is poorly conserved in flatworms, only a single pair of adjacent ribosomal or protein-coding genes - nad4l-nad4 - was found in S. sthenum and M. lignano that also occurs in other published flatworm mitochondrial genomes. Unexpectedly, we unambiguously identified the full metazoan mitochondrial protein-coding gene complement including atp8 in S. sthenum and M. lignano. A subsequent search detected atp8 in all mitochondrial genomes of polyclad flatworms published to date, although the gene wasn't previously annotated in these species. Manual, but not automated genome annotation revealed the presence of atp8 in basally branching free-living flatworms, signifying both the importance of manual data curation and of diverse

  12. 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.

  13. 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. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  14. Electron microscopy of flatworms standard and cryo-preparation methods.

    PubMed

    Salvenmoser, Willi; Egger, Bernhard; Achatz, Johannes G; Ladurner, Peter; Hess, Michael W

    2010-01-01

    Electron microscopy (EM) has long been indispensable for flatworm research, as most of these worms are microscopic in dimension and provide only a handful of characters recognizable by eye or light microscopy. Therefore, major progress in understanding the histology, systematics, and evolution of this animal group relied on methods capable of visualizing ultrastructure. The rise of molecular and cellular biology renewed interest in such ultrastructural research. In the light of recent developments, we offer a best-practice guide for users of transmission EM and provide a comparison of well-established chemical fixation protocols with cryo-processing methods (high-pressure freezing/freeze-substitution, HPF/FS). The organisms used in this study include the rhabditophorans Macrostomum lignano, Polycelis nigra and Dugesia gonocephala, as well as the acoel species Isodiametra pulchra. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. 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

  16. Hox genes and the parasitic flatworms: new opportunities, challenges and lessons from the free-living.

    PubMed

    Olson, P D

    2008-03-01

    Research into the roles played by Hox and related homeotic gene families in the diverse and complex developmental programmes exhibited by parasitic flatworms (Platyhelminthes) can hardly be said to have begun, and thus presents considerable opportunity for new research. Although featured in some of the earliest screens for homeotic genes outside Drosophila and mice, surveys in parasitic flatworms are few in number and almost nothing is yet known of where or when the genes are expressed during ontogeny. This contrasts sharply with a significant body of literature concerning Hox genes in free-living flatworms which have long served as models for the study of regeneration and the maintenance of omnipotent cell lines. Nevertheless, available information suggests that the complement of Hox genes and other classes of homeobox-containing genes in parasitic flatworms is typical of their free-living cousins and of other members of the Lophotrochozoa. Recent work on Schistosoma combined with information on Hox gene expression in planarians indicates that at least some disruption of the clustered genomic arrangement of the genes, as well as of the strict spatial and temporal colinear patterns of expression typical in other groups, may be characteristic of flatworms. However, available data on the genomic arrangement and expression of flatworm Hox genes is so limited at present that such generalities are highly tenuous. Moreover, a basic underlying pattern of colinearity is still observed in their spatial expression patterns making them suitable as cell or region-specific markers. I discuss a number of fundamental developmental questions and some of the challenges to addressing them in relation to each of the major parasitic lineages. In addition, I present newly characterized Hox genes from the model tapeworm Hymenolepis and analyze these by Bayesian inference together with >100 Hox and ParaHox homeodomains of flatworms and select lophotrochozoan taxa, providing a

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Acoel Flatworms Are Not Platyhelminthes: Evidence from Phylogenomics

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

    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. PMID:17684563

  20. The unique developmental program of the acoel flatworm, Neochildia fusca.

    PubMed

    Henry, J Q; Martindale, M Q; Boyer, B C

    2000-04-15

    Acoel embryos exhibit a unique form of development that some investigators argue is related to that found in polyclad turbellarians and coelomate spiralians, which display typical quartet spiral cleavage. We generated the first cell-lineage fate map for an acoel flatworm, Neochildia fusca, using modern intracellular lineage tracers to assess the degree of similarity between these distinct developmental programs. N. fusca develops via a "duet" cleavage pattern in which second cleavage occurs in a leiotropically oblique plane relative to the animal-vegetal axis. At the four-cell stage, the plane of first cleavage corresponds to the plane of bilateral symmetry. All remaining cleavages are symmetrical across the sagittal plane. No ectomesoderm is formed; the first three micromere duets generate only ectodermal derivatives. Endomesoderm, including the complex assemblage of circular, longitudinal, and oblique muscle fibers, as well as the peripheral and central parenchyma, is generated by both third duet macromeres. The cleavage pattern, fate map, and origins of mesoderm in N. fusca share little similarity to that exhibited by other spiralians, including the Platyhelminthes (e.g., polyclad turbellarians). These findings are considered in light of the possible evolutionary origins of the acoel duet cleavage program versus the more typical quartet spiral cleavage program. Finally, an understanding of the cell-lineage fate map allows us to interpret the results of earlier cell deletion studies examining the specification of cell fates within these embryos and reveals the existence of cell-cell inductive interactions in these embryos. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

  1. ABC multidrug transporters in schistosomes and other parasitic flatworms.

    PubMed

    Greenberg, Robert M

    2013-12-01

    Schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease affecting hundreds of millions, is caused by parasitic flatworms of the genus Schistosoma. Treatment and control of schistosomiasis relies almost exclusively on a single drug, praziquantel (PZQ), a dangerous situation for a disease of this magnitude. Though PZQ is highly effective overall, it has drawbacks, and reports of worms showing PZQ resistance, either induced in the laboratory or isolated from the field, are disconcerting. Multidrug transporters underlie multidrug resistance (MDR), a phenomenon in which resistance to a single drug is accompanied by unexpected cross-resistance to several structurally unrelated compounds. Some of the best studied multidrug transporters are members of the ancient and very large ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of efflux transporters. ABC multidrug transporters such as P-glycoprotein (Pgp; ABCB1) are also associated with drug resistance in parasites, including helminths such as schistosomes. In addition to their association with drug resistance, however, ABC transporters also function in a wide variety of physiological processes in metazoans. In this review, we examine recent studies that help define the role of schistosome ABC transporters in regulating drug susceptibility, and in normal schistosome physiology, including reproduction and excretory activity. We postulate that schistosome ABC transporters could be useful targets for compounds that enhance the effectiveness of current therapeutics as well as for agents that act as antischistosomals on their own. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. ABC multidrug transporters in schistosomes and other parasitic flatworms

    PubMed Central

    Greenberg, Robert M.

    2013-01-01

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

  3. Cryptic diversity and patterns of host specificity in trematode flatworms.

    PubMed

    Hayward, Alexander

    2010-07-01

    The widespread utilization of molecular markers has revealed that a broad spectrum of taxa contain sets of morphologically cryptic, but genetically distinct lineages (Bickford et al. 2007). The identification of cryptic taxa is important as an accurate appreciation of diversity is crucial for a proper understanding of evolutionary and ecological processes. An example is the study of host specificity in parasitic taxa, where an apparent generalist may be found to contain a complex of several more specific species (Smith et al. 2006). Host specificity is a key life history trait that varies greatly among parasites (Poulin & Keeney 2007). While some can exploit a wide range of hosts, others are confined to just a single species. Access to additional hosts increases the resources available to a parasite. However, physiological or ecological constraints can restrict the extension of host range. Furthermore, there may be a trade-off between relaxed specificity and performance: generalism can decrease a parasites ability to adapt to each individual host species, and increase exposure to competition from other parasites (Poulin 1998). Despite the central role that host specificity plays in parasite life history, relatively little is known about how host range is determined in natural systems, and data from field studies are required to evaluate among competing ideas. In this issue, an exciting paper by Locke et al. (2010) makes a valuable contribution toward the understanding of host specificity in an important group of trematode flatworms. Using molecular methods, Locke et al. reveal an almost four-fold increase in the appreciated diversity of their focal group. In combination with a large and elegant sampling design this allows them to accurately assess host specificity for each taxon, and thus draw key insights into the factors that control host range in a dominant parasite group.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

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

  5. 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…

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-30

    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.

  8. 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…

  9. Evolutionary analysis of mitogenomes from parasitic and free-living flatworms.

    PubMed

    Solà, Eduard; Álvarez-Presas, Marta; 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.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2015-05-15

    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.

  12. 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

  13. Digital gene expression approach over multiple RNA-Seq data sets to detect neoblast transcriptional changes in Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Esteban, Gustavo; González-Sastre, Alejandro; Rojo-Laguna, José Ignacio; Saló, Emili; Abril, Josep F

    2015-05-08

    The freshwater planarian Schmidtea mediterranea is recognised as a valuable model for research into adult stem cells and regeneration. With the advent of the high-throughput sequencing technologies, it has become feasible to undertake detailed transcriptional analysis of its unique stem cell population, the neoblasts. Nonetheless, a reliable reference for this type of studies is still lacking. Taking advantage of digital gene expression (DGE) sequencing technology we compare all the available transcriptomes for S. mediterranea and improve their annotation. These results are accessible via web for the community of researchers. Using the quantitative nature of DGE, we describe the transcriptional profile of neoblasts and present 42 new neoblast genes, including several cancer-related genes and transcription factors. Furthermore, we describe in detail the Smed-meis-like gene and the three Nuclear Factor Y subunits Smed-nf-YA, Smed-nf-YB-2 and Smed-nf-YC. DGE is a valuable tool for gene discovery, quantification and annotation. The application of DGE in S. mediterranea confirms the planarian stem cells or neoblasts as a complex population of pluripotent and multipotent cells regulated by a mixture of transcription factors and cancer-related genes.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Shape mode analysis exposes movement patterns in biology: flagella and flatworms as case studies.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  18. The Hox gene complement of acoel flatworms, a basal bilaterian clade.

    PubMed

    Cook, Charles E; Jiménez, Eva; Akam, Michael; Saló, Emili

    2004-01-01

    Several molecular data sets suggest that acoelomorph flatworms are not members of the phylum Platyhelminthes but form a separate branch of the Metazoa that diverged from all other bilaterian animals before the separation of protostomes and deuterostomes. Here we examine the Hox gene complement of the acoel flatworms. In two distantly related acoel taxa, we identify only three distinct classes of Hox gene: an anterior gene, a posterior gene, and a central class gene most similar to genes of Hox classes 4 and 5 in other Bilateria. Phylogenetic analysis of these genes, together with the acoel caudal homologue, supports the basal position of the acoels. The similar gene sets found in two distantly related acoels suggest that this reduced gene complement may be ancestral in the acoels and that the acoels may have diverged from other bilaterians before elaboration of the 8- to 10-gene Hox cluster that characterizes most bilaterians.

  19. Estimation of the toxicity of silver nanoparticles by using planarian flatworms.

    PubMed

    Kustov, Leonid; Tiras, Kharlampii; Al-Abed, Souhail; Golovina, Natalia; Ananyan, Mikhail

    2014-03-01

    The regeneration of planarian flatworms - specifically, changes to the area of the regeneration bud (blastema) after surgical dissection - was proposed for use as a robust tool for estimating the toxicity of silver nanoparticles. The use of Planaria species, due to their unique regenerative capacity, could result in a reduction in the use of more-traditional laboratory animals for toxicity testing. With our novel approach, silver nanoparticles were found to be moderately toxic to the planarian, Girardia tigrina. 2014 FRAME.

  20. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Epidermal secretions of terrestrial flatworms and slugs: Lehmannia valentiana mucus contains matrilin-like proteins.

    PubMed

    Li, Dongmei; Graham, Lloyd D

    2007-11-01

    We describe the epidermal mucus of two types of terrestrial invertebrates: free-living flatworms (Tricladida: Terricola), and the slug Lehmannia valentiana (Gastropoda: Pulmonata). Both exhibited similar dry shear strengths (1.4-1.7 MPa). In denaturing gel electrophoresis, the protein fraction of flatworm mucus migrated mainly as a broad band (200-300 kDa). Slug mucus had a higher protein content than flatworm mucus but it contained more carbohydrate than protein, mainly as large heparan sulfate-like glycosaminoglycans. Proteins and glycosaminoglycans were both essential for the mechanical integrity of the slug hydrogel. The protein fraction of slug mucus contained approximately 12 larger proteins (30-300 kDa) and approximately 6 smaller ones (10-28 kDa). Complete cDNA clones were obtained for the slug mucus 40 kDa protein (Sm40; Genbank accession EF634345) and 85 kDa protein (Sm85; Genbank accession EF634346). Both proteins contain EGF-like repeats and von Willebrand A-domains, and therefore resemble vertebrate matrilins. Many of the larger slug mucus proteins appear to contain A-domains, and these may play a role in the unusual rheological properties of gastropod mucus.

  2. Exploring the sexual diversity of flatworms: Ecology, evolution, and the molecular biology of reproduction.

    PubMed

    Ramm, Steven A

    2017-02-01

    Flatworms exhibit huge diversity in their reproductive biology, making this group an excellent model system for exploring how differences among species in reproductive ecology are reflected in the physiological and molecular details of how reproduction is achieved. In this review, I consider five key "lifestyle choices" (i.e., alternative evolutionary/developmental outcomes) that collectively encompass much of flatworm sexual diversity, beginning with the decisions: (i) whether to be free-living or parasitic; (ii) whether to reproduce asexually or sexually; and (iii) whether to be gonochoristic (separate-sexed) or hermaphroditic. I then examine two further decisions involving hermaphroditism: (iv) outcrossing versus selfing and (v) the balance of investment into the male versus the female sex function (sex allocation). Collectively, these lifestyle choices set the basic rules for how reproduction occurs, but as I emphasize in the second part of the review, the reproductive biology of flatworms is also greatly impacted by the near-pervasive and powerful pressure of sexual selection, together with the related phenomena of sperm competition and sexual conflict. Exactly how this plays out, however, is strongly affected by the particular combination of reproductive strategies adopted by each species. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 84: 120-131, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. The embryonic development of the temnocephalid flatworms Craspedella pedum and Diceratocephala boschmai.

    PubMed

    Younossi-Hartenstein, A; Hartenstein, V

    2001-05-01

    We have analyzed the embryonic development of the temnocephalid flatworms Craspedella pedum and Diceratocephala boschmai, using a combination of fuchsin-labeled whole-mount preparation, histology, and transmission electron microscopy. Following the staging system recently introduced for another flatworm species (Mesostoma lingua), we can distinguish eight morphologically defined stages. Temnocephalids produce eggs of the neoophoran type in which a small oocyte is surrounded by a layer of yolk cells. Cleavage takes place in the center of the yolk mass (stages 1-2) and results in an irregular, multilayered disc of mesenchymal cells that moves to the future ventral egg pole (stage 3). Organ primordia, including those of the brain, pharynx, male genital apparatus, sucker, and epidermis "crystallize" within this disc without undergoing gastrulation movements (stage 4). An invagination of the epidermal primordium pushes the embryo back into the center of the yolk ("embryonic invagination"). As a result, organogenesis begins while the embryo is invaginated (stage 5). The brain differentiates into an outer cortex of cell bodies that surround a central neuropile. Precursor cells of the epidermis, pharynx, and protonephridia become organized into epithelia. During stage 6, the embryonic primordium everts back to the surface, where organogenesis and cell differentiation continues. Epidermal cells fuse into a syncytium that expands around the yolk. Myoblasts initially do not spread out in the way epidermal cells do; they remain concentrated in two narrow, longitudinal bands that extend along the sides of the embryo. Three pairs of axon tracts extending posteriorly from the brain follow the bands of myoblasts. Stages 7 and 8 are characterized by the appearance of eye pigmentation, brain condensation, and the formation of tentacles and a sucker that bud out from the epidermis of the anterior and posterior end, respectively. Comparison of morphogenesis in temnocephalids with

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-18

    The interrelationships of the flatworms (phylum Platyhelminthes) are poorly resolved despite decades of morphological and molecular phylogenetic studies. The earliest-branching clades (Catenulida, Macrostomorpha, and Polycladida) share spiral cleavage and entolecithal eggs with other lophotrochozoans. Lecithoepitheliata have primitive spiral cleavage but derived ectolecithal eggs. Other orders (Rhabdocoela, Proseriata, Tricladida and relatives, and Bothrioplanida) all have derived ectolecithal eggs but have uncertain affinities to one another. The orders of parasitic Neodermata emerge from an uncertain position from within these ectolecithal classes. To tackle these problems, we have sequenced transcriptomes from 18 flatworms and 5 other metazoan groups. The addition of published data produces an alignment of >107,000 amino acids with less than 28% missing data from 27 flatworm taxa in 11 orders covering all major clades. Our phylogenetic analyses show that Platyhelminthes consist of the two clades Catenulida and Rhabditophora. Within Rhabditophora, we show the earliest-emerging branch is Macrostomorpha, not Polycladida. We show Lecithoepitheliata are not members of Neoophora but are sister group of Polycladida, implying independent origins of the ectolecithal eggs found in Lecithoepitheliata and Neoophora. We resolve Rhabdocoela as the most basally branching euneoophoran taxon. Tricladida, Bothrioplanida, and Neodermata constitute a group that appears to have lost both spiral cleavage and centrosomes. We identify Bothrioplanida as the long-sought closest free-living sister group of the parasitic Neodermata. Among parasitic orders, we show that Cestoda are closer to Trematoda than to Monogenea, rejecting the concept of the Cercomeromorpha. Our results have important implications for understanding the evolution of this major phylum. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  13. De novo discovery of neuropeptides in the genomes of parasitic flatworms using a novel comparative approach.

    PubMed

    Koziol, Uriel; Koziol, Miguel; Preza, Matías; Costábile, Alicia; Brehm, Klaus; Castillo, Estela

    2016-10-01

    Neuropeptide mediated signalling is an ancient mechanism found in almost all animals and has been proposed as a promising target for the development of novel drugs against helminths. However, identification of neuropeptides from genomic data is challenging, and knowledge of the neuropeptide complement of parasitic flatworms is still fragmentary. In this work, we have developed an evolution-based strategy for the de novo discovery of neuropeptide precursors, based on the detection of localised sequence conservation between possible prohormone convertase cleavage sites. The method detected known neuropeptide precursors with good precision and specificity in the models Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. Furthermore, it identified novel putative neuropeptide precursors in nematodes, including the first description of allatotropin homologues in this phylum. Our search for neuropeptide precursors in the genomes of parasitic flatworms resulted in the description of 34 conserved neuropeptide precursor families, including 13 new ones, and of hundreds of new homologues of known neuropeptide precursor families. Most neuropeptide precursor families show a wide phylogenetic distribution among parasitic flatworms and show little similarity to neuropeptide precursors of other bilaterian animals. However, we could also find orthologs of some conserved bilaterian neuropeptides including pyrokinin, crustacean cardioactive peptide, myomodulin, neuropeptide-Y, neuropeptide KY and SIF-amide. Finally, we determined the expression patterns of seven putative neuropeptide precursor genes in the protoscolex of Echinococcus multilocularis. All genes were expressed in the nervous system with different patterns, indicating a hidden complexity of peptidergic signalling in cestodes. Copyright © 2016 Australian Society for Parasitology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Comparative analysis of Wnt expression identifies a highly conserved developmental transition in flatworms.

    PubMed

    Koziol, Uriel; Jarero, Francesca; Olson, Peter D; Brehm, Klaus

    2016-03-04

    Early developmental patterns of flatworms are extremely diverse and difficult to compare between distant groups. In parasitic flatworms, such as tapeworms, this is confounded by highly derived life cycles involving indirect development, and even the true orientation of the tapeworm antero-posterior (AP) axis has been a matter of controversy. In planarians, and metazoans generally, the AP axis is specified by the canonical Wnt pathway, and we hypothesized that it could also underpin axial formation during larval metamorphosis in tapeworms. By comparative gene expression analysis of Wnt components and conserved AP markers in the tapeworms Echinococcus multilocularis and Hymenolepis microstoma, we found remarkable similarities between the early stages of larval metamorphosis in tapeworms and late embryonic and adult development in planarians. We demonstrate posterior expression of specific Wnt factors during larval metamorphosis and show that scolex formation is preceded by localized expression of Wnt inhibitors. In the highly derived larval form of E. multilocularis, which proliferates asexually within the mammalian host, we found ubiquitous expression of posterior Wnt factors combined with localized expression of Wnt inhibitors that correlates with the asexual budding of scoleces. As in planarians, muscle cells are shown to be a source of secreted Wnt ligands, providing an explanation for the retention of a muscle layer in the immotile E. multilocularis larva. The strong conservation of gene expression between larval metamorphosis in tapeworms and late embryonic development in planarians suggests, for the first time, a homologous developmental period across this diverse phylum. We postulate these to represent the phylotypic stages of these flatworm groups. Our results support the classical notion that the scolex is the true anterior end of tapeworms. Furthermore, the up-regulation of Wnt inhibitors during the specification of multiple anterior poles suggests a

  15. Pipeline for the identification and classification of ion channels in parasitic flatworms.

    PubMed

    Nor, Bahiyah; Young, Neil D; Korhonen, Pasi K; Hall, Ross S; Tan, Patrick; Lonie, Andrew; Gasser, Robin B

    2016-03-16

    Ion channels are well characterised in model organisms, principally because of the availability of functional genomic tools and datasets for these species. This contrasts the situation, for example, for parasites of humans and animals, whose genomic and biological uniqueness means that many genes and their products cannot be annotated. As ion channels are recognised as important drug targets in mammals, the accurate identification and classification of parasite channels could provide major prospects for defining unique targets for designing novel and specific anti-parasite therapies. Here, we established a reliable bioinformatic pipeline for the identification and classification of ion channels encoded in the genome of the cancer-causing liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini, and extended its application to related flatworms affecting humans. We built an ion channel identification + classification pipeline (called MuSICC), employing an optimised support vector machine (SVM) model and using the Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) classification system. Ion channel proteins were first identified and grouped according to amino acid sequence similarity to classified ion channels and the presence and number of ion channel-like conserved and transmembrane domains. Predicted ion channels were then classified to sub-family using a SVM model, trained using ion channel features. Following an evaluation of this pipeline (MuSICC), which demonstrated a classification sensitivity of 95.2 % and accuracy of 70.5 % for known ion channels, we applied it to effectively identify and classify ion channels in selected parasitic flatworms. MuSICC provides a practical and effective tool for the identification and classification of ion channels of parasitic flatworms, and should be applicable to a broad range of organisms that are evolutionarily distant from taxa whose ion channels are functionally characterised.

  16. [Structure of the glial cells in the nervous system of parasitic and free-living flatworms].

    PubMed

    Biserova, N M; Gordeev, I I; Korneva, Zh V; Sal'nikova, M M

    2010-01-01

    This study is devoted to ultrastructural and immunosytochemical investigation of the nervous system in parasitic and free-living platyhelminthes to learn if glial cells exist in the nervous system of flatworms. We described the ultrastructure of different types of glial cells and the peculiarities of myelinization of gigantic axons; immunoreactivity to the S100b protein is revealed. Comparative analysis of the glia structure of annelids and platods is given; structural, functional, and evolutionary aspects of myelinization of gigantic axons, which are revealed in cestodes, are discussed.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Changes in mitochondrial genetic codes as phylogenetic characters: Two examples from the flatworms

    PubMed Central

    Telford, Maximilian J.; Herniou, Elisabeth A.; Russell, Robert B.; Littlewood, D. Timothy J.

    2000-01-01

    Shared molecular genetic characteristics other than DNA and protein sequences can provide excellent sources of phylogenetic information, particularly if they are complex and rare and are consequently unlikely to have arisen by chance convergence. We have used two such characters, arising from changes in mitochondrial genetic code, to define a clade within the Platyhelminthes (flatworms), the Rhabditophora. We have sampled 10 distinct classes within the Rhabditophora and find that all have the codon AAA coding for the amino acid Asn rather than the usual Lys and AUA for Ile rather than the usual Met. We find no evidence to support claims that the codon UAA codes for Tyr in the Platyhelminthes rather than the standard stop codon. The Rhabditophora are a very diverse group comprising the majority of the free-living turbellarian taxa and the parasitic Neodermata. In contrast, three other classes of turbellarian flatworm, the Acoela, Nemertodermatida, and Catenulida, have the standard invertebrate assignments for these codons and so are convincingly excluded from the rhabditophoran clade. We have developed a rapid computerized method for analyzing genetic codes and demonstrate the wide phylogenetic distribution of the standard invertebrate code as well as confirming already known metazoan deviations from it (ascidian, vertebrate, echinoderm/hemichordate). PMID:11027335

  20. Updated inventory and distribution of free-living flatworms from Tunisian waters.

    PubMed

    Gammoudi, Mehrez; Garbouj, Myriam; Egger, Bernhard; Tekaya, Saïda

    2017-05-08

    Records of free-living flatworms (turbellarians) from Tunisian waters are scattered. Based on new material and published accounts, an annotated checklist of free-living flatworm species from Tunisian waters is provided. A total of 29 species is recorded, including 18 species with new material and 11 species only from literature records. For each species, information on systematics, habitats and distribution is supplied, together with taxonomic or biological remarks. Three species, the acotylean polyclads Cestoplana rubrocinta Lang, 1884 and Comoplana agilis (Lang, 1884) as well as the marine triclad Cercyra hastata Schmidt, 1861 are recorded for the first time in Tunisia. The controversial occurrence of the leptoplanid polyclad Leptoplana tremellaris in the Mediterranean is supported with histological sections and embryological data. The proseriate Monocelis fusca Örsted, 1843 previously reported from Tunisia is considered to be a misidentification.By presenting a checklist of the recorded species, this work summarizes our current knowledge of the turbellarian fauna diversity in Tunisia, providing baseline data for future biogeographical, ecological, behavioral and evolutionary investigations.

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-05-22

    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.

  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 Central

    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. PMID:21135057

  4. In vivo visualization of living flatworm neurons using Lucifer yellow intracellular injections.

    PubMed

    Koopowitz, H; Elvin, M; Keenan, L

    1996-10-21

    Turbellarian flatworms lend themselves to neurobiological investigations using intracellular iontophoresis of Lucifer yellow provided that one is able to anesthetize the animal and expose the nervous system. This paper details the methods used with the polyclad Notoplana acticola and the rhabdocoel Mesostoma ehrenbergii. Marine turbellarians can be anesthetized with equal parts of sea water and isotonic MgCl2 and fresh-water animals with an 8% ethanol in spring water. Animals can be held steady with minuten pins and spines of the cactus Opuntia basilaris or O. littoralis. Sheaths surrounding the brain can be digested away with a protease. Conventional glass microelectrode techniques are used to fill the cells with fluorescent dye, Lucifer yellow. The preparation needs to be viewed using darkfield illumination. Cells can be photographed through the microscope or traced using a camera lucida attachment to a fluorescence microscope. Tracings tend to be more useful for preserving details of the three-dimensional nature of the neuronal cytoarchitecture.

  5. 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.

  6. Inhibitory effects of antiparkinsonian drugs and caspase inhibitors in a parkinsonian flatworm model.

    PubMed

    Kitamura, Yoshihisa; Inden, Masatoshi; Sanada, Hisakazu; Takata, Kazuyuki; Taniguchi, Takashi; Shimohama, Shun; Orii, Hidehumi; Mochii, Makoto; Agata, Kiyokazu; Watanabe, Kenji

    2003-06-01

    It has been known that rotenone and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP(+), a metabolite of MPTP), which inhibit mitochondrial complex I, are useful tools for parkinsonian models in vertebrates such as primates and rodents. Planarian, an invertebrate flatworm, has a high potential for regeneration, and dopamine plays a key role in its behavior. In the present study, we examined a cloned planarian, the GI strain from Dugesia japonica. Planarians that were treated with rotenone or MPTP underwent autolysis and individual death in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. In addition, these effects induced by rotenone or MPTP were inhibited by several antiparkinsonian drugs and caspase inhibitors. These results suggest that the degeneration of planarian dopaminergic system induced by rotenone or MPTP may be mediated through caspase-like activation.

  7. 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.

  8. Hierarchies in light sensing and dynamic interactions between ocular and extraocular sensory networks in a flatworm

    PubMed Central

    Shettigar, Nishan; Joshi, Asawari; Dalmeida, Rimple; Gopalkrishna, Rohini; Chakravarthy, Anirudh; Patnaik, Siddharth; Mathew, Manoj; Palakodeti, Dasaradhi; Gulyani, Akash

    2017-01-01

    Light sensing has independently evolved multiple times under diverse selective pressures but has been examined only in a handful among the millions of light-responsive organisms. Unsurprisingly, mechanistic insights into how differential light processing can cause distinct behavioral outputs are limited. We show how an organism can achieve complex light processing with a simple “eye” while also having independent but mutually interacting light sensing networks. Although planarian flatworms lack wavelength-specific eye photoreceptors, a 25 nm change in light wavelength is sufficient to completely switch their phototactic behavior. Quantitative photoassays, eye-brain confocal imaging, and RNA interference/knockdown studies reveal that flatworms are able to compare small differences in the amounts of light absorbed at the eyes through a single eye opsin and convert them into binary behavioral outputs. Because planarians can fully regenerate, eye-brain injury-regeneration studies showed that this acute light intensity sensing and processing are layered on simple light detection. Unlike intact worms, partially regenerated animals with eyes can sense light but cannot sense finer gradients. Planarians also show a “reflex-like,” eye-independent (extraocular/whole-body) response to low ultraviolet A light, apart from the “processive” eye-brain–mediated (ocular) response. Competition experiments between ocular and extraocular sensory systems reveal dynamic interchanging hierarchies. In intact worms, cerebral ocular response can override the reflex-like extraocular response. However, injury-regeneration again offers a time window wherein both responses coexist, but the dominance of the ocular response is reversed. Overall, we demonstrate acute light intensity–based behavioral switching and two evolutionarily distinct but interacting light sensing networks in a regenerating organism. PMID:28782018

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Embryonic origins of hull cells in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano through cell lineage analysis: developmental and phylogenetic implications.

    PubMed

    Willems, Maxime; Egger, Bernhard; Wolff, Carsten; Mouton, Stijn; Houthoofd, Wouter; Fonderie, Pamela; Couvreur, Marjolein; Artois, Tom; Borgonie, Gaëtan

    2009-08-01

    The development of macrostomid flatworms is of interest for evolutionary developmental biology research because these taxa combine characteristics of the canonical spiral cleavage pattern with significant deviations from this pattern. One such deviation is the formation of hull cells, which surround the remaining embryonic primordium during early development. Using live observations with a 4D microscope system, histology, and 3D reconstructions, we analyzed the ontogeny of these hull cells in the macrostomid model organism Macrostomum lignano. Our cell lineage analysis allowed us to find the precursors of the hull cells in this species. We discuss the relation between macrostomid development and the development of other spiralians and the question of whether hull cells are homologous within rhabditophoran flatworms.

  13. 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

  14. A Novel Biological Activity of Praziquantel Requiring Voltage-Operated Ca2+ Channel β Subunits: Subversion of Flatworm Regenerative Polarity

    PubMed Central

    Nogi, Taisaku; Zhang, Dan; Chan, John D.; Marchant, Jonathan S.

    2009-01-01

    Background Approximately 200 million people worldwide harbour parasitic flatworm infections that cause schistosomiasis. A single drug—praziquantel (PZQ)—has served as the mainstay pharmacotherapy for schistosome infections since the 1980s. However, the relevant in vivo target(s) of praziquantel remain undefined. Methods and Findings Here, we provide fresh perspective on the molecular basis of praziquantel efficacy in vivo consequent to the discovery of a remarkable action of PZQ on regeneration in a species of free-living flatworm (Dugesia japonica). Specifically, PZQ caused a robust (100% penetrance) and complete duplication of the entire anterior-posterior axis during flatworm regeneration to yield two-headed organisms with duplicated, integrated central nervous and organ systems. Exploiting this phenotype as a readout for proteins impacting praziquantel efficacy, we demonstrate that PZQ-evoked bipolarity was selectively ablated by in vivo RNAi of voltage-operated calcium channel (VOCC) β subunits, but not by knockdown of a VOCC α subunit. At higher doses of PZQ, knockdown of VOCC β subunits also conferred resistance to PZQ in lethality assays. Conclusions This study identifies a new biological activity of the antischistosomal drug praziquantel on regenerative polarity in a species of free-living flatworm. Ablation of the bipolar regenerative phenotype evoked by PZQ via in vivo RNAi of VOCC β subunits provides the first genetic evidence implicating a molecular target crucial for in vivo PZQ activity and supports the ‘VOCC hypothesis’ of PZQ efficacy. Further, in terms of regenerative biology and Ca2+ signaling, these data highlight a novel role for voltage-operated Ca2+ entry in regulating in vivo stem cell differentiation and regenerative patterning. PMID:19554083

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

    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. © 2015 Zhou et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. The mitochondrial genome of the egg-laying flatworm Aglaiogyrodactylus forficulatus (Platyhelminthes: Monogenoidea).

    PubMed

    Bachmann, Lutz; Fromm, Bastian; Patella de Azambuja, Luciana; Boeger, Walter A

    2016-05-17

    The rather species-poor oviparous gyrodactylids are restricted to South America. It was suggested that they have a basal position within the otherwise viviparous Gyrodactylidae. Accordingly, it was proposed that the species-rich viviparous gyrodactylids diversified and dispersed from there. The mitochondrial genome of Aglaiogyrodactylus forficulatus was bioinformatically assembled from next-generation illumina MiSeq sequencing reads, annotated, and compared to previously published mitochondrial genomes of other monogenoidean flatworm species. The mitochondrial genome of A. forficulatus consists of 14,371 bp with an average A + T content of 75.12 %. All expected 12 protein coding, 22 tRNA, and 2 rRNA genes were identified. Furthermore, there were two repetitive non-coding regions essentially consisting of 88 bp and 233 bp repeats, respectively. Maximum Likelihood analyses placed the mitochondrial genome of A. forficulatus in a well-supported clade together with the viviparous Gyrodactylidae species. The gene order differs in comparison to that of other monogenoidean species, with rearrangements mainly affecting tRNA genes. In comparison to Paragyrodactylus variegatus, four gene order rearrangements, i.e. three transpositions and one complex tandem-duplication-random-loss event, were detected. Mitochondrial genome sequence analyses support a basal position of the oviparous A. forficulatus within Gyrodactylidae, and a sister group relationship of the oviparous and viviparous forms.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. Fatty Acid Oxidation Is Essential for Egg Production by the Parasitic Flatworm Schistosoma mansoni

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Stanley Ching-Cheng; Freitas, Tori C.; Amiel, Eyal; Everts, Bart; Pearce, Erika L.; Lok, James B.; Pearce, Edward J.

    2012-01-01

    Schistosomes, parasitic flatworms that cause the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis, have been considered to have an entirely carbohydrate based metabolism, with glycolysis playing a dominant role in the adult parasites. However, we have discovered a close link between mitochondrial oxygen consumption by female schistosomes and their ability to produce eggs. We show that oxygen consumption rates (OCR) and egg production are significantly diminished by pharmacologic inhibition of carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1 (CPT1), which catalyzes a rate limiting step in fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO) and by genetic loss of function of acyl CoA synthetase, which complexes with CPT1 and activates long chain FA for use in FAO, and of acyl CoA dehydrogenase, which catalyzes the first step in FAO within mitochondria. Declines in OCR and egg production correlate with changes in a network of lipid droplets within cells in a specialized reproductive organ, the vitellarium. Our data point to the importance of regulated lipid stores and FAO for the compartmentalized process of egg production in schistosomes. PMID:23133378

  7. 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.

  8. Land flatworms (Platyhelminthes, Geoplanidae) of São Tomé: a first account on their diversity, with the description of five new species.

    PubMed

    Sluys, Ronald; Neumann, Matthias; Lima, Ricardo F DE; Drewes, Robert C

    2017-01-17

    The present contribution provides the first faunistic and taxonomic account of six species of land flatworm from the island of São Tomé, including five new species of the genus Othelosoma Gray, 1869 and the introduced Bipalium kewense Moseley, 1878. One of the new species represents the first African land flatworm that has specks on its dorsal body surface, instead of stripes or a more or less uniform colouration. At least two of the new species were observed to prey on snails. The study details the fourth record of a sclerotic spermatophore in a species of land flatworm, and discusses the definition and homology of double female genital canals in African and Indian species of the genus Othelosoma.

  9. 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

  10. Comparing host and parasite phylogenies: gyrodactylus flatworms jumping from goby to goby.

    PubMed

    Huyse, Tine; Volckaert, Filip A M

    2005-10-01

    The combination of exceptionally high species diversity, high host specificity, and a complex reproduction system raises many questions about the underlying mechanisms triggering speciation in the flatworm genus Gyrodactylus. The coevolutionary history with their goby hosts was investigated using both topology- and distance-based approaches; phylogenies were constructed of the V4 region of the 18S rRNA and the complete ITS rDNA region for the parasites, and 12S and 16S mtDNA fragments for the hosts. The overall fit between both trees was significant according to the topology-based programs (TreeMap 1.0, 2.0 beta and TreeFitter), but not according to the timed analysis in TreeMap 2.0 beta and the distance-based method (ParaFit). An absolute timing of speciation events in host and parasite ruled out the possibility of synchronous speciation for the gill parasites, favouring the distance-based result. Based on this information together with the biological background of host and parasite, the following TreeMap solution was selected. The group of gill parasites evolved from a host switch from G. arcuatus, parasitizing the three-spined stickleback onto the gobies, followed by several host-switching events among the respective goby hosts. The timing of these events is estimated to date back to the Late Pleistocene, suggesting a role for refugia-mediated mixing of parasite species. In contrast, it is suggested that co-speciation in the fin-parasites resulted in several host-associated species complexes. This illustrates that phylogenetically conserved host-switching mimics the phylogenetic signature of co-speciation, confounding topology-based programs.

  11. 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. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

  12. 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

  13. Confirmation and distribution of tetrodotoxin for the first time in terrestrial invertebrates: two terrestrial flatworm species (Bipalium adventitium and Bipalium kewense).

    PubMed

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

  14. Light-sheet microscopy for everyone? Experience of building an OpenSPIM to study flatworm development.

    PubMed

    Girstmair, Johannes; Zakrzewski, Anne; Lapraz, François; Handberg-Thorsager, Mette; Tomancak, Pavel; Pitrone, Peter Gabriel; Simpson, Fraser; Telford, Maximilian J

    2016-06-30

    Selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM a type of light-sheet microscopy) involves focusing a thin sheet of laser light through a specimen at right angles to the objective lens. As only the thin section of the specimen at the focal plane of the lens is illuminated, out of focus light is naturally absent and toxicity due to light (phototoxicity) is greatly reduced enabling longer term live imaging. OpenSPIM is an open access platform (Pitrone et al. 2013 and OpenSPIM.org) created to give new users step-by-step instructions on building a basic configuration of a SPIM microscope, which can in principle be adapted and upgraded to each laboratory's own requirements and budget. Here we describe our own experience with the process of designing, building, configuring and using an OpenSPIM for our research into the early development of the polyclad flatworm Maritigrella crozieri - a non-model animal. Our OpenSPIM builds on the standard design with the addition of two colour laser illumination for simultaneous detection of two probes/molecules and dual sided illumination, which provides more even signal intensity across a specimen. Our OpenSPIM provides high resolution 3d images and time lapse recordings, and we demonstrate the use of two colour lasers and the benefits of two color dual-sided imaging. We used our microscope to study the development of the embryo of the polyclad flatworm M. crozieri. The capabilities of our microscope are demonstrated by our ability to record the stereotypical spiral cleavage pattern of M. crozieri with high-speed multi-view time lapse imaging. 3D and 4D (3D + time) reconstruction of early development from these data is possible using image registration and deconvolution tools provided as part of the open source Fiji platform. We discuss our findings on the pros and cons of a self built microscope. We conclude that home-built microscopes, such as an OpenSPIM, together with the available open source software, such as MicroManager and

  15. 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.

  16. Looks can deceive: molecular phylogeny of a family of flatworm ectoparasites (Monogenea: Capsalidae) does not reflect current morphological classification.

    PubMed

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

    2009-09-01

    The morphological based taxonomy of highly derived parasite groups is likely to poorly reflect their evolutionary relationships. The taxonomy of the monogenean family Capsalidae, which comprises approximately 180 species of flatworm parasites that predominantly attach to external surfaces of chondrichthyan and teleost fishes, is based mainly on six morphological characters. The phylogenetic history of the family is largely unknown. We reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships of 47 species in 20 genera from eight of the nine subfamilies, from nucleotide sequences of three unlinked nuclear genes, 28S ribosomal RNA, Histone 3 and Elongation Factor 1 alpha. Our phylogeny was well corroborated, with 75% of branches receiving strong support from both Bayesian posterior probabilities and maximum likelihood bootstrap proportions and all nodes showed positive partitioned likelihood support for each of the three genes. We found that the family was monophyletic, with the Gyrodactylidae and Udonellidae forming the sister group. The Capsalinae was monophyletic, however, our data do not support monophyly for the Benedeniinae, Entobdellinae and Trochopodinae. Monophyly was supported for Capsala, Entobdella, Listrocephalos, Neobenedenia and Tristoma, but Benedenia and Neoentobdella were polyphyletic. Comparisons of the distribution of character states for the small number of morphological characters on the molecular phylogeny show a high frequency of apparent homoplasy. Consequently the current morphological classification shows little correspondence with the phylogenetic relationships within the family.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. The double odyssey of Madagascan polystome flatworms leads to new insights on the origins of their amphibian hosts.

    PubMed

    Verneau, Olivier; Du Preez, Louis H; Laurent, Véronique; Raharivololoniaina, Liliane; Glaw, Frank; Vences, Miguel

    2009-05-07

    Polystomatid flatworms are parasites of high host specificity, which mainly infect amphibian hosts. Only one polystome species has so far been recorded from Madagascar despite the high species richness and endemicity of amphibians on this island. Out of the 86 screened Malagasy frog species, we recovered polystomes from 25 in the families Ptychadenidae and Mantellidae. Molecular phylogenetic analysis uncovered an unexpected diversity of polystome species belonging to two separate clades: one forming a lineage within the genus Metapolystoma, with one species in Ptychadena and several species in the mantellid host genera Aglyptodactylus and Boophis; and the second corresponding to an undescribed genus that was found in the species of the subfamily Mantellinae in the family Mantellidae. The phylogenetic position of the undescribed genus along with molecular dating suggests that it may have colonized Madagascar in the Late Mesozoic or Early Cainozoic. By contrast, the more recent origin of Metapolystoma in Madagascar at ca 14-2 Myr ago strongly suggests that the ancestors of Ptychadena mascareniensis colonized Madagascar naturally by overseas dispersal, carrying their Metapolystoma parasites. Our findings provide a striking example of how parasite data can supply novel insights into the biogeographic history of their hosts.

  20. The double odyssey of Madagascan polystome flatworms leads to new insights on the origins of their amphibian hosts

    PubMed Central

    Verneau, Olivier; Du Preez, Louis H.; Laurent, Véronique; Raharivololoniaina, Liliane; Glaw, Frank; Vences, Miguel

    2009-01-01

    Polystomatid flatworms are parasites of high host specificity, which mainly infect amphibian hosts. Only one polystome species has so far been recorded from Madagascar despite the high species richness and endemicity of amphibians on this island. Out of the 86 screened Malagasy frog species, we recovered polystomes from 25 in the families Ptychadenidae and Mantellidae. Molecular phylogenetic analysis uncovered an unexpected diversity of polystome species belonging to two separate clades: one forming a lineage within the genus Metapolystoma, with one species in Ptychadena and several species in the mantellid host genera Aglyptodactylus and Boophis; and the second corresponding to an undescribed genus that was found in the species of the subfamily Mantellinae in the family Mantellidae. The phylogenetic position of the undescribed genus along with molecular dating suggests that it may have colonized Madagascar in the Late Mesozoic or Early Cainozoic. By contrast, the more recent origin of Metapolystoma in Madagascar at ca 14–2 Myr ago strongly suggests that the ancestors of Ptychadena mascareniensis colonized Madagascar naturally by overseas dispersal, carrying their Metapolystoma parasites. Our findings provide a striking example of how parasite data can supply novel insights into the biogeographic history of their hosts. PMID:19203917

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-02-02

    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. 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. 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 addition of a vertebrate

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-07-15

    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. 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. 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 contrast to progenitor cells of

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

    PubMed

    Maghsoudlou, Abdolvahab; Rahimian, Hassan

    2014-09-08

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

  12. The complete mitochondrial genomes of Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma spindale and the evolutionary history of mitochondrial genome changes among parasitic flatworms.

    PubMed

    Littlewood, D Timothy J; Lockyer, Anne E; Webster, Bonnie L; Johnston, David A; Le, Thanh Hoa

    2006-05-01

    Complete mitochondrial genome sequences for the schistosomes Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma. spindale have been characterized. S. haematobium is the causative agent of urinary schistosomiasis in humans and S. spindale uses ruminants as its definitive host; both are transmitted by freshwater snail intermediate hosts. Results confirm a major gene order rearrangement among schistosomes in all traditional Schistosoma species groups other than Schistosoma japonicum; i.e., species groups S. mansoni, S. haematobium, and S. indicum. These data lend support to the 'out of Asia' (East and Southeast Asia) hypothesis for Schistosoma. The gene order change involves translocation of atp6-nad2-trnA and a rearrangement of nad3-nad1 relative to other parasitic flatworm mt genomes so far sequenced. Gene order and tRNA secondary structure changes (loss and acquisition of the DHU and/or TPsiC arms of trnC, trnF, and trnR) between mitochondrial genomes of these and other (digenean and cestode) flatworms were inferred by character mapping onto a phylogeny estimated from nuclear small subunit rRNA gene sequences of these same species, in order to find additional rare genomic changes suitable as synapomorphies. Denser and wider taxon sampling of mt genomes across the Platyhelminthes will validate these putative characters.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Discovery of the Corallivorous Polyclad Flatworm, Amakusaplana acroporae, on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia – the First Report from the Wild

    PubMed Central

    Rawlinson, Kate A.; Stella, Jessica S.

    2012-01-01

    The role of corallivory is becoming increasingly recognised as an important factor in coral health at a time when coral reefs around the world face a number of other stressors. The polyclad flatworm, Amakusaplana acroporae, is a voracious predator of Indo-Pacific acroporid corals in captivity, and its inadvertent introduction into aquaria has lead to the death of entire coral colonies. While this flatworm has been a pest to the coral aquaculture community for over a decade, it has only been found in aquaria and has never been described from the wild. Understanding its biology and ecology in its natural environment is crucial for identifying viable biological controls for more successful rearing of Acropora colonies in aquaria, and for our understanding of what biotic interactions are important to coral growth and fitness on reefs. Using morphological, histological and molecular techniques we determine that a polyclad found on Acropora valida from Lizard Island, Australia is A. acroporae. The presence of extracellular Symbiodinium in the gut and parenchyma and spirocysts in the gut indicates that it is a corallivore in the wild. The examination of a size-range of individuals shows maturation of the sexual apparatus and increases in the number of eyes with increased body length. Conservative estimates of abundance show that A. acroporae occurred on 7 of the 10 coral colonies collected, with an average of 2.6±0.65 (mean ±SE) animals per colony. This represents the first report of A. acroporae in the wild, and sets the stage for future studies of A. acroporae ecology and life history in its natural habitat. PMID:22870308

  16. A tale of two flatties: different responses of two terrestrial flatworms to past environmental climatic fluctuations at Tallaganda in montane southeastern Australia.

    PubMed

    Sunnucks, Paul; Blacket, Mark J; Taylor, Jody M; Sands, Chester J; Ciavaglia, Sherryn A; Garrick, Ryan C; Tait, Noel N; Rowell, David M; Pavlova, Alexandra

    2006-12-01

    Comparative phylogeographic studies of animals with low mobility and/or high habitat specificity remain rare, yet such organisms may hold fine-grained palaeoecological signal. Comparisons of multiple, codistributed species can elucidate major historical events. As part of a multitaxon programme, mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) variation was analysed in two species of terrestrial flatworm, Artioposthia lucasi and Caenoplana coerulea. We applied coalescent demographic estimators and nested clade analysis to examine responses to past, landscape-scale, cooling-drying events in a model system of montane forest (Tallaganda). Correspondence of haplotype groups in both species to previously proposed microbiogeographic regions indicates at least four refuges from cool, dry conditions. The region predicted to hold the highest quality refuges (the Eastern Slopes Region), is indicated to have been a long-term refuge in both species, but so are several other regions. Coalescent analyses suggest that populations of A. lucasi are declining, while C. coerulea is expanding, although stronger population substructure in the former could yield similar patterns in the data. The differences in spatial and temporal genetic variation in the two species could be explained by differences in ecological attributes: A. lucasi is predicted to have lower dispersal ability but may be better able to withstand cold conditions. Thus, different contemporary population dynamics may reflect different responses to recent (Holocene) climate warming. The two species show highly congruent patterns of catchment-based local genetic endemism with one another and with previously studied slime-mould grazing Collembola.

  17. Simultaneous fixation using glutaraldehyde and osmium tetroxide or potassium ferricyanide-reduced osmium for the preservation of monogenean flatworms: an assessment for Merizocotyle icopae.

    PubMed

    Cribb, Bronwen; Armstrong, Wendy; Whittington, Ian

    2004-02-01

    Simultaneous fixation was investigated for a marine organism: the monogenean flatworm ectoparasite Merizocotyle icopae. Four protocols for primary fixation were compared: 3% glutaraldehyde alone in 0.1M cacodylate buffer for a minimum of 2 hours; 1% glutaraldehyde in combination with 1% osmium tetroxide, both in 0.1M cacodylate buffer, until tissues darkened (5-20 minutes); 1% glutaraldehyde in 0.1M cacodylate buffer in combination with 0.5% potassium ferricyanide-reduced osmium until tissues darkened (5-20 minutes); 1% glutaraldehyde in combination with 1% osmium tetroxide, both in 0.1M cacodylate buffer, for 30 minutes. The study confirms that the standard method for transmission electron microscopic fixation (first listed protocol) routinely applied to platyhelminths is optimal for ultrastructural preservation, but some simultaneous fixation methods (second and third listed protocols) are acceptable when rapid immobilization is needed. Scanning electron microscopic preparations may be improved using simultaneous primary fixation. Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  18. First report of monogenean flatworms from Lake Tana, Ethiopia: gill parasites of the commercially important Clarias gariepinus (Teleostei: Clariidae) and Oreochromis niloticus tana (Teleostei: Cichlidae).

    PubMed

    Beletew, Moges; Getahun, Abebe; Vanhove, Maarten P M

    2016-07-25

    Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile. The lake harbours unique endemic cyprinid fish species, as well as the commercially important endemic Nile tilapia subspecies Oreochromis niloticus tana and the North African catfish Clarias gariepinus. Its endemicity, especially within the Labeobarbus radiation, its conservation importance and its economic indispensability attract scientific interest to the lake's ichthyofauna. Fish parasites of Lake Tana, however, are hitherto poorly known, and no formal report exists on its monogenean flatworms. For sustainable aquaculture and fisheries development, it is essential to study monogenean fish parasites in these economically most important fish species. Moreover, it remains to be verified whether this unique ecosystem and its endemicity gave rise to a distinct parasite fauna as well. Nile tilapia and North African catfish hosts were collected from Lake Tana in 2013. Nine species of monogenean parasites of two orders, Gyrodactylidea Bychowsky, 1937 and Dactylogyridea Bychowsky, 1937, were recovered. Gyrodactylus gelnari Přikrylová, Blažek & Vanhove, 2012, Macrogyrodactylus clarii Gussev, 1961, Quadriacanthus aegypticus El-Naggar & Serag, 1986 and two undescribed Quadriacanthus species were recovered from C. gariepinus. Oreochromis niloticus tana hosted Cichlidogyrus cirratus Paperna, 1964, C. halli (Price & Kirk, 1967), C. thurstonae Ergens, 1981 and Scutogyrus longicornis (Paperna & Thurston, 1969). Except for M. clarii, all species represent new records for Ethiopia. This first study on the monogenean fauna of Lake Tana revealed that the lake's North African catfish, as well as its endemic Nile tilapia subspecies, harbour parasites that are known from these host species elsewhere in Africa.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. 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

  1. Delineating distinct heme-scavenging and -binding functions of domains in MF6p/helminth defense molecule (HDM) proteins from parasitic flatworms.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Sernández, Victoria; Mezo, Mercedes; González-Warleta, Marta; Perteguer, María J; Gárate, Teresa; Romarís, Fernanda; Ubeira, Florencio M

    2017-05-26

    MF6p/FhHDM-1 is a small protein secreted by the parasitic flatworm (trematode) Fasciola hepatica that belongs to a broad family of heme-binding proteins (MF6p/helminth defense molecules (HDMs)). MF6p/HDMs are of interest for understanding heme homeostasis in trematodes and as potential targets for the development of new flukicides. Moreover, interest in these molecules has also increased because of their immunomodulatory properties. Here we have extended our previous findings on the mechanism of MF6p/HDM-heme interactions and mapped the protein regions required for heme binding and for other biological functions. Our data revealed that MF6p/FhHDM-1 forms high-molecular-weight complexes when associated with heme and that these complexes are reorganized by a stacking procedure to form fibril-like and granular nanostructures. Furthermore, we showed that MF6p/FhHDM-1 is a transitory heme-binding protein as protein·heme complexes can be disrupted by contact with an apoprotein (e.g. apomyoglobin) with higher affinity for heme. We also demonstrated that (i) the heme-binding region is located in the MF6p/FhHDM-1 C-terminal moiety, which also inhibits the peroxidase-like activity of heme, and (ii) MF6p/HDMs from other trematodes, such as Opisthorchis viverrini and Paragonimus westermani, also bind heme. Finally, we observed that the N-terminal, but not the C-terminal, moiety of MF6p/HDMs has a predicted structural analogy with cell-penetrating peptides and that both the entire protein and the peptide corresponding to the N-terminal moiety of MF6p/FhHDM-1 interact in vitro with cell membranes in hemin-preconditioned erythrocytes. Our findings suggest that MF6p/HDMs can transport heme in trematodes and thereby shield the parasite from the harmful effects of heme. © 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lombardo, Paola; Giustini, Marco; Miccoli, Francesco Paolo; Cicolani, Bruno

    2011-04-10

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

  9. 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.

  10. Fixed behaviours and migration in parasitic flatworms.

    PubMed

    Sukhdeo, M V K; Sukhdeo, S C

    2002-03-01

    This paper considers how fixed behaviours may play a role in post-larval migrations of Entobdella soleae. A general argument is that a shift away from the paradigm of orientation is required to elucidate the mechanisms that parasites use to navigate on the surface of their hosts. Some migrations may rely on fixed behaviours (genetically programmed stereotyped behaviours) that often evolve under predictable environmental conditions with reliable signals. In turbulent and stochastic free-living environments, homeostatic hosts present very predictable topological substrates and physico-chemical characteristics to their parasites. Over the course of evolution on these predictable host substrates, adaptive behaviours in the parasites can become fixed. Examples of endoparasite migration behaviour, particularly that of the common liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, will be used to develop an approach based on the perceptual worlds of migrating parasites. An important conclusion is that multi-disciplinary approaches, firmly rooted in an understanding of each parasite's natural history, are requisite to successful interpretation of migration behaviours on the host.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. [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.

  14. 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

  15. Localization of planarian β-CATENIN-1 reveals multiple roles during anterior-posterior regeneration and organogenesis.

    PubMed

    Sureda-Gómez, Miquel; Martín-Durán, José M; Adell, Teresa

    2016-11-15

    The β-catenin-dependent Wnt pathway exerts multiple context-dependent roles in embryonic and adult tissues. In planarians, β-catenin-1 is thought to specify posterior identities through the generation of an anteroposterior gradient. However, the existence of such a gradient has not been directly demonstrated. Here, we use a specific polyclonal antibody to demonstrate that nuclear β-CATENIN-1 exists as an anteroposterior gradient from the pre-pharyngeal region to the tail of the planarian Schmidtea polychroa High levels in the posterior region steadily decrease towards the pre-pharyngeal region but then increase again in the head region. During regeneration, β-CATENIN-1 is nuclearized in both anterior and posterior blastemas, but the canonical WNT1 ligand only influences posterior nuclearization. Additionally, β-catenin-1 is required for proper anterior morphogenesis, consistent with the high levels of nuclear β-CATENIN-1 observed in this region. We further demonstrate that β-CATENIN-1 is abundant in developing and differentiated organs, and is particularly required for the specification of the germline. Altogether, our findings provide the first direct evidence of an anteroposterior nuclear β-CATENIN-1 gradient in adult planarians and uncover novel, context-dependent roles for β-catenin-1 during anterior regeneration and organogenesis. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Sociality in Parasitic Flatworms: When Do Soldiers Matter?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia-Vedrenne, A. E.

    2016-02-01

    Although not traditionally recognized as such, trematode infections in molluscan first intermediate hosts comprise colonies. When two trematode species simultaneously infect a snail host, one generally kills the other. Thus, there can be strong selective pressure for established trematode colonies to protect and defend against new infections. Recent findings demonstrate that some trematode species have a reproductive division of labor involving a reproductive and a soldier caste. Reproductives are larger and filled with offspring, while soldiers lack developing embryos, and are specialized for inter-trematode antagonism. This reproductive division of labor has now been documented for intramolluscan stages of fourteen trematode species from different geographic regions and host species. Further, literature descriptions of the life history of several species suggest that this phenomenon is widespread, although there are important intra- and inter-specific differences in colony structure. It has been predicted that trematode soldier castes would most likely evolve in taxa that are typically dominant in interspecific hierarchies, in situations of invasion risk, and among trematodes that infect longer lived hosts. Here I address these hypotheses and present the extent of evidence for trematode social organization.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  3. Cytoplasmic poly (A)-binding protein critically regulates epidermal maintenance and turnover in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Bansal, Dhiru; Kulkarni, Jahnavi; Nadahalli, Kavana; Lakshmanan, Vairavan; Krishna, Srikar; Sasidharan, Vidyanand; Geo, Jini; Dilipkumar, Shilpa; Pasricha, Renu; Gulyani, Akash; Raghavan, Srikala; Palakodeti, Dasaradhi

    2017-09-01

    Identifying key cellular events that facilitate stem cell function and tissue organization is crucial for understanding the process of regeneration. Planarians are powerful model system to study regeneration and stem cell (neoblast) function. Here, using planaria, we show that the initial events of regeneration, such as epithelialization and epidermal organization are critically regulated by a novel cytoplasmic poly A-binding protein, SMED-PABPC2. Knockdown of smed-pabpc2 leads to defects in epidermal lineage specification, disorganization of epidermis and ECM, and deregulated wound healing, resulting in the selective failure of neoblast proliferation near the wound region. Polysome profiling suggests that epidermal lineage transcripts, including zfp-1, are translationally regulated by SMED-PABPC2. Together, our results uncover a novel role for SMED-PABPC2 in the maintenance of epidermal and ECM integrity, critical for wound healing and subsequent processes for regeneration. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-09-11

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

  9. Thioredoxin and glutathione systems differ in parasitic and free-living platyhelminths.

    PubMed

    Otero, Lucía; Bonilla, Mariana; Protasio, Anna V; Fernández, Cecilia; Gladyshev, Vadim N; Salinas, Gustavo

    2010-04-13

    The thioredoxin and/or glutathione pathways occur in all organisms. They provide electrons for deoxyribonucleotide synthesis, function as antioxidant defenses, in detoxification, Fe/S biogenesis and participate in a variety of cellular processes. In contrast to their mammalian hosts, platyhelminth (flatworm) parasites studied so far, lack conventional thioredoxin and glutathione systems. Instead, they possess a linked thioredoxin-glutathione system with the selenocysteine-containing enzyme thioredoxin glutathione reductase (TGR) as the single redox hub that controls the overall redox homeostasis. TGR has been recently validated as a drug target for schistosomiasis and new drug leads targeting TGR have recently been identified for these platyhelminth infections that affect more than 200 million people and for which a single drug is currently available. Little is known regarding the genomic structure of flatworm TGRs, the expression of TGR variants and whether the absence of conventional thioredoxin and glutathione systems is a signature of the entire platyhelminth phylum. We examine platyhelminth genomes and transcriptomes and find that all platyhelminth parasites (from classes Cestoda and Trematoda) conform to a biochemical scenario involving, exclusively, a selenium-dependent linked thioredoxin-glutathione system having TGR as a central redox hub. In contrast, the free-living platyhelminth Schmidtea mediterranea (Class Turbellaria) possesses conventional and linked thioredoxin and glutathione systems. We identify TGR variants in Schistosoma spp. derived from a single gene, and demonstrate their expression. We also provide experimental evidence that alternative initiation of transcription and alternative transcript processing contribute to the generation of TGR variants in platyhelminth parasites. Our results indicate that thioredoxin and glutathione pathways differ in parasitic and free-living flatworms and that canonical enzymes were specifically lost in the

  10. Thioredoxin and glutathione systems differ in parasitic and free-living platyhelminths

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The thioredoxin and/or glutathione pathways occur in all organisms. They provide electrons for deoxyribonucleotide synthesis, function as antioxidant defenses, in detoxification, Fe/S biogenesis and participate in a variety of cellular processes. In contrast to their mammalian hosts, platyhelminth (flatworm) parasites studied so far, lack conventional thioredoxin and glutathione systems. Instead, they possess a linked thioredoxin-glutathione system with the selenocysteine-containing enzyme thioredoxin glutathione reductase (TGR) as the single redox hub that controls the overall redox homeostasis. TGR has been recently validated as a drug target for schistosomiasis and new drug leads targeting TGR have recently been identified for these platyhelminth infections that affect more than 200 million people and for which a single drug is currently available. Little is known regarding the genomic structure of flatworm TGRs, the expression of TGR variants and whether the absence of conventional thioredoxin and glutathione systems is a signature of the entire platyhelminth phylum. Results We examine platyhelminth genomes and transcriptomes and find that all platyhelminth parasites (from classes Cestoda and Trematoda) conform to a biochemical scenario involving, exclusively, a selenium-dependent linked thioredoxin-glutathione system having TGR as a central redox hub. In contrast, the free-living platyhelminth Schmidtea mediterranea (Class Turbellaria) possesses conventional and linked thioredoxin and glutathione systems. We identify TGR variants in Schistosoma spp. derived from a single gene, and demonstrate their expression. We also provide experimental evidence that alternative initiation of transcription and alternative transcript processing contribute to the generation of TGR variants in platyhelminth parasites. Conclusions Our results indicate that thioredoxin and glutathione pathways differ in parasitic and free-living flatworms and that canonical enzymes

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. A new species of land flatworm (Platyhelminthes: Continenticola) from areas of Araucaria Forest in southern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Rossi, Ilana; Fontoura, Marcela; Amaral, Silvana; Leal-Zanchet, Ana M

    2014-05-08

    The genus Cratera Carbayo et al. was proposed to encompass five species of Geoplaninae from southeastern Brazil that were mainly recorded in the state of São Paulo. Here we describe a new species of the genus, C. steffeni sp. nov., that occurs in areas of Araucaria Forest in southern Brazil, which augments the known distribution of Cratera. The new species is distinguished from others of the genus by its characteristic colour pattern and a combination of internal morphological characters.

  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. Ca2+ signalling, voltage-gated Ca2+ channels and praziquantel in flatworm neuromusculature.

    PubMed

    Greenberg, R M

    2005-01-01

    Transient changes in calcium (Ca2+) levels regulate a wide variety of cellular processes, and cells employ both intracellular and extracellular sources of Ca2+ for signalling. Praziquantel, the drug of choice against schistosomiasis, disrupts Ca2+ homeostasis in adult worms. This review will focus on voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, which regulate levels of intracellular Ca2+ by coupling membrane depolarization to entry of extracellular Ca2+. Ca2+ channels are members of the ion channel superfamily and represent essential components of neurons, muscles and other excitable cells. Ca2+ channels are membrane protein complexes in which the pore-forming alpha1 subunit is modulated by auxiliary subunits such as beta and alpha2delta. Schistosomes express two Ca2+ channel beta subunit subtypes: a conventional subtype similar to beta subunits found in other vertebrates and invertebrates and a novel variant subtype with unusual structural and functional properties. The variant schistosome beta subunit confers praziquantel sensitivity to an otherwise praziquantel-insensitive mammalian Ca2+ channel, implicating it as a mediator of praziquantel action.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Two new marine flatworms (Polycladida: Pseudocerotidae) from Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India.

    PubMed

    Dixit, Sudhanshu; Raghunathan, C; Chandra, Kailash

    2017-01-16

    The genus Pseudoceros is one of the most flamboyant among polyclads and is represented by 87 species worldwide. Pseudoceros galatheensis sp. nov. and P. nigropunctatus sp. nov., based on morphological and histological characters, have been described in the present paper. Both species had been photographed in the past from other parts of the world but lacked formal description. These are an addition to the polyclad fauna of the world described from India.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

    Metorchis spp. are flukes (Platyhelminthes: Digenea) that infect vertebrates, including humans, dogs, cats, poultry and wild game, with cyprinid freshwater fish serving as typical second intermediate hosts. In their definitive hosts, the Metorchis spp. are difficult to identify to species. We provide and analyze sequences of two nuclear (18S rDNA and ITS2) and two mitochondrial (CO1 and ND1) DNA loci of four morphologically identified European species of the Metorchis, namely Metorchis albidus, Metorchis bilis, Metorchis crassiusculus and Metorchis xanthosomus, and of another opisthorchiid, Euamphimerus pancreaticus. DNA analysis suggests that the Metorchis specimens identified morphologically as M. albidus (from Lutra lutra), M. bilis (from Phalacrocorax carbo) and M. crassiusculus (from Aquila heliaca and Buteo rufinus) represent a single species. Thus, M. albidus (Braun, 1893) Loos, 1899 and M. crassiusculus (Rudolphi, 1809) Looss, 1899 are recognized as junior subjective synonyms of M. bilis (Braun, 1790) Odening, 1962. We also provide comparative measurements of the Central European Metorchis spp., and address their tissue specificity and prevalence based on the examination of extensive bird cohort from 1962 to 2015. M. bilis and M. xanthosomus can be morphologically diagnosed by measuring the extent of genitalia relative to body length and by the size ratio of their suckers. They also differ in their core definitive hosts, with ducks (Anas, Aythya) and coots (Fulica) hosting M. xanthosomus, and cormorants (Phalacrocorax), the birds of prey (Buteo, Aquila, etc.), piscivorous mammals (Lutra, Vulpes, Ursus, etc.) and humans hosting M. bilis. Previous reports on the Metorchis spp. contain numerous suspected misidentifications. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. The miR-124 family of microRNAs is crucial for regeneration of the brain and visual system in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea.

    PubMed

    Sasidharan, Vidyanand; Marepally, Srujan; Elliott, Sarah A; Baid, Srishti; Lakshmanan, Vairavan; Nayyar, Nishtha; Bansal, Dhiru; Sánchez Alvarado, Alejandro; Vemula, Praveen Kumar; Palakodeti, Dasaradhi

    2017-09-15

    Brain regeneration in planarians is mediated by precise spatiotemporal control of gene expression and is crucial for multiple aspects of neurogenesis. However, the mechanisms underpinning the gene regulation essential for brain regeneration are largely unknown. Here, we investigated the role of the miR-124 family of microRNAs in planarian brain regeneration. The miR-124 family (miR-124) is highly conserved in animals and regulates neurogenesis by facilitating neural differentiation, yet its role in neural wiring and brain organization is not known. We developed a novel method for delivering anti-miRs using liposomes for the functional knockdown of microRNAs. Smed-miR-124 knockdown revealed a key role for these microRNAs in neuronal organization during planarian brain regeneration. Our results also demonstrated an essential role for miR-124 in the generation of eye progenitors. Additionally, miR-124 regulates Smed-slit-1, which encodes an axon guidance protein, either by targeting slit-1 mRNA or, potentially, by modulating the canonical Notch pathway. Together, our results reveal a role for miR-124 in regulating the regeneration of a functional brain and visual system. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  6. [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.

  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. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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. © 2013 FEBS.

  15. 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

  16. Neuropeptides in helminths: occurrence and distribution.

    PubMed

    Marks, Nikki J; Maule, Aaron G

    2010-01-01

    Nematode neuropeptide systems comprise an exceptionally complex array of approximately 250 peptidic signaling molecules that operate within a structurally simple nervous system of approximately 300 neurons. A relatively complete picture of the neuropeptide complement is available for Caenorhabditis elegans, with 30 flp, 38 ins and 43 nlp genes having been documented; accumulating evidence indicates similar complexity in parasitic nematodes from clades I, III, IV and V. In contrast, the picture for parasitic platyhelminths is less clear, with the limited peptide sequence data available providing concrete evidence for only FMRFamide-like peptide (FLP) and neuropeptide F (NPF) signaling systems, each of which only comprises one or two peptides. With the completion of the Schmidtea meditteranea and Schistosoma mansoni genome projects and expressed sequence tag datasets for other flatworm parasites becoming available, the time is ripe for a detailed reanalysis ofneuropeptide signalingin flatworms. Although the actual neuropeptides provide limited obvious value as targets for chemotherapeutic-based control strategies, they do highlight the signaling systems present in these helminths and provide tools for the discovery of more amenable targets such as neuropeptide receptors or neuropeptide processing enzymes. Also, they offer opportunities to evaluate the potential of their associated signaling pathways as targets through RNA interference (RNAi)-based, target validation strategies. Currently, within both helminth phyla, theflp signaling systems appear to merit further investigation as they are intrinsically linked with motor function, a proven target for successful anti-parasitics; it is clear that some nematode NLPs also play a role in motor function and could have similar appeal. At this time, it is unclear if flatworm NPF and nematode INS peptides operate in pathways that have utility for parasite control. Clearly, RNAi-based validation could be a starting point for

  17. CLONING AND FUNCTIONAL CHARACTERIZATION OF TWO CALMODULIN GENES DURING LARVAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE PARASITIC FLATWORM SCHISTOSOMA MANSONI

    PubMed Central

    Taft, Andrew S.; Yoshino, Timothy P.

    2013-01-01

    Schistosomiasis is endemic in over 70 countries in which more than 200 million people are infected with the various schistosome species. Understanding the physiological processes underlying key developmental events could be useful in developing novel chemotherapeutic reagents or infection intervention strategies. Calmodulin is a small, calcium-sensing protein found in all eukaryotes and, although the protein has been previously identified in various Schistosoma mansoni stages and implicated in egg hatching and miracidia transformation, little molecular and functional data are available for this essential protein. Herein, we report the molecular cloning, expression, and functional characterization of calmodulin in the miracidia and primary sporocyst stages of S. mansoni. Two transcripts, SmCaM1 and SmCaM2, were cloned and sequenced, and a recombinant SmCaM1 protein was expressed in Escherichia coli and used to generate anti-CaM antibodies. The 2 protein sequences were highly conserved when compared to other model organisms. The alignment of the predicted proteins of both SmCaM1 and SmCaM2 exhibited 99% identity to each other and 97–98% identity with mammalian calmodulins. Analysis of steady-state transcript abundance indicate that the 2 calmodulin transcripts differ in their stage-associated expression patterns, although the CaM protein isotype appears to be constitutively expressed during early larval development. Application of RNAi to larval parasites results in a “stunted growth” phenotype in sporocysts with 30% and 35% reduction in transcript abundance for SmCaM1 and SmCaM2, respectively, and a corresponding 35% reduction in protein level after incubation in double-stranded RNA. Differential expression of CaM transcripts during early larval development and a growth defect-inducing effect associated with partial transcript and protein inhibition as a result of RNAi, suggest a potentially important role of calmodulin during early larval development. PMID:21348610

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

    High concentrations of the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin (TTX) were detected by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) in the Platyhelminthes Stylochoplana sp. from Pilot Bay (Tauranga, New Zealand). This is the first detection of TTX in this genus. Concentrations were monitored from March to November (2013) and found to significantly decrease from a peak in July (avg. 551 mg kg(-1)) to November (avg. 140 mg kg(-1)). Stylochoplana sp. co-occurred with TTX-containing Pleurobranchaea maculata (Opisthobranchia). A Stylochoplana sp.-specific real-time PCR assay was developed targeting the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene to determine if P. maculata consumed Stylochoplana sp. Positive Stylochoplana sp. signals were obtained for 7 of 19 P. maculata tested. Mass calculations indicate Stylochoplana sp. could supply Pilot Bay P. maculata with the TTX required to account for the concentrations reported in previous studies (ca. 1.04 mg TTX per individual) based on an ingestion rate of one individual every 2-3 days throughout their lifetime. However, due to the lack of Stylochoplana sp. in areas with dense P. maculata populations, and high concentration (ca. 1400 mg kg(-1)) of TTX detected in some individuals, it is unlikely that Stylochoplana sp. represent the sole source of TTX in P. maculata. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. 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.

  20. 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. Copyright (c) 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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

    PubMed

    Heneberg, Petr; Sitko, Jiljí; Bizos, Jiří

    2015-10-01

    Species of the family Prosthogonimidae are considered the most pathogenic poultry trematodes worldwide, affecting particularly low intensity farming in rural areas. Adults of Prosthogonimus occur mainly in the bursa of Fabricius, oviduct and cloaca of ducks, geese, fowl and other birds feeding at least occasionally on dragonflies or damselflies (Odonata). We analyzed the central European species of the Prosthogonimidae, namely Prosthogonimus cuneatus, Prosthogonimus ovatus, Prosthogonimus pellucidus and Prosthogonimus rarus. We sequenced three nuclear (ITS2) and mitochondrial (CO1, ND1) DNA loci of four species isolated from Anas clypeata, Anas strepera, Anas platyrhynchos, Aythya ferina, Passer domesticus and Turdus merula. Intra- and inter-specific sequence variability revealed that all four species represent distinct well-defined entities. Our data, combined with previously published studies, suggest the return of the name Prosthogonimus rarus Braun, 1901 for Schistogonimus rarus (Braun, 1901). The genus name Schistogonimus Lühe, 1909 is considered a junior synonym of Prosthogonimus Lühe, 1899. We identified the existence of two clades, one represented by P. cuneatus and P. pellucidus, and another one formed by P. ovatus and P. rarus. We also provide comparative measurements of these four central European prosthogonimids, and address their tissue specificity, host-specific prevalence (based on the extensive bird cohort examined in years 1962-2014), and for some bird hosts we address also differences in the prevalence of Prosthogonimus spp. in natural and near-natural wetlands in comparison with fishponds utilized for intense carp production. We provide an updated key to European Prosthogonimus spp. based on their morphological characters. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. The Akt signaling pathway is required for tissue maintenance and regeneration in planarians.

    PubMed

    Peiris, T Harshani; Ramirez, Daniel; Barghouth, Paul G; Oviedo, Néstor J

    2016-04-11

    Akt (PKB) is a serine threonine protein kinase downstream of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. In mammals, Akt is ubiquitously expressed and is associated with regulation of cellular proliferation, metabolism, cell growth and cell death. Akt has been widely studied for its central role in physiology and disease, in particular cancer where it has become an attractive pharmacological target. However, the mechanisms by which Akt signaling regulates stem cell behavior in the complexity of the whole body are poorly understood. Planarians are flatworms with large populations of stem cells capable of dividing to support adult tissue renewal and regeneration. The planarian ortholog Smed-Akt is molecularly conserved providing unique opportunities to analyze the function of Akt during cellular turnover and repair of adult tissues. Our findings abrogating Smed-Akt with RNA-interference in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea led to a gradual decrease in stem cell (neoblasts) numbers. The reduced neoblast numbers largely affected the maintenance of adult tissues including the nervous and excretory systems and ciliated structures in the ventral epithelia, which impaired planarian locomotion. Downregulation of Smed-Akt function also resulted in an increase of cell death throughout the animal. However, in response to amputation, levels of cell death were decreased and failed to localize near the injury site. Interestingly, the neoblast mitotic response was increased around the amputation area but the regenerative blastema failed to form. We demonstrate Akt signaling is essential for organismal physiology and in late stages of the Akt phenotype the reduction in neoblast numbers may impair regeneration in planarians. Functional disruption of Smed-Akt alters the balance between cell proliferation and cell death leading to systemic impairment of adult tissue renewal. Our results also reveal novel roles for Akt signaling during regeneration, specifically for the timely

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Central European parasitic flatworms of the family Renicolidae Dollfus, 1939 (Trematoda: Plagiorchiida): molecular and comparative morphological analysis rejects the synonymization of Renicola pinguis complex suggested by Odening.

    PubMed

    Heneberg, Petr; Sitko, Jiljí; Bizos, Jiří; Horne, Elizabeth C

    2016-10-01

    The Renicolidae are digenean parasites of piscivorous and molluscivorous birds. Although they exhibit few morphological autapomorphies and are highly variable, the numerous suggested re-classifications within the family have never been supported by any molecular analyses. We address the possible synonymization of species within the Renicola pinguis complex suggested previously by Odening. We provide and analyse sequences of two nuclear (ITS2, 28S rDNA) and two mitochondrial (CO1, ND1) DNA loci of central European species of the Renicolidae, namely Renicola lari, Renicola pinguis and Renicola sternae sp. n., and we also provide first sequences of Renicola sloanei. The combined molecular and comparative morphological analysis confirms the previously questioned validity of the three Renicola spp. of highly similar morphology, which display strict niche separation in terms of host specificity and selectivity. We identify two previously unreported clades within the genus Renicola; however, only one of them is supported by the analysis of adult worms. We also provide comparative measurements of the three examined closely related central European renicolids, and describe the newly proposed tern-specialized species Renicola sternae sp. n., which was previously repeatedly misidentified as Renicola paraquinta. Based on the extensive dataset collected in 1962-2015, we update the host spectrum of Renicolidae parasitizing central European birds (Renicola bretensis, R. lari, Renicola mediovitellata, R. pinguis, Renicola secunda and R. sternae sp. n.) and discuss their host-specific prevalence and intensity of infections.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Methylisothiazolinone toxicity and inhibition of wound healing and regeneration in planaria.

    PubMed

    Van Huizen, Alanna V; Tseng, Ai-Sun; Beane, Wendy S

    2017-10-01

    Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) is a common biocide used in cosmetic and industrial settings. Studies have demonstrated that MIT is a human sensitizer, to the extent that in 2013 MIT was named allergen of the year. Recently, we showed that MIT exposure in Xenopus laevis (the African clawed frog) inhibits wound healing and tail regeneration. However, it is unknown whether MIT affects these processes in other animals. Here, we investigated the effects of MIT exposure in planaria-non-parasitic freshwater flatworms able to regenerate all tissues after injury. Using a common research strain of Dugesia japonica, we determined that intact planarians exposed to 15μM MIT displayed both neuromuscular and epithelial-integrity defects. Furthermore, regenerating (head and tail) fragments exposed to 15μM MIT failed to close wounds or had significantly delayed wound healing. Planarian wounds normally close within 1h after injury. However, most MIT-exposed animals retained open wounds at 24h and subsequently died, and those few animals that were able to undergo delayed wound healing without dying exhibited abnormal regeneration. For instance, head regeneration was severely delayed or inhibited, with anterior structures such as eyes failing to form in newly produced tissues. These data suggest that MIT directly affects both wound healing and regeneration in planarians. Next, we investigated the ability of thiol-containing antioxidants to rescue planarian wound closure during MIT exposure. The data reveal both n-acetyl cysteine and glutathione were each able to fully rescue MIT inhibition of wound healing. Lastly, we established MIT toxicity levels by determining the LC50 of 5 different planarian species: D. japonica, Schmidtea mediterranea, Girardia tigrina, Girardia dorotocephala, and Phagocata gracilis. Our LC50 data revealed that concentrations as low as 39μM (4.5ppm) are lethal to planarians, with concentrations of just 5μM inhibiting wound healing, and suggest that phylogeny

  13. 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.

  14. Central European parasitic flatworms of the Cyclocoelidae Stossich, 1902 (Trematoda: Plagiorchiida): molecular and comparative morphological analysis suggests the reclassification of Cyclocoelum obscurum (Leidy, 1887) into the Harrahium Witenberg, 1926.

    PubMed

    Sitko, Jiljí; Bizos, Jiří; Heneberg, Petr

    2017-04-01

    Cyclocoelidae Stossich, 1902 are medium-sized to large digenean bird parasites. Although these parasites bear few visible autapomorphic signs, and their diagnostic characters are unstable in response to the pressure applied during preparation, the numerous hitherto suggested re-classifications within the family have not been supported by any molecular analysis. We analyse here cyclocoelids found during the extensive examination of central European birds performed from 1962 to 2016, provide comparative measurements, host spectra, prevalence and intensity, and provide and analyse sequences of four DNA loci of five of the cyclocoelid species. Cyclocoleum Brandes, 1892 appears paraphyletic; thus we suggest the re-classification of Cyclocoleum obscurum (Leidy, 1887) as Harrahium obscurum (Leidy, 1887) Sitko and Heneberg comb. n. Molecular phylogenetics questioned also the validity of Cyclocoelinae Stossich, 1902 and Hyptiasminae Dollfus, 1948, which formed a single clade, whereas Allopyge Johnston, 1913, Prohyptiasmus Witenberg, 1923 and Morishitium Witenberg, 1928 formed another clade. Haematotrephinae Dollfus, 1948 are newly characterized as having a pretesticular or intertesticular ovary that forms a triangle with the testes. Analyses of non-European genera of the Cyclocoelidae and an examination of the position of families within Echinostomata La Rue, 1926 are needed.

  15. 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.

  16. Discovery of multiple neuropeptide families in the phylum Platyhelminthes

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19361512

  17. Life History and Production of Dominant Larval Insects on Stone Dikes in the Lower Mississippi River

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-09-01

    species was the free-living flatworm (Platyhelminthes:Tricladida) Dugesia tigrina. Hydropsyche orris typically comprised over 95 percent (by number) of...tigrina was the only flatworm obtained. During this study the highest densities of the dominant macroinverte- brates were in the summer and early fall of

  18. Species Profiles. Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (Pacific Northwest). Olympia Oyster

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-12-01

    introduced predators and parasites by smothering oysters in shallow areas of attack Olympia oysters. Two introduced southern Puget Sound. Olympia oyster...levels (Kincaid 1951). the flatworm Pseudostylochus ostreophagus. These two species were introduced with regular Olympia oysters arc sensitive to...American oysters lower salinitics (Korringa 1976). Some oyster (Crassostrea virginica). Other pests are the growers overcome prcdation from flatworms and

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Scaling and Regeneration of Self-Organized Patterns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-04-01

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

  9. 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)

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

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

    1984-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. 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)

  15. 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)

  16. 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)

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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…

  20. 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…

  1. 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.

  2. 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…

  3. 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)

  4. Species Profiles: Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (Pacific Northwest), Pacific Oyster

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1988-09-01

    13 Predators ............ ....................... .... .13 Parasites . . .... .................. . . . . 15 Disease...observe tory flatworm Pseudostylochus ostreo- this sex difference. phaVs (Quayle 1969a; Beattie 1982). Lipovsky and Chew (1972) simu- The Dungeness...affected by diseases, although shrimp, occasional disease outbreaks have occurred (Quayle 1969a). Parasites Focal necrosis, caused by an The parasitic

  5. Effects of TBT (Tributyltin) on Marine Organisms: Field Assessment of a New Site-Specific Bioassay System.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-12-01

    turellarian or flatworm , limpets and time for all control and treatment mzssels (Figuregastr de messes. 5). Pier Control mussels had consistently higher...Mytilicola (23) Laughlin, R. B., Jr., W. French and H. E. orientalis and the effect of this parasite on Guard. 1986. Accumulation of bis (tributyl- the

  6. Species Profiles: Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (North Atlantic), American Oyster,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1984-07-01

    filteration rate is worms of the genus Polydora. Juveniles independent of the algal food concen- are preyed upon by the flatworm Stylo- tration in the...American oyster typically ety of diseases and parasites and sup- lives in shallow, well-mixed estu- port several predator populations aries, lagoons, and

  7. Effects of Water Quality on Survival and Reproduction of Four Species of Planaria (Turbellaria: Tricladida)

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1994-01-01

    parasites and predators of rians, 2nd ed., J.V. McConnell, ed., Planarian Press, medically important arthropods, annotated list and Ann Arbor, MI, 1967...474-478. Florida on the planarian Dugesia dorotocephala. Proc. Wharton, R.H., Freshwater planarians ( flatworms ) as Fla. Mosq. Control Assoc., 20 (1982

  8. Species Profiles. Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (Mid-Atlantic). American Oyster.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1986-07-01

    in oyster beds flatworm Stylochus ellipticus (Bahr and Lanier 1981) and the number (MacKenzie 1970; Christensen 1973). of species in an oyster...Kf nnedy 1979). Over 100 bay anemones/m have Oysters have a variety of dis- been known to occupy oyster beds in eases and parasites and are preyed

  9. Red River of the North Reconnaissance Report: Red Lake River.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1980-12-01

    and Helisoma, especially). Cvancara (1970) reported live representatives for thirteen species of mussels from Red Lake River. Annelids and flatworms ...rare by the Minnesota Natural Heritage Program (1980). One of these plants, Orobanche ludoviciana, is a parasite on the roots of members of the

  10. 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

  11. [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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. New primers for DNA barcoding of digeneans and cestodes (Platyhelminthes).

    PubMed

    Van Steenkiste, Niels; Locke, Sean A; Castelin, Magalie; Marcogliese, David J; Abbott, Cathryn L

    2015-07-01

    Digeneans and cestodes are species-rich taxa and can seriously impact human health, fisheries, aqua- and agriculture, and wildlife conservation and management. DNA barcoding using the COI Folmer region could be applied for species detection and identification, but both 'universal' and taxon-specific COI primers fail to amplify in many flatworm taxa. We found that high levels of nucleotide variation at priming sites made it unrealistic to design primers targeting all flatworms. We developed new degenerate primers that enabled acquisition of the COI barcode region from 100% of specimens tested (n = 46), representing 23 families of digeneans and 6 orders of cestodes. This high success rate represents an improvement over existing methods. Primers and methods provided here are critical pieces towards redressing the current paucity of COI barcodes for these taxa in public databases. © 2014 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada Molecular Ecology Resources © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. [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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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 (Piwi-piRNA) pathway. In this Opinion, 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. PMID:24485046

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Environmental Assessment - Construct a Ground-to-Air Transmitter and Receiver (GATR) Facility at Grand Forks Air Force Base

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-06-06

    temperature is 40ºFarenheit (F) and the monthly mean temperature varies from 6ºF in January to 70ºF in July. Mean annual precipitation is 19.5 inches...56 percent in the winter (USAF, 2003). Table 3.2-1: Climate Data for Grand Forks AFB, ND Mean Temperature (ºF) Daily Precipitation (Inches...sponges, flatworms, nematode worms , segmented worms , snails, clams, and immature and adult insects, fish, amphibians, turtles, and aquatic birds and

  2. Adhesive organ regeneration in Macrostomum lignano.

    PubMed

    Lengerer, Birgit; Hennebert, Elise; Flammang, Patrick; Salvenmoser, Willi; Ladurner, Peter

    2016-06-02

    Flatworms possess pluripotent stem cells that can give rise to all cell types, which allows them to restore lost body parts after injury or amputation. This makes flatworms excellent model systems for studying regeneration. In this study, we present the adhesive organs of a marine flatworm as a simple model system for organ regeneration. Macrostomum lignano has approximately 130 adhesive organs at the ventral side of its tail plate. One adhesive organ consists of three interacting cells: one adhesive gland cell, one releasing gland cell, and one modified epidermal cell, called an anchor cell. However, no specific markers for these cell types were available to study the regeneration of adhesive organs. We tested 15 commercially available lectins for their ability to label adhesive organs and found one lectin (peanut agglutinin) to be specific to adhesive gland cells. We visualized the morphology of regenerating adhesive organs using lectin- and antibody staining as well as transmission electron microscopy. Our findings indicate that the two gland cells differentiate earlier than the connected anchor cells. Using EdU/lectin staining of partially amputated adhesive organs, we showed that their regeneration can proceed in two ways. First, adhesive gland cell bodies are able to survive partial amputation and reconnect with newly formed anchor cells. Second, adhesive gland cell bodies are cleared away, and the entire adhesive organ is build anew. Our results provide the first insights into adhesive organ regeneration and describe ten new markers for differentiated cells and tissues in M. lignano. The position of adhesive organ cells within the blastema and their chronological differentiation have been shown for the first time. M. lignano can regenerate adhesive organs de novo but also replace individual anchor cells in an injured organ. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of organogenesis in flatworms and enable further molecular investigations of cell

  3. Annotated Bibliography of Publications from the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-11-01

    trematode from the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus). Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 68(2):82-85. Describes a new species of parasitic flatworm ...1980 Diagnostic key to the parasites of some marine mammals. NOSC TD 295, 37 pp. A key, with illustrations, for identification of parasites of marine...factor; less stressful capture procedures may increase captive life span. Johnston, D. G., and S. H. Ridgway 1969 Parasitism in some marine mammals

  4. Handbook for Evaluating Ecological Effects of Pollution at DARCOM Installations. Volume 5. Aquatic Surveys,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1980-05-01

    Number 301 sieve. The macroinvertebrate fauna in freshwater includes clams, mussels, crustacea, insects (adult and immature), flatworms , roundworms, and... parasitism , and (3) palatability, respectively. In addition fishes are studied further in the laboratory for (9) be- havior (e.g., ventilatory movement...freshwater. Many species are internal or external parasites of man and other animals. The Annelida are the so-called "higher" worms - those creatures

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. [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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Barberán, Sara; Fraguas, Susanna; Cebrià, Francesc

    2016-06-15

    The planarian Schmidtea mediterranea maintains and regenerates all its adult tissues through the proliferation and differentiation of a single population of pluripotent adult stem cells (ASCs) called neoblasts. Despite recent advances, the mechanisms regulating ASC differentiation into mature cell types are poorly understood. Here, we show that silencing of the planarian EGF receptor egfr-1 by RNA interference (RNAi) impairs gut progenitor differentiation into mature cells, compromising gut regeneration and maintenance. We identify a new putative EGF ligand, nrg-1, the silencing of which phenocopies the defects observed in egfr-1(RNAi) animals. These findings indicate that egfr-1 and nrg-1 promote gut progenitor differentiation, and are thus essential for normal cell turnover and regeneration in the planarian gut. Our study demonstrates that the EGFR signaling pathway is an important regulator of ASC differentiation in planarians. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2016-07-21

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Lapan, Sylvain W.; Reddien, Peter W.

    2013-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2002-04-01

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

  9. Mitochondrial genome data support the basal position of Acoelomorpha and the polyphyly of the Platyhelminthes.

    PubMed

    Ruiz-Trillo, Iñaki; Riutort, Marta; Fourcade, H Matthew; Baguñà, Jaume; Boore, Jeffrey L

    2004-11-01

    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.

  10. Epigenetics: a key regulator of platyhelminth developmental biology?

    PubMed

    Geyer, Kathrin K; Hoffmann, Karl F

    2012-01-01

    The Platyhelminthes (flukes/flatworms) are a large group of derived metazoans beautifully adapted for existence in diversely challenging ecosystems. As tractable examples of development and self-regeneration or as causative agents of aquacultural, veterinary and biomedically-relevant parasitic diseases, the platyhelminths are subject to intensive inter-disciplinary research. Given the complex lifestyles exhibited by individuals within this phylum, we postulate that epigenetic processes feature in many aspects of platyhelminth lifecycle diversity, development and environmentally-driven adaptations. Copyright © 2012 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Molecular Cloning and Characterization of Novel Glutamate-Gated Chloride Channel Subunits from Schistosoma mansoni

    PubMed Central

    Dufour, Vanessa; Beech, Robin N.; Wever, Claudia; Dent, Joseph A.; Geary, Timothy G.

    2013-01-01

    Cys-loop ligand-gated ion channels (LGICs) mediate fast ionotropic neurotransmission. They are proven drug targets in nematodes and arthropods, but are poorly characterized in flatworms. In this study, we characterized the anion-selective, non-acetylcholine-gated Cys-loop LGICs from Schistosoma mansoni. Full-length cDNAs were obtained for SmGluCl-1 (Smp_096480), SmGluCl-2 (Smp_015630) and SmGluCl-3 (Smp_104890). A partial cDNA was retrieved for SmGluCl-4 (Smp_099500/Smp_176730). Phylogenetic analyses suggest that SmGluCl-1, SmGluCl-2, SmGluCl-3 and SmGluCl-4 belong to a novel clade of flatworm glutamate-gated chloride channels (GluCl) that includes putative genes from trematodes and cestodes. The flatworm GluCl clade was distinct from the nematode-arthropod and mollusc GluCl clades, and from all GABA receptors. We found no evidence of GABA receptors in S. mansoni. SmGluCl-1, SmGluCl-2 and SmGluCl-3 subunits were characterized by two-electrode voltage clamp (TEVC) in Xenopus oocytes, and shown to encode Cl−-permeable channels gated by glutamate. SmGluCl-2 and SmGluCl-3 produced functional homomers, while SmGluCl-1 formed heteromers with SmGluCl-2. Concentration-response relationships revealed that the sensitivity of SmGluCl receptors to L-glutamate is among the highest reported for GluCl receptors, with EC50 values of 7–26 µM. Chloride selectivity was confirmed by current-voltage (I/V) relationships. SmGluCl receptors are insensitive to 1 µM ivermectin (IVM), indicating that they do not belong to the highly IVM-sensitive GluClα subtype group. SmGluCl receptors are also insensitive to 10 µM meclonazepam, a schistosomicidal benzodiazepine. These results provide the first molecular evidence showing the contribution of GluCl receptors to L-glutamate signaling in S. mansoni, an unprecedented finding in parasitic flatworms. Further work is needed to elucidate the roles of GluCl receptors in schistosomes and to explore their potential as drug targets. PMID:24009509

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. A Brain Unfixed: Unlimited Neurogenesis and Regeneration of the Adult Planarian Nervous System

    PubMed Central

    Brown, David D. R.; Pearson, Bret J.

    2017-01-01

    Powerful genetic tools in classical laboratory models have been fundamental to our understanding of how stem cells give rise to complex neural tissues during embryonic development. In contrast, adult neurogenesis in our model systems, if present, is typically constrained to one or a few zones of the adult brain to produce a limited subset of neurons leading to the dogma that the brain is primarily fixed post-development. The freshwater planarian (flatworm) is an invertebrate model system that challenges this dogma. The planarian possesses a brain containing several thousand neurons with very high rates of cell turnover (homeostasis), which can also be fully regenerated de novo from injury in just 7 days. Both homeostasis and regeneration depend on the activity of a large population of adult stem cells, called neoblasts, throughout the planarian body. Thus, much effort has been put forth to understand how the flatworm can continually give rise to the diversity of cell types found in the adult brain. Here we focus on work using single-cell genomics and functional analyses to unravel the cellular hierarchies from stem cell to neuron. In addition, we will review what is known about how planarians utilize developmental signaling to maintain proper tissue patterning, homeostasis, and cell-type diversity in their brains. Together, planarians are a powerful emerging model system to study the dynamics of adult neurogenesis and regeneration. PMID:28588444

  6. 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

  7. 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. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  8. 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.

  9. Ca²⁺ channels and praziquantel: a view from the free world.

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

    Targeting the cellular Ca(2+) channels and pumps that underpin parasite Ca(2+) homeostasis may realize novel antihelmintic agents. Indeed, the antischistosomal drug praziquantel (PZQ) is a key clinical agent that has been proposed to work in this manner. Heterologous expression data has implicated an action of PZQ on voltage-operated Ca(2+) channels, although the relevant in vivo target of this drug has remained undefined over three decades of clinical use. The purpose of this review is to bring new perspective to this issue by discussing the potential utility of free-living planarian flatworms for providing new insight into the mechanism of PZQ action. First, we discuss in vivo functional genetic data from the planarian system that broadly supports the molecular data collected in heterologous systems and the 'Ca(2+) hypothesis' of PZQ action. On the basis of these similarities we highlight our current knowledge of platyhelminth voltage operated Ca(2+) channels, their unique molecular pharmacology and the downstream functional PZQ interactome engaged by dysregulation of Ca(2+) influx that has potential to yield novel antischistosomal targets. Overall the broad dataset underscores a common theme of PZQ-evoked disruptions of Ca(2+) homeostasis in trematodes, cestodes and turbellarians, and showcases the utility of the planarian model for deriving insight into drug action and targets in parasitic flatworms. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  11. 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. © 2013 FEBS.

  12. Feedback control in planarian stem cell systems.

    PubMed

    Mangel, Marc; Bonsall, Michael B; Aboobaker, Aziz

    2016-02-13

    In planarian flatworms, the mechanisms underlying the activity of collectively pluripotent adult stem cells (neoblasts) and their descendants can now be studied from the level of the individual gene to the entire animal. Flatworms maintain startling developmental plasticity and regenerative capacity in response to variable nutrient conditions or injury. We develop a model for cell dynamics in such animals, assuming that fully differentiated cells exert feedback control on neoblast activity. Our model predicts a number of whole organism level and general cell biological and behaviours, some of which have been empirically observed or inferred in planarians and others that have not. As previously observed empirically we find: 1) a curvilinear relationship between external food and planarian steady state size; 2) the fraction of neoblasts in the steady state is constant regardless of planarian size; 3) a burst of controlled apoptosis during regeneration after amputation as the number of differentiated cells are adjusted towards their homeostatic/steady state level. In addition our model describes the following properties that can inform and be tested by future experiments: 4) the strength of feedback control from differentiated cells to neoblasts (i.e. the activity of the signalling system) and from neoblasts on themselves in relation to absolute number depends upon the level of food in the environment; 5) planarians adjust size when food level reduces initially through increased apoptosis and then through a reduction in neoblast self-renewal activity; 6) following wounding or excision of differentiated cells, different time scales characterize both recovery of size and the two feedback functions; 7) the temporal pattern of feedback controls differs noticeably during recovery from a removal or neoblasts or a removal of differentiated cells; 8) the signaling strength for apoptosis of differentiated cells depends upon both the absolute and relative deviations of the

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. A Low Percent Ethanol Method for Immobilizing Planarians

    PubMed Central

    Stevenson, Claire G.; Beane, Wendy Scott

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:21179478

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Integrin suppresses neurogenesis and regulates brain tissue assembly in planarian regeneration.

    PubMed

    Bonar, Nicolle A; Petersen, Christian P

    2017-03-01

    Animals capable of adult regeneration require specific signaling to control injury-induced cell proliferation, specification and patterning, but comparatively little is known about how the regeneration blastema assembles differentiating cells into well-structured functional tissues. Using the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea as a model, we identify β1-integrin as a crucial regulator of blastema architecture. β1-integrin(RNAi) animals formed small head blastemas with severe tissue disorganization, including ectopic neural spheroids containing differentiated neurons normally found in distinct organs. By mimicking aspects of normal brain architecture but without normal cell-type regionalization, these spheroids bore a resemblance to mammalian tissue organoids synthesized in vitro We identified one of four planarian integrin-alpha subunits inhibition of which phenocopied these effects, suggesting that a specific receptor controls brain organization through regeneration. Neoblast stem cells and progenitor cells were mislocalized in β1-integrin(RNAi) animals without significantly altered body-wide patterning. Furthermore, tissue disorganization phenotypes were most pronounced in animals undergoing brain regeneration and not homeostatic maintenance or regeneration-induced remodeling of the brain. These results suggest that integrin signaling ensures proper progenitor recruitment after injury, enabling the generation of large-scale tissue organization within the regeneration blastema. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    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. PMID:24255816

  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. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Wenemoser, Danielle; Reddien, Peter W.

    2010-01-01

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

  12. Temporal regulation of planarian eye regeneration.

    PubMed

    Deochand, Michelle E; Birkholz, Taylor R; Beane, Wendy S

    2016-08-01

    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.

  13. Loss of DNA Mismatch Repair Imparts a Selective Advantage in Planarian Adult Stem Cells

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Gaviño, Michael A.; Reddien, Peter W.

    2011-01-01

    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 [1-8]. In vertebrates, spatially opposed expression of the BMP-family signaling proteins Bmp4 and Admp (anti-dorsalizing morphogenetic protein) can promote restoration of DV pattern following tissue removal [9-11]. bmp4 orthologs have been identified in all three groups of the Bilateria (deuterostomes, ecdysozoans, and lophotrochozoans) [12]. By contrast, the absence of admp orthologs in ecdysozoans such as Drosophila and C. elegans has suggested that a DV regulatory circuit of oppositely expressed bmp4 and admp genes represents an innovation specific to deuterostomes. Here we describe the existence of spatially opposed bmp and admp expression in a protostome. An admp ortholog (Smed-admp) is expressed at the ventral pole and laterally in adult Schmidtea mediterranea planarians, spatially opposing the dorsal-pole domain of Smed-bmp4 expression. Smed-admp is required for planarian regeneration following parasagittal amputation. Furthermore, Smed-admp promotes Smed-bmp4 expression and Smed-bmp4 inhibits Smed-admp expression, generating a regulatory circuit that buffers against perturbations of Bmp signaling. These results suggest that a Bmp/Admp regulatory circuit is a central feature of the Bilateria, used broadly for the establishment, maintenance, and regeneration of the DV axis. PMID:21295483

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Cell Death and Tissue Remodeling in Planarian Regeneration

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  20. Yorkie is required to restrict the injury responses in planarians.

    PubMed

    Lin, Alexander Y T; Pearson, Bret J

    2017-07-01

    Regeneration requires the precise integration of cues that initiate proliferation, direct differentiation, and ultimately re-pattern tissues to the proper size and scale. Yet how these processes are integrated with wounding responses remains relatively unknown. The freshwater planarian, Schmidtea mediterranea, is an ideal model to study the stereotyped proliferative and transcriptional responses to injury due to its high capacity for regeneration. Here, we characterize the effector of the Hippo signalling cascade, yorkie, during planarian regeneration and its role in restricting early injury responses. In yki(RNAi) regenerating animals, wound responses are hyper-activated such that both stem cell proliferation and the transcriptional wound response program are heighted and prolonged. Using this observation, we also uncovered novel wound-induced genes by RNAseq that were de-repressed in yki(RNAi) animals compared with controls. Additionally, we show that yki(RNAi) animals have expanded epidermal and muscle cell populations, which we hypothesize are the increased sources of wound-induced genes. Finally, we show that in yki(RNAi) animals, the sensing of the size of an injury by eyes or the pharynx is not appropriate, and the brain, gut, and midline cannot remodel or scale correctly to the size of the regenerating fragment. Taken together, our results suggest that yki functions as a key molecule that can integrate multiple aspects of the injury response including proliferation, apoptosis, injury-induced transcription, and patterning.

  1. 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

  2. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. 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

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-10-01

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

  6. ‘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

  7. The Battle of Worldviews: A Case Study of Liver Fluke Infection in Khon Kaen, Thailand.

    PubMed

    Samiphak, Sara; Syme, S Leonard

    2017-01-01

    Control efforts to reduce infection from the parasitic flatworm Opisthorchis viverrini have progressed through understanding the epidemiology of Opisthorchis viverrini, antiparasitic drug developments, technological innovations, health education promoting cooking of fish, and improved hygienic defecation. Yet the problem persists. The case study method was used to examine the fundamental cause of the liver fluke infection problem. Evidence shows that the liver fluke-infected population does not care about living a long life. For them, suffering and death are simply a part of life, and expected. Thus, the cause(s) leading to death is not important. They believe morally bad actions, and predetermined fate associated with kamma in Buddhism, play a big role whether or not one is infected with the liver fluke. Health interventions may be made more effective if they take into account the liver fluke-infected population's worldviews about ethics, morality, life, and death. We researchers should not feel concerned only about medically determined causes of death.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Bickmeyer, Ulf

    2012-01-01

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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  3. Eye Absence Does Not Regulate Planarian Stem Cells during Eye Regeneration.

    PubMed

    LoCascio, Samuel A; Lapan, Sylvain W; Reddien, Peter W

    2017-02-27

    Dividing cells called neoblasts contain pluripotent stem cells and drive planarian flatworm regeneration from diverse injuries. A long-standing question is whether neoblasts directly sense and respond to the identity of missing tissues during regeneration. We used the eye to investigate this question. Surprisingly, eye removal was neither sufficient nor necessary for neoblasts to increase eye progenitor production. Neoblasts normally increase eye progenitor production following decapitation, facilitating regeneration. Eye removal alone, however, did not induce this response. Eye regeneration following eye-specific resection resulted from homeostatic rates of eye progenitor production and less cell death in the regenerating eye. Conversely, large head injuries that left eyes intact increased eye progenitor production. Large injuries also non-specifically increased progenitor production for multiple uninjured tissues. We propose a model for eye regeneration in which eye tissue production by planarian stem cells is not directly regulated by the absence of the eye itself. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Structure of the male copulatory apparatus in Prognathorhynchus busheki (Platyhelminthes, Kalyptorhynchia)

    PubMed Central

    Doe, David A.; Smith, Julian P.S.

    2016-01-01

    Gnathorhynchidae is a diverse taxon of predatory eukalyptorhynch flatworms characterized by an armed proboscis. Their present taxonomy is not concordant with what we know of their phylogeny. Further progress in this area is hindered by a lack of information concerning their morphology. As recent studies have shown, a historical reliance on live observations for species descriptions has resulted in a number of errors and omissions. Here, we redescribe the anatomy of the male copulatory organ of Prognathorhynchus busheki using transmission-electron and confocal microscopy, correcting several errors in the original description. Furthermore, we use these results to update our understanding of the anatomy and evolution of male copulatory organs in Gnathorhynchidae and in Platyhelminthes more generally. PMID:27695276

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Old questions, new models: unraveling complex organ regeneration with new experimental approaches.

    PubMed

    Grillo, Marco; Konstantinides, Nikolaos; Averof, Michalis

    2016-10-01

    How do some animals like crabs, flatworms and salamanders regenerate entire body parts after a severe injury? Which are the mechanisms and how did that regenerative ability evolve over time? The ability to regenerate complex organs is widespread in the animal kingdom, but fundamental, centuries-old questions remain unanswered. Forward genetics approaches that were so successful in probing embryonic development are lacking in most regenerative models, and candidate gene approaches can be biased and misleading. We summarize recent progress in establishing new genetic tools and approaches to study regeneration and provide a personal perspective on the feasibility and value of establishing such tools, based on our experience with a new experimental model, the crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. 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

  10. Ultrastructure of spermatogenesis in the testis of Paragonimus heterotremus.

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-11-01

    14.3 0.0 0.0 Metriocnemus knobi (insect larva) 14.6 12.8 0.0 Chironomus te5Wa (insect larva) 0.0 0.0 5.5 Macrocyclop-TBrus ( crustacean ) 2.3 2.9 6.6...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...insect larva) 0.0 0.0 11.5 Macrocyclops albidus ( crustacean ) 0.0 0.0 4.1 Musculium sp. (bivalve) 2.7 3.2 0.0 Candona sp. (ostracod) 3.6 2.9 0.0 la1naria sp

  17. 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

  18. Chlorophyll derivatives enhance invertebrate red-light and ultraviolet phototaxis.

    PubMed

    Degl'Innocenti, Andrea; Rossi, Leonardo; Salvetti, Alessandra; Marino, Attilio; Meloni, Gabriella; Mazzolai, Barbara; Ciofani, Gianni

    2017-06-13

    Chlorophyll derivatives are known to enhance vision in vertebrates. They are thought to bind visual pigments (i.e., opsins apoproteins bound to retinal chromophores) directly within the retina. Consistent with previous findings in vertebrates, here we show that chlorin e6 - a chlorophyll derivative - enhances photophobicity in a flatworm (Dugesia japonica), specifically when exposed to UV radiation (λ = 405 nm) or red light (λ = 660 nm). This is the first report of chlorophyll derivatives acting as modulators of invertebrate phototaxis, and in general the first account demonstrating that they can artificially alter animal response to light at a behavioral level. Our findings show that the interaction between chlorophyll derivatives and opsins virtually concerns the vast majority of bilaterian animals, and also occurs in visual systems based on rhabdomeric (rather than ciliary) opsins.

  19. Angiogenesis in Schistosoma haematobium-associated urinary bladder cancer.

    PubMed

    Dematei, Anderson; Fernandes, Rúben; Soares, Raquel; Alves, Helena; Richter, Joachim; Botelho, Monica C

    2017-09-28

    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. During infection, eggs are deposited in the bladder causing an intense inflammatory reaction. Angiogenesis is defined as the formation of new blood vessels from preexisting ones and is recognized as a key event in cell proliferation and carcinogenesis and spread of malignant lesions. A growing amount of evidence points to angiogenesis playing a key role in schistosomiasis-associated bladder cancer. Thus, identifying biomarkers of this process plays an important role in the study of cancer. Here, we review recent findings on the role of angiogenesis in bladder cancer and the growth factors that induce and assist in their development, particularly SCC of the bladder associated to urogenital schistosomiasis. © 2017 APMIS. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Structure of the male copulatory apparatus in Prognathorhynchus busheki (Platyhelminthes, Kalyptorhynchia).

    PubMed

    Doe, David A; Smith, Julian P S

    2016-06-01

    Gnathorhynchidae is a diverse taxon of predatory eukalyptorhynch flatworms characterized by an armed proboscis. Their present taxonomy is not concordant with what we know of their phylogeny. Further progress in this area is hindered by a lack of information concerning their morphology. As recent studies have shown, a historical reliance on live observations for species descriptions has resulted in a number of errors and omissions. Here, we redescribe the anatomy of the male copulatory organ of Prognathorhynchus busheki using transmission-electron and confocal microscopy, correcting several errors in the original description. Furthermore, we use these results to update our understanding of the anatomy and evolution of male copulatory organs in Gnathorhynchidae and in Platyhelminthes more generally.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-04

    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 indicate that planarian neoblasts comprise two major and functionally distinct cellular compartments. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Study of planarian stem cell proliferation by means of flow cytometry.

    PubMed

    Ermakov, Artem M; Ermakova, Olga N; Kudravtsev, Andrei A; Kreshchenko, Natalia D

    2012-03-01

    The stem cells in freshwater flatworms (planarian) are called neoblasts. Neoblasts are capable of proliferation and differentiation into every cell type, including the gametes. For the investigation of the mechanisms of stem cells proliferation and differentiation the proper evaluation of changes in the cell cycle of neoblasts in different physiological conditions of planarian is necessary. In the present study the possibility of qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the neoblasts population were investigated using flow cytometry. In the cell suspension prepared from planarian tissue proliferating neoblasts have been observed in heterogenic cell population. Quantitative estimation of the cell cycle related changes of planarian stem cells system have been performed in various physiological conditions (intact and regenerating animals) and under the influence of physical (ionizing radiation) and chemical (melatonin and colchicine) factors. The modified protocol for planarian stem cells isolation proved to be effective and reproducible and can be recommended for flow cytometry analyses of human and animal proliferating cells.

  8. Reappraising the theme of breeding systems in Echinococcus: is outcrossing a rare phenomenon?

    PubMed

    Haag, K L; Marin, P B; Graichen, D A S; De La Rue, M L

    2011-03-01

    Selfing has been considered the most common mode of reproduction in Echinococcus flatworms. However, population genetic studies on the asexual larval stage involving nuclear co-dominant markers have not always revealed significant heterozygote deficiencies--the expected outcome of a regularly and highly inbred population. In this study, we analysed the genetic structure of Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato populations from Southern Brazil during their adult (sexual) stage using 1 mitochondrial and 1 nuclear marker (cox 1 and mdh, respectively). We show that parasite genetic differentiation is largest among definitive hosts (domestic dogs) from different farms, suggesting that transmission is mostly maintained within a farm. Moreover, we show that heterozygote deficiencies are not significant, and we suggest that outbreeding is the most common mode of reproduction of the parasite in that region.

  9. Advances and trends in the molecular systematics of the parasitic Platyhelminthes.

    PubMed

    Olson, Peter D; Tkach, Vasyl V

    2005-01-01

    The application of molecular systematics to the parasitic Platyhelminthes (Cestoda, Digenea and Monogenea) over the last decade has advanced our understanding of their interrelationships and evolution substantially. Here we review the current state of play and the early works that led to the molecular-based hypotheses that now predominate in the field; advances in their systematics, taxonomy, classification and phylogeny, as well as trends in species circumscription, molecular targets and analytical methods are discussed for each of the three major parasitic groups. A by-product of this effort has been an ever increasing number of parasitic flatworms characterized genetically, and the useful application of these data to the diagnosis of animal and human pathogens, and to the elucidation of life histories are presented. The final section considers future directions in the field, including taxon sampling, molecular targets of choice, and the current and future utility of mitochondrial and nuclear genomics in systematic study.

  10. 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

  11. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  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. Calcium channels of schistosomes: unresolved questions and unexpected answers

    PubMed Central

    Salvador-Recatalà, Vicenta; Greenberg, Robert M.

    2011-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Sperm transfer in monogenean (platyhelminth) parasites.

    PubMed

    Kearn, Graham; Whittington, Ian

    2015-12-01

    There are three major groups of parasitic platyhelminths (flatworms). The digeneans and cestodes are endoparasites, while the monogeneans are ectoparasites mostly on the gills or skin of fishes. Monogeneans are hermaphrodite and, with the exception of the gyrodactylids, mostly protandrous, the male reproductive system maturing before the female system. Their ectoparasitic life-style provides unique opportunities to observe the reproductive biology of living platyhelminths, opportunities restricted in digeneans and cestodes by their endoparasitic habits. Moreover, the male copulatory organs (MCOs) of monogeneans are of special interest because of their perplexing diversity, ranging from sclerotised penis tubes, many with accessory sclerites, to cirruses and genital atrium armature (hooks and spines). The relatively few accounts in the literature of mating in monogeneans are reproduced in this review, together with consideration of the following aspects of sperm transfer: structure and function of MCOs; self-insemination; spermatophores and pseudospermatophores; "hypodermic" and transtegumental insemination; tissue fusion; glands associated with MCOs and vaginae; finding a mating partner.

  17. 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.

  18. What helminth genomes have taught us about parasite evolution.

    PubMed

    Zarowiecki, Magdalena; Berriman, Matt

    2015-02-01

    The genomes of more than 20 helminths have now been sequenced. Here we perform a meta-analysis of all sequenced genomes of nematodes and Platyhelminthes, and attempt to address the question of what are the defining characteristics of helminth genomes. We find that parasitic worms lack systems for surface antigenic variation, instead maintaining infections using their surfaces as the first line of defence against the host immune system, with several expanded gene families of genes associated with the surface and tegument. Parasite excretory/secretory products evolve rapidly, and proteases even more so, with each parasite exhibiting unique modifications of its protease repertoire. Endoparasitic flatworms show striking losses of metabolic capabilities, not matched by nematodes. All helminths do however exhibit an overall reduction in auxiliary metabolism (biogenesis of co-factors and vitamins). Overall, the prevailing pattern is that there are few commonalities between the genomes of independently evolved parasitic worms, with each parasite having undergone specific adaptations for their particular niche.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Geyer, Kathrin K; Chalmers, Iain W; Mackintosh, Neil; Hirst, Julie E; Geoghegan, Rory; Badets, Mathieu; Brophy, Peter M; Brehm, Klaus; Hoffmann, Karl F

    2013-07-09

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

  5. 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

  6. Inferences on the biochemical and environmental regulation of universal stress proteins from Schistosomiasis parasites

    PubMed Central

    Mbah, Andreas N; Mahmud, Ousman; Awofolu, Omotayo R; Isokpehi, Raphael D

    2013-01-01

    Background Human schistosomiasis is a freshwater snail-transmitted disease caused by parasitic flatworms of the Schistosoma genus. Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma mansoni, and Schistosoma japonicum are the three major species infecting humans. These parasites undergo a complex developmental life cycle, in which they encounter a plethora of environmental signals. The presence of genes encoding the universal stress protein (USP) domain in the genomes of Schistosoma spp. suggests these flatworms are equipped to respond to unfavorable conditions. Though data on gene expression is available for USP genes, their biochemical and environmental regulation are incompletely understood. The identification of additional regulatory molecules for Schistosoma. USPs, which may be present in the human, snail, or water environments, could also be useful for schistosomiasis interventions. Methods We developed a protocol that includes a visual analytics stage to facilitate integration, visualization, and decision making, from the results of sequence analyses and data collection on a set of 13 USPs from S. mansoni and S. japonicum. Results Multiple sequence alignment identified conserved sites that could be key residues regulating the function of USPs of the Schistosoma spp. Based on the consistency and completeness of sequence annotation, we prioritized for further research the gene for a 184-amino-acid-long USP that is present in the genomes of the three human-infecting Schistosoma spp. Calcium, zinc, and magnesium ions were predicted to interact with the protein product of the gene. Conclusion Given that the initial effects of praziquantel on schistosomes include the influx of calcium ions, additional investigations are required to (1) functionally characterize the interactions of calcium ions with the amino acid residues of Schistosoma USPs; and (2) determine the transcriptional response of Schistosoma. USP genes to praziquantel. The data sets produced, and the visual analytics

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

    PubMed

    Webster, Bonnie L; Littlewood, D Timothy J

    2012-01-01

    In the flatworm genus Schistosoma, species of which include parasites of biomedical and veterinary importance, mitochondrial gene order is radically different in some species. A PCR-based survey of 19 schistosomatid spp. established which of 14 Schistosoma spp. have the ancestral (plesiomorphic) or derived gene order condition. A phylogeny for Schistosoma was estimated and used to infer the origin of the gene order change which is present in all members of a clade containing Schistosoma incognitum and members of the traditionally recognised Schistosoma indicum, Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosomahaematobium spp. groups. Schistosoma turkestanicum, with the plesiomorphic gene order state, is sister to this clade. Common interval analysis suggests change in gene order, from ancestral to derived, consisted of two sequential transposition events: (a) nad1_nad3 to nad3_nad1 and (b) [atp6,nad2]_[nad3,-nad1,cox1,rrnL,rrnS,cox2,nad6] to [nad3,nad1,cox1,rrnL,rrnS,cox2,nad6]_[atp6,nad2], where gene order offragments within square brackets remain unchanged. Gene order change is rare in parasitic flatworms and is a robust synapomorphy for schistosome spp. that exhibit it. The schistosomatid phylogeny casts some doubt on the origin of Schistosoma (Asian or African), highlights the propensity for species to hosts witch amongst mammalian (definitive) hosts, and indicates the likely importance of snail (intermediate)hosts in determining and defining patterns of schistosome radiation and continental invasion. Mitogenomic sampling of Schistosoma dattai and Schistosoma harinasutai to determine gene order, and within key species, especially S. turkestanicum and S. incognitum, to determine ancestral ranges, may help discover the geographic origins of gene order change in the genus. Samples of S. incognitum from India and Thailand suggest this taxon may include cryptic species. Crown Copyright 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. on behalf of Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Allrights

  8. Soft Bodies, Hard Jaws: An Introduction to the Symposium, with Rotifers as Models of Jaw Diversity.

    PubMed

    Hochberg, Rick; Wallace, Robert L; Walsh, Elizabeth J

    2015-08-01

    Jaws have evolved numerous times in the animal kingdom and they display a wide variety of structural, compositional, and functional characteristics that reflect their polyphyletic origins. Among soft-bodied invertebrates, jaws are known from annelids, chaetognaths, flatworms, gnathostomulids, micrognathozoans, mollusks, rotifers, and several ecdysozoans. Depending on the taxon, jaws may function in the capture of prey (e.g., chaetognaths and flatworms), processing of prey (e.g., gnathostomulids and onychophorans), or both (e.g., rotifers). Although structural diversity among invertebrates’ jaws is becoming better characterized with the use of electron microscopy, many details remain poorly described, including neuromuscular control, elemental composition, and physical characteristics, such as hardness and resistance to wear. Unfortunately, absence of relevant data has impeded understanding of their functional diversity and evolutionary origins. With this symposium, we bring together researchers of disparately jawed taxa to draw structural and mechanistic comparisons among species to determine their commonalities. Additionally, we show that rotifers’ jaws, which are perhaps the best-characterized jaws among invertebrates, are still enigmatic with regard to their origins and mechanics. Nevertheless, technologies such as energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and 3D modeling are being used to characterize their chemical composition and to develop physical models that allow exploration of their mechanical properties, respectively. We predict that these methods can also be used to develop biomimetic and bioinspired constructs based on the full range of the complexity of jaws, and that such constructs also can be developed from other invertebrate taxa. These approaches may also shed light on common developmental and physiological processes that facilitate the evolution of invertebrates’ jaws.

  9. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

    Cardona, Albert; Martinez, Pedro

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. In silico lineage tracing through single cell transcriptomics identifies a neural stem cell population in planarians.

    PubMed

    Molinaro, Alyssa M; Pearson, Bret J

    2016-04-27

    The planarian Schmidtea mediterranea is a master regenerator with a large adult stem cell compartment. The lack of transgenic labeling techniques in this animal has hindered the study of lineage progression and has made understanding the mechanisms of tissue regeneration a challenge. However, recent advances in single-cell transcriptomics and analysis methods allow for the discovery of novel cell lineages as differentiation progresses from stem cell to terminally differentiated cell. Here we apply pseudotime analysis and single-cell transcriptomics to identify adult stem cells belonging to specific cellular lineages and identify novel candidate genes for future in vivo lineage studies. We purify 168 single stem and progeny cells from the planarian head, which were subjected to single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq). Pseudotime analysis with Waterfall and gene set enrichment analysis predicts a molecularly distinct neoblast sub-population with neural character (νNeoblasts) as well as a novel alternative lineage. Using the predicted νNeoblast markers, we demonstrate that a novel proliferative stem cell population exists adjacent to the brain. scRNAseq coupled with in silico lineage analysis offers a new approach for studying lineage progression in planarians. The lineages identified here are extracted from a highly heterogeneous dataset with minimal prior knowledge of planarian lineages, demonstrating that lineage purification by transgenic labeling is not a prerequisite for this approach. The identification of the νNeoblast lineage demonstrates the usefulness of the planarian system for computationally predicting cellular lineages in an adult context coupled with in vivo verification.

  15. Comprehensive analysis of neurotransmitters from regenerating planarian extract using an ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/selected reaction monitoring method.

    PubMed

    Rangiah, Kannan; Palakodeti, Dasaradhi

    2013-11-15

    Absolute quantification of neurotransmitters (NTs) from biological systems is imperative to track how changes in concentration of active neurochemicals may affect biological behavior. A sensitive method for the absolute quantification of multiple NTs in a single method is highly needed. A stable-isotope dilution ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/selected reaction monitoring (UHPLC/MS/SRM) assay has been developed for a sensitive and quantitative assessment of NTs in planaria. We used this method for the simultaneous quantification of 16 NTs. All analytes showed a linear relationship between concentrations (0.78-50 ng/mL), regression coefficients higher than 0.97, accuracy (91-109%) and low coefficients of variation (CVs). The inter-day CVs for the lowest quality controls (1.56 ng/mL) were in the range between 2-11%. The levels of most of the NTs were similar in both sexual and asexual planarians except for glutamic acid, which was about two-fold higher in asexual compared to sexual planarians. We identified high levels of serotonin and failed to detect tryptamine suggesting that the pathway essential for the conversion of tryptophan into tryptamine is absent in planarians. Interestingly, we also found high levels of dopamine and L-DOPA in regenerating planarians suggesting their possible role in regeneration. For the first time, we developed novel methodology based on UHPLC/MS/SRM and quantified 16 NTs with high sensitivity and specificity from sexual and asexual strains of planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. This method will also have great application in quantifying various NTs with great precision in different model systems. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Control of Maintenance and Regeneration of Planarian Eyes by ovo.

    PubMed

    Cross, Samuel D; Johnson, Adiv A; Gilles, Benjamin J; Bachman, Lori A; Inoue, Takeshi; Agata, Kiyokazu; Marmorstein, Lihua Y; Marmorstein, Alan D

    2015-11-01

    Following decapitation, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea regenerates its head and eyes. The gene ovo is required for eye maintenance and regeneration in response to wounding. In this study, we investigated whether eye regeneration in S. mediterranea could occur absent a wound healing response. One hundred twenty S. mediterranea were treated with ovo RNA interference (RNAi) or control (unc-22) RNAi by feeding double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Following eye loss, ovo RNAi treatment was halted and replaced with control RNAi treatment. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) was used to monitor ovo expression. Eye functionality was monitored via a phototaxis assay. Photoreceptor neurons were visualized via immunofluorescence staining of arrestin. Treatment with ovo RNAi caused eyes to gradually shrink until they were completely absent. One hundred percent of ovo RNAi-treated planarians lost both eyes within 137 days of treatment onset. ovo RNAi-treated planarians were unable to regenerate eyes in response to decapitation. Upon removal of ovo RNAi, eyes became visible as small pigmented spots in the head within 28 days. The eyes slowly developed, appearing to gain pigmented cells first and then nonpigmented photoreceptors. Phototaxis assays demonstrated functional eye loss and eye restoration. ovo mRNA was significantly decreased following treatment with ovo RNAi and significantly increased following removal of ovo RNAi. Arrestin staining was present in the eyes, optic nerves, and optic chiasm of worms with regenerated eyes but not in eyeless worms. S. mediterranea have the ability to generate functional eyes in the absence of a wound healing response. This ability requires the expression of ovo.

  3. The planarian TRPA1 homolog mediates extraocular behavioral responses to near-ultraviolet light.

    PubMed

    Birkholz, Taylor R; Beane, Wendy S

    2017-07-15

    Although light is most commonly thought of as a visual cue, many animals possess mechanisms to detect light outside of the eye for various functions, including predator avoidance, circadian rhythms, phototaxis and migration. Here we confirm that planarians (like Caenorhabditis elegans, leeches and Drosophila larvae) are capable of detecting and responding to light using extraocular photoreception. We found that, when either eyeless or decapitated worms were exposed to near-ultraviolet (near-UV) light, intense wild-type photophobic behaviors were still observed. Our data also revealed that behavioral responses to green wavelengths were mediated by ocular mechanisms, whereas near-UV responses were driven by extraocular mechanisms. As part of a candidate screen to uncover the genetic basis of extraocular photoreception in the planarian species Schmidtea mediterranea, we identified a potential role for a homolog of the transient receptor potential channel A1 (TRPA1) in mediating behavioral responses to extraocular light cues. RNA interference (RNAi) to Smed-TrpA resulted in worms that lacked extraocular photophobic responses to near-UV light, a mechanism previously only identified in Drosophila These data show that the planarian TRPA1 homolog is required for planarian extraocular-light avoidance and may represent a potential ancestral function of this gene. TRPA1 is an evolutionarily conserved detector of temperature and chemical irritants, including reactive oxygen species that are byproducts of UV-light exposure. Our results suggest that planarians possess extraocular photoreception and display an unconventional TRPA1-mediated photophobic response to near-UV light. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  4. Complete Functional Segregation of Planarian β-Catenin-1 and -2 in Mediating Wnt Signaling and Cell Adhesion*

    PubMed Central

    Chai, Guoliang; Ma, Changxin; Bao, Kai; Zheng, Liang; Wang, Xinquan; Sun, Zhirong; Salò, Emili; Adell, Teresa; Wu, Wei

    2010-01-01

    β-Catenin is a bifunctional protein participating in both cell adhesion and canonical Wnt signaling. In cell adhesion, it bridges the transmembrane cadherin and the actin-binding protein α-catenin and is essential for adherens junction formation, whereas in canonical Wnt signaling, it shuttles between the cytosol and nucleus and functions as an essential transcriptional activator. Schmidtea mediterranea β-catenin-1 was identified as a determinant of antero-posterior polarity during body regeneration by mediating Wnt signaling. Here we show that S. mediterranea β-catenin-2 is specifically expressed in epithelial cells in the gut and pharynx, where it has a putative role in mediating cell adhesion. We show evidence that planarian β-catenin-1 and -2 have distinct biochemical properties. β-Catenin-1 can interact with the components of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway but not with α-catenin, whereas β-catenin-2 interacts with cell adhesion molecules, including E-cadherin and α-catenin, but not with Wnt signaling components. Consistent with their specific function, β-catenin-1 is a potent transcriptional activator, whereas β-catenin-2 has no transcriptional activity. Protein sequence alignment also indicates that the planarian β-catenin-1 and -2 retain distinct critical residues and motifs, which are in agreement with the differences in their biochemical properties. At last, phylogenetic analysis reveals a probable Platyhelminthes- specific structural and functional segregation from which the monofunctional β-catenins evolved. Our results thus identify the first two monofunctional β-catenins in metazoans. PMID:20511647

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

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

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

  6. Defining the molecular profile of planarian pluripotent stem cells using a combinatorial RNAseq, RNA interference and irradiation approach.

    PubMed

    Solana, Jordi; Kao, Damian; Mihaylova, Yuliana; Jaber-Hijazi, Farah; Malla, Sunir; Wilson, Ray; Aboobaker, Aziz

    2012-01-01

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

  7. 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 mediterrane