The differentiation of the ectodermal, entodermal, and mesodermal cell lines in developing plutei of the ophiuroid Amphipholis kochii was examined using electron microscopy and the immunochemical staining technique. The ectodermal cells form the pseudostratified epithelium of the ciliary band, the flattened epithelium of the body wall, and the esophageal epithelium. The epithelium of the ciliary band consists of ciliated and mucous cells; at its base is an axonal tract formed of the processes of neurons. The serotoninergic neurons form two lateral ganglia located along the paraoral ciliary band and the posterolateral arms’ ciliary band. The prominent features of the neurons are large size, the presence of a cilium, an electron-light cytoplasm filled with microvesicles with neurotransmitters, and a large nucleus with a predominant euchromatin. The ectoderm cells (except mucous cells) are characterized by the presence of a cilium surrounded by a collar of microvilli and a thin layer of apical extracellular matrix. The entodermal cells form the digestive tract epithelium and differentiate into four cell types: type I and II cells probably function in the nutrient uptake and assimilation; type III cells perhaps secrete digestive enzymes; and myoepithelial cells that constitute the cardiac and pyloric sphincters and the anus. Sclerenchymatous cells, which are the descendants of the primary mesenchyme, form a syncytium around the developing spicules. The biomineralization process is intrasyncytial, the ophioplutei spicules retain the cytoplasmic covering throughout the period of larval development. The secondary mesenchyme gives rise to smooth muscle cells and amebocytes. Muscle cells compose the circumesophageal musculature, the cell processes of each “muscle band” seem to fuse together. At the base of the preoral band are two symmetrically located groups of muscles, viz., the anterior dilators. Amebocytes function in excretion either near the epidermis or are able to penetrate through the epidermis and excrete wastes into the external environment. The mesoderm formed by the enterocoely gives rise to three pairs of coeloms; their cells remain unspecialized during the entire period of larval development. Results of this study are compared with the micro- and neuroanatomy of the larvae of other echinoderms.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 9, 2011
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