Histological, cytochemical and ultrastructure research on the budding of the colonial ascidian Botryllus tuberatus aimed at searching for stem cells was performed. A dense mass of undifferentiated cells and the connection of the outer epidermal and inner atrial epithelia were revealed for the first time in the early buds of B. tuberatus. Undifferentiated cells revealed in the early buds and vascular system of the colony had morphological features of the stem and primary germ cells of metazoans. Intensive expression of alkaline phosphatase, the cytochemical marker of embryonal stem and primary germ cells of vertebrate animals, was revealed in developing buds and in some cells of the hematocyte population. Based on the literature and the author’s data it is hypothesized that the self-renewing pool of stem cells of the colonial ascidian B. tuberatus is the cellular basis of its reproductive strategy, including both sexual and asexual reproduction.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 12, 2007
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