Original and literature data supporting the evolutionary conservation of the morphofunctional organization of totipotent cells of germ and stem lineages in metazoan animals are reviewed. We studied stem cells of the colonial rhizocephalans, Peltogasterella gracilis, Polyascus polygenea and Thylacoplethus isaevae, the turbellarian Dugesia tigrina, the colonial hydroid Obelia longissima, and cultured embryonic stem cells of mouse. The typical germinal granules of germ plasm, selective expression of the activity of alkaline phosphatase and of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), which are known as markers of stem and primary germ cells of vertebrates, and the specific expression of the protein product of the vasa gene in cells of rhizocephalans, which is a marker of cells of germ and stem lineages of various metazoans, specified the stem cells of invertebrates of such different taxa. The self-renewing pool of totipotent stem cells is the cellular basis of the reproductive strategy, including sexual and asexual reproduction; such cells share morphofunctional features of embryonic stem and germline cells of Metazoa.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 23, 2011
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