Section 12
Chapter 11,016

Morphogenesis and organogenesis in the regenerating planktotrophic larvae of asteroids and echinoids

Vickery, M.S.; Vickery, M.C.L.; McClintock, J.B.

Biological Bulletin 203(2): 121-133


ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3185
PMID: 12414562
DOI: 10.2307/1543381
Accession: 011015498

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In a previous study, we described complete body regeneration (with organogenesis) following surgical bisection in the planktotrophic larvae of the asteroids Luidia foliolata and Pisaster ochraceus. Here we present further detailed observations of these unique regenerative processes not presented in the previous paper. Furthermore, we describe for the first time complete regeneration following surgical bisection of planktotrophic larvae of the regular echinoid Lytechinus variegatus and the irregular echinoid Dendraster excentricus. Larvae of both asteroids and echinoids displayed a capacity for rapid regeneration regardless of their developmental stage. Within 48 h after bisection, aggregations of mesenchyme cells with pseudopodia were observed at the site of surgical bisection. These cellular aggregations were similar in appearance to the mesenchymal blastemas that form in adult echinoderms prior to their arm regeneration, and to those described in other deuterostomes that undergo regeneration. When asteroid larvae were surgically bisected in the early stages of their development, clusters of mesenchyme cells developed into completely new pairs of coelomic pouches located anterior to the newly regenerated digestive tract. This indicates that cell fate in regenerating asteroid larvae remains indeterminate during early development. In the larvae of P. ochraceus, regardless of the developmental stage at the time of bisection, both the anterior and posterior portions regenerated all their missing organs and tissues. However, the larvae of L. foliolata displayed differential regenerative capacity in bisected larval halves at the late bipinnaria stage. The differences observed may be due to differences in larval development (L. foliolata has no brachiolaria stage), and may have evolutionary implications. In the regular echinoid L. variegatus, both larval portions regenerated into morphologically and functionally normal larvae that were indistinguishable from non-bisected control larvae. The regenerative processes were similar to those we observed in planktotrophic asteroid larvae. Regenerating larvae readily metamorphosed into normal juveniles. In the irregular echinoid D. excentricus, posterior portions of larvae completed regeneration and metamorphosis, but anterior portions regenerated only partially during the 2-week study. Our observations confirm that asteroid and echinoid larvae provide excellent models for studies of regeneration in deuterostomes.

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