|| Cytoskeletal elements in an acoelomorph worm, Praesagittifera naikaiensis
|| Acoel flatworms can move in a variety of ways such as muscular and ciliary movements via cytoskeletal elements and their neural regulations. However, those locomotive mechanisms have not yet been fully elucidated. In this study, we examined the distribution of cytoskeletal elements including filamentous actin (F-actin) and tubulin, and the neuroanatomical organization in an acoelomorph worm, Praesagittifera naikaiensis (P. naikaiensis). Video microscopy revealed the elongation/contraction and the bending/rotation processes, and the ciliary gliding movement of P. naikaiensis. Histochemical and morphological analysis demonstrated that F-actin networks of inner longitudinal and outer circular muscle fibers were positioned along the entire surface of the body, and that the average distance between the circular muscle fibers in the contracted organism was decreased in the anterior region compared with that in the elongated organism. Electron microscopy showed dense bodies on the muscle cells of P. naikaiensis, which indicates that those muscle cells have the appearance of vertebrate smooth muscle cells. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that -tubulin-positive signals on the ciliary microtubules had close contact with the F-actin network, and that neurite bundles labelled with anti dSap47 antibody as a neuronal marker run along the anterior-posterior body axis. These results indicate that the well-organized cytoskeletal elements and their neural control systems are preserved in P. naikaiensis, and that their mechanisms involved in those regulation systems are similar to those vertebrate systems. Further studies are needed to clarify the physiological mechanisms underlying the muscular and ciliary movements in P. naikaiensis.
|| Proceedings of Okayama Association for Laboratory Animal Science