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Smith C.L.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Varoqueaux F.,Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine | Varoqueaux F.,University of Lausanne | Kittelmann M.,Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine | And 7 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2014

Background Trichoplax adhaerens is the best-known member of the phylum Placozoa, one of the earliest-diverging metazoan phyla. It is a small disk-shaped animal that glides on surfaces in warm oceans to feed on algae. Prior anatomical studies of Trichoplax revealed that it has a simple three-layered organization with four somatic cell types. Results We reinvestigate the cellular organization of Trichoplax using advanced freezing and microscopy techniques to identify localize and count cells. Six somatic cell types are deployed in stereotyped positions. A thick ventral plate, comprising the majority of the cells, includes ciliated epithelial cells, newly identified lipophil cells packed with large lipid granules, and gland cells. Lipophils project deep into the interior, where they alternate with regularly spaced fiber cells whose branches contact all other cell types, including cells of the dorsal and ventral epithelium. Crystal cells, each containing a birefringent crystal, are arrayed around the rim. Gland cells express several proteins typical of neurosecretory cells, and a subset of them, around the rim, also expresses an FMRFamide-like neuropeptide. Conclusions Structural analysis of Trichoplax with significantly improved techniques provides an advance in understanding its cell types and their distributions. We find two previously undetected cell types, lipohil and crystal cells, and an organized body plan in which different cell types are arranged in distinct patterns. The composition of gland cells suggests that they are neurosecretory cells and could control locomotor and feeding behavior. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.


PubMed | University of Lausanne, Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine, Institute For Tierokologie Und Zellbiologie and U.S. National Institutes of Health
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Current biology : CB | Year: 2014

Trichoplax adhaerens is the best-known member of the phylum Placozoa, one of the earliest-diverging metazoan phyla. It is a small disk-shaped animal that glides on surfaces in warm oceans to feed on algae. Prior anatomical studies of Trichoplax revealed that it has a simple three-layered organization with four somatic cell types.We reinvestigate the cellular organization of Trichoplax using advanced freezing and microscopy techniques to identify localize and count cells. Six somatic cell types are deployed in stereotyped positions. A thick ventral plate, comprising the majority of the cells, includes ciliated epithelial cells, newly identified lipophil cells packed with large lipid granules, and gland cells. Lipophils project deep into the interior, where they alternate with regularly spaced fiber cells whose branches contact all other cell types, including cells of the dorsal and ventral epithelium. Crystal cells, each containing a birefringent crystal, are arrayed around the rim. Gland cells express several proteins typical of neurosecretory cells, and a subset of them, around the rim, also expresses an FMRFamide-like neuropeptide.Structural analysis of Trichoplax with significantly improved techniques provides an advance in understanding its cell types and their distributions. We find two previously undetected cell types, lipohil and crystal cells, and an organized body plan in which different cell types are arranged in distinct patterns. The composition of gland cells suggests that they are neurosecretory cells and could control locomotor and feeding behavior.


Eitel M.,Institute For Tierokologie Und Zellbiologie | Eitel M.,University of Hong Kong | Osigus H.-J.,Institute For Tierokologie Und Zellbiologie | DeSalle R.,American Museum of Natural History | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The enigmatic animal phylum Placozoa holds a key position in the metazoan Tree of Life. A simple bauplan makes it appear to be the most basal metazoan known and genetic evidence also points to a position close to the last common metazoan ancestor. Trichoplax adhaerens is the only formally described species in the phylum to date, making the Placozoa the only monotypic phylum in the animal kingdom. However, recent molecular genetic as well as morphological studies have identified a high level of diversity, and hence a potential high level of taxonomic diversity, within this phylum. Different taxa, possibly at different taxonomic levels, are awaiting description. In this review we firstly summarize knowledge on the morphology, phylogenetic position and ecology of the Placozoa. Secondly, we give an overview of placozoan morphological and genetic diversity and finally present an updated distribution of placozoan populations. We conclude that there is great potential and need to erect new taxa and to establish a firm system for this taxonomic tabula rasa. © 2013 Eitel et al.


Paknia O.,Institute For Tierokologie Und Zellbiologie | Bergmann T.,Institute For Tierokologie Und Zellbiologie | Hadrys H.,Institute For Tierokologie Und Zellbiologie | Hadrys H.,Yale University | Hadrys H.,American Museum of Natural History
Molecular Ecology Resources | Year: 2015

DNA barcoding has emerged as a routine tool in modern taxonomy. Although straightforward, this approach faces new challenges, when applied to difficult situation such as defining cryptic biodiversity. Ants are prime examples for high degrees of cryptic biodiversity due to complex population differentiation, hybridization and speciation processes. Here, we test the DNA barcoding region, cytochrome c oxidase 1 and two supplementary markers, 28S ribosomal DNA and long-wavelength rhodopsin, commonly used in ant taxonomy, for their potential in a layered, character-based barcoding approach across different taxonomic levels. Furthermore, we assess performance of the character-based barcoding approach to determine cryptic species diversity in ants. We found (i) that the barcode potential of a specific genetic marker varied widely among taxonomic levels in ants; (ii) that application of a layered, character-based barcode for identification of specimens can be a solution to taxonomical challenging groups; (iii) that the character-based barcoding approach allows us to differentiate specimens even within locations based on pure characters. In summary, (layered) character-based barcoding offers a reliable alternative for problematic species identification in ants and can be used as a fast and cost-efficient approach to estimate presence, absence or frequency of cryptic species. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Loenarz C.,University of Oxford | Coleman M.L.,University of Oxford | Boleininger A.,University of Oxford | Schierwater B.,Institute For Tierokologie Und Zellbiologie | And 3 more authors.
EMBO Reports | Year: 2011

The hypoxic response in humans is mediated by the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF), for which prolyl hydroxylases (PHDs) act as oxygen-sensing components. The evolutionary origins of the HIF system have been previously unclear. We demonstrate a functional HIF system in the simplest animal, Trichoplax adhaerens: HIF targets in T. adhaerens include glycolytic and metabolic enzymes, suggesting a role for HIF in the adaptation of basal multicellular animals to fluctuating oxygen levels. Characterization of the T. adhaerens PHDs and cross-species complementation assays reveal a conserved oxygen-sensing mechanism. Cross-genomic analyses rationalize the relative importance of HIF system components, and imply that the HIF system is likely to be present in all animals, but is unique to this kingdom. © 2011 European molecular biology organization.


PubMed | Institute For Tierokologie Und Zellbiologie
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Molecular ecology resources | Year: 2015

DNA barcoding has emerged as a routine tool in modern taxonomy. Although straightforward, this approach faces new challenges, when applied to difficult situation such as defining cryptic biodiversity. Ants are prime examples for high degrees of cryptic biodiversity due to complex population differentiation, hybridization and speciation processes. Here, we test the DNA barcoding region, cytochrome c oxidase 1 and two supplementary markers, 28S ribosomal DNA and long-wavelength rhodopsin, commonly used in ant taxonomy, for their potential in a layered, character-based barcoding approach across different taxonomic levels. Furthermore, we assess performance of the character-based barcoding approach to determine cryptic species diversity in ants. We found (i) that the barcode potential of a specific genetic marker varied widely among taxonomic levels in ants; (ii) that application of a layered, character-based barcode for identification of specimens can be a solution to taxonomical challenging groups; (iii) that the character-based barcoding approach allows us to differentiate specimens even within locations based on pure characters. In summary, (layered) character-based barcoding offers a reliable alternative for problematic species identification in ants and can be used as a fast and cost-efficient approach to estimate presence, absence or frequency of cryptic species.

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