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Osterauer R.,University of Tubingen | Marschner L.,University of Tubingen | Betz O.,University of Tubingen | Gerberding M.,Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology | And 7 more authors.
Evolution and Development | Year: 2010

The archetypal body plan of conchiferan molluscs is characterized by an external calcareous shell, though internalization of shells has evolved independently in a number of molluscan clades, including gastropod families. In gastropods, the developmental process of torsion is regarded as a hallmark that is associated with a new anatomical configuration. This configuration is present in extant prosobranch gastropod species, which predominantly bear external shells. Here, we show that short-term exposure to platinum during development uncouples at least two of the processes associated with torsion of the freshwater snail Marisa cornuarietis. That is, the anus of the treated snails is located anteriorly, but the gill and the designated mantle tissue remains in a posterior location, thus preventing the formation of an external shell. In contrast to the prosobranchian archetype, platinum treatment results in the formation of a posterior gill and a cone-shaped internal shell, which persists across the lifetime. This first finding of artificially induced snail-slug conversion was also seen in the pulmonate snail Planorbarius corneus and demonstrates that selective alteration of embryonic key processes can result in fundamental changes of an existing body plan and-if altered regulation is inherited-may give rise to a new one. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Marschner L.,University of Tubingen | Staniek J.,University of Tubingen | Schuster S.,University of Tubingen | Triebskorn R.,University of Tubingen | And 2 more authors.
BMC Developmental Biology | Year: 2013

Background: Toxic substances like heavy metals can inhibit and disrupt the normal embryonic development of organisms. Exposure to platinum during embryogenesis has been shown to lead to a "one fell swoop" internalization of the shell in the ramshorn snail Marisa cornuarietis, an event which has been discussed to be possibly indicative of processes in evolution which may result in dramatic changes in body plans. Results: Whereas at usual cultivation temperature, 26°C, platinum inhibits the growth of both shell gland and mantle edge during embryogenesis leading to an internalization of the mantle and, thus, also of the shell, higher temperatures induce a re-start of the differential growth of the mantle edge and the shell gland after a period of inactivity. Here, developing embryos exhibit a broad spectrum of shell forms: in some individuals only the ventral part of the visceral sac is covered while others develop almost "normal" shells. Histological studies and scanning electron microscopy images revealed platinum to inhibit the differential growth of the shell gland and the mantle edge, and elevated temperature (28 - 30°C) to mitigate this platinum effect with varying efficiency. Conclusion: We could show that the formation of internal, external, and intermediate shells is realized within the continuum of a developmental gradient defined by the degree of differential growth of the embryonic mantle edge and shell gland. The artificially induced internal and intermediate shells are first external and then partly internalized, similar to internal shells found in other molluscan groups. © 2013 Marschner et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Scheil A.E.,University of Tubingen | Scheil V.,University of Tubingen | Triebskorn R.,University of Tubingen | Triebskorn R.,Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology | And 3 more authors.
Molluscan Research | Year: 2012

Theba pisana (Müller, 1774), a Mediterranean snail, is known for its heat tolerance and its remarkable shell colour polymorphism ranging from pale white to darkly striped, although darker morphs are considered less vital in hot habitats due to presumably stronger absorption of radiation. Melanin, the black pigment of these snails, is known as an effective antioxidant, and elevated temperatures can increase oxidative stress. By analysing oxidative waste products via the ferrous oxidation xylenol orange (FOX) assay as a marker for the lipid peroxidation level, we aimed at investigating possible links between heat stress, colouration and antioxidant defence capacity in T. pisana. Although we found increasing levels of peroxidation products with increasing heat exposure duration, there was no difference in antioxidant defence capacity observable between different morphs of T. pisana. Hence the avoidance of lipid peroxidation as an environmentally relevant factor for the maintenance of melanistic morphs in strongly illuminated habitats can be considered improbable. © 2012 Malacological society of australasia & society for the study of molluscan diversity. Source

Scheil A.E.,University of Tubingen | Hilsmann S.,University of Tubingen | Triebskorn R.,University of Tubingen | Triebskorn R.,Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology | Kohler H.-R.,University of Tubingen
Journal of Invertebrate Pathology | Year: 2014

The polymorphism of shell colouration in helicoid snails is a well-known phenomenon attributed to different factors such as predation and climatic effects. Another aspect contributing to this polymorphism could be the interplay of melanin production and phenoloxidase-related immunity. Therefore, in this study we aimed at answering the questions whether there is a differential sensitivity of different snail shell colour morphs to nematode infection, and whether this can be related to differences in phenoloxidase (PO) activity levels using the two helicoid, polymorphic snail species Cepaea hortensis and Cernuella virgata. Snails of both species were artificially infected with the parasitic nematode Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, and analysed for mortality and PO activity levels. We found C. virgata to be more severely affected by P. hermaphrodita infection than C. hortensis, and the dark C. virgata morphs to be more resistant to lethal effects of this infection than pale morphs. However, these differences in sensitivity to the parasite could not clearly be related to different PO activity levels. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

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