The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 58: 613 - 622 (2014)

Vol 58, Issue 6-7-8

Special Issue: Spiralian Model Systems

An immunocytochemical window into the development of Platynereis massiliensis (Annelida, Nereididae)

Published: 15 January 2015

Conrad Helm1, Helge Adamo1, Stephane Hourdez2,3, Christoph Bleidorn*,1

1Molecular Evolution and Systematics of Animals, Institute of Biology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany, 2CNRS, Equipe ABICE, UMR7144, Station Biologique de Roscoff, and 3UPMC Université Paris 06, Equipe ABICE, UMR7144, Station Biologique de Roscoff, Roscoff, France


The nereidid annelid Platynereis dumerilii emerged as a well-understood model organism. P. dumerilii and P. massiliensis are sister taxa, which are morphologically indistinguishable as adults. Interestingly, they exhibit highly contrasting life-histories: while P. dumerilii is a gonochorostic species with planktonic feeding larvae, P. massiliensis is a protandric hermaphrodite with lecitotrophic semi-direct -development in brood tubes. Using light microscopy and immunohistochemical methods coupled with confocal laser scanning microscopy, we describe the development of P. massiliensis. Musculature was stained with phalloidin-rhodamine. FMRFamide, acetylated ?-tubulin, and serotonin were targeted by antibodies for the staining of neuronal structures. Additionally, eye development was investigated with the specific 22C10-antibody. The development of P. massiliensis is characterized by the absence of a free-swimming stage, a late development of food uptake, and the presence of a large amount of yolk even in late juvenile stages. Most notably, early juvenile stages already exhibit an organization of several organ systems that resembles those of adults. Larval characters present in the free-swimming feeding larvae of P. dumerilii, as e.g. the apical organ and larval eyes, are absent and regarded to be lost in developing stages of P. massiliensis. Many of the differences found in the development of these two species can be described in the context of heterochronic changes. We strongly advocate expanding evolutionary developmental studies from the well-established model annelid P. dumerilii to the closely related P. massiliensis to study the evolutionary conservation and divergence of genetic pathways involved in developmental processes.


cLSM, evodevo, eye development, heterochrony, model organism, polychaete

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