The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 58: 635 - 642 (2014)

Vol 58, Issue 6-7-8

Special Issue: Spiralian Model Systems

The dynamics of alkaline phosphatase activity during operculum regeneration in the polychaete Pomatoceros lamarckii

Published: 15 January 2015

Réka Szabó and David E.K. Ferrier*

The Scottish Oceans Institute, Gatty Marine Laboratory, University of St Andrews, Fife, UK


Alkaline phosphatase enzymes are found throughout the living world and fulfil a variety of functions. They have been linked to regeneration, stem cells and biomineralisation in a range of animals. Here we describe the pattern of alkaline phosphatase activity in a spiralian appendage, the operculum of the serpulid polychaete Pomatoceros lamarckii. The P. lamarckii operculum is reinforced by a calcified opercular plate and is capable of rapid regeneration, making it an ideal model system to study these key processes in annelids. Alkaline phosphatase activity is present in mesodermal tissues of both intact and regenerating opercular filaments, in a strongly regionalised pattern correlated with major morphological features. Based on the lack of epidermal activity and the broad distribution of staining in mesodermal tissues, calcification- or stem cell-specific roles are unlikely. Transcriptomic data reveal that at least four distinct genes contribute to the detected activity. Opercular alkaline phosphatase activity is sensitive to levamisole. Phylogenetic analysis of metazoan alkaline phosphatases indicates homology of the P. lamarckii sequences to other annelid alkaline phosphatases, and shows that metazoan alkaline phosphatase evolution was characterised by extensive lineage-specific duplications.


serpulid, calcification, biomineralisation, appendage regeneration

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