, Volume 218, Issue 1, pp 33-38
Date: 01 Dec 2007

Coelomic expression of a novel bone morphogenetic protein in regenerating arms of the brittle star Amphiura filiformis

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The bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are a family of signalling molecules involved in numerous developmental processes including cell fate determination in embryonic ectoderm of vertebrate and invertebrate species. Recently, published evidence has indicated that BMPs are involved in echinoderm adult tissue regeneration. We have cloned a novel member of the BMP2/4 subfamily from the ophiuroid echinoderm Amphiura filiformis, which we have named afBMP2/4. Whole-mount in-situ hybridisation performed on non-regenerating brittle star arms revealed that expression of afBMP2/4 is localised to the radial water canal (RWC) and that this expression is upregulated at segmental intervals along the arm. This observed expression pattern suggests a putative active role for this echinoderm BMP transcript in somatic growth and maintenance of the brittle star arm. Expression of this factor has also been observed in regenerating arms 2 weeks post-ablation, implicating the RWC as a source of cells for ophiuroid arm regeneration.