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Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 267, Issue 2, pp 357–364 | Cite as

Junctional complexes of the branchia and gut of the tunicate, Pyrosoma atlanticum (Pyrosomatida, Thaliacea)

  • P. Burighel
  • G. B. Martinucci
  • N. J. Lane
  • R. Dallai
Article

Summary

The branchia of pyrosomes has been found to be like that of ascidians in that it shares with the latter, besides the presence of peribranchial chambers, stigmata bordered by clusters of seven rows of flattened cells, each bearing a single row of long cilia. The intercellular junctions between ciliated cells of the branchial basket and between the cells lining the gut, in pyrosomes, have been studied in thin sections and by freeze-fracture. In both tissues tight and gap junctions are present, but the former are much more extensive in the gut. The gap junctions in the branchial basket exhibit some atypical features. Moreover, although there are extensive zonulae adhaerentes between the ciliated cells of the branchial basket, there are none between the epithelial cells of the intestinal tract. This feature of the branchiae, together with the alignment of their cells into highly ordered rows of seven cells, are similar to those found in some groups of ascidians. The evolutionary relationships between pyrosomes and the aplousobranch ascidians are considered in the light of these results.

Key words

Branchial stigmata Gut Epithelium Cell junctions Pyrosomatida, Pyrosoma atlanticum (Tunicata) 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Burighel
    • 1
  • G. B. Martinucci
    • 1
  • N. J. Lane
    • 2
  • R. Dallai
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Department of evolutionary BiologyUniversity of SienaSienaItaly

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