The body margin of the planarian Dugesia japonica: characterization by the expression of an intermediate filament gene
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We have cloned and sequenced a cDNA encoding an intermediate filament protein (IF) from the planarian Dugesia japonica named DjIFb. The deduced amino acid sequence of DjIFb has similarity to those of protostomic IFs and lamins, supporting a previous hypothesis that the protostomic IFs, including DjIFb, are evolutionarily closer to lamins than to vertebrate cytoplasmic IFs. In addition, analysis of the exon/intron organization revealed that 8 out of 10 introns of DjIFb were coincident in their position, even in the codon phase, with those of the non-neuronal IF of the snail Helix aspersa. This suggests that the Platyhelminthes are not the most primitive Bilateria but instead are evolutionarily close to the Mollusca. The DjIFb gene was expressed in particular cells, probably a kind of adhesive gland cell, which were present in the marginal region encircling the planarian body. The localization of DjIFb protein suggests that it plays an important role in the secretion of an adhesive substance. The specific expression pattern of the DjIFb gene enabled us to monitor how the body margin forms during planarian regeneration.
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