The appendicularians, planktonic tunicates, possess a specialized, external filtering system that captures food particles <1 μm in size. In this work the alimentary canal of Oikopleura dioica has been studied by serial sections of whole animals and ultrastructure. The gut includes a dorsal esophagus, a bilobed saccular stomach, and a curved intestine, divided into vertical, mid-, and distal intestine (or rectum). No multicellular glands or cellular proliferative centers were found. Three main cell types were recognized, ciliated microvillar cells, globular cells and gastric band cells, with specializations reflecting different physiological roles in the various regions. Ciliated microvillar cells, the most diffuse, are considered to be involved in food propulsion, fecal pellet formation, absorption, and nutrient storage. Pinocytotic features and vacuoles suggest that absorption of macromolecules and intracellular digestion occur in the globular cells of the stomach and rectum. The large gastric band cells of the left lobe have typical features of intense protein synthesis and probably produce enzymes for extracellular digestion. Diffuse interdigitations of many cells enormously increase the plasmalemma surface and may be involved in liquid/ion exchange. Despite the apparent structural simplicity of the gut epithelium, O. dioica efficiently processes food to fulfill the energy requirements of its exceptionally rapid life-cycle.

Gut ultrastructure of the appendicularian Oikopleura dioica (Tunicata)

BURIGHEL, PAOLO;CIMA, FRANCESCA
2001

Abstract

The appendicularians, planktonic tunicates, possess a specialized, external filtering system that captures food particles <1 μm in size. In this work the alimentary canal of Oikopleura dioica has been studied by serial sections of whole animals and ultrastructure. The gut includes a dorsal esophagus, a bilobed saccular stomach, and a curved intestine, divided into vertical, mid-, and distal intestine (or rectum). No multicellular glands or cellular proliferative centers were found. Three main cell types were recognized, ciliated microvillar cells, globular cells and gastric band cells, with specializations reflecting different physiological roles in the various regions. Ciliated microvillar cells, the most diffuse, are considered to be involved in food propulsion, fecal pellet formation, absorption, and nutrient storage. Pinocytotic features and vacuoles suggest that absorption of macromolecules and intracellular digestion occur in the globular cells of the stomach and rectum. The large gastric band cells of the left lobe have typical features of intense protein synthesis and probably produce enzymes for extracellular digestion. Diffuse interdigitations of many cells enormously increase the plasmalemma surface and may be involved in liquid/ion exchange. Despite the apparent structural simplicity of the gut epithelium, O. dioica efficiently processes food to fulfill the energy requirements of its exceptionally rapid life-cycle.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/2460260
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