Characterisation of Geometric Variance in the Epithelial Nerve Net of the Ctenophore Pleurobrachia pileus

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
A. CourtneyMark Pickering


Neuroscience currently lacks a diverse repertoire of model organisms, resulting in an incomplete understanding of what principles of neural function generalise and what are species-specific. Ctenophores display many neurobiological and experimental features which make them a promising candidate to fill this gap. They possess a nerve net distributed across their outer body surface, just beneath the epithelial layer. There is a long-held assumption that nerve nets are simple and random while lacking distinct organisational principles. We want to challenge this assumption and determine how stereotyped the structure of this network really is. We validated an approach to estimate body surface area in Pleurobrachia pileus using custom Optical Projection Tomography and Light Sheet Morphometry imaging systems. We used an antibody against tyrosylated -tubulin to visualise the nerve net in situ. We used an automated segmentation approach to extract the morphological features of the nerve net. We characterised organisational rules of the epithelial nerve net in P. pileus in animals of different sizes and at different regions of the body. We found that specific morphological features within the nerve net are largely un-changed during grow...Continue Reading

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