DOI: 10.1101/452185Oct 29, 2018Paper

The architecture of cell differentiation in choanoflagellates and sponge choanocytes

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Davis LaundonPawel Burkhardt


Collar cells are ancient animal cell types which are conserved across the animal kingdom and their closest relatives, the choanoflagellates. However, little is known about their ancestry, their subcellular architecture, or how they differentiate. The choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta expresses genes necessary for animal multicellularity and development and can alternate between unicellular and multicellular states making it a powerful model to investigate the origin of animal multicellularity and mechanisms underlying cell differentiation. To compare the subcellular architecture of solitary collar cells in S. rosetta with that of multicellular 'rosettes' and collar cells in sponges, we reconstructed entire cells in 3D through transmission electron microscopy on serial ultrathin sections. Structural analysis of our 3D reconstructions revealed important differences between single and colonial choanoflagellate cells, with colonial cells exhibiting a more amoeboid morphology consistent with relatively high levels of macropinocytotic activity. Comparison of multiple reconstructed rosette colonies highlighted the variable nature of cell sizes, cell-cell contact networks and colony arrangement. Importantly, we uncovered the presenc...Continue Reading

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