You are here

Ptychoderid hemichordate neurulation without a notochord.

TitlePtychoderid hemichordate neurulation without a notochord.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsLuttrell S, Konikoff C, Byrne A, Bengtsson B, Swalla BJ
JournalIntegrative and comparative biology
Date Published2012 Dec

<p>Enteropneust hemichordates share several characteristics with chordates, such as a Hox-specified anterior-posterior axis, pharyngeal gill slits, a dorsal central nervous system (CNS), and a juvenile postanal tail. Ptychoderid hemichordates, such as the indirect-developer Ptychodera flava, have feeding larvae and a remarkable capacity to regenerate their CNS. We compared neurulation of ptychoderid hemichordates and chordates using histological analyses, and found many similarities in CNS development. In ptychoderid hemichordates, which lack a notochord, the proboscis skeleton develops from endoderm after neurulation. The position of the proboscis skeleton directly under the nerve cord suggests that it serves a structural role similar to the notochord of chordates. These results suggest that either the CNS preceded evolution of the notochord or that the notochord has been lost in hemichordates. The evolution of the notochord remains ambiguous, but it may have evolved from endoderm, not mesoderm.</p>

Alternate JournalIntegr. Comp. Biol.