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Expression of the neuropeptide SALMFamide-1 during regeneration of the seastar radial nerve cord following arm autotomy

Journal article
Authors M. Byrne
F. Mazzone
M. R. Elphick
Michael C. Thorndyke
P. Cisternas
Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Volume 286
Issue 1901
ISSN 0962-8452
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Keywords deuterostome, nervous system, regeneration, Coscinasterias, echinoderm, Asteroidea, sea star, glial-cells, system, rubens, varicosities, mechanisms, larval, Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics, Environmental Sciences &, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology
Subject categories Environmental Sciences


Arm loss through a separation at a specialized autotomy plane in echinoderms is inextricably linked to regeneration, but the link between these phenomena is poorly explored. We investigated nervous system regeneration post-autotomy in the asteriid seastar Coscinasterias muricata, focusing on the reorganization of the radial nerve cord (RNC) into the ectoneural neuroepithelium and neuropile, and the hyponeural region, using antibodies to the seastar-specific neuropeptide SALMFamide-1 (S1). Parallel changes in the associated haemal and coelomic vessels were also examined. A new arm bud appeared in 3-5 days with regeneration over three weeks. At the nerve stump and in the RNC immediately behind, the haemal sinus/hyponeural coelomic compartments enlarged into a hypertrophied space filled with migratory cells that appear to be involved in wound healing and regeneration. The haemal and coelomic compartments provided a conduit for these cells to gain rapid access to the regeneration site. An increase in the number of glia-like cells indicates the importance of these cells in regeneration. Proximal to the autotomy plane, the original RNC exhibited Wallerian-type degeneration, as seen in disorganized axons and enlarged S1-positive varicosities. The imperative to regrow lost arms quickly is reflected in the efficiency of regeneration from the autotomy plane facilitated by the rapid appearance of progenitor-like migratory cells. In parallel to its specialization for defensive arm detachment, the autotomy plane appears to be adapted to promote regeneration. This highlights the importance of examining autotomy-induced regeneration in seastars as a model system to study nervous system regeneration in deuterostomes and the mechanisms involved with the massive migration of stem-like cells to facilitate rapid recovery.

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