The 'division of labour' model of eye evolution.

European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69012 Heidelberg, Germany.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences (Impact Factor: 6.23). 11/2009; 364(1531):2809-17. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2009.0104
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The 'division of labour' model of eye evolution is elaborated here. We propose that the evolution of complex, multicellular animal eyes started from a single, multi-functional cell type that existed in metazoan ancestors. This ancient cell type had at least three functions: light detection via a photoreceptive organelle, light shading by means of pigment granules and steering through locomotor cilia. Located around the circumference of swimming ciliated zooplankton larvae, these ancient cells were able to mediate phototaxis in the absence of a nervous system. This precursor then diversified, by cell-type functional segregation, into sister cell types that specialized in different subfunctions, evolving into separate photoreceptor cells, shading pigment cells (SPCs) or ciliated locomotor cells. Photoreceptor sensory cells and ciliated locomotor cells remained interconnected by newly evolving axons, giving rise to an early axonal circuit. In some evolutionary lines, residual functions prevailed in the specialized cell types that mirror the ancient multi-functionality, for instance, SPCs expressing an opsin as well as possessing rhabdomer-like microvilli, vestigial cilia and an axon. Functional segregation of cell types in eye evolution also explains the emergence of more elaborate photosensory-motor axonal circuits, with interneurons relaying the visual information.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background In metazoans, opsins are photosensitive proteins involved in both vision and non-visual photoreception. Echinoderms have no well-defined eyes but several opsin genes were found in the purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) genome. Molecular data are lacking for other echinoderm classes although many species are known to be light sensitive. Results In this study focused on the European brittle star Amphiura filiformis, we first highlighted a blue-green light sensitivity using a behavioural approach. We then identified 13 new putative opsin genes against eight bona fide opsin genes in the genome of S. purpuratus. Six opsins were included in the rhabdomeric opsin group (r-opsins). In addition, one putative ciliary opsin (c-opsin), showing high similarity with the c-opsin of S. purpuratus (Sp-opsin 1), one Go opsin similar to Sp-opsins 3.1 and 3.2, two basal-branch opsins similar to Sp-opsins 2 and 5, and two neuropsins similar to Sp-opsin 8, were identified. Finally, two sequences from one putative RGR opsin similar to Sp-opsin 7 were also detected. Adult arm transcriptome analysis pinpointed opsin mRNAs corresponding to one r-opsin, one neuropsin and the homologue of Sp-opsin 2. Opsin phylogeny was determined by maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses. Using antibodies designed against c- and r-opsins from S. purpuratus, we detected putative photoreceptor cells mainly in spines and tube feet of A. filiformis, respectively. The r-opsin expression pattern is similar to the one reported in S. purpuratus with cells labelled at the tip and at the base of the tube feet. In addition, r-opsin positive cells were also identified in the radial nerve of the arm. C-opsins positive cells, expressed in pedicellariae, spines, tube feet and epidermis in S. purpuratus were observed at the level of the spine stroma in the brittle star. Conclusion Light perception in A. filiformis seems to be mediated by opsins (c- and r-) in, at least, spines, tube feet and in the radial nerve cord. Other non-visual opsin types could participate to the light perception process indicating a complex expression pattern of opsins in this infaunal brittle star.
    BMC Genomics 11/2014; 15(1035). · 4.04 Impact Factor
  • Source
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The appearance of stem cells was a major evolutionary advance. It remains however unknown which ancestral biosystem evolved first for stemness and under what conditions. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the evolutionary origin of stem cells. It summarizes the current knowledge and dogmas on the origin of stem cell evolution. Understanding stemness in metazoans illustrates the basic principles of lineage organization and stem cell hierarchy in ancient single-celled eukaryotes. Keywords: Entamoeba; Ancient stem cells (AnSC); Cell differentiation; Physiological hypoxia; Quiescent cells
    SOJ Microbiol Infect Dis. 04/2014; 2(2):1-3.

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 2, 2014