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An electron microscopic study of early gonadogenesis in the hermaphroditic appendicularian Oikopleura gracilis (Tunicata, Oikopleuridae)

Savelieva, Anna V.
Invertebrate reproduction & development 2019 v.63 no.2 pp. 100-110
Ascidiacea, animal ovaries, digestive system, epithelium, germ cells, giant cells, hemocoel, hermaphroditism, juveniles, larvae, meiosis, tail, testes, transmission electron microscopy
The postembryonic development of the gonad in the hermaphroditic appendicularian O. gracilis was studied using transmission electron microscopy. The primordial germ cells were detected first in 10-h-old larvae and represent migrating primordial germ syncytium (mPGS) localized in the hemocoel of the tail/trunk junction and several haemocoel areas of the digestive compartment. The mPGS consisted of primordial germ nuclei (PGN) 2 μm in diameter, and elongate somatic-line nuclei 1.8 μm in diameter. In 12.5-h-old juveniles the gonad primordium 40 × 90 μm in size, was separated by a narrow space of haemocoel between the gut and the epidermis of the reproductive compartment. The gonad primordium consisted of the central syncytial part of primordial germ nuclei (PGN), enclosing a single layer of somatic epithelium. In 3-day-old juveniles, the gonad was differentiated into testis and ovary. The testis, 400 × 550 μm in size, is a syncytium of spermatogonial nuclei, covered by a single layer of somatic epithelium. The ovaries, 350 × 850 μm in size, consist of a syncytium with nurse nuclei and meiotic nuclei. The hermaphroditic gonad originates from extragonadal mPGS. Early gonadogenesis in appendicularians has ultrastructural features in common with early gonadogenesis in ascidians.