Regeneration of ciliary comb plates in the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi. i. morphology. Academic Article uri icon


  • Regeneration of missing body parts in model organisms provides information on the mechanisms underlying the regeneration process. The aim here is to use ctenophores to investigate regeneration of their giant ciliary swimming plates. When part of a row of comb plates on Mnemiopsis is excised, the wound closes and heals, greatly increasing the distance between comb plates near the former cut edges. Video differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy of the regeneration of new comb plates between widely separated plates shows localized widenings of the interplate ciliated groove (ICG) first, followed by growth of two opposing groups of comb plate cilia on either side. The split parts of a new plate elongate as their bases extend laterally away from the ICG widening and continue ciliogenesis at both ends. The split parts of a new plate grow longer and move closer together into the ICG widening until they merge into a single plate that interrupts the ICG in a normal manner. Video DIC snapshots of dissected gap preparations 1.5-3-day postoperation show that ICG widenings and/or new plates do not all appear at the same time or with uniform spacing within a gap: the lengths and distances between young plates in a gap are quite variable. Video stereo microscopy of intact animals 3-4 days after the operation show that all the new plates that will form in a gap are present, fairly evenly spaced and similar in length, but smaller and closer together than normal. Normal development of comb plates in embryos and growing animals is compared to the pattern of comb plate regeneration in adults. Comb plate regeneration differs in the cydippid Pleurobrachia that lacks ICGs and has a firmer mesoglea than Mnemiopsis. This study provides a morphological foundation for histological, cellular, and molecular analysis of ciliary regeneration in ctenophores.

publication date

  • January 2012