Active mode of excretion across digestive tissues predates the origin of excretory organs.

08:00 EDT 29th July 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Active mode of excretion across digestive tissues predates the origin of excretory organs."

Most bilaterian animals excrete toxic metabolites through specialized organs, such as nephridia and kidneys, which share morphological and functional correspondences. In contrast, the excretory mechanisms in non-nephrozoans are largely unknown, and therefore the reconstruction of ancestral excretory mechanisms is problematic. Here, we investigated the excretory mode of members of the Xenacoelomorpha, the sister group to Nephrozoa, and Cnidaria, the sister group to Bilateria. By combining gene expression, inhibitor experiments, and exposure to varying environmental ammonia conditions, we show that both Xenacoelomorpha and Cnidaria are able to excrete across digestive-associated tissues. However, although the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis seems to use diffusion as its main excretory mode, the two xenacoelomorphs use both active transport and diffusion mechanisms. Based on these results, we propose that digestive-associated tissues functioned as excretory sites before the evolution of specialized organs in nephrozoans. We conclude that the emergence of a compact, multiple-layered bilaterian body plan necessitated the evolution of active transport mechanisms, which were later recruited into the specialized excretory organs.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PLoS biology
ISSN: 1545-7885
Pages: e3000408


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An Eph family receptor found abundantly in tissues of epithelial origin. It is expressed in a diverse array of tissues during embryonic development, suggesting that it may play a role in embryogenesis. In adult tissues high levels of the receptor are expressed in the LUNG; SKIN; SMALL INTESTINE and OVARY.

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Endoscopic examination, therapy or surgery of the digestive tract.

Digestive system disorder where a particular food irritates the digestive tract or cannot be properly digested (i.e., due to a lack of a digestive enzyme). It differs from FOOD HYPERSENSITIVITY which is an immune system disorder, usually due to specific proteins in food.

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