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Whole-body single-cell sequencing of the Platynereis larva reveals a subdivision into apical versus non-apical tissues

By Kaia Achim, Nils Eling, Hernando Martinez Vergara, Paola Yanina Bertucci, Thibaut Brunet, Paul Collier, Vladimit Benes, John C. Marioni, Detlev Arendt

Posted 24 Jul 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/167742

Animal bodies comprise a diverse array of tissues and cells. To characterise cellular identities across an entire body, we have compared the transcriptomes of single cells randomly picked from dissociated whole larvae of the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii. We identify five transcriptionally distinct groups of differentiated cells that are spatially coherent, as revealed by spatial mapping. Besides somatic musculature, ciliary bands and midgut, we find a group of cells located at the apical tip of the animal, comprising sensory-peptidergic neurons, and another group composed of non-apical neural and epidermal cells covering the rest of the body. These data establish a basic subdivision of the larval body surface into molecularly defined apical versus non-apical tissues, and support the evolutionary conservation of the apical nervous system as a distinct part of the bilaterian brain.

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