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Int J Biol Sci 2006; 2(2):73-78. doi:10.7150/ijbs.2.73

Research Paper

Immunohistochemical study of cytoskeletal and extracellular matrix components in the notochord and notochordal sheath of amphioxus

Ivana Bočina1, Mirna Saraga-Babić2

1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Scieneces, University of Split, Teslina 12, 21000 Split, Croatia
2 Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Medical School, University of Split, PAK, Spinčićeva 1, Croatia


A major cytoskeletal and extracellular matrix proteins of the amphioxus notochordal cells and sheath were detected by immunohistochemical techniques. The three-layered amphioxus notochordal sheath strongly expressed fish collagen type I in its outer and middle layers, while in the innermost layer expression did not occur. The amphioxus notochordal sheath was reactive to applied anti-human antibodies for intermediate filament proteins such as cytokeratins, desmin and vimentin, as well as to microtubule components (ß-tubulin), particularly in the area close to the epipharyngeal groove. Alpha-smooth muscle actin was expressed in some notochordal cells and in the area of the notochordal attachment to the sheath. Thus muscular nature of notochordal cells was shown by immunohistochemistry in tissue section. Our results confirm that genes encoding intermediate filament proteins, microtubules and microfilaments are highly conserved during evolution. Collagen type I was proven to be the key extracellular matrix protein that forms the amphioxus notochordal sheath.

Keywords: collagen, intermediate filaments, notochord, notochordal sheath

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How to cite this article:
Bočina I, Saraga-Babić M. Immunohistochemical study of cytoskeletal and extracellular matrix components in the notochord and notochordal sheath of amphioxus. Int J Biol Sci 2006; 2(2):73-78. doi:10.7150/ijbs.2.73. Available from