Fine Structure and Differentiation of Ascidian Muscle I. DIFFERENTIATED CAUDAL MUSCULATURE OF DlSTAPLlA OCClDENTALlS TADPOLES
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
The structure of the caudal muscle in the tadpole larva of the compound ascidian Distaplia occidentalis has been investigated with light and electron microscopy. The two muscle bands are composed of about 1500 flattened cells arranged in longitudinal rows between the epidermis and the notochord. The muscle cells are mononucleate and contain numerous mitochondria, a small Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, proteid-yolk inclusions, and large amounts of glycogen. The myofibrils and sarcoplasmic reticulum are confined to the peripheral sarcoplasm. Myofibrils are discrete along most of their length but branch qear the tapered ends of the muscle cell, producing a Felderstmktur. The myofibrils originate and terminate at specialized intercellular junctional complexes. These myomuscular junctions are normal to the primary axes of the myofibrils and resemble the intercalated disks of vertebrate cardiac muscle. The myofibrils insert at the myomuscular junction near the level of a Z-line. Thin filaments (presumably actin) extend from the terminal Z-line and make contact with the sarcolemma. These thin filaments frequently appear to be continuous with filaments in the extracellular junctional space, but other evidence suggests that the extracellular filaments are not myofilaments. A T-system is absent, but numerous peripheral couplings between the sarcolemma and cisternae of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) are present on all cell surfaces. Cisternae coupled to the sarcolemma are continuous with transverse components of SR which encircle the myofibrils at each I-band and H-band. The transverse component over the I-band consists of anastomosing tubules applied as a single layer to the surface of the myofibril. The transverse component over the H-band is also composed of anastomosing tubules, but the myofibrils are invested by a double or triple layer. Two or three tubules of sarcoplasmic reticulum interconnect consecutive transverse components. Each muscle band is surrounded by a thin external lamina. The external lamina does not parallel the irregular cell contours nor does it penetrate the extracellular space between cells. In contracted muscle, the sarcolemmata at the epidermal and notochordal boundaries indent to the level of each Z-line, and peripheral couplings are located at the base of the indentations. The external lamina and basal lamina of the epidermis are displaced toward the indentations. The location, function, and neuromuscular junctions of larval ascidian caudal muscle are similar to vertebrate somatic striated muscle. Other attributes, including the mononucleate condition, transverse myomuscular junctions, prolific gap junctions, active Golgi apparatus, and incomplete nervous innervation are characteristic of vertebrate cardiac muscle cells.
MICHAEL J. CAVEY AND RICHARD A. CLONEY "Fine Structure and Differentiation of Ascidian Muscle: I. DIFFERENTIATED CAUDAL MUSCULATURE OF DlSTAPLlA OCClDENTALlS TADPOLES" J. MORPH., 138: 349-374.