Functional morphology of the arm spine joint and adjacent structures of the brittlestar Ophiocomina nigra (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea)

Wilkie, I. C. (2016) Functional morphology of the arm spine joint and adjacent structures of the brittlestar Ophiocomina nigra (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). PLoS ONE, 11(12), e0167533. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167533) (PMID:27974856) (PMCID:PMC5156572)

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The skeletal morphology of the arm spine joint of the brittlestar Ophiocomina nigra was examined by scanning electron microscopy and the associated epidermis, connective tissue structures, juxtaligamental system and muscle by optical and transmission electron microscopy. The behaviour of spines in living animals was observed and two experiments were conducted to establish if the spine ligament is mutable collagenous tissue: these determined (1) if animals could detach spines to which plastic tags had been attached and (2) if the extension under constant load of isolated joint preparations was affected by high potassium stimulation. The articulation normally operates as a flexible joint in which the articular surfaces are separated by compliant connective tissue. The articular surfaces comprise a reniform apposition and peg-in-socket mechanical stop, and function primarily to stabilise spines in the erect position. Erect spines can be completely immobilised, which depends on the ligament having mutable tensile properties, as was inferred from the ability of animals to detach tagged spines and the responsiveness of isolated joint preparations to high potassium. The epidermis surrounding the joint has circumferential constrictions that facilitate compression folding and unfolding when the spine is inclined. The interarticular connective tissue is an acellular meshwork of collagen fibril bundles and may serve to reduce frictional forces between the articular surfaces. The ligament consists of parallel bundles of collagen fibrils and 7–14 nm microfibrils. Its passive elastic recoil contributes to the re-erection of inclined spines. The ligament is permeated by cell processes containing large dense-core vesicles, which belong to two types of juxtaligamental cells, one of which is probably peptidergic. The spine muscle consists of obliquely striated myocytes that are linked to the skeleton by extensions of their basement membranes. Muscle contraction may serve mainly to complete the process of spine erection by ensuring close contact between the articular surfaces.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wilkie, Dr Iain
Authors: Wilkie, I. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Iain C. Wilkie
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 11(12):e0167533
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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