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Circulatory stem cells of styelid ascidians

Grant number: 16/07607-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2016
Effective date (End): May 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Acordo de Cooperação: ANR
Principal Investigator:Federico David Brown Almeida
Grantee:Juan Jiménez Merino
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/50164-5 - Stem cells, regeneration, and the evolution of coloniality in ascidians, AP.JP


Styelid ascidians include solitary species that strictly reproduce sexually (i.e. Styela plicata), and colonial species that form aggregates of individuals embedded within a common tunic (i.e. botryllids and sister species Symplegma brankenhielmi). Colonial species have the ability to reproduce clonally along with periodic sexual reproduction. Previous data suggest that a population of blood cells across different species may be related to their essential functions for vascular and palleal budding in the styelid ascidians. Circulatory stem cells in botryllids are found at relatively high abundance, i.e. 1:5000 when compared to the low proportion of hematopoietic stem cells found in human blood, i.e. 1:100000. We hypothesize that the ability to regenerate and bud in colonial styelid ascidians resulted from an expansion and release of stem cells into the circulatory blood of a solitary ancestor. To test this hypothesis, I will examine mechanisms of budding across different species of Styelidae, and compare blood stem cell populations involved in budding and regeneration in clonal styelids to a similar blood cell population in a solitary styelid. Understanding the molecular and developmental nature of these cells may provide basic insights into the functional origin of stem cell. Stem cell function evolutionary reconstructions may one day allow us to identify developmental pathways for re-activating stem cells that were modified or lost in human stem cells. In addition, stem cells gene expression profiles outlined in this proposal may elucidate some possible mechanisms employed by colonial ascidians to avoid the development of tumors or cancers in spite of maintaining high abundance of circulatory stem cells in their bodies. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
JIMENEZ-MERINO, JUAN; DE ABREU, ISADORA SANTOS; HIEBERT, LAUREL S.; ALLODI, SILVANA; TIOZZO, STEFANO; DE BARROS, CINTIA M.; BROWN, FEDERICO D.. Putative stem cells in the hemolymph and in the intestinal submucosa of the solitary ascidian Styela plicata. EVODEVO, v. 10, n. 1, . (19/06927-5, 16/07607-6, 15/50164-5, 15/14052-8, 18/05923-3)
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
MERINO, Juan Jiménez. Circulatory stem cells of Styela plicata (Lesueur, 1823) (Tunicata: Stelidae): an evolutionary approach. 2018. Master's Dissertation - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Biociências (IBIOC/SB) São Paulo.

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