Profiling cellular diversity in sponges informs animal cell type and nervous system evolution
- Journal Article
The evolutionary origin of metazoan cell types such as neurons and muscles is not known. Using whole-body single-cell RNA sequencing in a sponge, an animal without nervous system and musculature, we identified 18 distinct cell types. These include nitric oxide-sensitive contractile pinacocytes, amoeboid phagocytes, and secretory neuroid cells that reside in close contact with digestive choanocytes that express scaffolding and receptor proteins. Visualizing neuroid cells by correlative x-ray and electron microscopy revealed secretory vesicles and cellular projections enwrapping choanocyte microvilli and cilia. Our data show a communication system that is organized around sponge digestive chambers, using conserved modules that became incorporated into the pre- and postsynapse in the nervous systems of other animals. Show more
Journal / seriesScience
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