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K-State Today

April 22, 2021

Alberto Stolfi to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

Alberto Stolfi, assistant professor in the School of Biological Science at Georgia Institute of Technology, will present "Sensory, Secretory, and Contractile Functions of an Organ for Settlement and Metamorphosis of Marine Larvae" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 26, via Zoom.

Abstract: Tunicates are marine filter-feeding chordates, the majority of which alternate between motile larval and sessile adult stages. Their larvae do not feed but rather disperse in search of a suitable substrate on which to settle and metamorphose. Many tunicate species are highly invasive and a growing global threat to biodiversity driven by international shipping and ocean acidification. Thus, understanding their life histories and the molecular mechanisms underlying their substrate attachment preferences and metamorphosis pathways are key to controlling them in our rapidly changing oceans. Here we report our recent findings on the specification and morphogenesis of the anterior adhesive organs, or papillae, of tunicate larvae. First, using single-cell RNAseq we identified specific markers of at least four distinct cell types that comprise the papillae and carry out its many functions in larval settlement and metamorphosis. Using tissue-specific gain-of-function and CRISPR/Cas9-based loss-of-function manipulations, we identified key cell fate specification events that define each cell type and drive the self-organization and morphogenesis of the entire organ. Finally, we show that we can use these manipulations to alter papilla function and subsequently block larval metamorphosis.

If you would like to visit with Stolfi, please contact Michael Veeman at veeman@k-state.edu

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