Indexed on: 16 Jun '09Published on: 16 Jun '09Published in: Tissue and Cell
The intermediate filament (IF) proteins Styela C and Styela D from the tunicate Styela (Urochordata) are co-expressed in all epidermal cells and they are thought to behave as type I and type II keratins. These two IF proteins, Styela C and Styela D, were identified in immunoblots of proteins isolated from the tunic of Styela plicata. The occurrence and distribution of these proteins within the tunic of this ascidian was examined by means of immunofluorescence and immunoperoxidase techniques, using anti-Styela C and anti-Styela D antibodies. In addition, immuno-electron microscopy of the tunic showed that the two proteins are located in the cuticle layer and in the tunic matrix. These results represent the first data about the presence of IF proteins in the tunic of adult ascidian S. plicata. The possible involvement of these IF proteins in reinforcing the integrity of the tunic, that represents the interface between the animal body and the external environment, is discussed.