Navigation Links
Searching for the origin of muscles

A characteristic feature of most animals is their ability to move quickly with the help of their musculature. Animals that can move are able to flee, hunt for prey, travel long distances or conquer new habitats. The evolution of muscles was thus a fundamental step during animal evolution. While the structure and function of muscles, especially of vertebrates, have been intensively studied, the evolutionary origin of smooth and striated muscles has so far been enigmatic. Comparative genome and gene expression studies, performed by researchers Patrick Steinmetz, Johanna Kraus and Ulrich Technau in an international collaboration with researchers from Germany, France and Australia, revealed the origin muscle components in ancestral animals such as sea anemones, jellyfish or sponges.

Gene duplication

Phylogenetic comparisons showed that one of the crucial structural proteins of striated muscles of vertebrates, a "myosin" motor protein, originated by gene duplication. "As this specific myosin has so far only been found in muscle cells, we expected that its origin coincided with the evolution of muscle cells. We were very surprised to see that the 'muscle myosin' evolved probably in unicellular organisms, long before the first animals lived", explains Ulrich Technau who led the study.

Research in sponges

"In sponges, that all lack muscles, the 'muscle myosin' appears to play a role in regulating the water flow", comments Gert Wrheide (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt Munich), whose team was investigating muscle proteins in sponges together with Michael Nickel (University of Jena) and Bernard Degnan (University of Queensland).

and jellyfish

Jellyfish occupy a special phylogenetic position to understand the evolution of muscles. They are cnidarians, an animal group that originated more than 600 million years ago, and possess striated muscles. Due to the striking similarities between striated muscles of vertebrates and jellyfish, it was so far assumed both striated muscle types share a common origin. In fact, jellyfish striated muscles also express the ancient "muscle myosin", but they lack several essential components that are characteristic for the structure and function of striated muscles of "higher animals".

This indicates that despite their striking similarities, striated muscles of jellyfish and "higher animals" have evolved independently. This study sheds light onto how seemingly complex biological structures, such as striated muscles, could have evolved independently based on very ancient components.


Contact: Ulrich Technau
University of Vienna

Related biology news :

1. EU project: Searching for exotics in the shrimp nets
2. Mainz University coordinates new EU project on the origins of human settlement
3. Groundbreaking discovery of the cellular origin of cervical cancer
4. Mystery to the origin of long-lived, skin-deep immune cells uncovered
5. Virginia Tech and University of Tuscia lead team to unravel origin of devastating kiwifruit bacterium
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Searching for the origin of muscles
(Date:11/12/2015)... 11, 2015   Growing need for low-cost, ... has been paving the way for use of ... discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and ... used in medical applications, however, their adoption is ... to continuous emphasis on improving product quality and ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015 ... behavioral biometrics that helps to identify and verify ... Signature is considered as the secure and accurate ... identification of a particular individual because each individual,s ... accurate results especially when dynamic signature of an ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... 4, 2015 --> ... published by Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - ... 2015 - 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected ... 2022. The market is estimated to expand at a ... to 2022. Rising security needs among customers at homes, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" ... reported financial results for the quarter ended September ... in Canadian dollars and presented under International Financial ... States ," said Andrew Rae , ... regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching for ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... event of the year and one of the premier annual events for pharmaceutical ... ran from 8–11 November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number of attendees ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of ... , today announced that the company has set a new quarterly ... quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 ... Mexico , with the establishment of an ... --> United Kingdom and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture Capital brought together ... their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. , Now, the ... title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl 50, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: