The mutable collagenous tissue (MCT) of echinoderms has the ability to undergo rapid and reversible changes in passive mechanical properties that are initiated and modulated by the nervous system. Since the mechanism of MCT mutability is poorly understood, the aim of this work was to provide a detailed morphological analysis of a typical mutable collagenous structure in its different mechanical states. The model studied was the compass depressor ligament (CDL) of a sea urchin (Paracentrotus lividus), which was characterized in different functional states mimicking MCT mutability. Transmission electron microscopy, histochemistry, cryo-scanning electron microscopy, focused ion beam/scanning electron microscopy, and field emission gun-environmental scanning electron microscopy were used to visualize CDLs at the micro- and nanoscales.
- morphological analysis
- mutable collagenous tissue