Data from: Active mode of excretion across digestive tissues predates the origin of excretory organs
Andrikou, Carmen; Thiel, Daniel; Ruiz-Santiesteban, Juan A.; Hejnol, Andreas (2019), Data from: Active mode of excretion across digestive tissues predates the origin of excretory organs, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bq068jr
Most bilaterian animals excrete toxic metabolites through specialized organs, such as nephridia and kidneys, which share morphological and functional correspondences. In contrast, the excretory mechanisms in non-nephrozoans are largely unknown, and therefore the reconstruction of ancestral excretory mechanisms is problematic. Here, we investigated the excretory mode of members of the Xenacoelomorpha, the sister group to Nephrozoa, and Cnidaria, the sister group to Bilateria. By combining gene expression, inhibitor experiments and exposure to varying environmental ammonia conditions we show that both, Xenacoelomorpha and Cnidaria, are able to excrete across digestive-associated tissues. However, while the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis seems to use diffusion as its main excretory mode, the two xenacoelomorphs use both, active transport and diffusion mechanisms. Based on these results we propose that digestive-associated tissues functioned as excretory sites before the evolution of specialized organs in nephrozoans. We conclude that the emergence of a compact, multiple-layered bilaterian body plan necessitated the evolution of active transport mechanisms, which was later recruited into the specialized excretory organs.