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Two new UV-absorbing mycosporine-like amino acids from the sea anemoneAnthopleura elegantissima and the effects of zooxanthellae and spectral irradiance on chemical composition and content

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Many tropical cnidarians living in shallow water contain a class of ultraviolet-A (UV-A, 320 to 400 nm) and ultraviolet-B (UV-B, 280 to 320 nm) absorbing compounds known as mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs). These compounds may provide protection from the deleterious effects of solar UV radiation. Using a novel application of reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography, we find that the temperate sea anemoneAnthopleura elegantissima (collected in 1988 from Bodega Bay, California, and in 1991 from Santa Barbara, California) contains four major MAAs: shinorine, porphyra-334, and two new compounds, mycosporine-taurine and mycosporine-2 glycine. Analysis of zooxanthellate (containing zooxanthellae) and naturally apozooxanthellate (lacking zooxanthellae) specimens acclimated in the presence and absence of UV for 28 d in the spring of 1988 suggests that this anemone, unlike some other anthozoans, does not regulate the concentration of its MAAs in response to UV radiation. The presence of similar concentration of MAAs in apozooxanthellate and zooxanthellate specimens indicates that symbiosis with algae is not required for these compounds to be present in the anemone. The total concentration of MAAs in the zooxanthellae is only about 12% of that in their host's tissues.

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Correspondence to J. M. Shick.

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Communicated by J. P. Grassle, New Brunswick

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Stochaj, W.R., Dunlap, W.C. & Shick, J.M. Two new UV-absorbing mycosporine-like amino acids from the sea anemoneAnthopleura elegantissima and the effects of zooxanthellae and spectral irradiance on chemical composition and content. Mar. Biol. 118, 149–156 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00699229

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  • Radiation
  • Chromatography
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography
  • Liquid Chromatography
  • Glycine