Neuropeptides and photic behavior in Cnidaria
Peptides of the RFamide family occur in neurosecretory cells of all nervous systems of Cnidaria so far studied. Photoreceptive organs – if evolved in a cnidarian species – are always associated with neural cells showing RFamide immunoreactivity. Experimental evidence for the function of RFamides and other neuropeptides in nervous systems and photoreceptive organs is, however, scarce or lacking. RFamide and LWamide immunoreactivity were surveyed in photoreceptive organs of the hydromedusa Cladonema radiatum, in rhopalia of the scyphozoan Aurelia aurita, and in rhopalia of the cubomedusa Tripedalia cystophora. A possible function of neuropeptides in transmission of photic stimuli was assayed by analysing photic behavior in Tripedalia, which has highly developed eyes, and in the simply constructed planula of the hydroid Hydractinia echinata, in which the mode of light perception is unknown. In both species, light orientation was effectively prevented by RFamides administered to the animals in micromolar concentration. In contrast, among four other neuropeptides occurring in the larva of Hydractinia, only one interfered with phototaxis and then only at 10× higher concentrations. Planulae depleted of bioactive peptideamides also lost phototaxis while still locomotorily active. The results support the hypothesis that one possible function of RFamides in Cnidaria is to transmit photic stimuli to epitheliomuscular targets.
Key words: phototaxis, neuropeptide function, RFamide neuropeptides, LWamide neuropeptides, Hydractinia
KeywordsNeurosecretory Cell Ring Nerve Photic Stimulus Cnidarian Species Photoreceptive Organ
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