Navigation Links
Sea slug mixes chemical defense before firing at predators

When threatened by predators, sea slugs defend themselves by ejecting a potent inky secretion into the water consisting of hydrogen peroxide, ammonia and several types of acids. A team of researchers with the Atlanta-based Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) has found that this secretion is produced from normally inert chemicals stored separately in two glands. The discovery, published in the Dec. 16 on-line edition of the Journal of Experimental Biology, provides insight into a natural chemical process with potential industrial applications.

In the study, a research team led by Georgia State University biologist Charles Derby, PhD, examined the ink and opaline glands of Aplysia sea slugs for the chemicals L-lysine, L-arginine and an enzyme protein called escapin. In previous research, Derby's team determined that escapin mediates the chemical reaction with L-lysine and L-arginine that results in the defensive secretion. Using a variety of chemical and molecular techniques, the scientists identified L-lysine and L-arginine in the opaline gland, which produces the sticky white component of the secretion, and escapin in the ink gland, which produces the purple dye in the secretion.

"Aplysia packages these innocuous precursors separately and then releases them simultaneously into its mantle cavity at the precise time when they are needed," explained Derby. "This mechanism insures the secretion's potency against attacking predators to enable sea slugs to escape."

Aplysia employs a variety of mechanisms to defend against predators. Its secretion stimulates feeding behaviors in spiny lobsters, but deters these behaviors in other animals. In previous studies, Derby and his team also identified an antimicrobial property in the secretion resulting from the chemical reaction between escapin and L-lysine. The scientists are currently examining the chemical process that results in the antimicrobial component and also are attempting to identify Aplysi a predators which are affected by this property of the secretion.

"The antimicrobial property probably evolved to work against predators," said Derby. "But it might also function as an antimicrobial salve for Aplysia's own wounds."

Derby's team, who discovered escapin and holds a provisional patent for its genetic sequence, has been studying the protein for its potential applications as an antimicrobial compound for the healthcare and marine industries. The team has determined that escapin prevents the growth of all major forms of bacteria as well as other microbes.

"As we learn more about how escapin works in Aplysia, we will hopefully be able to reproduce its chemical properties in the laboratory," said Derby.

In addition to Derby, co-authors of the Journal of Experimental Biology study are Paul Johnson, PhD, Cynthia Kicklighter, PhD, Manfred Schmidt, PhD, Michiya Kamio, PhD, Hsiuchin Yang, PhD, and Phang Tai, PhD, of the Georgia State biology department. Other co-authors include physiologists Dimitry Elkin and William Michel, PhD, of the University of Utah School of Medicine.


'"/>

Source:Georgia State University


Related biology news :

1. BRCA1 causes ovarian cancer through indirect, biochemical route
2. Study shows nanoshells ideal as chemical nanosensors
3. MSI releases moleculizer - a new approach to simulation of intracellular biochemical networks
4. Researchers discover chemical compounds that affect plant growth
5. Harmful chemicals may reprogram gene response to estrogen
6. Disease diagnosis, biodefense among UH chemical research projects
7. NYU and MSKCC research provides model for understanding chemically induced cancer initiation
8. Could microbes solve Russias chemical weapons conundrum?
9. Two chemicals boost immune cells ability to fight HIV without gene therapy
10. Environmental chemical cocktail may sabotage sperm
11. Digging in the dirt for lifes biochemical foundations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/11/2016)... 11, 2016 http://www.apimages.com ) - --> ... is available at AP Images ( http://www.apimages.com ) - ... used to produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be ... CeBIT in Hanover next week.   --> ... be used to produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... --> --> ... and Access Management Market by Component (Provisioning, Directory Services, ... Organization Size, by Deployment, by Vertical, and by Region ... market is estimated to grow from USD 7.20 Billion ... a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.2% during ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... This BCC Research report provides an overview ... Sequencing (RNA Seq) market for the years 2015, 2016 ... reagents, data analysis, and services. Use this ... market such as RNA-Sequencing tools and reagents, RNA-Sequencing data ... each segment and forecast their market growth, future trends ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... The American Medical ... Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) outlining a measurement approach ... data were available when and where it was needed. The organization of health ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Biohaven ... Administration (FDA) has granted the company’s orphan drug designation request covering BHV-4157 for ... designation granted by the FDA. , Spinocerebellar ataxia is a rare, debilitating ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Media Cybernetics, global image ... Cybernetics corporate branding reflects a results-driven revitalization for a company with a renewed ... components include a crisp, refreshed logo and a new web presence. , “I ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry ... a.m. ET before the United States House Committee on Science, ... play in controlling the spread of the Aedes aegypti ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150630/227348 ) Oxitec ... gene. Trials in Brazil , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: