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:3/27/2017)... CENTRE, N.Y. , March 27, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics ... Outpatient EMR Adoption Model sm . In addition, ... 12% of U.S. hospitals using an electronic medical ... CHS for its high level of EMR usage ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017   Neurotechnology , ... recognition technologies, today announced the release of the ... which provides improved facial recognition using up to ... a single computer. The new version uses deep ... accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... CeBIT 2017 - Against identity fraud with DERMALOG solutions "Made in ... ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide a crucial contribution against identity fraud. ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... COLORADO (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... Awards recognized outstanding manufactures in 10 categories with over 30 nominees and well ... in Manufacturing presented the new award and the event was hosted by CompanyWeek ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... ... Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI), a business incubator ... is hosting “Celebration Friday” (a festive gathering highlighting client success stories) and BioBeers ... at 3:30 p.m. at FITCI’s 4539 Metropolitan Court location, off English Muffin Way. ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... BARBARA, CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) , ... April 20, 2017 , ... ... optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, is pleased to announce ... the new established USDM subsidiary “USDM Europe GmbH” based in Germany. , Braemer ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... April 20, 2017 , ... ... and management of clinical trials worldwide, announced today that they were named one of ... magazine , which covers the latest developments in the pharmaceutical industry. , “We take ...
Breaking Biology Technology: