Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Faimali M., Falugi C., Gallus L., Piazza V., Tagliafierro G. Involvement in Acetyl Choline in Settlement of Balanus amphitrite. In: Biofouling, vol. 19 (1 Supplement 1) pp. 213 - 220. Taylor & Francis, 2003.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the presence and distribution of cholinergic molecules in Balanus amphitrite cyprids and their possible involvement in settlement and adhesion. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE, the lythic enzyme of acetylcholine) activity was detected, for the first time, by biochemical and histoenzymological methods, in the thoracic muscles, gut wall and cement gland. The immunodetection of choline acetyltransferase-like (ChAT) molecules in the same area and in the neuropil of the central nervous system suggests the presence of a cholinergic innervation, and the involvement of acetylcholine in muscular contraction and cement gland exocytosis. The binding of FITC-conjugate agr-bungarotoxin in the cement gland cells confirms the latter hypothesis. Acetylcholine involvement in the settlement process was also investigated by laboratory tests employing cholinergic antagonists and agonists. An increase of available acetylcholine due to the partial inhibition of AChE activity produced an increase in cyprid settlement. The data presented support the hypothesis that acetylcholine has a neurotransmitter/neuromodulator role in settlement and adhesion of barnacle cyprids.
DOI: 10.1080/0892701021000044228
Subject acetylcholine
AChE inhibitor
cyprid settlement

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