Investigations on the G-protein involved in Cnidarian phototransduction

Gaiti, Federico (2012) Investigations on the G-protein involved in Cnidarian phototransduction. [Laurea magistrale], Università di Bologna, Corso di Studio in Biologia marina [LM-DM270] - Ravenna, Documento ad accesso riservato.
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This study aimed to investigate which genes Cnidaria use for photoreception and test whether Gi alpha subunit protein is involved in the phototransduction cascade, giving additional tools to investigate light-mediated behaviors, as nematocyte firing. Here, I engineered an opsin gene promoter construct useful to test whether nematocyte sensory cells express opsin gene. By determining the expression of one of the unique EST opsin genes of the eyeless hydrozoan Hydra magnipapillata genome in nematocyte sensory cells, we will be able to investigate whether light modulation is an ancestral feature in Cnidaria, and whether regulation of nematocyte discharge by opsin-mediated phototransduction predated this pathway’s function in cnidarian eyes. Nematocytes, the cnidarians stinging cells, discharge nematocysts to capture prey. As nematocysts are energetically expensive, the discharge is tightly regulated and occurs after proper chemical and mechanical stimulation. Cnidarians are also known to display a rich corpus of photobehaviors, which are often associated with activities that involve nematocytes. Previous experiments on nematocyst firing modulation show that light decreases nematocyte firing. This study contributed to confirm that bright light decreases the tendency for nematocytes to discharge in Haliplanella luciae. Similar findings in cubozoan and hydrozoan lead us to believe that light modulation of cnidocytes may be an ancestral feature of Cnidaria. Experimentally, I found no evidence that pertussis toxin, a Gi alpha subunit protein inhibitor, ablates Hydra magnipapillata photobehaviour, preliminary suggesting that Gi alpha subunit protein is not involved in photoresponse. I found no significant association between pertussis toxin and nematocyte firing in Haliplanella luciae both in conditions of dim and bright light, suggesting that Gi alpha subunit protein is not involved in photoresponse. We have preliminary evidence for a prevalence of photoreception over chemoreception, tending toward conditions of bright light. This finding may suggest the involvement of a Gs alpha subunit protein in Haliplanella luciae phototransduction pathway. While nematocyte chemo- and mechano-sensitivity have been extensively studied, further research is necessary to better understand what an ancestral phototransduction cascade looked like, and how opsin-based phototransduction acts to regulate nematocyte discharge.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di laurea (Laurea magistrale)
Autore della tesi
Gaiti, Federico
Relatore della tesi
Correlatore della tesi
Corso di studio
Ordinamento Cds
Data di discussione della Tesi
22 Marzo 2012

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