Meeting Abstract

P2.132  Thursday, Jan. 5  Molecular Mapping of Ctenophore Neurons and Glutamate Signaling SWORE, J.J*; KOHN, A.B.; CITARELLA, M.R.; BOBKOVA, Y.V.; MOROZ, L.L.; Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience, University of Florida; Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience, University of Florida; Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience, University of Florida; Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience, University of Florida; Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, Dept of Neuroscience, University of Florida, Florida abkohn@msn.com

Ctenophores are the most basal animal lineage with ‘true’ neurons and muscles. Here, we performed a genome-wide survey of neurotransmitters in the ctenophore, Pleurobrachia bachei focusing on the characterization of glutamate mediated signaling. Specifically, we characterized the molecular organization and expression of more than 20 receptors and associated molecules in Pleurobrachia. We developed and characterize their expression using a novel multicolor in situ hybridization protocol. All cloned receptors showed remarkable cell-type specific expression but only a small subset of receptors is associated to neuronal type elements. Our data and comparative analysis suggest the presence of well-developed glutamate signaling intercellular signaling. However, this type of signaling is substantially different from other animals and can be explained in terms of extensive parallel evolution. Thus, ctenophore might preserve one of the earliest designs of neural organization among animals.