Neurotransmitter-mimetic inducers of larval settlement and metamorphosis
Settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrate larvae are triggered, in many cases, by larval recognition of strictly required, substratum-specific biochemical signals from the environment. In several species, representing both solitarily recruiting and gregariously recruiting organisms, a basic similarity between the biochemical signals required for induction of larval settlement and metamorphosis has been found. These inducers are protein or peptide associated neurotransmitter-mimetic molecules derived from amino acids. In the case of Haliotis (gastropod) larvae, GABA-mimetic inducers uniquely available at the surfaces of crustose red algae are detected by contact-dependent chemosensory recognition, mediated by stereochemically specific epithelial receptors. Larvae of oysters and certain other species are induced to settle and metamorphose in response to larval recognition of DOPA-mimetic inducers associated with their recruiting substrata. The properties of the inducing signal molecules, the larval chemosensory receptors, transducers and regulators that mediate and control larval settlement and metamorphosis in response to chemical signals in the environment are discussed. The ecological and evolutionary significance of these findings is considered.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 September 1985
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