PloS one

Fast neurotransmission related genes are expressed in non nervous endoderm in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis.

PMID 24705400


Cnidarian nervous systems utilize chemical transmission to transfer signals through synapses and neurons. To date, ample evidence has been accumulated for the participation of neuropeptides, primarily RFamides, in neurotransmission. Yet, it is still not clear if this is the case for the classical fast neurotransmitters such as GABA, Glutamate, Acetylcholine and Monoamines. A large repertoire of cnidarian Fast Neurotransmitter related Genes (FNGs) has been recently identified in the genome of the sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis. In order to test whether FNGs are localized in cnidarian neurons, we characterized the expression patterns of eight Nematostella genes that are closely or distantly related to human central and peripheral nervous systems genes, in adult Nematostella and compared them to the RFamide localization. Our results show common expression patterns for all tested genes, in a single endodermal cell layer. These expressions did not correspond with the RFamide expressing nerve cell network. Following these results we suggest that the tested Nematostella genes may not be directly involved in vertebrate-like fast neurotransmission.

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