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Peptides controlling stifness of connective tissue in sea cucumbers
Birenheide, R.; Tamori, M.; Motokawa, T.; Ohtani, M.; Iwakoshi, E.; Muneoka, Y.; Fujita, T.; Minakata, H.; Nomoto, K. (1998). Peptides controlling stifness of connective tissue in sea cucumbers. Biol. Bull. 194(3): 253-259
In: Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory: Lancaster. ISSN 0006-3185, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Birenheide, R.
  • Tamori, M.
  • Motokawa, T.
  • Ohtani, M.
  • Iwakoshi, E.
  • Muneoka, Y.
  • Fujita, T.
  • Minakata, H.
  • Nomoto, K.

    We present the first evidence of a system of four bioactive peptides that affect the stiffness of sea cucumber dermis. The body wall dermis of sea cucumbers consists of catch connective tissue that is characterized by quick and drastic stiffness changes under nervous control. The peptides were isolated from the body wall, their amino acid sequences determined, and identical peptides synthesized. Two peptides, which we named holokinins, are homologous with bradykinin. We tested the effect of the peptides on the mechanical properties of sea cucumber dermis. Both of the holokinins softened the dermis, and a pentapeptide that we designated as NGIWYamide stiffened it. Both effects were reversibly suppressed by anesthesia with menthol. We called the fourth peptide stichopin; it had no direct effect on the stiffness of the dermis but suppressed action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine reversibly. The results suggest that the peptides are neuropeptides and are part of a sophisticated system of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators that controls the connective tissue stiffness of sea cucumber dermis.

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