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Tube growth process in the deep-sea hydrothermal vent tube-worm Riftia pachyptila (Vestimentifera): synthesis and degradation of chitin
Ravaux, J.; Gay, L.; Voss-Foucart, M.F.; Gaill, F. (1998). Tube growth process in the deep-sea hydrothermal vent tube-worm Riftia pachyptila (Vestimentifera): synthesis and degradation of chitin. Cah. Biol. Mar. 39(2): 99-107
In: Cahiers de Biologie Marine. Station Biologique de Roscoff: Paris. ISSN 0007-9723, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Ravaux, J.
  • Gay, L.
  • Voss-Foucart, M.F.
  • Gaill, F.

Abstract
    Enzymatic activities involved in chitin metabolism were studied in the giant tubeworm Riftia pachyptila in order to understand the tube growth process. Experiments performed on repressurized worms provided tissues, from the vestimentum and trunk, that were in a secretion state. Analysis of the composition of the tube newly secreted during these experiments showed a chitin content of about 12% and a protein content of about 22%, approximately twofold less than in mature tubes. Chitin synthase assays demonstrated the presence of an enzymatic activity functioning with UDP-GlcNAc as a substrate. This activity was sensitive to polyoxin D, insensitive to proteolysis by trypsin and stimulated by GlcNAc. Notable results are the lack of a Mg2 super(+) requirement and stimulation by chitobiose and chitotriose. The activity, in our experimental conditions, was shown to be identical in tissues from repressurized animals and from non repressurized animals rapidly dissected after collection. A chitinolytic activity was demonstrated in the opisthosome and in the plume. These results support the model of tube growth at both ends (Gaill et al., 1997).

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