Cloning and functional expression of voltage-gated ion channel subunits from cnidocytes of the Portuguese Man O'War Physalia physalis

C. Bouchard, R. B. Price, C. G. Moneypenny, L. F. Thompson, M. Zillhardt, L. Stalheim, P. A.V. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cnidocytes were dissociated from the tentacles of the Portuguese Man O'War Physalia physalis using heat treatment, and purified using density centrifugation. Visual observation confirmed that these cnidocytes contained a nucleus, a cnidocyst and an apical stereocilium, confirming that the cells were intact. A cnidocyte-specific amplified cDNA library was then prepared using RNA isolated from the cnidocytes, and screened for voltage-gated ion channel subunits using conventional molecular cloning techniques. A variety of channel proteins were identified and full-length sequence obtained for two of them, a Ca2+ channel β subunit (PpCaVβ) and a Shaker-like K+ channel (PpKV1). The location of the transcripts was confirmed by RT-PCR of total RNA isolated from individually selected and rinsed cnidocytes. The functional properties of these two channel proteins were characterized electrophysiologically using heterologous expression. PpCaVβ modulates currents carried by both cnidarian and mammalian α1 subunits although the specifics of the modulation differ. PpKV1 produces fast transient outward currents that have properties typical of other Shaker channels. The possible role of these channel proteins in the behavior of cnidocytes is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2979-2989
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume209
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2006

Keywords

  • Ca beta subunit
  • Cnidaria
  • K1
  • Physalia physalis
  • Potassium channel
  • Shaker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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