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Presence and distribution of FMRFamide-like immunoreactivity in the sea cucumber Holothuria scabra (Jaeger, 1833)

ABSTRACT

Since the discovery of FMRFamide, a cardioactive neuropeptide in the mollusk Macrocallista nimbosa (Lightfoot, 1786) by Price and Greenberg (Science 197:670–671, 1977), there has been a steady increase in our understanding of the distribution and diversity of FMRFamide and FMRFamide-related peptides (FaRPs) across phyla. The sea cucumber Holothuria scabra (Jaeger, 1833) (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) is a high-premium tropical economic species that is overexploited globally and may be in imminent danger of extinction in some areas. Conservation of this species and its amenability to culture is however hampered by the limited knowledge about its biology, including the neurohormonal system. Using indirect immunofluorescence technique with antisera raised against the tetrapeptide FMRFamide as well as reverse-phase HPLC, we have demonstrated the widespread distribution of FMRFamide-like immunoreactivity in the tissues of H. scabra, including the coelomic fluid, suggesting that FaRPs might have neurohormonal activities in this species.