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Localization of ion-regulatory epithelia in embryos and hatchlings of two cephalopods

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  • Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Geography


The tissue distribution and ontogeny of Na+/K+-ATPase has been examined as an indicator for ion-regulatory epithelia in whole animal sections of embryos and hatchlings of two cephalopod species: the squid Loligo vulgaris and the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. This is the first report of the immunohistochemical localization of cephalopod Na+/K+-ATPase with the polyclonal antibody α (H-300) raised against the human α1-subunit of Na+/K+-ATPase. Na+/K+-ATPase immunoreactivity was observed in several tissues (gills, pancreatic appendages, nerves), exclusively located in baso-lateral membranes lining blood sinuses. Furthermore, large single cells in the gill of adult L. vulgaris specimens closely resembled Na+/K+-ATPase-rich cells described in fish. Immunohistochemical observations indicated that the amount and distribution of Na+/K+-ATPase in late cuttlefish embryos was similar to that found in juvenile and adult stages. The ion-regulatory epithelia (e.g., gills, excretory organs) of the squid embryos and paralarvae exhibited less differentiation than adults. Na+/K+-ATPase activities for whole animals were higher in hatchlings of S. officinalis (157.0 ± 32.4 µmol gFM−1 h−1) than in those of L. vulgaris (31.8 ± 3.3 µmol gFM−1 h−1). S. officinalis gills and pancreatic appendages achieved activities of 94.8 ± 18.5 and 421.8 ± 102.3 µmolATP gFM−1 h−1, respectively. High concentrations of Na+/K+-ATPase in late cephalopod embryos might be important in coping with the challenging abiotic conditions (low pH, high pCO2) that these organisms encounter inside their eggs. Our results also suggest a higher sensitivity of squid vs. cuttlefish embryos to environmental acid-base disturbances.

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