Phospholipase A2 in Cnidaria
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Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) is an enzyme present in snake and other venoms and body fluids. We measured PLA2 catalytic activity in tissue homogenates of 22 species representing the classes Anthozoa, Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa and Cubozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. High PLA2 levels were found in the hydrozoan fire coral Millepora sp. (median 735 U/g protein) and the stony coral Pocillopora damicornis (693 U/g) that cause skin irritation upon contact. High levels of PLA2 activity were also found in the acontia of the sea anemone Adamsia carciniopados (293 U/g). Acontia are long threads containing nematocysts and are used in defense and aggression by the animal. Tentacles of scyphozoan and cubozoan species had high PLA2 activity levels: those of the multitentacled box jellyfish Chironex fleckeri contained 184 U/g PLA2 activity. The functions of cnidarian PLA2 may include roles in the capture and digestion of prey and defense of the animal. The current observations support the idea that cnidarian PLA2 may participate in the sting site irritation and systemic envenomation syndrome resulting from contact with cnidarians.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B
HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY