Int. J. Dev. Biol. 44: 451 - 456 (2000)
© UPV/EHU Press

Effect of inducers and inhibitors on the expression of bcs genes involved in cypris larval attachment and metamorphosis of the barnacles Balanus amphitrite.

Y Okazaki and Y Shizuri

Marine Biotechnology Institute Co. Ltd., Shimizu Laboratory, Shizuoka, Japan.

ABSTRACT We examined the expression of six barnacle cypris larva-specific gene (bcs) cDNAs (bcs-1, -2, -3, -4,- 5, and -6), the bcs genes, by using Northern blot analysis under various conditions that induced or inhibited cypris larval attachment and metamorphosis. Inducers of larval attachment and metamorphosis, such as a neurotransmitter, tended to increase the expression of bcs mRNAs. All inhibitors of larval attachment and metamorphosis, such as G protein-coupled receptor agonists/antagonists, inhibitors of tyrosine kinase-linked receptors and inhibitors of their signal transduction, suppressed the expression of bcs-6 mRNA alone, but affected differentially other bcs genes. These results strongly suggest that the bcs-6 product plays a key role in triggering the attachment and metamorphosis of cypris larvae into juvenile barnacles. The roles of four late bcs genes (bcs-3,-4, -5 and -6) are discussed.