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Prostaglandins in non-insectan invertebrates: recent insights and unsolved problems

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Tony Clare


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Prostaglandins (PG) are oxygenated derivatives of C20 polyunsaturated fatty acids including arachidonic and eicosapentaenoic acids. In mammals, these compounds have been shown to play key roles in haemostasis, sleep-wake regulation, smooth muscle tone, and vaso-, temperature and immune regulation. In invertebrates, PGs have been reported to perform similar roles and are involved in the control of oogenesis and spermatogenesis, ion transport and defence. Although there is often a detailed understanding of the actions of these compounds in invertebrates such as insects, knowledge of their mechanism of biosynthesis is often lacking. This account provides a critical review of our current knowledge on the structure and modes of biosynthesis of PGs in invertebrates, with particular reference to aquatic invertebrates. It emphasises some of the most recent findings, which suggest that some PGs have been misidentified. Prostaglandins in invertebrates can be categorised into two main types; the classical forms, such as PGE(2) and PGD(2) that are found in mammals, and novel forms including clavulones, bromo- and iodo-vulones and various PGA(2) and PGE(2) esters. A significant number of reports of PG identification in invertebrates have relied upon methods such as enzyme immunoassay that do not have the necessary specificity to ensure the validity of the identification. For example, in the barnacle Balanus amphitrite, although there are PG-like compounds that bind to antibodies raised against PGE2, mass spectrometric analysis failed to confirm the presence of this and other classical PGs. Therefore, care should be taken in drawing conclusions about what PGs are formed in invertebrates without employing appropriate analytical methods. Finally, the recent publication of the Ciona genome should facilitate studies on the nature and mode of biosynthesis of PGs in this advanced deuterostomate invertebrate.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rowley AF, Vogan CL, Taylor GW, Clare AS

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Journal of Experimental Biology

Year: 2005

Volume: 208

Issue: 1

Pages: 3-14

ISSN (print): 0022-0949

ISSN (electronic): 1477-9145


DOI: 10.1242/jeb.01275