Immunocytochemical localization of a putative strychnine-sensitive glycine receptor in Hydra vulgaris

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Previous biochemical studies have identified strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors in membrane preparations of Hydra vulgaris (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa). Electrophysiological and behavioral evidence has shown that these receptors play a role in modulating pacemaker activity and feeding behavior. Here, we present our genomic analysis that revealed hydra proteins having strong homology with the strychnine-binding region of the human receptor protein, GlyRα1. We further present immunocytochemical evidence for the specific labeling of cell and tissue preparations of hydra by a commercially available polyclonal anti-GlyRα1 antibody, selected through our genomic analysis. Tissue pieces and cell macerates from the upper and lower thirds of the body and ablated tentacles were double-labeled with this antibody and with an antibody specific for α-tubulin, to identify the glycine receptors and microtubules, respectively. Extensive receptor labeling was evident on the membranes, cell bodies and myonemes of endodermal and ectodermal epithelial cells, cell bodies and neurites of nerve cells, cnidocytes and interstitial cells. Labeling of the membranes of epithelial cells frequently corresponded to conspicuous varicosities (presumptive presynaptic sites) in the associated nerve net. Our findings support the idea that glycine receptors form an integral part of the nerve and effector systems that control hydra behavior.

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Cell and Tissue Research