Title

Vampires of the Great Lakes: Neural Responses of Dermal Papillae to Bile Acid Metabolites

Standing

Graduate (Masters)

Type of Proposal

Oral Research Presentation

Challenges Theme

Safeguarding Healthy Great Lakes

Your Location

University of WIndsor

Faculty

Faculty of Science

Faculty Sponsor

Barbara Zielinski

Abstract/Description of Original Work

The sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) is an ancient vertebrate that is an invasive species to the Great Lakes which potentially can cause >$6,000,000,000 damages to the fishing industry. Chemicals in the external environment are detected by the senses of smell and taste, as well as by specialized receptor cells called solitary chemosensory cells (SCCs) where they are connected to nerve fibers. In aquatic vertebrates, SCCs are located on the skin and are hypothesized to play a role in searching for food and predator avoidance. SCCs are located on the dermal papillae (nipple-like structure) of the mouth, nose, gills and fins of this animal, however, the function of these cells is still unknown. The water collected from thawed dead trout is a potent stimulus for neural responses in the dermal papillae. It is not known which molecules within this thawed dead trout water stimulate this chemosensory response. In this study synthetic analogues of bile acids isolated from dead trout water were tested for chemosensory potency through multi-unit electrophysiological recordings. We found stimulatory chemosensory responses in all skin regions of the sea lamprey to dead trout water and varying response profiles to the synthetic analogues of bile acids. Knowledge of specific molecules that stimulate SCC nerve fibers in the sea lamprey will contribute to an understanding of the functional role of the SCC system in the sea lamprey and vertebrates at large. Finally, this study contributes to the safeguarding the Great Lakes by managing sea lamprey populations through chemical attraction or avoidance strategies.

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Vampires of the Great Lakes: Neural Responses of Dermal Papillae to Bile Acid Metabolites

The sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) is an ancient vertebrate that is an invasive species to the Great Lakes which potentially can cause >$6,000,000,000 damages to the fishing industry. Chemicals in the external environment are detected by the senses of smell and taste, as well as by specialized receptor cells called solitary chemosensory cells (SCCs) where they are connected to nerve fibers. In aquatic vertebrates, SCCs are located on the skin and are hypothesized to play a role in searching for food and predator avoidance. SCCs are located on the dermal papillae (nipple-like structure) of the mouth, nose, gills and fins of this animal, however, the function of these cells is still unknown. The water collected from thawed dead trout is a potent stimulus for neural responses in the dermal papillae. It is not known which molecules within this thawed dead trout water stimulate this chemosensory response. In this study synthetic analogues of bile acids isolated from dead trout water were tested for chemosensory potency through multi-unit electrophysiological recordings. We found stimulatory chemosensory responses in all skin regions of the sea lamprey to dead trout water and varying response profiles to the synthetic analogues of bile acids. Knowledge of specific molecules that stimulate SCC nerve fibers in the sea lamprey will contribute to an understanding of the functional role of the SCC system in the sea lamprey and vertebrates at large. Finally, this study contributes to the safeguarding the Great Lakes by managing sea lamprey populations through chemical attraction or avoidance strategies.