Efferent Mechanisms of Discharging Cnidae: II. A Nematocyst Release Response in the Sea Anemone Tentacle.Biol Bull. 1998 Oct; 195(2):145-155.BB
Feeding behavior in cnidarians is a sequence of coordinated responses beginning with nematocyst discharge. The nematocyst response produces prey capture by envenomating prey and attaching prey to the tentacle. The strength of attachment of discharged nematocysts to the tentacle is termed intrinsic adherence and is calculated from measurements of adhesive force. Following prey capture, the feeding response involves movement of the tentacles toward the mouth and mouth opening. For ingestion to occur, nematocysts attaching the prey to the tentacles must be released from the tentacle. A nematocyst release response has been proposed, but never documented nor measured. Our criterion for a nematocyst release response is that the intrinsic adherence of discharged nematocysts must decrease to zero. The unit of nematocyst discharge in sea anemone tentacles is the cnidocyte/ supporting cell complex (CSCC). The nematocyst response includes nematocysts discharged from Type C CSCCs by physical contact alone and nematocysts discharged from the more numerous Type B CSCCs that require both chemosensitization and physical contact. We identify two prey-derived substances, N-acetylneuraminic acid (NANA) and glycine, both of which chemosensitize nematocyst discharge from Type B CSCCs at low concentrations. At higher concentrations NANA stimulates the release response of Type Cs, and glycine stimulates the release response of Type Bs.