Hormonal signaling in cnidarians : do we understand the pathways well enough to know whether they are being disrupted?
Tarrant, Ann M.
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Cnidarians occupy a key evolutionary position as basal metazoans and are ecologically important as predators, prey and structure-builders. Bioregulatory molecules (e.g., amines, peptides and steroids) have been identified in cnidarians, but cnidarian signaling pathways remain poorly characterized. Cnidarians, especially hydras, are regularly used in toxicity testing, but few studies have used cnidarians in explicit testing for signal disruption. Sublethal endpoints developed in cnidarians include budding, regeneration, gametogenesis, mucus production and larval metamorphosis. Cnidarian genomic databases, microarrays and other molecular tools are increasingly facilitating mechanistic investigation of signaling pathways and signal disruption. Elucidation of cnidarian signaling processes in a comparative context can provide insight into the evolution and diversification of metazoan bioregulation. Characterizing signaling and signal disruption in cnidarians may also provide unique opportunities for evaluating risk to valuable marine resources, such as coral reefs.
Author Posting. © The Author, 2006. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Ecotoxicology 16 (2007): 5-13, doi:10.1007/s10646-006-0121-1.