Molecular cloning of a cDNA encoding a potential water-borne pheromonal attractant released during Aplysia egg laying

Xuemo Fan, Bo Wu, Gregg T. Nagle, Sherry D. Painter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


Recently deposited egg cordons are a source of water-borne pheromones that attract the marine mollusk Aplysia into breeding aggregations and coordinate male and female reproductive behavior within the aggregation. A potential pheromonal attractant has been isolated from egg cordon eluates and the peptide partially characterized. Using this information, we have cloned an Aplysia albumen gland cDNA that encodes a precursor protein containing a single copy of the full-length peptide, and demonstrated that there are abundant levels of pheromone mRNA transcripts (0.8 and 2.5 kb) in the albumen gland. This is consistent with the reported function of the gland (i.e. packaging the eggs into a cordon for deposition), with behavioral studies showing that the albumen gland is a potential source of attractants, and more recent biochemical studies in which the full-length peptide has been isolated from the albumen gland. This is the first candidate peptide pheromone in mollusks and the first in invertebrates. The pheromonal regulatory system in Aplysia may provide a model system for examining the structural characteristics of peptide pheromones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-170
Number of pages4
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 1997
Externally publishedYes



  • Albumen gland
  • Invertebrate
  • Peptide pheromone
  • Pheromonal attraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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