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Melatonin synthesis pathway in invertebrates: presence and functional aspects

Grant number: 09/51184-9
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: July 01, 2009 - June 30, 2011
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology
Principal Investigator:José Cipolla Neto
Grantee:José Cipolla Neto
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo, SP, Brazil


Melatonin is a neurohormone that shows a peculiar and already known synthesis profile, with nocturnal peaks in the majority of the species. One of its main functions is the daily day/night internal signaling by its plasmatic absence or presence, in addition to the seasonal signaling due to its nocturnal peak duration. This indole, also acts as a potent antioxidant and as a co-factor for specific enzymes, among other functions. Although there are evidences of this hormone importance to various aspects of the vertebrates biology, few descriptions are available when invertebrates are considered. Important groups, with many different species and also important phylogenetic position, as Cnidaria, Ctenophora. Annelida, Chelicerata and Echinodermata, were never studied in regard to melatonin presence. One of the aims of this project is to determine if melatonin is present in those groups, and, using a comparative analysis, evaluate the synthesis profile in the positive ones, identifying possible rhythms and influences in these animals biology. After the determination of melatonin presence we aim to perform molecular analyses to investigate the biosynthesis pathway. Polymerase chain reactions (PCR) for AANAT, the key enzyme, and further cloning and sequencing will be some of the involved techniques. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
PERES, RAFAEL; AMARAL, FERNANDA GASPARDO; MARQUES, ANTONIO CARLOS; NETO, JOSE CIPOLLA. Melatonin Production in the Sea Star Echinaster brasiliensis (Echinodermata). BIOLOGICAL BULLETIN, v. 226, n. 2, p. 146-151, APR 2014. Web of Science Citations: 6.

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