Neuropeptide expression in the box jellyfish Tripedalia cystophora - New insights into the complexity of a "simple" nervous system

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Box jellyfish have an elaborate visual system and perform advanced visually guided behaviors. However, the rhopalial nervous system (RNS), believed to be the main visual processing center, only has 1000 neurons in each of the four eye carrying rhopalia. We have examined the detailed structure of the RNS of the box jellyfish Tripedalia cystophora, using immunolabeling with antibodies raised against four putative neuropeptides (T. cystophora RFamide, VWamide, RAamide, and FRamide). In the RNS, T. cystophora RF-, VW-, and RAamide antibodies stain sensory neurons, the pit eyes, the neuropil, and peptide-specific subpopulations of stalk-associated neurons and giant neurons. Furthermore, RFamide ir+ neurites are seen in the epidermal stalk nerve, whereas VWamide antibodies stain the gastrodermal stalk nerve. RFamide has the most widespread expression including in the ring and radial nerves, the pedalium nerve plexus, and the tentacular nerve net. RAamide is the putative neurotransmitter in the motor neurons of the subumbrellar nerve net, and VWamide is a potential marker for neuronal differentiation as it is found in subpopulations of undifferentiated cells both in the rhopalia and in the bell. The results from the FRamide antibodies were not included as only few cells were stained, and in an unreproducible way. Our studies show hitherto-unseen details of the nervous system of T. cystophora and allowed us to identify specific functional groups of neurons. This identification is important for understanding visual processing in the RNS and enables experimental work, directly addressing the role of the different neuropeptides in vision.

TidsskriftJournal of Comparative Neurology
Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)2865-2882
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - 2021

ID: 258767089