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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The temperature-signaling cascade in sponges involves a heat-gated cation channel, abscisic acid, and cyclic ADP-ribose.

Sponges (phylum Porifera) are the phylogenetically oldest metazoan animals, their evolution dating back to 600 million years ago. Here we demonstrate that sponges express ADP-ribosyl cyclase activity, which converts NAD(+) into cyclic ADP-ribose, a potent and universal intracellular Ca(2+) mobilizer. In Axinella polypoides (Demospongiae, Axinellidae), ADP-ribosyl cyclase was activated by temperature increases by means of an abscisic acid-induced, protein kinase A-dependent mechanism. The thermosensor triggering this signaling cascade was a heat-activated cation channel. Elucidation of the complete thermosensing pathway in sponges highlights a number of features conserved in higher organisms: (i) the cation channel thermoreceptor, sensitive to heat, mechanical stress, phosphorylation, and anesthetics, shares all of the functional characteristics of the mammalian heat-activated background K(+) channel responsible for central and peripheral thermosensing; (ii) involvement of the phytohormone abscisic acid and cyclic ADP-ribose as its second messenger is reminiscent of the drought stress signaling pathway in plants. These results suggest an ancient evolutionary origin of this stress-signaling cascade in a common precursor of modern Metazoa and Metaphyta.[1]


  1. The temperature-signaling cascade in sponges involves a heat-gated cation channel, abscisic acid, and cyclic ADP-ribose. Zocchi, E., Carpaneto, A., Cerrano, C., Bavestrello, G., Giovine, M., Bruzzone, S., Guida, L., Franco, L., Usai, C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2001) [Pubmed]
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