Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Biol Chem. 1990 Jun 15;265(17):9664-9.

Poly(gamma-glutamic acid)s are the major constituents of nematocysts in Hydra (Hydrozoa, Cnidaria).

Author information

Zoological Institute, University of Zurich-Irchel, Switzerland.


The 2.80 +/- 0.20 mumol of anions found/mg of isolated and purified dry nematocysts (capsular secretory products of stinging cells) from Hydra make up the majority of the soluble capsular content. They are, in cooperation with corresponding cations, responsible for the generation and regulation of an internal osmotic pressure that amounts up to 150 bar (Weber, J. (1989) Eur. J. Biochem. 184, 465-476). The anions are organized as linear homopolymers of L-glutamic acids which are linked by gamma-carboxyl-alpha-amino amide bonds; the degree of polymerization is heterogeneous and dependent on the particular type of nematocyst. In situ the intracapsular glutamic acid monomer concentration is as high as 2 M. This is the first time that poly(gamma-glutamic acid)s, which are known to occur in some selected bacteria, are reported for eucaryotes. It is suggested that they may also be present as predominant components in nematocysts of other cnidarian species and thus might represent a class of compounds which is characteristic for a whole phylum of the animal kingdom.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center