Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanosecond-scale Release Of Stinging Jellyfish Nematocysts

Date:
May 9, 2006
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
By using an electronic ultra-high-speed camera, researchers have characterized the explosive discharge of stinging jellyfish nematocytes and show that this event represents one of the fastest cellular processes in nature. The research is reported by Thomas Holstein of the University of Heidelberg and his colleagues in the May 9th issue of Current Biology.

Nematocysts (stinging cells) of Portuguese Man o' War (Physalia physalis, 100x), coastal Charleston, SC.
Credit: Image courtesy of Southeast Regional Taxonomic Center

By using an electronic ultra-high-speed camera, researchers have characterized the explosive discharge of stinging jellyfish nematocytes and show that this event represents one of the fastest cellular processes in nature. The research is reported by Thomas Holstein of the University of Heidelberg and his colleagues in Current Biology.

Nematocysts (also known as cnidocysts) of jellyfish and other cnidarians are giant exocytotic organelles of the stinging cells used for prey capture and defense. These miniature cellular weapons contain a cocktail of hemolytic and neurotoxic poisons, making some cnidarians the most venomous animals known. Injection of the toxins requires an effective release mechanism that breaks the physical barrier of the prey's outer-surface tissue. It was known already that a high pressure (15 MPa) drives nematocyst discharge, and that stylets can penetrate even thick crustacean shells. However, neither the kinetics nor the forces involved were known, simply because discharge is so fast that it had not been previously resolved by conventional high-speed imaging.

To clarify these issues, the researchers studied nematocyst discharge with an electronic framing-streak camera at a framing rate of 1,430,000 frames per second. They show discharge kinetics of nematocysts in Hydra to be as short as 700 nanoseconds, creating an acceleration of up to 5,410,000 g. The researchers calculate that although the accelerated mass is very small (~1 nanogram), a pressure generated at the site of impact is more than 7 GPa, which is in the range of that generated by some bullets, and sufficient to penetrate the cuticle of crustacean prey. The researchers propose that the high speed of discharge is caused by the release of energy stored in the stretched configuration of the collagen-polymer of the nematocyst capsule wall. This ingenious solution allows the cellular process of vesicle exocytosis to release kinetic energy in the nanosecond range by a powerful molecular spring mechanism.

Timm Nüchter of University of Frankfurt in Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Martin Benoit of LM University Munich in München, Germany; Ulrike Engel of Darmstadt University of Technology in Darmstadt, Germany and University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany; Suat Özbek of University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany; Thomas W. Holstein of University of Frankfurt in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Darmstadt University of Technology in Darmstadt, Germany, and University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany.

This work was supported by the DFG and Hamamatsu Photonics Germany.

Nüchter et al.: "Nanosecond- scale kinetics of nematocyst discharge." Publishing in Current Biology 16, R316-R318, May 9, 2006. DOI 101016/j.cub.2006.03.089 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Nanosecond-scale Release Of Stinging Jellyfish Nematocysts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060508180735.htm>.
Cell Press. (2006, May 9). Nanosecond-scale Release Of Stinging Jellyfish Nematocysts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060508180735.htm
Cell Press. "Nanosecond-scale Release Of Stinging Jellyfish Nematocysts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060508180735.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins