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Larval Storage Protein of the Barnacle, Balanus
amphitrite: Biochemical and Immunological
Similarities to Vitellin
Fusetani Biofouling Project, ERATO, JRDC, c l o Yokohama R&D Center of
Niigata Engineering Co., Ltd., Isogo-ku, Yokohama 235, Japan
Biochemical and immunological characterization of cyprid major protein (CMP),
the principal protein constituent of cypris larvae of the barnacle Balanus amphitrite (Crustacea:
Cirripedia), revealed similarities to egg-yolk protein, vitellin, as follows: CMP and vitellin heavy
chain both have a molecular weight of 170 kDa by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis containing
sodium dodecylsulfate; CMP was crossreactive with antiserum against vitellin heavy chain in
immunoblot analysis. The sequence of 11 amino acids in the amino-terminus of CMP, however, is
not perfectly homologous to that of vitellin heavy chain. Thus, it was deduced that CMP was an
isoform of vitellin. Concentration of CMP abruptly increased during the latter naupliar stages,
reaching a peak just after metamorphosis to the non-feeding cypris stage, and decreased thereafter with aging of cyprids or during the early juvenile period. Specifically, the concentration of
CMP in newly metamorphosed juveniles within one day decreased to 20% that of cyprids. CMP,
therefore, appears to function as a storage protein during settlement of cyprids as well as metamorphosis to juveniles. Immunohistochemical analysis using antiserum against vitellin heavy chain
on sectioned cyprids suggested that CMP is accumulated in the haemocoel. o 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Barnacles are crustaceans which have successfully evolved a sessile form of life style. In their
life cycle, they undergo a series of larval developments in the planktonic stage, consisting of 6 feeding naupliar stages, followed by a metamorphosis
to a non-feeding cypris stage. Cypris larva is a
unique larval form highly adapted for settlement
and subsequent metamorphosis, while barnacle
nauplii are similar to those of other crustaceans
(Anderson, '94).
Cypris larvae do not feed and resemble the pupal stage in insects, but they actively swim and
search for suitable substrata to settle, then metamorphose into juveniles. Since cyprids contain
many conspicuous oil cells, lipid is believed t o be
their main energy resource. In Semibalanus
balanoides, the number of oil cells increases
through nauplius stages and then decreases after
metamorphosis t o the cyprid (Walley, '69). Lucas
et al. ('79) suggested that protein, in addition t o
lipid, was utilized during the cypris stage of S.
balanoides. In insects, storage proteins which are
the principal constituents of the haemolymph in
larvae of the final instar play important roles as
amino acid pools, the transporter of lipids or sugars in the pupae, and as components of some tis0 1996 WILEY-LISS, INC,
sues in the adult (Kanost et al., '90). However,
storage proteins have not yet been identified or
observed in larvae of marine invertebrates, including barnacles.
In the course of our studies on the mechanism
of larval settlement and metamorphosis of barnacles, we have encountered a conspicuous protein present abundantly in cyprids. We refer to
this protein as CMP, the cyprid major protein. In
this paper, we describe the biochemical and immunological characteristics of CMP, the principal
protein constituent in the cypris larvae of the barnacle Balanus amphitrite. We also determine its
occurrence in the other stages in the life cycle of
the barnacle and discuss its function as a storage
Adult barnacles, Balanus amphitrite, attached
on bamboo poles in oyster farms were collected
Received December 19, 1995; revision accepted May 10,1996.
Address reprint requests to Katsuhiko Shimizu, Fusetani Biofouling
Project, ERATO, JRDC, d o Yokohama R&D Center of Niigata Engineering Co., Ltd., 27 Shin-isogo-cho, Isogo-ku, Yokohama 235,Japan.
from Lake Hamana in Shizuoka, Japan (137"
36'E, 34"45'N) and maintained in an aquarium
at 25°C by feeding a1 diet of brine shrimp
(Artemia salina) nauplii (cultured on marine
chlorella Nannochloropsis oculata) and the diatom, Chaetoceros graci,!is. Every other day the
barnacles were removed from the aquarium t o
dry, thereby preventing diatoms from growing
on the shell surfaces.
The barnacles released 1-11 stage nauplii upon
immersion in seawater after these were dried for
2 days. Nauplii were immediately collected and
washed with filtered seawater. These were cultured
in 31 glass beakers at an initial density of 3 larvae/ml by feeding with the diatom C. gracilis at a
concentration of 2.0 x lo5 cells/ml. Cultures were
maintained at 25°C with weak aeration, Seawater
used for the cultures was GF/C (Whatman, Clifton,
NJ) filtered and the salinity was adjusted to 27%0.
Each day, larvae were collected on 100 pm nylon
plankton nets, washed with seawater, and transferred to newly prepared algal diet suspensions.
Seawater used in this study was purchased from
Tokai Kisen Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) which had
been collected off Hachijo Island (139"50'E,
33'10"). Larvae were sampled every day from the
culture batch for analysefi after confirmation of the
stage of development. Larvae reached the cypris
stage in 5 days from start of the culture. The day
of moulting to the cyprid is referred to as Day 0.
Day 0 cyprids were allowed to attach to a nitrocellulose sheet to obtain juveniles. First, a nitrocellulose sheet was coated with the adult barnacle extract,
promoter of attachment for cyprids, which had been
prepared by the method of Crisp and Meadows ('621,
before being glued to the bottom of a polypropylene
container. The container was then filled with 100 ml
of C. gracilis suspension at a concentration of 2.0 x
lo5 celldml, to which aplproximately 1,000 Day-Ocyprids were added. About 300 cyprids attached to
the nitrocellulose sheet and metamorphosed intojuveniles over a 24 h period. Swimming cyprids were
then transferred to anew polypropylene container containing seawater, but were not provided with a nitrocellulose sheet for attachment. On the other hand,
cyprids which attached but,have not completed metamorphosis were removed, leaving only juveniles on
the sheet. Juveniles were fed with fresh algal suspension, while seawater of the swimming cyprids was
renewed daily.
various stages in the life cycle were extracted
with the sample buffer containing 62.5 mM
TrisHCl (pH 6.8), 2% (w/v>SDS, 2% (v/v) 2-mercaptoethanol, 0.005% (w/v) bromophenol blue,
10% (wh) glycerol, 2 mM N-ethylmaleimide (all
chemicals above were purchased from Wako Pure
Chemical Industries Ltd., Osaka, Japan), and 1
mM phenylmethanesulfonylfluoride (Sigma
Chemical Co., St. Louis, MO). Samples of either
25 larvae or juveniles were homogenized with 10
pl of the sample buffer. Each homogenate was
boiled for 3 min and then centrifuged at 15,000
rpm for 20 min at 4°C t o remove insoluble materials. Aliquots of samples containing either 40 larvae or juveniles were electrophoresed at 20 mA
for 1.5 h at room temperature. The gels used consisted of separation gel (8 cm width x 5 cm length
x 1 mm thickness) containing 0.325 M TrisHCl
(pH 8.8), 0.1% (w/v) SDS, 7.5% (w/v) acrylamide
(Wako Pure Chemical Industries Ltd.), and 0.2%
(w/v) N,N'-methylenebisacrylamide (Wako Pure
Chemical Industries Ltd.) with stacking gel (8 cm
x 1.5 cm x 1 mm) containing 0.125 M TrisHCl
(pH 6.81, 0.1% (wh) SDS, 3% (w/v) acrylamide,
and 0.1% (w/v> N,N'-methylenebisacrylamide.
Proteins in the gel were visualized by staining
with Coomassie Brilliant Blue R-250 (CBB,
Nakarai Tesque Inc., Kyoto, Japan).
For quantitative determination of CMP, gels
dried between cellophane membranes were analyzed with the densitometer (The Flying-Spot
Scanner CS-9000, Shimadzu Corp., Kyoto, Japan).
Calibration was carried out using bovine serum
albumin (BSA, Sigma Chemical Co.) as standard.
Concentration of total protein in extracts from larvae or juveniles were determined by the method
of Lowry et al. ('51) with BSA as standard. Statistic analyses for amounts of CMP or total protein were carried out with Student's t-test.
Immunoblot analysis
Sample preparation from cypris larvae were as
described in the section on SDS-PAGE. Ovary extract was prepared as described in the previous
report (Shimizu et al., '96). Ovary was homogenized on ice with extraction buffer (EB) containing 100 mM NaC1, 50 mM TrisHCl (pH 7 . 9 , 5
mM ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, and 1 mM
diisopropyl fluorophosphate (Sigma Chemical Co.)
t o a ratio of 1 : l O (weight of ovary/volume of EB).
Sodium dodecylsulfate-polyacrylamidegel
After centrifugation at 15,000 rpm for 15 min at
electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE)
4°C (Hitachi CR20B2, RPR20-2 rotor), the superSDS-PAGE was carried out according t o the natant and lipid layer was dialyzed against 100
method of Laemmli ('70). Specimens obtained from volumes of EB at 4°C overnight. Ovary extract
was then obtained after removing precipitate by
centrifugation followed by filtration through
Millex-GV 0.22 pm filter (Millipore, Bedford, MA).
Concentration of proteins in the ovary extract was
determined by method of Bradford ('76) using Protein Assay Kit (Bio-Rad, Richmond, CA) with immunoglobulin as standard. For immunoblot, the
ovary extract was mixed 1:1 with 2x-concentrated
sample buffer and then boiled for 3 min.
Samples were electrophoretically transferred
onto polyvinylidene-difluoride (PVDF) sheets (8
cm x 5 cm, Atto Co., Tokyo, Japan) at 80 mA for 2
h at room temperature after separation by SDSPAGE (Towbin et al., '79). The sheets were immunostained as follows. The PVDF sheets were
first incubated in the blocking solution of Tris buffered saline (TBS, 150 mM NaC1,25 mM TrisHC1,
pH 7.5) containing 1%(w/v) low fat milk and then
in antiserum against vitellin heavy chain (Shimizu
et al., '96) diluted to 1:1,000 with the blocking solution for 30 min at each step. It had been previously confirmed t h a t at this concentration,
antiserum recognized only vitellin heavy chain
among proteins in ovary extract by immunoblot
analysis (Shimizu et al., '96). Antigen was detected
with a Vectastain ABC kit (Vector Lab. Inc., Burlingame, CA), composed of biotinylated goat I&-anti
rabbit IgG and avidin biotinylated horseradish peroxidase complex, according to the manufacturer's
protocol. The antigen-antibody complex was visualized with 0.5 mg/ml 4-chloro-1-naphthol (Wako
Pure Chemical Industries Ltd.) and 0.005% (w/v)
H202(Santoku Chemical Industries Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan) in TBS.
1%(v/v> normal goat serum and then with antivitellin antiserum diluted to 1:1,000with the blocking solution. Following incubation with the primary
antibody, antigen was detected with Vectastain
ABC kit as described previously. For the negative
control experiment, pre-immune serum was used
instead of the antiserum. Antiserum against vitellin
heavy chain-immunoreactive substances was
stained brown with 0.1% (w/v) diaminobentizine
tetrahydrochloride (Nakarai Tesque Inc., Kyoto,
Japan) and 0.005% (w/v) Hz02in TBS. Specimens
were counterstained with 1%(w/v> methyl green
(E. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany) solution.
SDS-PAGE analysis for 170 kDa proteins
in B. amphitrite
A summary of larval t o post-larval stages of development and days elapsed from the start of cul-
ture is shown in Table l.
SDS-PAGE analysis showed the existence of a
170 kDa protein in various larval stages of B.
amphitrite, most abundant in the cyprid (Fig. 1).
We referred t o this protein as the Cyprid Major
Protein (CMP). Nauplius larvae expressed CMP
from day 1 of the culture. CMP specifically increased in amount with development of nauplius
larvae, reaching a maximum in day 0 cyprids
(CO), and decreased thereafter.
Amounts of total protein or CMP in each lane
were determined and summarized in Figure 2. Statistical analysis of results in Figure 2 is presented
in Table 2. Amount of total protein exponentially
increased from NO nauplius to CO cyprids, was constant from CO to C3 cyprids and then decreased.
Amino acid sequencing
metamorphosed juveniles (JO) lost 60% of
Proteins in cypris larvae or the ovary were sepatotal
in CO cyprids and maintained such
rated by SDS-PAGE, electrophoretically transamount
protein for one week.
ferred from gels onto PVDF sheets, and stained
with 1%(w/v) amide black solution as described
TABLE 1. Timint. of dewelowmental stages during culture
above. Bands corresponding to CMP or vitellin
heavy chain were sliced off the sheets, rinsed with Days
Abbreviation of
deionized water, then with methanol, and finally elapsed from
larval and
juvenile stages
dried. The sliced sheets were applied to a gas-phase start of culture
sequencer (model 476A, Applied Biosystems, Fos- 0
1-11 nauplius
ter City, CA).
11-111 nauplius
Larvae were fixed with 4% (w/vj paraformaldehyde in seawater overnight, dehydrated, embedded in Paraplast (Sherwood Medical, St. Louis,
MO), and sectioned to 5 pm thickness. After rehydration, sectioned specimens were incubated
first with the blocking solution of TBS containing
111-lV nauplius
V-VI naupliusl
VI nauplius'
Cyprid (Day 0 )
(Day l)/juvenile (Day 0)
(Day 3Y
(Day 2 )
(Day 711
(Day 6)
'Without the compound eyes.
2With the compound eyes.
200 K -
116 K66 K -
42 K-
N1 N2
N3 N4
200 K -
116 K66 K-
42 K-
Fig. 1. SDS-PAGE analysis of proteins in larvae and juveniles of B. amphitrite. A Lanes N1 to N4 correspond to
Day 1 to Day 4 nauplius larme; lane CO, 0-day-old cyprids.
B: Lanes CO, C1, C3, and C7 indicate 0-, 1-,3-, and 7-dayold cyprids. Lanes JO, 52, and J6 indicate 0-, 2-, and 6-day-
old juveniles. Each lane contains the extract from 40 larvae
or 40 juveniles. CMP is indicated by the arrow on the right
margin. The position of marker proteins is shown by bars
with their molecular weight in the left margin.
By contrast, change of CMP amounts was different from that of total praltein. Amount of CMP was
under 0.25 pg until N3 nauplius and increased
abruptly during the late nauplius stages (N4) and
during metamorphosis t o cyprids (CO). CMP con-
tent formed 6% of total protein in CO cyprids. CMP
contents decreased with aging of cyprids. CMP contents in newly metamorphosed juveniles reduced
to 20% those in CO cyprids. A linear decrease in
CMP content was observed as juveniles grew.
days froiii start of culture
0 1 2.5
Amount of BSA (pg)
days from start of culture
Fig. 2. Change in amounts of total protein (A) and CMP
(B)during larval or post-larval development of B. amphitrite.
Amounts of total protein were estimated by colorimetric
method. CMP amounts were estimated from the SDS-PAGE
gel by means of the densitometer and then calibrated wtih
BSA as standard (inset).Boxes filled with oblique lines rep-
resent mean values of total protein or CMP per larvae obtained from three independent experiments with nauplii;
closed boxes, cyprids; dotted boxes, juveniles. Vertical bars
indicate standard deviation. Significance of differences between two values was evaluated with Student's t-test and
summarized in Table 2.
TABLE 2. Comparison of each pair using Student's &test*
6 ((21)
5 (CO)
Day from start of culture
Amount of total protein
4 "4)
5 (CO)
6 (C1)
8 ((23)
8 (52)
12 ((27)
12 (J6)
6 (JO)
8 (C3)
8 (52)
12 (C7)
Amount of CMP
6 (JO)
4 (N4)
5 (CO)
6 (C1)
6 (JO)
8 ((33)
8 (52)
12 (C7j
*Mean values for amounts of total protein and of CMP each day were compared + and ++ show pairs that were significantly different at a <
0.05, and <0.01, respectively; x, not significant a t u = 0.05; -, not determined. Abbreviated stages defined in Figure 1 are described in
Comparison of CMP with vitellin
Immunological and bi'ochemical characterization
of CMP and vitellin were carried out in order to
examine the homology between the two proteins.
As shown in Figure 3 4 CMP and vitellin heavy
chain both had a molecular weight of 170 kDa.
Immunoblot analysis (Fig. 3B) indicated that the
antiserum against vitellin heavy chain reacted t o
vitellin heavy chain among ovary proteins and to
CMP among cyprid proteins.
CMP and vitellin were biochemically characterized by means of amino acid sequencing for N-terminal regions of these proteins (Table 3). Amino acid
sequence of CMP was "YGFKPNNQY, while vitellin heavy chain had the sequence of ELGFQ-
200 K-
(CMP or Vitellin Heavy Chain)
116K66 K42 K1
Fig. 3. Immunoblot analysis of proteins in the ovary of
adults and in cypris larvae with antiserum against vitellin
heavy chain. Samples containing proteins from 40 cypris larvae (lane 1) or 10 pg ovary proteins (lane 2) were separated
with SDS-PAGE and then stained with CBB (A). Otherwise,
after separation by SDS-PAGE, followed by electroblotting
onto PVDF sheets, proteins were reacted with the antiserum
(B).The antiserum crossreacted with both vitellin heavy chain
and CMP indicated by the arrow with their molecular weight
in the right margin. The position of marker proteins is shown
by bars with their molecular weight in the left margin.
TABLE 3. Comparison of amino-terminal amino acid
sequences between CMP and vitellin'
Vitellin heavy chain
'Sequences were aligned for maximal homology, and homologous residues were boxed.
PKFtQY. The two sequences were not identical but
aligned sequences showed a homology of 45%.
Immunohistochemistry of CMP
Distribution of CMP in the larvae was immunohistochemically studied with the antiserum against
vitellin heavy chain. Positive immunoreaction was
localized in the haemocoel of the cypris larva (Fig.
4A). Non-specific reaction was not observed in the
negative control experiment using pre-immune
serum instead of antiserum (Fig. 4B).
Fig. 4. Localization of immunoreactivity in a cyprid with
antiserum against vitellin heavy chain. Larval sections of 5
pm thickness were reacted with the antiserum. Positive reaction was stained brown and counter-staining with 1%methyl green took place. A Section of a cypris larva was reacted
with anti-vitellin serum. Immunoreactivity was localized in
the haemocoel. a, antennule; g , gut; h, haemocoel; 0,oil cell;
t, thoracic appendages. B: Cypris larva reacted with pre-immune serum. Scale bars = 100 pm in A and B.
In this paper, we have shown the presence of a
storage protein, named CMP, cyprid major protein, in the cypris larva of the barnacle Balanus
amphitrite. CMP is a 170 kDa protein as determined by SDS-PAGE. Previously we have also examined vitellin in B. amphitrite and have found
that it consisted of two subunits, heavy chain and
light chain with molecular weights of 170 and 85
kDa in SDS-PAGE, respectively (Shimizu et al.,
'96). CMP and vitellin heavy chain both had the
same molecular weight.
Immunoblot analysis also revealed that CMP
was crossreactive with antiserum against vitellin heavy chain. Amino acid sequencing of the
N-terminal regions of CMP and vitellin heavy
chain, disclosed that CMP had the sequence of
NNYGFKPNNQY, while that of vitellin heavy
chain was ELGFQPKRQY, thereby indicating that
CMP was not identical to vitellin heavy chain.
Thus, CMP is a homologue or an isoform of vitellin, but gene of CMP is probably different from
that of vitellin.
Vitellin, a protein widely distributed in oviparous animals, is strictly limited in its existence to
the ovary of adults under normal conditions. Vitellin is one of the storage proteins and is consumed during embryonic development. Although
vitellin was found in larvae which could feed (de
Chaffoy de Courcelles and Kondo, '801, this was
likely remnants of egg yolk vitellin and was not
newly synthesized. Since egg-yolk vitellin was
consumed during embryogenesis and almost disappeared in stage I nauplius in the barnacle
(Shimizu et al., '96), CMP from the latter nauplius to the cypris stage can be accounted to de
novo synthesis.
CMP is unique as compared to other constituent proteins, because of its unusual abundance in
the cyprid and variation in its concentration during larval development. CMP content increased
with growth during the feeding nauplius stages,
and then reached a peak upon metamorphosis t o
the non-feeding cyprid. CMP accumulated until
the cypris stage reduced thereafter. The increase
and decrease of CMP content were sharper than
those of total protein content. This observation
suggests that CMP may be a storage protein to be
used for larval settlement and metamorphosis.
Amounts of CMP decreased with time when
cyprids were prevented from settlement, strongly
indicating that CMP is utilized as an energy resource. Metamorphosing cyprids consumed CMP
far greater than swimming ones; two-thirds of
CMP in 0-day-old cyprids were consumed during
the metamorphosis to juveniles. This excessive
consumption suggests more than just an energy
resource; new tissues may also be generated from
CMP during metamorphosis. If such amounts of
CMP are necessary for metamorphosis, cyprids
older than a few days are likely to fail to settle
and metamorphose. In fact, settlement ability of
cyprids reached a maximum at day 3 and decreased thereafter (Satuito et al., '96).
Larval energy resources in several species of
marine invertebrate, including barnacles, have
been thought t o be lipids. Lucas et al. ('79), however, have shown that S. balanoides metabolized
protein as well as lipid during aging or metamorphosis of cyprids. Proteins reported by Lucas et
al. ('79) probably included CMP. Cyprids of B.
amphitrite also possess a large number of oil cells
which appear to reduce in both size and number
with time. Thus, it is likely that both a protein
such as CMP and lipidls are generally consumed
as energy resources by cypris larvae.
Finally, we discuss CMP and barnacle vitellin
from a comparative biochemical view point. Nonfeeding larvae carrying abundant storage proteins
have not been found among marine invertebrates.
Insect pupae or nymphs possess storage proteins
for metamorphosis to the adult (Kanost et al., '90).
Arylphorin, one of insect storage proteins, is a
main constituent in pupae or nymphs and is
widely distributed among both hemi- and holometabolous insects (Telfer and Kunkel, '91), but
amino acid compositions of arylphorins are different from those of vitellogenins (Kanost et al.,
'90). Primary structures, of both an arylphorin-type
storage protein and vitellogenin of the silkworm
Bombyx mori have already been determined, but
revealed no significani, similarities between the
two proteins (Fujii et al., '89; Yano et al., '94). Accumulation of vitellin-like protein such as CMP
in barnacle larvae is, therefore, a novel finding in
developmental biology.
The authors are grateful to Dr. K. Okamoto
(Univ. of Tokyo) for his assistance in collecting
adult barnacles, Drs. G. Walker (Univ. of Wales)
and E. Hunter (Fusetani Biofouling Project) for
critical reading of the manuscript, and Ms. K.
Natoyama and M. Yamazaki (Fusetani Biofouling
Project) for their assistance in culturing the barnacle larvae.
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