The regulatory role of GABAA receptor in Actinia equina nervous system and the possible effect of global ocean acidification

Sergii Snigirov, Sergiy Sylantyev* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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Global warming and connected acidification of the world ocean attract a substantial amount of research efforts, in particular in a context of their impact on behaviour and metabolism of marine organisms, such as Cnidaria. Nevertheless, mechanisms underlying Cnidarians’ neural signalling and behaviour and their (possible) alterations due to the world ocean acidification remain poorly understood. Here we researched for the first time modulation of GABAA receptors (GABAARs) in Actinia equina (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) by pH fluctuations within a range predicted by the world ocean acidification scenarios for the next 80–100 years and by selective pharmacological activation. We found that in line with earlier studies on vertebrates, both changes of pH and activation of GABAARs with a selective allosteric agonist (diazepam) modulate electrical charge transfer through GABAAR and the whole-cell excitability. On top of that, diazepam modifies the animal behavioural reaction on startle response. However, despite behavioural reactions displayed by living animals are controlled by GABAARs, changes of pH do not alter them significantly. Possible mechanisms underlying the species resistance to acidification impact are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1851–1858
Number of pages8
JournalPflugers Archiv : European Journal of Physiology
Early online date11 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Open access via Springer Compact Agreement
This study was supported with Wellcome-ISSF award via the University of Aberdeen and the University of Aberdeen Pump-Priming award SF10237-52 for S. Sylantyev and with Improving Environmental Monitoring in the Black Sea – Phase II (EMBLAS-II) ENPI/2013/313-169 grant for S. Snigirov.


  • GABAA receptor
  • pH-dependent receptor
  • diazepam
  • Actinia equina
  • global warming
  • startle response


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