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Keywords:

  • behaviour;
  • cephalopods;
  • colocalization;
  • learning;
  • motor system;
  • nitric oxide

Abstract

We recently reported the molecular cloning of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) mRNA from Sepia officinalis (SoNOS) using a strategy that involves hybridization of degenerate PCR primers to highly conserved NOS regions, combined with a RACE procedure. Here, in situ hybridization study has been performed on serial sections of the cuttlefish central nervous system to reveal localized specific staining of cell bodies in several lobes of the brain. Staining was found in many lower motor centres, including cells of the inferior and superior buccal lobes (feeding centres); in some higher motor centres (anterior basal and peduncle lobes); in learning centres (vertical, subvertical and superior frontal lobes); and in the visual system [medulla and deep retina (optic lobe)]. Positive staining was also found in the olfactory lobe. NOS-expressing cells have been detected also in the interbasal lobe. Double labelling experiments, performed on consecutive sections, showed that neurons containing NOS immunoreactivity were also positive in in situ hybridization staining. All these data support the presence of NOS in several systems in the cuttlefish brain.