Characterization of longitudinal canal tissue in the acorn barnacle Amphibalanus amphitrite
The morphology and composition of tissue located within parietal shell canals of the barnacle Amphibalanus amphitrite are described. Longitudinal canal tissue nearly spans the length of side shell plates, terminating near the leading edge of the specimen basis in proximity to female reproductive tissue located throughout the peripheral sub-mantle region, i.e. mantle parenchyma. Microscopic examination of stained longitudinal canal sections reveal the presence of cell nuclei as well as an abundance of micron-sized spheroids staining positive for basic residues and lipids. Spheroids with the same staining profile are present extensively in ovarioles, particularly within oocytes which are readily identifiable at various developmental stages. Mass spectrometry analysis of longitudinal canal tissue compared to tissue collected from the mantle parenchyma reveals a nearly 50% overlap of the protein profile with the greatest number of sequence matches to vitellogenin, a glycolipoprotein playing a key role in vitellogenesis–yolk formation in developing oocytes. The morphological similarity and proximity to female reproductive tissue, combined with mass spectrometry of the two tissues, provides compelling evidence that one of several possible functions of longitudinal canal tissue is supporting the female reproductive system of A. amphitrite, thus expanding the understanding of the growth and development of this sessile marine organism.