Establishment of a Stable Culture of Fish Alarm Cells
The goal of this project was to establish a primary culture of alarm cells from the skin of Creek Chub (Semtilus atromaculatis). The skin (epithelium) is composed of different cell types. Included among them are cells that produce alarm substance. This compound is released following tissue damage, such as would occur during a predation event (Smith 1992, Canadian Journal of Zoology, 70(8): 1473-1476). When the alarm substance enters the water, anti-predatory behaviors are initiated by neighboring fish (e.g., darting, freezing, schooling). Alarm substance has not been isolated and commercial preparations are not available. Establishing a culture of fish epithelial cells will provide an immediate source of alarm substance that can be used in behavioral experiments with Creek Chub. To generate a viable culture of cells, we developed protocols for tissue collection and processing, and determined optimal media formulations and culture conditions.
Creek Chub (semtilus atromaculatis)