Should I stay or should I go? The settlement-inducing protein complex guides barnacle settlement decisions

Manto Kotsiri, Maria Protopapa, Sofoklis Mouratidis, Michael Zachariadis, Demetrios Vassilakos, Ioannis Kleidas, Martina Samiotaki, Skarlatos G. Dedos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)


Reproduction in barnacles relies on chemical cues that guide their gregarious settlement. These cues have been pinned down to several sources of settlement pheromones, one of which is a protein termed settlement-inducing protein complex (SIPC), a large glycoprotein acting as a pheromone to induce larval settlement and as an adhesive in surface exploration by the cyprids. Settlement assays in laboratory conditions with Amphibalanus (=Balanus) amphitrite cyprids in the presence of SIPC showed that cyprids exhibit settlement preference behaviour at lower concentrations of SIPC [half maximal effective concentration (EC50)=3.73 nmol l-1] and settlement avoidance behaviour at higher concentrations (EC50=101 nmol l-1). By using truncated fragments of SIPC in settlement assays, we identify that domains at the N-terminus of SIPC transduce settlement preference cues that mask the settlement avoidance cues transduced by domains at its C-terminus. Removing the N-terminal 600 amino acids from SIPC resulted in truncated fragments that transduced only settlement avoidance cues to the cyprids. From the sexual reproduction point of view, this bimodal response of barnacles to SIPC suggests that barnacles will settle gregariously when conspecific cues are sparse but will not settle if conspecific cues inform of overcrowding that will increase reproductive competition and diminish their reproductive chances.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2018


  • Amphibalanus amphitrite
  • Barnacles
  • Biofouling
  • Gregarious settlement
  • Predation
  • Settlementinducing protein complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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