The involvement of cyclic AMP in the settlement of the cypris larva of Balanus amphitrite amphitrite Darwin has been examined through the use of compounds that affect intracellular cyclic AMP levels. The activation of adenylate cyclase with forskolin, and the inhibition of phosphodiesterase with 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine, caffeine and theophylline, significantly increased the settlement of cyprids. Although the analogue dibutyryl cyclic AMP appeared to increase settlement, the effect was not significant. No marked increase in settlement resulted from the incubation of cyprids with dibutyryl cyclic GMP, 8-(4-chlorophenylthio) (CPT) cyclic AMP or papaverine (a phosphodiesterase inhibitor). Miconazole nitrate, an adenylate cyclase inhibitor, prevented settlement, but this effect appeared to be physico-chemical rather than pharmacological. Radioimmunoassay did not clearly show whether cyclic AMP levels changed following exposure of cyprids to a pulse of crude barnacle extract. However, exposure to forskolin significantly increased the cyclic AMP titre of cyprids. We conclude that compounds that alter intracellular cyclic AMP levels alter normal patterns of cyprid settlement. Whether this is because of an alteration in signal transduction is unclear.

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