Dual role of the cuttlefish salivary proteome in defense and predation

Valérie Cornet, Joël Henry, Erwan Corre, Gildas Le Corguille, Bruno Zanuttini, Céline Zatylny-Gaudin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


UNLABELLED: We characterized the proteome of the posterior salivary glands of the cephalopod S. officinalis by combining de novo RNA sequencing and mass spectrometry. In silico analysis of the transcriptome revealed the occurrence of three main categories of proteins: enzymes, immune factors and toxins. Protein identification by SDS-PAGE and MALDI-TOF/TOF confirmed the occurrence of proteins essential to venom-like enzymes: peptidase S1 under four isoforms, phospholipase A2 and two toxins. The first toxin is a cystein rich secreted protein (CRISP), a common toxin found in all venomous animals. The second one is cephalotoxin, which is specific to decabrachia cephalopods. Secretions of the posterior salivary glands are transported to the cephalopodium; they are involved in prey catching but also in gamete storage, fertilization and egg-laying. The paralyzing activity and the antimicrobial effect of saliva suggest a dual role in predation and in immune defense in cuttlefish.

BIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The originality of this study lies in the use of a transcriptomic approach (de novo RNA sequencing) coupled to a proteomic approach to get an overview of posterior salivary glands in S. officinalis. In cephalopods, these glands are involved in predation, more precisely in paralyzing preys and digesting them. Our in silico analysis equally reveals a role in immune defense as observed in mammals' saliva. Our study also shows the specificity of cuttlefish venom, with the identification of cephalotoxins, proteins that are not found in octopuses. Finally, we show that cuttlefish saliva is a complex mixture that has antibacterial and crippling properties, but no lethal effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-22
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Proteomics
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Decapodiformes
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Predatory Behavior
  • Proteome
  • Proteomics
  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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