Coral larvae appear to sense appropriate environments for settlement and start metamorphosis by converting external cues into internal signals, although little is known about these molecular mechanisms. A family of neuropeptides, GLWamides, are thought to be such internal signals, acting hormonally to induce metamorphosis in some hydrozoan species. Here we report that one member of the GLWamide peptide family, Hym-248, can induce metamorphosis of planula larvae in the genus Acropora. The Acropora planulae responded to the peptide in a concentration-dependent manner. The GLWamide peptide would mimic endogenous molecules to start metamorphosis in Acropora as in case of hydrozoans. In addition, the peptide could be applied to produce "coral seedlings" with the aim of reef restoration.
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Iwao, .K., Fujisawa, .T. & Hatta, .M. A cnidarian neuropeptide of the GLWamide family induces metamorphosis of reef-building corals in the genus Acropora. Coral Reefs 21, 127–129 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-002-0219-8