d-Aspartate (d-Asp) is an endogenous molecule that is often detected in CNS and endocrine tissues. Using capillary electrophoresis and a variety of radionuclide detection techniques, we examine the synthesis, release, and uptake/accumulation of d-Asp in the CNS of the marine mollusk Aplysia californica. We observe the preferential synthesis and accumulation of d-Asp over l-aspartate (l-Asp) in neuron-containing ganglia compared to surrounding sheath tissues. Little conversion of d-Asp to l-Asp is detected. The Ca2+ ionophore ionomycin and elevated extracellular potassium stimulates release of d-Asp from the cerebral ganglia. Lastly, radioactive d-Asp in the extracellular media is efficiently taken up and accumulated by individual F-cluster neurons. These observations point to a role for d-Asp in cell-to-cell signaling with many characteristics similar to classical transmitters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1234-1244
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Aplysia californica
  • d-amino acids
  • d-aspartate
  • Hormone
  • Neurotransmitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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