Phenoloxidases in ascidian hemocytes: Characterization of the prophenoloxidase activating system

Nicolò Parrinello, Vincenzo Arizza, Cinzia Chinnici, Daniela Parrinello, Matteo Cammarata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The phenoloxidase (PO) activity of the hemocytes lysate supernatant from three ascidians species, assayed by means of 3-methyl-2-benzothiazolinone hydrazone hydrochloride, have been compared. PO-containing hemocytes were identified by a cytochemical reaction and the enzymatic activity measured by a spectrophotometric assay of lysate supernatant from hemocyte populations separated on a discontinuous Percoll density gradient. In Styela plicata, the enzyme appeared to be contained in morula cells only. In Ciona intestinalis, PO activity was shown in univacuolar refractile granulocyte and granular hemocyte. In Phallusia mammillata both compartment cell and granular hemocytes were positive. Enzymatic assay following electrophoretic analysis on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) or SDS-PAGE indicated that hemocyte lysate presented orthodiphenoloxidase (catecholase) activity. The enzymes from the three species differed in molecular size, activating substances and trypsin sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-591
Number of pages9
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Cell separation
  • Ciona intestinalis
  • Hemocyte
  • Immunity
  • Phallusia mammillata
  • Phenoloxidase
  • Styela plicata
  • Tunicate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology


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