The regulatory role of GABAA receptor in Actinia equina nervous system and the possible effect of global ocean acidification

Sergii Snigirov, Sergiy Sylantyev* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Global warming and connected acidification of the world ocean attract a substantial amount of research efforts, in particular in a context of their impact on behaviour and metabolism of marine organisms, such as Cnidaria. Nevertheless, mechanisms underlying Cnidarians’ neural signalling and behaviour and their (possible) alterations due to the world ocean acidification remain poorly understood. Here we researched for the first time modulation of GABAA receptors (GABAARs) in Actinia equina (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) by pH fluctuations within a range predicted by the world ocean acidification scenarios for the next 80–100 years and by selective pharmacological activation. We found that in line with earlier studies on vertebrates, both changes of pH and activation of GABAARs with a selective allosteric agonist (diazepam) modulate electrical charge transfer through GABAAR and the whole-cell excitability. On top of that, diazepam modifies the animal behavioural reaction on startle response. However, despite behavioural reactions displayed by living animals are controlled by GABAARs, changes of pH do not alter them significantly. Possible mechanisms underlying the species resistance to acidification impact are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPflugers Archiv : European Journal of Physiology
Early online date11 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Oct 2021


  • GABAA receptor
  • pH-dependent receptor
  • diazepam
  • Actinia equina
  • global warming
  • startle response


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