Structural and Functional Components of the Skate Sensory Organ Ampullae of Lorenzini. Academic Article uri icon


  • The skate, a cartilaginous fish related to sharks and rays, possesses a unique electrosensitive sensory organ known as the ampullae of Lorenzini (AoL). This organ is responsible for the detection of weak electric field changes caused by the muscle contractions of their prey. While keratan sulfate (KS) is believed to be a component of a jelly that fills this sensory organ and has been credited with its high proton conductivity, modern analytical methods have not been applied to its characterization. Surprisingly, total glycosaminoglycan (GAG) analysis demonstrates that the KS from skate jelly is extraordinarily pure, containing no other GAGs. This KS had a molecular weight of 20 to 30 kDa, consisting primarily of N-linked KS comprised mostly of a monosulfated disaccharide repeating unit, ?3) Gal (1?4) GlcNAc6S (1?. Proteomic analysis of AoL jelly suggests that transferrin, keratin, and mucin serve as KS core proteins. Actin and tropomyosin are responsible for assembling the macrostructure of the jelly, and parvalbumin ?-like protein and calreticulin regulate calcium and potassium channels involved in the transduction of the electrical signal, once conducted down the AoL by the jelly, serving as the molecular basis for electroreception.

publication date

  • June 15, 2018