d-Serine, a free amino acid synthesized by serine racemase, is a coagonist of N-methyl-d-aspartate–type glutamate receptor (NMDAR). d-Serine in the mammalian central nervous system modulates glutamatergic transmission. Functions of d-serine in mammalian peripheral tissues such as skin have also been described. However, d-serine’s functions in nonmammals are unclear. Here, we characterized d-serine–dependent vesicle release from the epidermis during metamorphosis of the tunicate Ciona. d-Serine leads to the formation of a pocket that facilitates the arrival of migrating tissue during tail regression. NMDAR is the receptor of d-serine in the formation of the epidermal pocket. The epidermal pocket is formed by the release of epidermal vesicles’ content mediated by d-serine/NMDAR. This mechanism is similar to observations of keratinocyte vesicle exocytosis in mammalian skin. Our findings provide a better understanding of the maintenance of epidermal homeostasis in animals and contribute to further evolutionary perspectives of d-amino acid function among metazoans.
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