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Maternal experience with predation risk influences genome-wide embryonic gene expression in threespined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus)

ABSTRACT: Purpose: The goal of this study was to compare gene expression in whole embryos to identify transcriptomic changes that result from maternal exposure to predation risk. Methods: Whole embryo mRNA profiles of 3 day post-fertilizationstickleback embrosof mothers exposed to simulated predation risk and control embryos were generated by RNA-sequencing of pooled embryos using Illumina Hiseq2000. The sequence reads that passed quality filters were aligned to the stickleback reference genome and analyzed at the gene level (EdgeR) and at the transcript level (Cufflinks/Cuffdiff). Subsets of embryos were also measured for embryo length and eye diameter, and data were analyzed with a general linear model (SPSS). Results: We mapped ~22 million sequence reads per sample to the stickleback reference genome (BROADS1, Ensembl database version 71.1, Feb 2006) and identified 17440 transcripts with the Tophat workflow. Differential expression analysis using both EdgeR and Cufflinks/Cuffdiff identified 455 transcripts were differentially expressed in embryos of mothers exposed to simulated predation risk as compared to control embryos, with an FDR <0.05 (Cuffdiff) or <0.10 (EdgeR). Gene ontology and pathway analysis (DAVID, IPA) of the differentially expressed gene list revealed enrichment of genes involved in growth, metabolism, neurogenesis, and epigenetics. Embryos of mothers exposed to predation risk had elevated expression of growth and metabolism genes and were also larger than control embryos, suggesting at least some of the genes differentially expressed in this study are involved in the transfer of maternal experience to offspring. Conclusions: Our results suggest that early stickleback embryos respond to maternal exposure to predation risk via changes in gene expression, and a general acceleration of the developmental program. Further study is needed to elucidate the myriad molecular interactions between genes that are differentially-regulated as a result of maternal exposure to predation risk and to understand their relationships to previously-observed maternal effects in this system. Whole embryo mRNA profiles of 3dpf stickleback embryos of mothers exposed to simulated predation risk [E] and control mothers [C] were generated by barcoded, multiplexed high-throughput RNA-sequencing on Illumina Hiseq-2000.

ORGANISM(S): Gasterosteus aculeatus  

SUBMITTER: Brett C Mommer   Alison M Bell 

PROVIDER: E-GEOD-56160 | ArrayExpress | 2014-06-07



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