Early shell field morphogenesis of a patellogastropod mollusk predominantly relies on cell movement and F-actin dynamics.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The morphogenesis of the shell field is an essential step of molluscan shell formation, which exhibits both conserved features and interlineage variations. As one major gastropod lineage, the patellogastropods show different characters in its shell field morphogenesis compared to other gastropods (e.g., the pulmonate gastropod Lymnaea stagnalis), likely related to its epibolic gastrulation. The investigation on the shell field morphogenesis of patellogastropods would be useful to reveal the lineage-specific characters in the process and explore the deep conservation among different molluscan lineages. RESULTS:We investigated the early shell field morphogenesis in the patellogastropod Lottia goshimai using multiple techniques. Electron microscopy revealed distinct morphological characters for the central and peripheral cells of the characteristic rosette-like shell field. Gene expression analysis and F-actin staining suggested that the shell field morphogenesis in this species predominantly relied on cell movement and F-actin dynamics, while BrdU assay revealed that cell proliferation contributed little to the process. We found constant contacts between ectodermal and meso/endodermal tissues during the early stages of shell field morphogenesis, which did not support the induction of shell field by endodermal tissues in general, but a potential stage-specific induction was indicated. CONCLUSIONS:Our results emphasize the roles of cell movement and F-actin dynamics during the morphogenesis of the shell field in Lo. goshimai, and suggest potential regulators such as diffusible factors and F-actin modulators. These findings reflect the differences in shell field morphogenesis of different gastropods, and add to the knowledge of molluscan larval shell formation.
Project description:Molluscan shells are a classic model system to study formation-structure-function relationships in biological materials and the process of biomineralized tissue morphogenesis. Typically, each shell consists of a number of highly mineralized ultrastructures, each characterized by a specific 3D mineral-organic architecture. Surprisingly, in some cases, despite the lack of a mutual biochemical toolkit for biomineralization or evidence of homology, shells from different independently evolved species contain similar ultrastructural motifs. In the present study, using a recently developed physical framework, which is based on an analogy to the process of directional solidification and simulated by phase-field modeling, we compare the process of ultrastructural morphogenesis of shells from 3 major molluscan classes: A bivalve Unio pictorum, a cephalopod Nautilus pompilius, and a gastropod Haliotis asinina We demonstrate that the fabrication of these tissues is guided by the organisms by regulating the chemical and physical boundary conditions that control the growth kinetics of the mineral phase. This biomineralization concept is postulated to act as an architectural constraint on the evolution of molluscan shells by defining a morphospace of possible shell ultrastructures that is bounded by the thermodynamics and kinetics of crystal growth.
Project description:Mollusca is an extremely diverse animal phylum that includes the aculiferans (worm-like aplacophorans and eight-shelled polyplacophorans) and their sister group, the conchiferans, comprising monoplacophorans, bivalves (clams, mussels), gastropods (snails, slugs), scaphopods (tusk shells) and cephalopods (squids, octopuses). Studies on mollusks have revealed an overall number of 11 Hox genes in seven out of eight molluscan "class"-level taxa, but expression data of key developmental regulators such as homeotic genes are only available for three gastropod and two cephalopod species. These show that Hox genes are involved in the formation of specific features including shell, foot, funnel or tentacles and not in antero-posterior body plan patterning as in most other bilaterian animals. The role of Hox genes in non-conchiferan (i.e., aculiferan) mollusks remains entirely unknown.Here we present the first data on the expression of seven Hox genes in apolyplacophoran mollusk, Acanthochitona crinita. In A. crinita the Hox genes Acr-Hox1-5, Hox7 and Post2 are expressed in a co-linear pattern along the antero-posterior axis, but not in molluscan-specific features such as the shell or the foot. The expression pattern is restricted to the post-trochal region and the transcripts are present in ecto-, endo- and mesodermal cell layers. Contrary to the situation in gastropods and cephalopods, we did neither find Hox gene expression in distinct neural subsets of A. crinita, nor in its developing shell plates.Our analysis and comparison with other lophotrochozoans indicate that the basal role of Hox genes is in antero-posterior axis patterning in mollusks, similar to the vast majority of bilaterian animals, and that this role has been conserved in polyplacophorans, while co-option into patterning of evolutionary novelties emerged either at the base of Conchifera or independently in gastropods and cephalopods. These morphological innovations most likely contributed to the evolutionary success of its representatives, as exemplified by, e.g., the wide ecological range and species richness of gastropods.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Various shapes of gastropod shells have evolved ever since the Cambrian. Although theoretical analyses of morphogenesis exist, the molecular basis of shell development remains unclear. We compared expression patterns of the decapentaplegic (dpp) gene in the shell gland and mantle tissues at various developmental stages between coiled-shell and non-coiled-shell gastropods. RESULTS: We analyzed the expression patterns of dpp for the two limpets Patella vulgata and Nipponacmea fuscoviridis, and for the dextral wild-type and sinistral mutant lineage of the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis. The limpets had symmetric expression patterns of dpp throughout ontogeny, whereas in the pond snail, the results indicated asymmetric and mirror image patterns between the dextral and sinistral lineages. CONCLUSION: We hypothesize that Dpp induces mantle expansion, and the presence of a left/right asymmetric gradient of the Dpp protein causes the formation of a coiled shell. Our results provide a molecular explanation for shell, coiling including new insights into expression patterns in post-embryonic development, which should aid in understanding how various shell shapes are formed and have evolved in the gastropods.
Project description:Background:The geometric patterns that adorn the shells of many phylogenetically disparate molluscan species are comprised of pigments that span the visible spectrum. Although early chemical studies implicated melanin as a commonly employed pigment, surprisingly little evidence generated with more recent and sensitive techniques exists to support these observations. Results:Here we present the first mass spectrometric investigations for the presence of eumelanin and pheomelanin in 13 different molluscan species from three conchiferan classes: Bivalvia, Cephalopoda and Gastropoda. In the bivalve Mytilus edulis we demonstrate that eumelanin mainly occurs in the outermost, non-mineralised and highly pigmented layer of the shell (often referred to as the periostracum). We also identified eumelanin in the shells of the cephalopod Nautilus pompilius and the marine gastropods Clanculus pharaonius and Steromphala adriatica. In the terrestrial gastropod Cepaea nemoralis we verify the presence of pheomelanin in a mollusc shell for the first time. Surprisingly, in a large number of brown/black coloured shells we did not find any evidence for either type of melanin. Conclusions:We recommend methods such as high-performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometric detection for the analysis of complex biological samples to avoid potential false-positive identification of melanin. Our results imply that many molluscan species employ as yet unidentified pigments to pattern their shells. This has implications for our understanding of how molluscs evolved the ability to pigment and pattern their shells, and for the identification of the molecular mechanisms that regulate these processes.
Project description:Hox genes are expressed along the anterior-posterior body axis in a colinear fashion in the majority of bilaterians. Contrary to polyplacophorans, a group of aculiferan molluscs with conserved ancestral molluscan features, gastropods and cephalopods deviate from this pattern by expressing Hox genes in distinct morphological structures and not in a staggered fashion. Among conchiferans, scaphopods exhibit many similarities with gastropods, cephalopods and bivalves, however, the molecular developmental underpinnings of these similar traits remain unknown. We investigated Hox gene expression in developmental stages of the scaphopod Antalis entalis to elucidate whether these genes are involved in patterning morphological traits shared by their kin conchiferans. Scaphopod Hox genes are predominantly expressed in the foot and mantle but also in the central nervous system. Surprisingly, the scaphopod mid-stage trochophore exhibits a near-to staggered expression of all nine Hox genes identified. Temporal colinearity was not found and early-stage and late-stage trochophores, as well as postmetamorphic individuals, do not show any apparent traces of staggered expression. In these stages, Hox genes are expressed in distinct morphological structures such as the cerebral and pedal ganglia and in the shell field of early-stage trochophores. Interestingly, a re-evaluation of previously published data on early-stage cephalopod embryos and of the gastropod pre-torsional veliger shows that these developmental stages exhibit traces of staggered Hox expression. Considering our results and all gene expression and genomic data available for molluscs as well as other bilaterians, we suggest a last common molluscan ancestor with colinear Hox expression in predominantly ectodermal tissues along the anterior-posterior axis. Subsequently, certain Hox genes have been co-opted into the patterning process of distinct structures (apical organ or prototroch) in conchiferans.
Project description:In vertebrates, the steroidogenesis enzyme 5?-reductase converts testosterone to the more potent androgen 5?-dihydrotestosterone. Homologues of 5?-reductase genes have been identified in molluscs. However, recent findings suggest that vertebrate-type steroid androgens are not utilised in molluscan reproductive development. Genomic searches have revealed that molluscs do not possess many of the steroidogenic enzymes required to make testosterone, nor a nuclear androgen receptor. Consequently, the role of 5?-reductase in molluscs presents a mystery. Here, developmental exposures of Biomphalaria glabrata to selective pharmaceutical 5?-reductase inhibitors elicited a strong, highly reproducible phenotypic response characterised by the development of elongated "banana-shaped" shell morphology. In comparison to untreated snails, the shells are open-coiled and the whorls are unattached. Dutasteride (5?-reductase inhibitor) is approximately 10-times more potent at provoking the banana-shaped shell phenotype than finasteride, paralleling the pharmaceuticals' efficacy in humans. Other enzyme inhibitors with different modes of action were tested to investigate the specificity of the phenotype. However, only the pharmaceutical 5?-reductase inhibitors provoked the response. Dutasteride elicited the same phenotype in a second gastropod, Physella acuta. In the absence of evidence for de novo androgen steroidogenesis in molluscs, these findings suggest that novel substrates for 5?-reductase exist in gastropods, lending support to the contention that molluscan endocrinology differs from the well-characterised vertebrate endocrine system.
Project description:Changes in nutrient loading and invasive species are among the strongest human-driven disturbances in freshwater ecosystems, but our knowledge on how they affect the biodiversity of lakes is still limited. We conducted a detailed historical analysis of the mollusc community of Oneida Lake based on our comprehensive lakewide study in 2012 and previous surveys dating back to 1915. In the early 20th century, the lake had a high water clarity, with abundant macrophytes and benthic algae, and hosted the most diverse molluscan community in New York State, including 32 gastropod and 9 unionid species. By the 1960s, lake turbidity increased during a period of anthropogenic eutrophication, resulting in a 38% decline in species richness and a 95% reduction in abundance of native gastropods grazing on benthic algae. Following the invasion of Dreissena spp. in 1991 and subsequent increases in water clarity, native gastropod species richness expanded by 37% and abundance increased 20-fold by 2012. In contrast, filter-feeding unionids were unaffected by increased turbidity during the period of eutrophication but were extirpated by dreissenids. Through contrasting effects on turbidity, eutrophication and Dreissena spp. have likely driven the observed changes in native grazing gastropods by affecting the abundance of light-limited benthic algae. Given the high species richness and ecological importance of benthic grazers, monitoring and managing turbidity is important in preserving molluscan diversity.
Project description:Environmental factors promote symbiosis, but its mechanism is not yet well understood. The alga Pseudocladophora conchopheria grows only on the shell of an intertidal gastropod Lunella correensis, and these species have a close symbiotic relationship which the alga reduces heat stress of the gastropod. In collaboration with general public, we investigated how environmental conditions alter the symbiotic interaction between the alga and the gastropod. Information about the habitats of each gastropod and images of shells was obtained from the Japanese and Korean coasts via social media. We constructed the hierarchical Bayesian model using the data. The results indicated that the proportion of shell area covered by P. conchopheria increased as the substrate size utilized by the gastropod increased. Meanwhile, temperature did not affect the proportion of P. conchopheria on the shell. These suggested that the alga provides no benefits for the gastropod on small substrates because gastropod can reduce the heat stress by diving into the small sediment. Further, the gastropod's cost incurred by growing the alga on the shell seems to be low as the algae can grow even in cooler places where no benefits of heat resistance for gastropods. Different environments can yield variable conditions in symbiosis.
Project description:Gastropods are a highly diverse clade of molluscs that includes many familiar animals, such as limpets, snails, slugs and sea slugs. It is one of the most abundant groups of animals in the sea and the only molluscan lineage that has successfully colonized land. Yet the relationships among and within its constituent clades have remained in flux for over a century of morphological, anatomical and molecular study. Here, we re-evaluate gastropod phylogenetic relationships by collecting new transcriptome data for 40 species and analysing them in combination with publicly available genomes and transcriptomes. Our datasets include all five main gastropod clades: Patellogastropoda, Vetigastropoda, Neritimorpha, Caenogastropoda and Heterobranchia. We use two different methods to assign orthology, subsample each of these matrices into three increasingly dense subsets, and analyse all six of these supermatrices with two different models of molecular evolution. All 12 analyses yield the same unrooted network connecting the five major gastropod lineages. This reduces deep gastropod phylogeny to three alternative rooting hypotheses. These results reject the prevalent hypothesis of gastropod phylogeny, Orthogastropoda. Our dated tree is congruent with a possible end-Permian recovery of some gastropod clades, namely Caenogastropoda and some Heterobranchia subclades.
Project description:Ecophenotypes reflect local matches between organisms and their environment, and show plasticity across generations in response to current living conditions. Plastic responses in shell morphology and shell growth have been widely studied in gastropods and are often related to environmental calcium availability, which influences shell biomineralisation. To date, all of these studies have overlooked micro-scale structure of the shell, in addition to how it is related to species responses in the context of environmental pressure. This study is the first to demonstrate that environmental factors induce a bi-modal variation in the shell micro-scale structure of a land gastropod. Notodiscus hookeri is the only native land snail present in the Crozet Archipelago (sub-Antarctic region). The adults have evolved into two ecophenotypes, which are referred to here as MS (mineral shell) and OS (organic shell). The MS-ecophenotype is characterised by a thick mineralised shell. It is primarily distributed along the coastline, and could be associated to the presence of exchangeable calcium in the clay minerals of the soils. The Os-ecophenotype is characterised by a thin organic shell. It is primarily distributed at high altitudes in the mesic and xeric fell-fields in soils with large particles that lack clay and exchangeable calcium. Snails of the Os-ecophenotype are characterised by thinner and larger shell sizes compared to snails of the MS-ecophenotype, indicating a trade-off between mineral thickness and shell size. This pattern increased along a temporal scale; whereby, older adult snails were more clearly separated into two clusters compared to the younger adult snails. The prevalence of glycine-rich proteins in the organic shell layer of N. hookeri, along with the absence of chitin, differs to the organic scaffolds of molluscan biominerals. The present study provides new insights for testing the adaptive value of phenotypic plasticity in response to spatial and temporal environmental variations.