Transcriptomics,Genomics

Dataset Information

85

Cell-type transcriptomes of the multicellular green alga Volvox carteri yield insights into the evolutionary origins of germ and somatic differentiation programs


ABSTRACT: Germ-soma differentiation is a hallmark of complex multicellular organisms, yet its origins are not well understood. Volvox carteri is a simple multicellular green alga that has recently evolved a simple germ-soma dichotomy with only two cell types: large germ cells called gonidia and small terminally differentiated somatic cells. Here, we provide a comprehensive characterization of the gonidial and somatic transcriptomes of Volvox to uncover fundamental differences between the molecular and metabolic programming of these cell types. We found extensive transcriptome differentiation between cell types, with somatic cells expressing a more specialized program overrepresented in younger, lineage-specific genes and gonidial cells expressing a more generalist program overrepresented in more ancient genes that shared striking overlap with metazoan stem-cell-specific genes. Directed analyses of metabolic pathways revealed a strong dichotomy between cell types with gonidial cells expressing growth-related genes and somatic cells expressing an altruistic metabolic program geared towards the assembly of flagella, which support organismal motility, and the conversion of storage carbon to sugars, which act as donors of extracellular matrix glycoproteins whose secretion enables massive organismal expansion. Volvox orthologs of Chlamydomonas diurnally regulated genes were analyzed for cell-type distribution and found to be strongly partitioned, with expression of dark-phase genes overrepresented in somatic cells and light-phase genes overrepresented in gonidial cells, a result that is consistent with cell type programs in Volvox arising by cooption of temporal regulons in a unicellular ancestor. Together our findings reveal fundamental molecular, metabolic, and evolutionary mechanisms that underlie the origins of germ-soma differentiation in Volvox and provide a template for understanding the acquisition of germ-soma differentiation in other multicellular lineages. Overall design: Gonidial cells and somatic cells of Volvox were separated and RNA was extracted from each cell type pool. RNA-seq libraries were generated from the extracted RNA and sequenced using high-throughput Illumina sequencing. A total of 4 RNA-seq samples were generated, 2 gonidial cell biological replicates and 2 somatic cell biological replicates.

INSTRUMENT(S): Illumina HiSeq 2500 (Volvox carteri)

SUBMITTER: James Umen  

PROVIDER: GSE104835 | GEO | 2017-12-11

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): PRJNA413955

REPOSITORIES: GEO

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Publications

Cell-Type Transcriptomes of the Multicellular Green Alga Volvox carteri Yield Insights into the Evolutionary Origins of Germ and Somatic Differentiation Programs.

Matt Gavriel Y GY   Umen James G JG  

G3 (Bethesda, Md.) 20180202 2


Germ-soma differentiation is a hallmark of complex multicellular organisms, yet its origins are not well understood. Volvox carteri is a simple multicellular green alga that has recently evolved a simple germ-soma dichotomy with only two cell-types: large germ cells called gonidia and small terminally differentiated somatic cells. Here, we provide a comprehensive characterization of the gonidial and somatic transcriptomes of V. carteri to uncover fundamental differences between the molecular and  ...[more]

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