Project description:Histological evidence points to the presence of dopamine (DA) in the cephalic sensory organs of multiple gastropod molluscs, suggesting a possible sensory role for the neurotransmitter. We investigated the sensory function of DA in the nudipleuran Pleurobranchaea californica, in which the central neural correlates of sensation and foraging behavior have been well characterized. Tyrosine hydroxylase-like immunoreactivity (THli), a signature of the dopamine synthetic pathway, was similar to that found in two other opisthobranchs and two pulmonates previously studied: 1) relatively few (<100) THli neuronal somata were observed in the central ganglia, with those observed found in locations similar to those documented in the other snails but varying in number, and 2) the vast majority of THli somata were located in the peripheral nervous system, were associated with ciliated, putative primary sensory cells, and were highly concentrated in chemotactile sensory organs, giving rise to afferent axons projecting to the central nervous system. We extended these findings by observing that applying a selective D2/D3 receptor antagonist to the chemo- and mechanosensory oral veil-tentacle complex of behaving animals significantly delayed feeding behavior in response to an appetitive stimulus. A D1 blocker had no effect. Recordings of the two major cephalic sensory nerves, the tentacle and large oral veil nerves, in a deganglionated head preparation revealed a decrease of stimulus-evoked activity in the former nerve following application of the same D2/D3 antagonist. Broadly, our results implicate DA in sensation and engender speculation regarding the foraging-based decisions the neurotransmitter may serve in the nervous system of Pleurobranchaea and, by extension, other gastropods.
Project description:The complete mitochondrial genome sequences of <i>Pleurobranchaea novaezealandiae</i> and <i>Pleurobranchaea</i> sp. are first described and analyzed in this study. It is 14,531?bp and 14,709?bp in length, respectively. The base composition of the genome with A?+?T bias are 66.41% and 68.36%. There are 29 noncoding regions found throughout the mitogenome of <i>P. novaezealandiae</i> and 30 noncoding in <i>Pleurobranchaea</i> sp., ranging in size from 2 to 294?bp. The phylogenetic tree based on 10 mitogenome, including 1 prosobranchia, 6 opisthobranchia and 3 pulmonata was analyzed in the paper. The results showed that the opisthobranchia and pulmonata were clustered respectively, and the <i>P. novaezealandiae</i> and <i>Pleurobranchaea</i> sp. were the closest to the <i>Aplysia californica</i> in our analysis.
Project description:Despite substantial research on neuronal circuits in nudipleuran gastropods, few peptides have been implicated in nudipleuran behavior. In this study, we expanded the understanding of peptides in this clade, using three species with well-studied nervous systems, <i>Hermissenda crassicornis</i>, <i>Melibe leonina</i>, and <i>Pleurobranchaea californica</i>. For each species, we performed sequence homology analysis of <i>de novo</i> transcriptome predictions to identify homologs to 34 of 36 prohormones previously characterized in the gastropods <i>Aplysia californica</i> and <i>Lymnaea stagnalis</i>. We then used single-cell mass spectrometry to characterize peptide profiles in homologous feeding interneurons: the multifunctional ventral white cell (VWC) in <i>P. californica</i> and the small cardioactive peptide B large buccal (SLB) cells in <i>H. crassicornis</i> and <i>M. leonina</i>. The neurons produced overlapping, but not identical, peptide profiles. The <i>H. crassicornis</i> SLB cells expressed peptides from homologs to the FMRFamide (FMRFa), small cardioactive peptide (SCP), LFRFamide (LFRFa), and feeding circuit activating peptides prohormones. The <i>M. leonina</i> SLB cells expressed peptides from homologs to the FMRFa, SCP, LFRFa, and MIP-related peptides prohormones. The VWC, previously shown to express peptides from the FMRFa and QNFLa (a homolog of <i>A. californica</i> pedal peptide 4) prohormones, was shown to also contain SCP peptides. Thus, each neuron expressed peptides from the FMRFa and SCP families, the <i>H. crassicornis</i> and <i>M. leonina</i> SLB cells expressed peptides from the LFRFa family, and each neuron contained peptides from a prohormone not found in the others. These data suggest each neuron performs complex co-transmission, which potentially facilitates a multifunctional role in feeding. Additionally, the unique feeding characteristics of each species may relate, in part, to differences in the peptide profiles of these neurons. These data add chemical insight to enhance our understanding of the neuronal basis of behavior in nudipleurans and other gastropods.
Project description:D-aspartate (D-Asp) is found in specific neurons, transported to neuronal terminals and released in a stimulation-dependent manner. Because D-Asp formation is not well understood, determining its function has proved challenging. Significant levels of D-Asp are present in the cerebral ganglion of the F- and C-clusters of the invertebrate Aplysia californica, and D-Asp appears to be involved in cell-cell communication in this system. Here, we describe a novel protein, DAR1, from A. californica that can convert aspartate and serine to their other chiral form in a pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP)-dependent manner. DAR1 has a predicted length of 325 amino acids and is 55% identical to the bivalve aspartate racemase, EC 188.8.131.52, and 41% identical to the mammalian serine racemase, EC 184.108.40.206. However, it is only 14% identical to the recently reported mammalian aspartate racemase, DR, which is closely related to glutamate-oxaloacetate transaminase, EC 220.127.116.11. Using whole-mount immunohistochemistry staining of the A. californica central nervous system, we localized DAR1-like immunoreactivity to the medial region of the cerebral ganglion where the F- and C-clusters are situated. The biochemical and functional similarities between DAR1 and other animal serine and aspartate racemases make it valuable for examining PLP-dependent racemases, promising to increase our knowledge of enzyme regulation and ultimately, D-serine and D-Asp signaling pathways.
Project description:Aging is associated with cognitive declines that originate in impairments of function in the neurons that make up the nervous system. The marine mollusk Aplysia californica (Aplysia) is a premier model for the nervous system uniquely suited to investigation of neuronal aging due to uniquely identifiable neurons and molecular techniques available in this model. This study describes the molecular processes associated with aging in two populations of sensory neurons in Aplysia by applying RNA sequencing technology across the aging process (age 6-12 months). Differentially expressed genes clustered into four to five coherent expression patterns across the aging time series in the two neuron populations. Enrichment analysis of functional annotations in these neuron clusters revealed decreased expression of pathways involved in energy metabolism and neuronal signaling, suggesting that metabolic and signaling pathways are intertwined. Furthermore, increased expression of pathways involved in protein processing and translation suggests that proteostatic stress also occurs in aging. Temporal overlap of enrichment for energy metabolism, proteostasis, and neuronal function suggests that cognitive impairments observed in advanced age result from the ramifications of broad declines in energy metabolism.
Project description:The monitoring of global transcription patterns during development is a useful first step to understand mechanisms underlying growth, differentiation and patterning in a given species. However such large scale developmental studies are so far only available from a few selected model organisms such as mouse, Drosophila and the nematode C. elegans. Genomic scale information from the lophotrochozoa is now emerging. The recently characterized neuronal transcriptome of the sea hare Aplysia californica (~200’000 ESTs and ~40,000 unique non-redundant sequences representing about 55-70% of all neuronal transcripts including splice forms and non-coding RNAs) provides new insights and opportunities into problems of molluscan development and specifically neurogenesis. Regulatory genes used in development are recruited for the functions of adult nervous systems such as synaptogenesis, specific wiring in networks and structural changes underlying synaptic plasticity. While this similarity reflects a basic concept in biology, namely the recruitment of the same genes for different functions, it has never been tested on a large scale genomic level. We used representative oligo-arrays constructed from transcripts obtained from the Aplysia nervous system to explore the following two questions: 1) What neuronal genes are differentially expressed during embryonic development of the sea hare Aplysia. 2) What gene expression changes can be observed in correlation with gastrulation, metamorphosis, and larval neurogenesis. For this purpose we hybridized RNA from 3 embryonic (64 cells, gastrula, trochophore) and 4 larval stages (pre-hatching, post-hatching, pre-metamorphosis, postmetamorphosis) against a reference sample consisting of equal contributions from all stages. Our analysis revealed that all embryonic and larval stages can be distinguished based on their transcription profiles. A comparison of the Aplysia atlas with similar studies in Drosophila and mouse reveals interesting differences. We identified several new transcription factors which are differentially expressed during early embryonic development. Various other transcripts involved in metabolism and differentiation were characterized. These genes can be candidate targets for understanding neuronal growth, synaptogenesis and memory mechanisms. We conclude that the microarray technology provides us with a powerful tool for efficient survey and functional annotation of the neuronal transcriptome in Aplysia. We used a reference design for this study where we hybridized each of the 8 developmental stages of Aplysia (cleavage, gastrula, trochophore, first veliger, hatching veliger, pre-metamorphosis (stage 6), post-metamorphosis (stage 7), post-metamorphosis 60 hours (pm60)
Project description:The marine mollusc, Pleurobranchaea californica varies daily in whether it swims and this correlates with whether serotonin (5-HT) enhances the strength of synapses made by the swim central pattern generator neuron, A1/C2. Another species, Tritonia diomedea, reliably swims and does not vary in serotonergic neuromodulation. A third species, Hermissenda crassicornis, never produces this behaviour and lacks the neuromodulation. We found that expression of particular 5-HT receptor subtype (5-HTR) genes in single neurons correlates with swimming. Orthologues to seven 5-HTR genes were identified from whole-brain transcriptomes. We isolated individual A1/C2 neurons and sequenced their RNA or measured 5-HTR gene expression using absolute quantitative PCR. A1/C2 neurons isolated from Pleurobranchaea that produced a swim motor pattern just prior to isolation expressed 5-HT2a and 5-HT7 receptor genes, as did all Tritonia samples. These subtypes were absent from A1/C2 isolated from Pleurobranchaea that did not swim on that day and from Hermissenda A1/C2 neurons. Expression of other receptors was not correlated with swimming. This suggests that these 5-HTRs may mediate the modulation of A1/C2 synaptic strength and play an important role in swimming. Furthermore, it suggests that regulation of receptor expression could underlie daily changes in behaviour as well as evolution of behaviour.
Project description:d-Amino acid-containing peptides (DAACPs) make up a class of post-translationally modified peptides in animals that play important roles as cell-to-cell signaling molecules. Despite the functional importance of l- to d-residue isomerization, little is known about its prevalence, mostly due to difficulties associated with detecting differences in peptide stereochemistry. Prior efforts to discover DAACPs have been largely focused on pursuing peptides based on homology to known DAACPs or DAACP-encoding precursors. Here, we used a combination of enzymatic screening, mass spectrometry, and chromatographic analysis to identify novel DAACPs in the central nervous system (CNS) of <i>Aplysia californica</i>. We identified five new DAACPs from the pleurin precursor and three DAACPs from previously uncharacterized proteins. In addition, two peptides from the pleurin precursor, Plrn2 and Plrn3, exist as DAACPs with the d-residue found at position 2 or 3. These differentially modified forms of Plrn2 and Plrn3 are located in specific regions of the animal's CNS. Plrn2 and Plrn3 appear to be the first animal DAACPs in which the d-residue is found at more than one position, and this suggests that l- to d-residue isomerization may be a more variable/dynamic modification than previously thought. Overall, this study demonstrates the utility of nontargeted DAACP discovery approaches for identifying new DAACPs and demonstrates that isomerization is prevalent throughout the CNS of <i>A. californica</i>.
Project description:Molecular genetic studies of floral development have concentrated on several core eudicots and grasses (monocots), which have canalized floral forms. Basal eudicots possess a wider range of floral morphologies than the core eudicots and grasses and can serve as an evolutionary link between core eudicots and monocots, and provide a reference for studies of other basal angiosperms. Recent advances in genomics have enabled researchers to profile gene activities during floral development, primarily in the eudicot Arabidopsis thaliana and the monocots rice and maize. However, our understanding of floral developmental processes among the basal eudicots remains limited.Using a recently generated expressed sequence tag (EST) set, we have designed an oligonucleotide microarray for the basal eudicot Eschscholzia californica (California poppy). We performed microarray experiments with an interwoven-loop design in order to characterize the E. californica floral transcriptome and to identify differentially expressed genes in flower buds with pre-meiotic and meiotic cells, four floral organs at preanthesis stages (sepals, petals, stamens and carpels), developing fruits, and leaves.Our results provide a foundation for comparative gene expression studies between eudicots and basal angiosperms. We identified whorl-specific gene expression patterns in E. californica and examined the floral expression of several gene families. Interestingly, most E. californica homologs of Arabidopsis genes important for flower development, except for genes encoding MADS-box transcription factors, show different expression patterns between the two species. Our comparative transcriptomics study highlights the unique evolutionary position of E. californica compared with basal angiosperms and core eudicots.
Project description:The electric organ of Tetronarce californica (an electric ray formerly known as Torpedo californica) is a classic preparation for biochemical studies of cholinergic neurotransmission. To broaden the usefulness of this preparation, we have performed a transcriptome assembly of the presynaptic component of the electric organ (the electric lobe). We combined our assembled transcriptome with a previous transcriptome of the postsynaptic electric organ, to define a MetaProteome containing pre- and post-synaptic components of the electric organ.Sequencing yielded 102 million paired-end 100 bp reads. De novo Trinity assembly was performed at Kmer 25 (default) and Kmers 27, 29, and 31. Trinity, generated around 103,000 transcripts, and 78,000 genes per assembly. Assemblies were evaluated based on the number of bases/transcripts assembled, RSEM-EVAL scores and informational content and completeness. We found that different assemblies scored differently according to the evaluation criteria used, and that while each individual assembly contained unique information, much of the assembly information was shared by all assemblies. To generate the presynaptic transcriptome (electric lobe), while capturing all information, assemblies were first clustered and then combined with postsynaptic transcripts (electric organ) downloaded from NCBI. The completness of the resulting clustered predicted MetaProteome was rigorously evaluated by comparing its information against the predicted proteomes from Homo sapiens, Callorhinchus milli, and the Transporter Classification Database (TCDB).In summary, we obtained a MetaProteome containing 92%, 88.5%, and 66% of the expected set of ultra-conserved sequences (i.e., BUSCOs), expected to be found for Eukaryotes, Metazoa, and Vertebrata, respectively. We cross-annotated the conserved set of proteins shared between the T. californica MetaProteome and the proteomes of H. sapiens and C. milli, using the H. sapiens genome as a reference. This information was used to predict the position in human pathways of the conserved members of the T. californica MetaProteome. We found proteins not detected before in T. californica, corresponding to processes involved in synaptic vesicle biology. Finally, we identified 42 transporter proteins in TCDB that were detected by the T. californica MetaProteome (electric fish) and not selected by a control proteome consisting of the combined proteomes of 12 widely diverse non-electric fishes by Reverse-Blast-Hit Blast. Combined, the information provided here is not only a unique tool for the study of cholinergic neurotransmission, but it is also a starting point for understanding the evolution of early vertebrates.