Project description:BACKGROUND: Sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) are small fish capable of withstanding exposure to very low levels of dissolved oxygen, as well as extreme temperatures and salinities. It is an important model in understanding the impacts and biological response to hypoxia and co-occurring compounding stressors such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, endocrine disrupting chemicals, metals and herbicides. Here, we initiated a project to sequence and analyze over 10,000 ESTs generated from the Sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) as a resource for investigating stressor responses. RESULTS: We sequenced 10,858 EST clones using a normalized cDNA library made from larval, embryonic and adult suppression subtractive hybridization-PCR (SSH) libraries. Post- sequencing processing led to 8,099 high quality sequences. Clustering analysis of these ESTs indentified 4,223 unique sequences containing 1,053 contigs and 3,170 singletons. BLASTX searches produced 1,394 significant (E-value < 10-5) hits and further Gene Ontology (GO) analysis annotated 388 of these genes. All the EST sequences were deposited by Expressed Sequence Tags database (dbEST) in GenBank (GenBank: GE329585 to GE337683). Gene discovery and annotations are presented and discussed. This set of ESTs represents a significant proportion of the Sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) transcriptome, and provides a material basis for the development of microarrays useful for further gene expression studies in association with stressors such as hypoxia, cadmium, chromium and pyrene.
Project description:The coastal South American species Cyprinodon dearborni contains two lineages distinct at both mitochondrial and nuclear loci. One appears to be a long-term South American endemic, whereas the other is a more recent colonizer related to the widespread Cyprinodon variegatus.
Project description:The area and timing of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill highlight the need to study oil and hypoxia exposure in early life stage fishes. Though critical to health, little research has targeted the effect of oil and hypoxia exposure on developing immune systems. To this end, we exposed sheepshead minnows (Cyprinodon variegatus) at three early life stages: embryonic; post-hatch; and post-larval, to a high energy water accommodated fraction (HEWAF) of oil, hypoxia, or both for 48?hours. We performed RNAseq to understand how exposures alter expression of immune transcripts and pathways. Under control conditions, the embryonic to post-hatch comparison (first transition) had a greater number of significantly regulated immune pathways than the second transition (post-hatch to post-larval). The addition of oil had little effect in the first transition, however, hypoxia elicited changes in cellular and humoral immune responses. In the second transition, oil exposure significantly altered many immune pathways (43), and while hypoxia altered few pathways, it did induce a unique signature of generally suppressing immune pathways. These data suggest that timing of exposure to oil and/or hypoxia matters, and underscores the need to further investigate the impacts of multiple stressors on immune system development in early life stage fishes.
Project description:Oil exploration and production activities are common in the northern Gulf of Mexico as well as many other coastal and near coastal areas worldwide. Seasonal hypoxia is also a common feature in the Northern Gulf, and many other coastal areas, which is likely to increase in severity and extent with continuing anthropogenic nutrient inputs. Hypoxia has well established physiological effects on many organisms, and it has been shown to enhance the toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (persistent components of petroleum) in fish. The goal of this study was to examine the combined effects of hypoxia and exposure to contaminants associated with oil spills. We evaluated the effects of short term (48 hr) exposures to Corexit EC9500A, water accommodated fractions (WAF), and chemically enhanced water accommodated fractions (CEWAF) prepared from Southern Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil (MC 242) on survival of sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) larvae held under normoxic (ambient air) or hypoxic (2 mg/L O2) conditions. Results demonstrated that hypoxia significantly enhances mortality observed in response to Corexit or CEWAF solutions. In the latter case, significant interactions between the two stressors were also observed. Our data supports the need to further evaluate the combined stresses imparted by hypoxia and exposure to petroleum hydrocarbons and dispersants.
Project description:The objective of this project was to investigate the impacts of oil exposure in combination with environmental stressors on gene expression in developing C. variegatus. Overall design: C. variegatus from three different life stages (embryonic, ≤ 15 h post-fertilization; post-hatch, ≤ 24 h post-hatch, post-larval ≤ 4 d post-hatch) were exposed to oil, hypoxia, or both for 48 hours. Oil solutions used in exposures were derived from high energy water accommodated fractions (HEWAF) prepared using Macondo well oil following explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010. Exposure hypoxia was defined as ≤ 2 mg/L of oxygen. All treatments were performed in triplicate. Following exposure, 10 larvae from each replicate were processed for RNA extraction and RNA sequencing.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Understanding the genetic and developmental origins of phenotypic novelty is central to the study of biological diversity. In this study we identify modifications to the expression of genes at four developmental stages that may underlie jaw morphological differences among three closely related species of pupfish (genus Cyprinodon) from San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Pupfishes on San Salvador Island are trophically differentiated and include two endemic species that have evolved jaw morphologies unlike that of any other species in the genus Cyprinodon. RESULTS:We find that gene expression differs significantly across recently diverged species of pupfish. Genes such as Bmp4 and calmodulin, previously implicated in jaw diversification in African cichlid fishes and Galapagos finches, were not found to be differentially expressed among species of pupfish. Instead we find multiple growth factors and cytokine/chemokine genes to be differentially expressed among these pupfish taxa. These include both genes and pathways known to affect craniofacial development, such as Wnt signaling, as well as novel genes and pathways not previously implicated in craniofacial development. These data highlight both shared and potentially unique sources of jaw diversity in pupfish and those identified in other evolutionary model systems such as Galapagos finches and African cichlids. CONCLUSIONS:We identify modifications to the expression of genes involved in Wnt signaling, Igf signaling, and the inflammation response as promising avenues for future research. Our project provides insight into the magnitude of gene expression changes contributing to the evolution of morphological novelties, such as jaw structure, in recently diverged pupfish species.
Project description:Phytoplasmas are plant-pathogenic bacteria transmitted by hemipteran insects. The leafhopper Euscelidius variegatus is a natural vector of chrysanthemum yellows phytoplasma (CYp) and a laboratory vector of flavescence dorée phytoplasma (FDp). The two phytoplasmas induce different effects on this species: CYp slightly improves whereas FDp negatively affects insect fitness. To investigate the molecular bases of these different responses, transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of E. variegatus infected with either CYp or FDp was performed. The sequencing provided the first de novo transcriptome assembly for a phytoplasma vector and a starting point for further analyses on differentially regulated genes, mainly related to immune system and energy metabolism. Insect phenoloxidase activity, immunocompetence, and body pigmentation were measured to investigate the immune response, while respiration and movement rates were quantified to confirm the effects on energy metabolism. The activation of the insect immune response upon infection with FDp, which is not naturally transmitted by E. variegatus, confirmed that this bacterium is mostly perceived as a potential pathogen. Conversely, the acquisition of CYp, which is naturally transmitted by E. variegatus, seems to increase the insect fitness by inducing a prompt response to stress. This long-term relationship is likely to improve survival and dispersal of the infected insect, thus enhancing the opportunity of phytoplasma transmission.