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Dynamics of nuclear receptor gene expression during Pacific oyster development

Journal article
Authors Susanne Vogeler
Tim P. Bean
Brett P. Lyons
Tamara S. Galloway
Published in BMC Developmental Biology
Volume 16
Pages 1-13
Publication year 2016
Published at
Pages 1-13
Language en
Keywords Crassostrea gigas, Development, Gene expression, Invertebrates, Nuclear receptors
Subject categories Developmental Biology, Marine ecology, Environmental toxicology, Biological Sciences, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


© 2016 The Author(s).Background: Nuclear receptors are a highly conserved set of ligand binding transcription factors, with essential roles regulating aspects of vertebrate and invertebrate biology alike. Current understanding of nuclear receptor regulated gene expression in invertebrates remains sparse, limiting our ability to elucidate gene function and the conservation of developmental processes across phyla. Here, we studied nuclear receptor expression in the early life stages of the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, to identify at which specific key stages nuclear receptors are expressed Results: We used quantitative RT-PCR to determine the expression profiles of 34 nuclear receptors, revealing three developmental key stages, during which nuclear receptor expression is dynamically regulated: embryogenesis, mid development from gastrulation to trochophore larva, and late larval development prior to metamorphosis. Clustering of nuclear receptor expression patterns demonstrated that transcriptional regulation was not directly related to gene phylogeny, suggesting closely related genes may have distinct functions. Expression of gene homologs of vertebrate retinoid receptors suggests participation in organogenesis and shell-formation, as they are highly expressed at the gastrulation and trochophore larval initial shell formation stages. The ecdysone receptor homolog showed high expression just before larval settlement, suggesting a potential role in metamorphosis. Conclusion: Throughout early oyster development nuclear receptors exhibited highly dynamic expression profiles, which were not confined by gene phylogeny. These results provide fundamental information on the presence of nuclear receptors during key developmental stages, which aids elucidation of their function in the developmental process. This understanding is essential as ligand sensing nuclear receptors can be disrupted by xenobiotics, a mode of action through which anthropogenic environmental pollutants have been found to mediate effects.

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