Evolutionary variation in neural gene expression in the developing sense organs of the crustacean Daphnia magna.
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Arthropods have numerous sense organs, which are adapted to their habitat. While some sense organs are similar in structure and function in all arthropod groups, structural differences in functionally related sense organs have been described, as well as the absence of particular sense organ subtypes in individual arthropod groups. Here we address the question of how the diverse structures of arthropod sense organs have evolved by analysing the underlying molecular developmental processes in a crustacean, an arthropod group that has been neglected so far. We have investigated the development of four types of chemo- and mechanosensory sense organs in the branchiopod Daphnia magna (Cladocera) that either cannot be found in arthropods other than crustaceans or represent adaptations to an aquatic environment. The formation of the sensory organ precursors shows greater similarity to the arthropod taxa Chelicerata and Myriapoda than to the more closely related insects. All analysed sense organ types co-express the proneural genes ASH and atonal regardless of their structure and function. In contrast, in Drosophila melanogaster, ASH and atonal expression does not overlap and the genes confer different sense organ subtype identities. We performed experimental co-expression studies in D. melanogaster and found that the combinatorial expression of ato and ASH can change the external structure of sense organs. Our results indicate a central role for ASH and Atonal family members in the emergence of structural variations in arthropod sense organs.
AuthorsKlann, M; Stollewerk, A
- Organismal Biology