Developmental transcriptomics of the brittle star Amphiura filiformis reveals gene regulatory network rewiring in echinoderm larval skeleton evolution
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Background: Amongst the echinoderms the class Ophiuroidea is of particular interest for its phylogenetic position, ecological importance and developmental and regenerative biology. However, compared to other echinoderms, notably echinoids (sea urchins), relatively little is known about developmental changes in gene expression in ophiuroids. To address this issue, we have generated and assembled a large RNAseq data set of four key stages of development in the brittle star Amphiura filiformis and a de novo reference transcriptome of comparable quality to that of a model echinoderm—the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Furthermore, we provide access to the new data via a web interface: http://www.echinonet.eu/shiny/Amphiura_filiformis/. Results: We have identified highly conserved genes associated with the development of a biomineralised skeleton. We also identify important class-specific characters, including the independent duplication of the msp130 class of genes in different echinoderm classes and the unique occurrence of spicule matrix (sm) genes in echinoids. Using a new quantification pipeline for our de novo transcriptome, validated with other methodologies, we find major differences between brittle stars and sea urchins in the temporal expression of many transcription factor genes. This divergence in developmental regulatory states is more evident in early stages of development when cell specification begins, rather than when cells initiate differentiation. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that there has been a high degree of gene regulatory network rewiring and clade-specific gene duplication, supporting the hypothesis of a convergent evolution of larval skeleton development in echinoderms.
AuthorsDylus, D; Czarkwiani, A; BLOWES, L; ELPHICK, MR; Oliveri, P
- Organismal Biology