ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-170426-6
Transcriptomic analysis of maternally provisioned cues for phenotypic plasticity in the annual killifish, Austrofundulus limnaeus.
Romney, A.L., Podrabsky, J.E.
Date: 2017
Source: EvoDevo   8: 6 (Journal)
Registered Authors:
Keywords: Alternative splicing, Diapause, Maternal effect, Maternal-to-zygotic transition, RNA-seq, Transcriptome
MeSH Terms: none
PubMed: 28439397 Full text @ EvoDevo
Genotype and environment can interact during development to produce novel adaptive traits that support life in extreme conditions. The development of the annual killifish Austrofundulus limnaeus is unique among vertebrates because the embryos have distinct cell movements that separate epiboly from axis formation during early development, can enter into a state of metabolic dormancy known as diapause and can survive extreme environmental conditions. The ability to enter into diapause can be maternally programmed, with young females producing embryos that do not enter into diapause. Alternately, embryos can be programmed to "escape" from diapause and develop directly by both maternal factors and embryonic incubation conditions. Thus, maternally packaged gene products are hypothesized to regulate developmental trajectory and perhaps the other unique developmental characters in this species.
Using high-throughput RNA sequencing, we generated transcriptomic profiles of mRNAs, long non-coding RNAs and small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) in 1-2 cell stage embryos of A. limnaeus. Transcriptomic analyses suggest maternal programming of embryos through alternatively spliced mRNAs and antisense sncRNAs. Comparison of these results to those of comparable studies on zebrafish and other fishes reveals a surprisingly high abundance of transcripts involved in the cellular response to stress and a relatively lower expression of genes required for rapid transition through the cell cycle.
Maternal programming of developmental trajectory is unlikely accomplished by differential expression of diapause-specific genes. Rather, evidence suggests a role for trajectory-specific splice variants of genes expressed in both phenotypes. In addition, based on comparative studies with zebrafish, the A. limnaeus 1-2 cell stage transcriptome is unique in ways that are consistent with their unique life history. These results not only impact our understanding of the genetic mechanisms that regulate entrance into diapause, but also provide insight into the epigenetic regulation of gene expression during development.