Main content area

Deep sequencing of the olfactory epithelium reveals specific chemosensory receptors are expressed at sexual maturity in the European eel Anguilla anguilla

Churcher, Allison M., Hubbard, Peter C., Marques, João Pedro, Canário, Adelino V. M., Huertas, Mar
Molecular ecology 2015 v.24 no.4 pp. 822-834
Anguilla anguilla, G-protein coupled receptors, eel, epithelium, freshwater, gene expression regulation, genes, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, males, odor compounds, phylogeny, reproduction, seawater, sexual maturity, signal transduction
Vertebrate genomes encode a diversity of G protein‐coupled receptor (GPCR) that belong to large gene families and are used by olfactory systems to detect chemical cues found in the environment. It is not clear however, if individual receptors from these large gene families have evolved roles that are specific to certain life stages. Here, we used deep sequencing to identify differentially expressed receptor transcripts in the olfactory epithelia (OE) of freshwater, seawater and sexually mature male eels (Anguilla anguilla). This species is particularly intriguing because of its complex life cycle, extreme long‐distance migrations and early‐branching position within the teleost phylogeny. In the A. anguillaOE, we identified full‐length transcripts for 13, 112, 6 and 38 trace amine‐associated receptors, odorant receptors (OR) and type I and type II vomeronasal receptors (V1R and V2R). Most of these receptors were expressed at similar levels at different life stages and a subset of OR and V2R‐like transcripts was more abundant in sexually mature males suggesting that ORs and V2R‐like genes are important for reproduction. We also identified a set of GPCR signal transduction genes that were differentially expressed indicating that eels make use of different GPCR signal transduction genes at different life stages. The finding that a diversity of chemosensory receptors is expressed in the olfactory epithelium and that a subset is differentially expressed suggests that most receptors belonging to large chemosensory gene families have functions that are important at multiple life stages, while a subset has evolved specific functions at different life stages.