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Transcriptome profiling of the eyestalk of precocious juvenile Chinese mitten crab reveals putative neuropeptides and differentially expressed genes

Xu, Zhiqiang, Zhao, Muzi, Li, Xuguang, Lu, Quanping, Li, Yuehua, Ge, Jiachun, Pan, Jianlin
Gene 2015 v.569 pp. 280-286
Eriocheir sinensis, crabs, data collection, early development, gene expression, gene expression regulation, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, hormones, juveniles, neuropeptides, open reading frames, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, tissues, transcriptome, transcriptomics, unigenes
Chinese mitten crabs that reach maturity 1year earlier than normal crabs are known as precocious juvenile crabs. The molecular mechanisms underlying the precocity of the Chinese mitten crab are poorly understood. To identify the genes that may be involved in the control of precocity in Chinese mitten crab, we measured the expression profile of eyestalk genes in precocious and normally developed juvenile crabs using high-throughput sequencing on an Illumina HiSeq 2500 platform. We obtained 56,446,284 raw reads from the precocious crabs and 58,029,476 raw reads from the normally developed juvenile crabs. Reads from the two libraries were combined into a single data set. De novo assembly of the combined read set yielded 78,777 unigenes with an average length of 1563bp. A total of 41,405 unigenes with predicted ORFs were selected for functional annotation. Among these genes, we identified three neuropeptide genes belonging to the crustacean hyperglycemic hormone family and two neuropeptide genes encoding the chromatophorotropic hormones. Transcriptome comparison between the two libraries revealed 42 genes that exhibited significant differential expression, of which 29 genes were up-regulated and 13 genes were down-regulated in the precocious crabs. To confirm the sequencing data, six differentially expressed genes with functional annotations were selected and validated by qRT-PCR. In conclusion, we obtained the comprehensive transcriptome of the eyestalk tissues of precocious juvenile crabs. The sequencing results may provide new insights into the biomolecular basis of precocity in the Chinese mitten crab.