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Comparative transcriptome analysis explores maternal to zygotic transition during Eriocheir sinensis early embryogenesis

Ning, Junhao, Song, Chengwen, Luo, Danli, Liu, Yuan, Liu, Hourong, Cui, Zhaoxia
Gene 2019 v.685 pp. 12-20
Eriocheir sinensis, animal development, crabs, data collection, eggs, embryogenesis, essential genes, gene expression regulation, immunity, messenger RNA, morphogenesis, sequence analysis, transcriptome, transcriptomics, unigenes
The maternal genome directs almost all aspects of early animal development. As development proceeds, the elimination of maternal gene products and zygotic genome activation (ZGA) occur during the maternal to zygotic transition (MZT). To study the molecular mechanisms regulating this developmental event in Eriocheir sinensis, RNA-Seq technology was applied to generate comprehensive information on transcriptome dynamics during early embryonic stages. In total, 32,088 annotated unigenes were obtained from the transcriptomes of fertilized eggs and embryos at the cleavage (2–4 cell) and blastula stage. A total of 566 maternal genes and 1165 zygotic genes were isolated, among which 103 and 266 genes were predicted conserved maternal transcripts (COMATs) and conserved zygotic transcripts (COZYTs), respectively. The COMATs performed housekeeping gene functions and may be essential for initiating early embryogenesis of the Bilateria. Furthermore, 87, 76 and 117 differentially expressed genes associated with the MZT, morphogenesis and immunity were identified when compared the three transcriptomic datasets. We also unmask that the MZT takes place around the cleavage stage, when the genes involved in the clearance of maternal gene products and the ZGA were significantly up-regulated. Taken together, these datasets provide a valuable resource for understanding the mechanisms of early developmental events in E. sinensis, and facilitate further studies on molecular mechanisms of asynchronous development in crabs.