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Effects of oxidative stress on sex-specific gene expression in the copepod Tigriopus californicus revealed by single individual RNA-seq

Li, Ning, Arief, Natasha, Edmands, Suzanne
Comparative biochemistry and physiology 2019 v.31 pp. 100608
Tigriopus californicus, algae, carotenoids, diet, females, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, hydrogen peroxide, males, models, oxidative stress, sequence analysis, sex chromosomes, transcription (genetics), transcriptomics, variance, yeasts
Oxidative stress reflects the imbalance of pro-oxidants and antioxidants. Prolonged oxidative stress can induce cellular damage, diseases and aging, and the effects may be sex-specific. Tigriopus californicus has recently been proposed as an alternative model system for sex-specific studies due to the absence of sex chromosomes. In this study, we used comparative transcriptomic analyses to assess sex-specific transcriptional responses to oxidative stress. Male and female individuals were maintained separately in one of three treatments: 1) control conditions with an algae diet, 2) pro-oxidant (H2O2) conditions with an algae diet or 3) decreased antioxidant conditions (reduced carotenoids due to a yeast diet). Single individual RNA-seq was then conducted for twenty-four libraries using Ligation Mediated RNA sequencing (LM-Seq). Variance in gene expression was partitioned into 62.3% between sexes, 26.85% among individuals and 10.85% among treatments. Within each of the three treatments, expression was biased toward females. However, compared to the control treatment, males in both pro-oxidant and decreased antioxidant treatments differentially expressed more genes while females differentially expressed fewer genes but with a greater magnitude of fold change. As the first study of copepods to apply single individual RNA-seq, the findings will contribute to a better understanding of transcriptomic variation among individuals as well as sex-specific response mechanisms to oxidative stress in the absence of sex chromosomes.