Vogeler S, Carboni S, Li X, Ireland JH, Miller-Ezzy P & Joyce A (2020) Cloning and characterisation of NMDA receptors in the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg, 1793) in relation to metamorphosis and catecholamine synthesis. Developmental Biology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2020.10.008
Bivalve metamorphosis is a developmental transition from a free-living larva to a benthic juvenile (spat), regulated by a complex interaction of neurotransmitters and neurohormones such as L-DOPA and epinephrine (catecholamine). We recently suggested an N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor pathway as an additional and previously unknown regulator of bivalve metamorphosis. To explore this theory further, we successfully induced metamorphosis in the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, by exposing competent larvae to L-DOPA, epinephrine, MK-801 and ifenprodil. Subsequently, we cloned three NMDA receptor subunits CgNR1, CgNR2A and CgNR2B, with sequence analysis suggesting successful assembly of functional NMDA receptor complexes and binding to natural occurring agonists and the channel blocker MK-801. NMDA receptor subunits are expressed in competent larvae, during metamorphosis and in spat, but this expression is neither self-regulated nor regulated by catecholamines. In-situ hybridisation of CgNR1 in competent larvae identified NMDA receptor presence in the apical organ/cerebral ganglia area with a potential sensory function, and in the nervous network of the foot indicating an additional putative muscle regulatory function. Furthermore, phylogenetic analyses identified molluscan-specific gene expansions of key enzymes involved in catecholamine biosynthesis. However, exposure to MK-801 did not alter the expression of selected key enzymes, suggesting that NMDA receptors do not regulate the biosynthesis of catecholamines via gene expression.
NMDA receptor; Metamorphosis; Bivalves; Crassostrea gigas; Catecholamine; Neurotransmitter
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