Growing backwards: an inverted role for the shrimp ortholog of vertebrate myostatin and GDF11



De Santis C, Wade NM, Jerry DR, Preston NP, Glencross B & Sellars MJ (2011) Growing backwards: an inverted role for the shrimp ortholog of vertebrate myostatin and GDF11. Journal of Experimental Biology, 214 (16), pp. 2671-2677.

Myostatin (MSTN) and growth differentiation factor-11 (GDF11) are closely related proteins involved in muscle cell growth and differentiation as well as neurogenesis of vertebrates. Both MSTN and GDF11 negatively regulate their functions. Invertebrates possess a single ortholog of the MSTN/GDF11 family. In order to understand the role of MSTN/GDF11 in crustaceans, the gene ortholog was identified and characterized in the penaeid shrimp Penaeus monodon. The overall protein sequence and specific functional sites were highly conserved with other members of the MSTN/GDF11 family. Gene transcripts of pmMstn/Gdf11, assessed by real-time PCR, were detected in a variety of tissue types and were actively regulated in muscle across the moult cycle. To assess phenotypic function in shrimp, pmMstn/Gdf11 gene expression was downregulated by tail-muscle injection of sequence-specific double-stranded RNA. Shrimp with reduced levels of pmMstn/Gdf11 transcripts displayed a dramatic slowing in growth rate compared with control groups. Findings from this study place the MSTN/GDF11 gene at the centre of growth regulation in shrimp, but suggest that, compared with higher vertebrates, this gene has an opposite role in invertebrates such as shrimp, where levels of gene expression may positively regulate growth.

Penaeus monodon; crustacean; myostatin/GDF11; growth; RNAi

Journal of Experimental Biology: Volume 214, Issue 16

Publication date15/08/2011
Date accepted by journal09/05/2011
PublisherThe Company of Biologists

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Professor Brett Glencross
Professor Brett Glencross

Honorary Professor, Institute of Aquaculture