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Neuropeptides and Endocrine Regulations in Insects and Crustaceans

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2024) | Viewed by 9216

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Centre for Bioinnovation, School of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, QLD 4556, Australia
Interests: decapod crustaceans reproduction and development; comparative endocrinology; functional genomics; aquaculture biotechnology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The past decade has seen exponential increase in availability of next generation sequencing from multiple arthropod species, enabling a rapid rate of endocrine factors discovery, including ligands, their putative cognate receptors and their putative regulatory pathways. This special issue addresses the pancrustacea, given their key roles in ecology and commercial significance.

While sequences of endocrine factors are readily available in multiple pancrustacea species, their functions remain elusive, given their pleiotropic roles and lineage-specific family expansions, which lead to neofunctionalization across lineages. A key example includes the crustacean hyperglycemic hormone (CHH) superfamily of neuropeptides which is expanded in decapods. The CHH receptors are a longstanding key gap in our understanding. Insulin-like peptides (ILPs), as another example, have up to eight members in insects with yet unresolved functions for the most part. Over the past decade, a total of four ILPs were identified across decapods, only one of which was assigned a clear function.

This special issue accepts contributions that advance our knowledge of neuroendocrine and endocrine regulation in insects and crustaceans, with the aim to provide synthesis of knowledge towards a better understanding of the key gaps and how to address them.

Dr. Tomer Ventura
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • neuroendocrinology
  • functional genomics
  • arthropods development and reproduction

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 2436 KiB  
Article
Ontogeny of the Cytochrome P450 Superfamily in the Ornate Spiny Lobster (Panulirus ornatus)
by Courtney L. Lewis, Quinn P. Fitzgibbon, Gregory G. Smith, Abigail Elizur and Tomer Ventura
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(2), 1070; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25021070 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 713
Abstract
Cytochrome P450s (CYP450s) are a versatile superfamily of enzymes known to undergo rapid evolution. They have important roles across growth and development pathways in crustaceans, although it is difficult to characterise orthologs between species due to their sequence diversity. Conserved CYP450s enzymes in [...] Read more.
Cytochrome P450s (CYP450s) are a versatile superfamily of enzymes known to undergo rapid evolution. They have important roles across growth and development pathways in crustaceans, although it is difficult to characterise orthologs between species due to their sequence diversity. Conserved CYP450s enzymes in crustaceans are those associated with ecdysteroidogenesis: synthesising and breaking down the active moult hormone, 20-hydroxyecdysone. The complex life cycle of the ornate spiny lobster, Panulirus ornatus, relies on moulting in order to grow and develop. Many of these diverse life stages have been analysed to establish a comprehensive transcriptomic database for this species. The transcripts putatively encoding for CYP450s were mapped using transcriptomic analysis and identified across growth and development stages. With the aid of phylogeny, 28 transcripts of 42 putative P. ornatus CYP450s were annotated, including the well conserved Halloween genes, which are involved in ecdysteroidogenesis. Expression patterns across the life stages determined that only a subset of the CYP450s can be detected in each life stage or tissue. Four Shed transcripts show overlapping expression between metamorphosis and adult tissues, suggesting pleotropic functions of the multiple Shed orthologs within P. ornatus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuropeptides and Endocrine Regulations in Insects and Crustaceans)
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13 pages, 1368 KiB  
Article
The miRNAs let-7b and miR-141 Coordinately Regulate Vitellogenesis by Modulating Methyl Farnesoate Degradation in the Swimming Crab Portunus trituberculatus
by Xuee Yu, Mengqian Zhang, Ping Liu, Jitao Li, Baoquan Gao and Xianliang Meng
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(1), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25010279 - 24 Dec 2023
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Abstract
Methyl farnesoate (MF), a crucial sesquiterpenoid hormone, plays a pivotal role in the reproduction of female crustaceans, particularly in the vitellogenesis process. Despite extensive research on its functions, the molecular mechanisms that regulate MF levels during the vitellogenic phase remain largely elusive. This [...] Read more.
Methyl farnesoate (MF), a crucial sesquiterpenoid hormone, plays a pivotal role in the reproduction of female crustaceans, particularly in the vitellogenesis process. Despite extensive research on its functions, the molecular mechanisms that regulate MF levels during the vitellogenic phase remain largely elusive. This study investigates the roles of microRNAs (miRNAs), significant post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression, in controlling MF levels in the swimming crab Portunus trituberculatus. Through bioinformatic analysis, four miRNAs were identified as potential regulators targeting two genes encoding Carboxylesterases (CXEs), which are key enzymes in MF degradation. Dual luciferase reporter assays revealed that let-7b and miR-141 suppress CXE1 and CXE2 expression by directly binding to their 3′ UTRs. In vivo overexpression of let-7b and miR-141 significantly diminished CXE1 and CXE2 levels, consequently elevating hemolymph MF and enhancing vitellogenin expression. Spatiotemporal expression profile analysis showed that these two miRNAs and their targets exhibited generally opposite patterns during ovarian development. These findings demonstrate that let-7b and miR-141 collaboratively modulate MF levels by targeting CXEs, thus influencing vitellogenesis in P. trituberculatus. Additionally, we found that the expression of let-7b and miR-141 were suppressed by MF, constituting a regulatory loop for the regulation of MF levels. The findings contribute novel insights into miRNA-mediated ovarian development regulation in crustaceans and offer valuable information for developing innovative reproduction manipulation techniques for P. trituberculatus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuropeptides and Endocrine Regulations in Insects and Crustaceans)
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13 pages, 4452 KiB  
Article
The Potential Role of the Piwi Gene in the Development and Reproduction of Plutella xylostella
by Dan Liu, Muhammad Asad, Jianying Liao, Jing Chen, Jianwen Li, Xuemei Chu, Senbo Pang, Mubashir Tariq, Anam Noreen Abbas and Guang Yang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(15), 12321; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241512321 - 01 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Piwi proteins play a significant role in germ cell development and the silencing of transposons in animals by associating with small non-coding RNAs known as Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). While the Piwi gene has been well characterized in various insect species, the role of [...] Read more.
Piwi proteins play a significant role in germ cell development and the silencing of transposons in animals by associating with small non-coding RNAs known as Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). While the Piwi gene has been well characterized in various insect species, the role of the Piwi (PxPiwi) gene in the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), a globally distributed pest of cruciferous crops, remains unclear. Expression analysis demonstrated the upregulation of PxPiwi in pupae and testes. Furthermore, we generated a PxPiwi-knockout mutant using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, which resulted in a significantly prolonged pupal stage and the failure of pupae to develop into adults. Additionally, the knockdown of PxPiwi, through RNA interference (RNAi), led to a substantial decrease in the oviposition and hatchability of P. xylostella. These findings indicate that PxPiwi is specifically expressed and essential for the development and reproduction of P. xylostella. This is the first report indicating the involvement of the Piwi gene in the development of lepidopteran insects, except for reproduction and germ cell development, which provides a foundation for future investigations into the functions of PxPiwi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuropeptides and Endocrine Regulations in Insects and Crustaceans)
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19 pages, 3262 KiB  
Article
Transcriptomic Changes Following Induced De-Masculinisation of Australian Red Claw Crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus
by Grace Smith, Susan Glendinning and Tomer Ventura
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(4), 3292; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24043292 - 07 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2753
Abstract
The Australian red claw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus, an emerging species within the freshwater aquaculture trade, is not only an ideal species for commercial production due to its high fecundity, fast growth, and physiological robustness but also notoriously invasive. Investigating the reproductive axis [...] Read more.
The Australian red claw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus, an emerging species within the freshwater aquaculture trade, is not only an ideal species for commercial production due to its high fecundity, fast growth, and physiological robustness but also notoriously invasive. Investigating the reproductive axis of this species has been of great interest to farmers, geneticists, and conservationists alike for many decades; however, aside from the characterisation of the key masculinising insulin-like androgenic gland hormone (IAG) produced by the male-specific androgenic gland (AG), little remains known about this system and the downstream signalling cascade involved. This investigation used RNA interference to silence IAG in adult intersex C. quadricarinatus (Cq-IAG), known to be functionally male but genotypically female, successfully inducing sexual redifferentiation in all individuals. To investigate the downstream effects of Cq-IAG knockdown, a comprehensive transcriptomic library was constructed, comprised of three tissues within the male reproductive axis. Several factors known to be involved in the IAG signal transduction pathway, including a receptor, binding factor, and additional insulin-like peptide, were found to not be differentially expressed in response to Cq-IAG silencing, suggesting that the phenotypic changes observed may have occurred through post-transcriptional modifications. Many downstream factors displayed differential expression on a transcriptomic level, most notably related to stress, cell repair, apoptosis, and cell proliferation. These results suggest that IAG is required for sperm maturation, with necrosis of arrested tissue occurring in its absence. These results and the construction of a transcriptomic library for this species will inform future research involving reproductive pathways as well as biotechnological developments in this commercially and ecologically significant species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuropeptides and Endocrine Regulations in Insects and Crustaceans)
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22 pages, 3276 KiB  
Article
Crosstalk between Nutrition, Insulin, Juvenile Hormone, and Ecdysteroid Signaling in the Classical Insect Model, Rhodnius prolixus
by Jimena Leyria, Samiha Benrabaa, Marcela Nouzova, Fernando G. Noriega, Lilian Valadares Tose, Francisco Fernandez-Lima, Ian Orchard and Angela B. Lange
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24010007 - 20 Dec 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2367
Abstract
The rigorous balance of endocrine signals that control insect reproductive physiology is crucial for the success of egg production. Rhodnius prolixus, a blood-feeding insect and main vector of Chagas disease, has been used over the last century as a model to unravel [...] Read more.
The rigorous balance of endocrine signals that control insect reproductive physiology is crucial for the success of egg production. Rhodnius prolixus, a blood-feeding insect and main vector of Chagas disease, has been used over the last century as a model to unravel aspects of insect metabolism and physiology. Our recent work has shown that nutrition, insulin signaling, and two main types of insect lipophilic hormones, juvenile hormone (JH) and ecdysteroids, are essential for successful reproduction in R. prolixus; however, the interplay behind these endocrine signals has not been established. We used a combination of hormone treatments, gene expression analyses, hormone measurements, and ex vivo experiments using the corpus allatum or the ovary, to investigate how the interaction of these endocrine signals might define the hormone environment for egg production. The results show that after a blood meal, circulating JH levels increase, a process mainly driven through insulin and allatoregulatory neuropeptides. In turn, JH feeds back to provide some control over its own biosynthesis by regulating the expression of critical biosynthetic enzymes in the corpus allatum. Interestingly, insulin also stimulates the synthesis and release of ecdysteroids from the ovary. This study highlights the complex network of endocrine signals that, together, coordinate a successful reproductive cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuropeptides and Endocrine Regulations in Insects and Crustaceans)
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Review

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18 pages, 1738 KiB  
Review
Monosex Populations of the Giant Freshwater Prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii—From a Pre-Molecular Start to the Next Generation Era
by Melody Wahl, Tom Levy, Tomer Ventura and Amir Sagi
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(24), 17433; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242417433 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 958
Abstract
Sexual manipulation in the giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii has proven successful in generating monosex (both all-male and all-female) populations for aquaculture using a crustacean-specific endocrine gland, the androgenic gland (AG), which serves as a key masculinizing factor by producing and secreting an [...] Read more.
Sexual manipulation in the giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii has proven successful in generating monosex (both all-male and all-female) populations for aquaculture using a crustacean-specific endocrine gland, the androgenic gland (AG), which serves as a key masculinizing factor by producing and secreting an insulin-like AG hormone (IAG). Here, we provide a summary of the advancements from the discovery of the AG and IAG in decapods through to the development of monosex populations in M. rosenbergii. We discuss the broader sexual development pathway, which is highly divergent across decapods, and provide our future perspective on the utility of novel genetic and genomic tools in promoting refined approaches towards monosex biotechnology. Finally, the future potential benefits of deploying monosex prawn populations for environmental management are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuropeptides and Endocrine Regulations in Insects and Crustaceans)
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