The barnacle Balanus amphitrite is a globally distributed marine crustacean and has been used as a model species for intertidal ecology and biofouling studies. Its life cycle consists of seven planktonic larval stages followed by a sessile juvenile/adult stage. The transitional processes between larval stages and juveniles are crucial for barnacle development and recruitment. Although some studies have been conducted on the neuroanatomy and neuroactive substances of the barnacle, a comprehensive understanding of neuropeptides and peptide hormones remains lacking. To better characterize barnacle neuropeptidome and its potential roles in larval settlement, an in silico identification of putative transcripts encoding neuropeptides/peptide hormones was performed, based on transcriptome of the barnacle B. amphitrite that has been recently sequenced. Potential cleavage sites andstructure of mature peptides were predicted through homology search of known arthropod peptides. In total, 16 neuropeptide families/subfamilies were predicted from the barnacle transcriptome, and 14 of them were confirmed as genuine neuropeptides by Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends. Analysis of peptide precursor structures and mature sequences showed that some neuropeptides of B. amphitrite are novel isoforms and shared similar characteristics with their homologs from insects. The expression profiling of predicted neuropeptide genes revealed that pigment dispersing hormone, SIFamide, calcitonin, and B-type allatostatin had the highest expression level in cypris stage, while tachykinin-related peptide was down regulated in both cyprids and juveniles. Furthermore, an inhibitor of proprotein convertase related to peptide maturation effectively delayed larval metamorphosis. Combination of real-time PCR results and bioassay indicated that certain neuropeptides may play an important role in cypris settlement. Overall, new insight into neuropeptides/peptide hormones characterized in this study shall provide a platform for unraveling peptidergic control of barnacle larval behavior and settlement process. Copyright © 2012 Yan et al.
|Publication status||Published - 02 Oct 2012|