De novo transcriptome assembly of the Southern Ocean copepod Rhincalanus gigas sheds light on developmental changes in gene expression
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Copepods are small crustaceans that dominate most zooplankton communities in terms of both abundance and biomass. In the polar oceans, a subset of large lipid-storing copepods occupy central positions in the food web because of their important role in linking phytoplankton and microzooplankton with higher trophic levels. In this paper, we generated a high-quality de novo transcriptome for Rhincalanus gigas, the largest—and among the most abundant—of the Southern Ocean copepods. We then conducted transcriptional profiling to characterize the developmental transition between late-stage juveniles and adult females. We found that juvenile R. gigas substantially upregulate lipid synthesis and glycolysis pathways relative to females, as part of a developmental gene expression program that also implicates processes such as muscle growth, chitin formation, and ion transport. This study provides the first transcriptional profile of a developmental transition within Rhincalanus gigas or any endemic Southern Ocean copepod, thereby extending our understanding of copepod molecular physiology.
Southern Ocean, Zooplankton, Lipid metabolism, Development, Molting
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Berger, Cory A.; Steinberg, Deborah K.; Copley, Nancy; and Tarrant, Ann M., De novo transcriptome assembly of the Southern Ocean copepod Rhincalanus gigas sheds light on developmental changes in gene expression (2021). Marine Genomics, 58(100835).
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