The physiology and behaviour of humans and other animals are regulated by a huge variety of neuropeptide signaling molecules. Consequently, discovering the evolutionary and functional relationships of neuropeptides and their receptors has proven challenging. However, important advances have been made recently using animals that occupy key positions in animal phylogeny (e.g. echinoderms) as model systems. The aim here is to build upon this successful strategy by investigating the structure and synteny of neuropeptide and receptor genes in echinoderm genomes to predict novel neuropeptide-receptor partnerships, which will then be tested experimentally using cell-based bioassays, molecular neuroanatomy and in vitro/in vivo pharmacology.
Elphick MR, Mirabeau O, Larhammar D. (2018) Evolution of neuropeptide signalling systems. J Exp Biol. 221(Pt 3) doi: 10.1242/jeb.151092
Tian S, Zandawala M, Beets I, Baytemur E, Slade SE, Scrivens JH, Elphick MR (2016) Urbilaterian origin of paralogous GnRH and corazonin neuropeptide signalling pathways. Scientific Reports 6. doi:10.1038/srep28788
Semmens DC, Beets I, Rowe ML, Blowes LM, Oliveri P, Elphick MR (2015) Discovery of sea urchin NGFFFamide receptor unites a bilaterian neuropeptide family. Open Biology vol. 5, (4), 150030 DOI: 10.1098/rsob.150030
Dylus DV, Czarkwiani A, Stangberg J, Ortega-Martinez O, Dupont S, Oliveri P (2016) Large-scale gene expression study in the ophiuroid Amphiura filiformis provides insights into evolution of gene regulatory networks. Evo-Devo 7 (1), 2.
Dylus, D. V., Czarkwiani, A., Blowes, L. M., Elphick, M. R., & Oliveri, P. (2018). Developmental transcriptomics of the brittle star Amphiura filiformis reveals gene regulatory network rewiring in echinoderm larval skeleton evolution, Genome Biology 19:26 1–17.