Sex and tissue specific gene expression patterns identified following de novo transcriptomic analysis of the Norway lobster, Nephrops norvegicus
Crustaceans have been studied extensively as model systems for nervous system function from single neuron properties to behavior. However, lack of molecular sequence information and tools have slowed the adoption of these physiological systems as molecular model systems. In this study, we sequenced and performed de novo assembly for the nervous system transcriptomes of two decapod crustaceans: the Jonah crab (Cancer borealis) and the American lobster (Homarus americanus). Forty-two thousand, seven hundred sixty-six and sixty thousand, two hundred seventy-three contigs were assembled from C. borealis and H. americanus respectively, representing 9,489 and 11,061 unique coding sequences. From these transcripts, genes associated with neural function were identified and manually curated to produce a characterization of multiple gene families important for nervous system function. This included genes for 34 distinct ion channel types, 17 biogenic amine and 5 GABA receptors, 28 major transmitter receptor subtypes including glutamate and acetylcholine receptors, and 6 gap junction proteins – the Innexins. With this resource, crustacean model systems are better poised for incorporation of modern genomic and molecular biology technologies to further enhance the interrogation of fundamentals of nervous system function.