Shaping development through mechanical strain: The transcriptional basis of diet-induced phenotypic plasticity in a cichlid fish

Gunter, Helen M., Fan, Shaohua, Xiong, Fan, Franchini, Paolo, Fruciano, Carmelo, & Meyer, Axel (2013) Shaping development through mechanical strain: The transcriptional basis of diet-induced phenotypic plasticity in a cichlid fish. Molecular Ecology, 22(17), pp. 4516-4531.

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Abstract

Adaptive phenotypic plasticity, the ability of an organism to change its phenotype to match local environments, is increasingly recognized for its contribution to evolution. However, few empirical studies have explored the molecular basis of plastic traits. The East African cichlid fish Astatoreochromis alluaudi displays adaptive phenotypic plasticity in its pharyngeal jaw apparatus, a structure that is widely seen as an evolutionary key innovation that has contributed to the remarkable diversity of cichlid fishes. It has previously been shown that in response to different diets, the pharyngeal jaws change their size, shape and dentition: hard diets induce an adaptive robust molariform tooth phenotype with short jaws and strong internal bone structures, while soft diets induce a gracile papilliform tooth phenotype with elongated jaws and slender internal bone structures. To gain insight into the molecular underpinnings of these adaptations and enable future investigations of the role that phenotypic plasticity plays during the formation of adaptive radiations, the transcriptomes of the two divergent jaw phenotypes were examined. Our study identified a total of 187 genes whose expression differs in response to hard and soft diets, including immediate early genes, extracellular matrix genes and inflammatory factors. Transcriptome results are interpreted in light of expression of candidate genesmarkers for tooth size and shape, bone cells and mechanically sensitive pathways. This study opens up new avenues of research at new levels of biological organization into the roles of phenotypic plasticity during speciation and radiation of cichlid fishes.

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30 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 87581
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information:

We dedicate this manuscript to the memory of Frans Witte, a pioneer in cichlid biology who has recently passed away. Funding was provided by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to HG, the Zukunftskolleg at the University of Konstanz to HG, the DAAD to CF and supported by the University of Konstanz to AM. We wish to thank Patrick Niemantsverdriet and Frans Witte from the University of Leiden for generously providing their strain of A. alluaudi and Eckhard Witten and Ralf Schneider for useful comments on this manuscript. Madoka Krick and Maria-Louise Spreitzer are thanked for their assistance with the morphometric analysis.

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Funders: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Zukunftskolleg at the University of Konstanz, DAAD, University of Konstanz
Additional URLs:
Keywords: geometric morphometrics, gene expression, genomics, phenotypic plasticity
DOI: 10.1111/mec.12417
ISSN: 1365-294X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > ECOLOGY (060200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > ECOLOGY (060200) > Freshwater Ecology (060204)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY (060300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY (060300) > Biological Adaptation (060303)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY (060300) > Evolutionary Biology not elsewhere classified (060399)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > GENETICS (060400) > Gene Expression (incl. Microarray and other genome-wide approaches) (060405)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > GENETICS (060400) > Genomics (060408)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > ZOOLOGY (060800) > Vertebrate Biology (060809)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2015 01:34
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2015 02:56

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