A study published today in the open access journal BMC Biology reveals that the shape and colour patterns on the shell of the mollusc mirror the localised expression of specific genes in the mantle, a layer of skin situated just below the shell. The authors of the study identify one gene in particular that controls the formation of blue dots on the shell of the mollusc.
Daniel Jackson, Bernard Degnan and colleagues from the University of Queensland, Australia, collaborated with colleagues from the Department of Geobiology at the University of Göttingen, Germany to analyse gene expression in the tropical abalone Haliotis asinina. They sequenced 530 randomly-selected genes expressed in the mantle tissue of the young abalone.
Jackson et al. identified 331 genes that encode proteins expressed in the mantle. Using a bioinformatics approach they find that 26% (85) of these genes encode secreted proteins. Jackson et al. then analysed the expression patterns of 22 of the genes encoding secreted proteins. They find that each gene is expressed in a specific, discrete area of the mantle, involved in the formation of a specific layer, shape or colouration pattern of the shell. They identify one gene in particular, Has-sometsuke, whose expression pattern maps precisely to pigmentation patterns in the shell. Blue dots on the shell of the abalone correspond to zones of high Has-sometsuke expression. By comparing the abalone DNA sequences with the genome of another related mollusc, Lottia scutum, the authors also show that genes encoding the secreted mantle proteins, which they call the 'secretome', in abalone, are likely to be rapidly evolving genes.
Jackson et al. conclude: "The unexpected complexity and evolvability of this secretome and the modular design of the molluscan mantle enables the diversification of shell strength and design, and as such must contribute to the variety of adaptive architectures and colours found in mollusc shells."
Juliette Savin | EurekAlert!
Multifunctional bacterial microswimmer able to deliver cargo and destroy itself
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme
ADP-ribosylation on the right track
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
26.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
26.04.2018 | Life Sciences
26.04.2018 | Medical Engineering