Diffusible gas transmitter signaling in the copepod crustacean Calanus finmarchicus: identification of the biosynthetic enzymes of nitric oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) using a de novo assembled transcriptome.Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2014 Jun 01; 202:76-86.GC
Neurochemical signaling is a major component of physiological/behavioral control throughout the animal kingdom. Gas transmitters are perhaps the most ancient class of molecules used by nervous systems for chemical communication. Three gases are generally recognized as being produced by neurons: nitric oxide (NO), carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). As part of an ongoing effort to identify and characterize the neurochemical signaling systems of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus, the biomass dominant zooplankton in much of the North Atlantic Ocean, we have mined a de novo assembled transcriptome for sequences encoding the neuronal biosynthetic enzymes of these gases, i.e. nitric oxide synthase (NOS), heme oxygenase (HO) and cystathionine β-synthase (CBS), respectively. Using Drosophila proteins as queries, two NOS-, one HO-, and one CBS-encoding transcripts were identified. Reverse BLAST and structural analyses of the deduced proteins suggest that each is a true member of its respective enzyme family. RNA-Seq data collected from embryos, early nauplii, late nauplii, early copepodites, late copepodites and adults revealed the expression of each transcript to be stage specific: one NOS restricted primarily to the embryo and the other was absent in the embryo but expressed in all other stages, no CBS expression in the embryo, but present in all other stages, and HO expressed across all developmental stages. Given the importance of gas transmitters in the regulatory control of a number of physiological processes, these data open opportunities for investigating the roles these proteins play under different life-stage and environmental conditions in this ecologically important species.