1. Ecology
  2. Evolutionary Biology
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Dynamics of venom composition across a complex life cycle

  1. Yaara Y Columbus-Shenkar
  2. Maria Y Sachkova
  3. Jason Macrander
  4. Arie Fridrich
  5. Vengamanaidu Modepalli
  6. Adam M Reitzel
  7. Kartik Sunagar
  8. Yehu Moran  Is a corresponding author
  1. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  2. University of North Carolina at Charlotte, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 2
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Cite as: eLife 2018;7:e35014 doi: 10.7554/eLife.35014

Abstract

Little is known about venom in young developmental stages of animals. The appearance of toxins and stinging cells during early embryonic stages in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis suggests that venom is already expressed in eggs and larvae of this species. Here we harness transcriptomic, biochemical and transgenic tools to study venom production dynamics in Nematostella. We find that venom composition and arsenal of toxin-producing cells change dramatically between developmental stages of this species. These findings can be explained by the vastly different interspecific interactions of each life stage, as individuals develop from a miniature non-feeding mobile planula to a larger sessile polyp that predates on other animals and interact differently with predators. Indeed, behavioral assays involving prey, predators and Nematostella are consistent with this hypothesis. Further, the results of this work suggest a much wider and dynamic venom landscape than initially appreciated in animals with a complex life cycle.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Yaara Y Columbus-Shenkar

    Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Maria Y Sachkova

    Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Jason Macrander

    Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Arie Fridrich

    Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Vengamanaidu Modepalli

    Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Adam M Reitzel

    Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Kartik Sunagar

    Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Yehu Moran

    Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
    For correspondence
    yehu.moran@mail.huji.ac.il
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-9928-9294

Funding

Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 691/14)

  • Yehu Moran

H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship 654294)

  • Kartik Sunagar
  • Yehu Moran

National Science Foundation (award 1536530)

  • Adam M Reitzel

United States - Israel Binational Science Foundation (grant no. 2013119)

  • Adam M Reitzel
  • Yehu Moran

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: Experiments on Fundulus heteroclitus were performed under permit no. 17-018 granted by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte according to ethical regulations of Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (National Institutes of Health, USA).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: January 11, 2018
  2. Accepted: February 8, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: February 9, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: March 1, 2018 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2018, Columbus-Shenkar et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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