CRISPR knockouts reveal an endogenous role for ancient neuropeptides in regulating developmental timing in a sea anemone

  1. Nagayasu Nakanishi  Is a corresponding author
  2. Mark Q Martindale
  1. University of Arkansas, United States
  2. University of Florida, United States

Abstract

Neuropeptides are evolutionarily ancient peptide hormones of the nervous and neuroendocrine systems, and are thought to have regulated metamorphosis in early animal ancestors. In particular, the deeply conserved Wamide family of neuropeptides—shared across Bilateria (e.g. insects and worms) and its sister group Cnidaria (e.g. jellyfishes and corals)—has been implicated in mediating life-cycle transitions, yet their endogenous roles remain poorly understood. By using CRISPR-Cas9-mediated reverse genetics, we show that cnidarian Wamide—referred to as GLWamide—regulates the timing of life cycle transition in the sea anemone cnidarian Nematostella vectensis. We find that mutant planula larvae lacking GLWamides transform into morphologically normal polyps at a rate slower than that of the wildtype control larvae. Treatment of GLWamide null mutant larvae with synthetic GLWamide peptides is sufficient to restore a normal rate of metamorphosis. These results demonstrate that GLWamide plays a dispensable, modulatory role in accelerating metamorphosis in a sea anemone.

Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. A source data file has been provided for Figures 1, 2 and 5.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Nagayasu Nakanishi

    Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, United States
    For correspondence
    nnakanis@uark.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-7516-5078
  2. Mark Q Martindale

    Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, University of Florida, Augustine, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-5805-5640

Funding

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  • Nagayasu Nakanishi
  • Mark Q Martindale

University of Arkansas

  • Nagayasu Nakanishi

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

Reviewing Editor

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

Version history

  1. Received: July 2, 2018
  2. Accepted: September 9, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: September 18, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: September 24, 2018 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record updated: November 5, 2018 (version 3)

Copyright

© 2018, Nakanishi & Martindale

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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  1. Nagayasu Nakanishi
  2. Mark Q Martindale
(2018)
CRISPR knockouts reveal an endogenous role for ancient neuropeptides in regulating developmental timing in a sea anemone
eLife 7:e39742.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.39742

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.39742

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