Neuronal transcriptome of Aplysia: neuronal compartments and circuitry

Cell. 2006 Dec 29;127(7):1453-67. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2006.09.052.


Molecular analyses of Aplysia, a well-established model organism for cellular and systems neural science, have been seriously handicapped by a lack of adequate genomic information. By sequencing cDNA libraries from the central nervous system (CNS), we have identified over 175,000 expressed sequence tags (ESTs), of which 19,814 are unique neuronal gene products and represent 50%-70% of the total Aplysia neuronal transcriptome. We have characterized the transcriptome at three levels: (1) the central nervous system, (2) the elementary components of a simple behavior: the gill-withdrawal reflex-by analyzing sensory, motor, and serotonergic modulatory neurons, and (3) processes of individual neurons. In addition to increasing the amount of available gene sequences of Aplysia by two orders of magnitude, this collection represents the largest database available for any member of the Lophotrochozoa and therefore provides additional insights into evolutionary strategies used by this highly successful diversified lineage, one of the three proposed superclades of bilateral animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aplysia / anatomy & histology
  • Aplysia / genetics*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Expressed Sequence Tags
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate
  • Gills / innervation
  • Nerve Net
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Synaptic Transmission*
  • Transcription, Genetic*