Essentially all organisms exhibit recurring patterns of physiology/behavior that oscillate with a period of ~24-h and are synchronized to the solar day. Crustaceans are no exception, with robust circadian rhythms having been documented in many members of this arthropod subphylum. However, little is known about the molecular underpinnings of their circadian rhythmicity. Moreover, the location of the crustacean central clock has not been firmly established, although both the brain and eyestalk ganglia have been hypothesized as loci. The American lobster, Homarus americanus, is known to exhibit multiple circadian rhythms, and immunodetection data suggest that its central clock is located within the eyestalk ganglia rather than in the brain. Here, brain- and eyestalk ganglia-specific transcriptomes were generated and used to assess the presence/absence of transcripts encoding the commonly recognized protein components of arthropod circadian signaling systems in these two regions of the lobster central nervous system. Transcripts encoding putative homologs of the core clock proteins clock, cryptochrome 2, cycle, period and timeless were found in both the brain and eyestalk ganglia assemblies, as were transcripts encoding similar complements of putative clock-associated, clock input pathway and clock output pathway proteins. The presence and identity of transcripts encoding core clock proteins in both regions were confirmed using PCR. These findings suggest that both the brain and eyestalk ganglia possess all of the molecular components needed for the establishment of a circadian signaling system. Whether the brain and eyestalk clocks are independent of one another or represent a single timekeeping system remains to be determined. Interestingly, while most of the proteins deduced from the identified transcripts are shared by both the brain and eyestalk ganglia, assembly-specific isoforms were also identified, e.g., several period variants, suggesting the possibility of region-specific variation in clock function, especially if the brain and eyestalk clocks represent independent oscillators.
Keywords: Biological rhythm; Circadian rhythm; Crustacea; Decapoda; Transcriptomics.
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