A Crown-of-Thorns Seastar recombinant relaxin-like gonad-stimulating peptide triggers oocyte maturation and ovulation
Smith, MK, Chieu, HD, Aizen, J, Mos, B, Motti, CA, Elizur, A & Cummins, SF 2019, 'A Crown-of-Thorns Seastar recombinant relaxin-like gonad-stimulating peptide triggers oocyte maturation and ovulation', General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol. 281, pp. 41-48.
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The Acanthaster planci species-complex [Crown-of-Thorns Seastar (COTS)] are highly fecund echinoderms that exhibit population outbreaks on coral reef ecosystems worldwide, including the Australian Great Barrier Reef. A better understanding of the COTS molecular biology is critical towards efforts in controlling outbreaks and assisting reef recovery. In seastars, the heterodimeric relaxin-like gonad stimulating peptide (RGP) is responsible for triggering a neuroendocrine cascade that regulates resumption of oocyte meiosis prior to spawning. Our comparative RNA-seq analysis indicates a general increase in RGP gene expression in the female radial nerve cord during the reproductive season. Also, the sensory tentacles demonstrate a significantly higher expression level than radial nerve cord. A recombinant COTS RGP, generated in a yeast expression system, is highly effective in inducing oocyte germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD), followed by ovulation from ovarian fragments. The findings of this study provide a foundation for more in-depth molecular analysis of the reproductive neuroendocrine physiology of the COTS and the RGP.