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      Neuropeptidergic integration of behavior in Trichoplax adhaerens, an animal without synapses

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          Trichoplax adhaerens is a flat, millimeter-sized marine animal that adheres to surfaces and grazes on algae. Trichoplax displays a repertoire of different feeding behaviors despite the apparent absence of a true nervous system with electrical or chemical synapses. It glides along surfaces to find food, propelled by beating cilia on cells at its ventral surface, and pauses during feeding by arresting ciliary beating. We found that when endomorphin-like peptides are applied to an animal, ciliary beating is arrested, mimicking natural feeding pauses. Antibodies against these neuropeptides label cells that express the neurosecretory proteins and voltage-gated calcium channels implicated in regulated secretion. These cells are embedded in the ventral epithelium, where they comprise only 4% of the total, and are concentrated around the edge of the animal. Each bears a cilium likely to be chemosensory and used to detect algae. Trichoplax pausing during feeding or spontaneously in the absence of food often induce their neighbors to pause as well, even neighbors not in direct contact. Pausing behavior propagates from animal to animal across distances much greater than the signal that diffuses from just one animal, so we presume that the peptides secreted from one animal elicit secretion from nearby animals. Signal amplification by peptide-induced peptide secretion explains how a small number of sensory secretory cells lacking processes and synapses can evoke a wave of peptide secretion across the entire animal to globally arrest ciliary beating and allow pausing during feeding.


          [Related article:] Highlighted Article: Trichoplax, a primitive marine animal that lacks neurons and synapses, has neurosecretory cells that secrete a peptide into the ambient seawater to arrest ciliary beating during feeding.

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          Most cited references 85

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          RSEM: accurate transcript quantification from RNA-Seq data with or without a reference genome

           Bo Li,  Colin Dewey (2011)
          Background RNA-Seq is revolutionizing the way transcript abundances are measured. A key challenge in transcript quantification from RNA-Seq data is the handling of reads that map to multiple genes or isoforms. This issue is particularly important for quantification with de novo transcriptome assemblies in the absence of sequenced genomes, as it is difficult to determine which transcripts are isoforms of the same gene. A second significant issue is the design of RNA-Seq experiments, in terms of the number of reads, read length, and whether reads come from one or both ends of cDNA fragments. Results We present RSEM, an user-friendly software package for quantifying gene and isoform abundances from single-end or paired-end RNA-Seq data. RSEM outputs abundance estimates, 95% credibility intervals, and visualization files and can also simulate RNA-Seq data. In contrast to other existing tools, the software does not require a reference genome. Thus, in combination with a de novo transcriptome assembler, RSEM enables accurate transcript quantification for species without sequenced genomes. On simulated and real data sets, RSEM has superior or comparable performance to quantification methods that rely on a reference genome. Taking advantage of RSEM's ability to effectively use ambiguously-mapping reads, we show that accurate gene-level abundance estimates are best obtained with large numbers of short single-end reads. On the other hand, estimates of the relative frequencies of isoforms within single genes may be improved through the use of paired-end reads, depending on the number of possible splice forms for each gene. Conclusions RSEM is an accurate and user-friendly software tool for quantifying transcript abundances from RNA-Seq data. As it does not rely on the existence of a reference genome, it is particularly useful for quantification with de novo transcriptome assemblies. In addition, RSEM has enabled valuable guidance for cost-efficient design of quantification experiments with RNA-Seq, which is currently relatively expensive.
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            SignalP 4.0: discriminating signal peptides from transmembrane regions.

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              Broad phylogenomic sampling improves resolution of the animal tree of life.

              Long-held ideas regarding the evolutionary relationships among animals have recently been upended by sometimes controversial hypotheses based largely on insights from molecular data. These new hypotheses include a clade of moulting animals (Ecdysozoa) and the close relationship of the lophophorates to molluscs and annelids (Lophotrochozoa). Many relationships remain disputed, including those that are required to polarize key features of character evolution, and support for deep nodes is often low. Phylogenomic approaches, which use data from many genes, have shown promise for resolving deep animal relationships, but are hindered by a lack of data from many important groups. Here we report a total of 39.9 Mb of expressed sequence tags from 29 animals belonging to 21 phyla, including 11 phyla previously lacking genomic or expressed-sequence-tag data. Analysed in combination with existing sequences, our data reinforce several previously identified clades that split deeply in the animal tree (including Protostomia, Ecdysozoa and Lophotrochozoa), unambiguously resolve multiple long-standing issues for which there was strong conflicting support in earlier studies with less data (such as velvet worms rather than tardigrades as the sister group of arthropods), and provide molecular support for the monophyly of molluscs, a group long recognized by morphologists. In addition, we find strong support for several new hypotheses. These include a clade that unites annelids (including sipunculans and echiurans) with nemerteans, phoronids and brachiopods, molluscs as sister to that assemblage, and the placement of ctenophores as the earliest diverging extant multicellular animals. A single origin of spiral cleavage (with subsequent losses) is inferred from well-supported nodes. Many relationships between a stable subset of taxa find strong support, and a diminishing number of lineages remain recalcitrant to placement on the tree.

                Author and article information

                J Exp Biol
                J. Exp. Biol
                The Journal of Experimental Biology
                The Company of Biologists Ltd
                15 September 2017
                15 September 2017
                : 220
                : 18
                : 3381-3390
                [1 ]University of Toronto Mississauga , Mississauga, ON, Canada L5L 1C6
                [2 ]NINDS, NIH , Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Author for correspondence ( smithca@ )
                © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.

                Funded by: National Institutes of Health,;
                Funded by: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke,;
                Funded by: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada,;
                Award ID: RGPIN-2016-06023
                Funded by: Canada Foundation for Innovation,;
                Research Article


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