The American lobster, Homarus americanus, is a model for investigating the neuromodulatory control of physiology and behavior. Prior studies have shown that multiple classes of chemicals serve as locally released/circulating neuromodulators/neurotransmitters in this species. Interestingly, while many neuroactive compounds are known from Homarus, little work has focused on identifying/characterizing the enzymes responsible for their biosynthesis, despite the fact that these enzymes are key components for regulating neuromodulation/neurotransmission. Here, an eyestalk ganglia-specific transcriptome was mined for transcripts encoding enzymes involved in neuropeptide, amine, diffusible gas and small molecule transmitter biosynthesis. Using known Drosophila melanogaster proteins as templates, transcripts encoding putative Homarus homologs of peptide precursor processing (signal peptide peptidase, prohormone processing protease and carboxypeptidase) and immature peptide modifying (glutaminyl cyclase, tyrosylprotein sulfotransferase, protein disulfide isomerase, peptidylglycine-α-hydroxylating monooxygenase and peptidyl-α-hydroxyglycine-α-amidating lyase) enzymes were identified in the eyestalk assembly. Similarly, transcripts encoding full complements of the enzymes responsible for dopamine [tryptophan-phenylalanine hydroxylase (TPH), tyrosine hydroxylase and DOPA decarboxylase (DDC)], octopamine (TPH, tyrosine decarboxylase and tyramine β-hydroxylase), serotonin (TPH or tryptophan hydroxylase and DDC) and histamine (histidine decarboxylase) biosynthesis were identified from the eyestalk ganglia, as were those responsible for the generation of the gases nitric oxide (nitric oxide synthase) and carbon monoxide (heme oxygenase), and the small molecule transmitters acetylcholine (choline acetyltransferase), glutamate (glutaminase) and GABA (glutamic acid decarboxylase). The presence and identity of the transcriptome-derived transcripts were confirmed using RT-PCR. The data presented here provide a foundation for future gene-based studies of neuromodulatory control at the level of neurotransmitter/modulator biosynthesis in Homarus.
Christie, Andrew E.; Stanhope, Meredith E.; Gandler, Helen I.; Lameyer, Tess J.; Pascual, Micah G.; Shea, Devlin N.; Yu, Andy; Dickinson, Patsy S.; and Hull, J. Joe, "Molecular characterization of putative neuropeptide, amine, diffusible gas and small molecule transmitter biosynthetic enzymes in the eyestalk ganglia of the American lobster, Homarus americanus" (2018). Biology Faculty Publications. 63.