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Many marine invertebrate larvae undergo a dramatic morphological and physiological transition from a planktonic larva to a benthic juvenile. The mechanisms of this metamorphosis in bivalves are mainly unknown. The recent identification in bivalves of a thyroid hormone receptor (TR) gene raises the possibility that as occurs in vertebrate metamorphosis, TRs regulate this developmental process. An evolutionary study of TR receptors revealed they are ubiquitous in the molluscs. Knock-down of the TR gene in pediveliger larvae of the hard-shelled mussel, Mytilus coruscus (Mc), using electroporation of siRNA significantly (p < 0.01) reduced TR gene expression. TR gene knock-down decreased pediveliger larval metamorphosis by 54% and was associated with a significant (p < 0.01) reduction in viability compared to control larvae. The TR in the hard-shelled mussel appears to be an essential regulatory factor for the successful epinephrine-induced metamorphosis of the pediveliger larvae to post-larvae. It is hypothesised that the knock-down of TR by siRNA transfection affects the "competence" of pediveliger larvae for the metamorphic transition by reducing their ability to respond to the inducer. The involvement of TR in the epinephrine-induced metamorphosis of a mollusc, the hard-shelled mussel, suggests the role of TR in this process probably emerged early during evolution.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: General and comparative endocrinology
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