|Year of Publication:
|Canitz, J., Kirschbaum, F., Tiedemann R.
|Animals, electric fish, electric organ, Electricity, Gene Expression, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Phenotype, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Species Specificity, transcriptome
African weakly electric fish of the mormyrid genus Campylomormyrus generate pulse-type electric organ discharges (EODs) for orientation and communication. Their pulse durations are species-specific and elongated EODs are a derived trait. So far, differential gene expression among tissue-specific transcriptomes across species with different pulses and point mutations in single ion channel genes indicate a relation of pulse duration and electrocyte geometry/excitability. However, a comprehensive assessment of expressed Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) throughout the entire transcriptome of African weakly electric fish, with the potential to identify further genes influencing EOD duration, is still lacking. This is of particular value, as discharge duration is likely based on multiple cellular mechanisms and various genes. Here we provide the first transcriptome-wide SNP analysis of African weakly electric fish species (genus Campylomormyrus) differing by EOD duration to identify candidate genes and cellular mechanisms potentially involved in the determination of an elongated discharge of C. tshokwe. Non-synonymous substitutions specific to C. tshokwe were found in 27 candidate genes with inferred positive selection among Campylomormyrus species. These candidate genes had mainly functions linked to transcriptional regulation, cell proliferation and cell differentiation. Further, by comparing gene annotations between C. compressirostris (ancestral short EOD) and C. tshokwe (derived elongated EOD), we identified 27 GO terms and 2 KEGG pathway categories for which C. tshokwe significantly more frequently exhibited a species-specific expressed substitution than C. compressirostris. The results indicate that transcriptional regulation as well cell proliferation and differentiation take part in the determination of elongated pulse durations in C. tshokwe. Those cellular processes are pivotal for tissue morphogenesis and might determine the shape of electric organs supporting the observed correlation between electrocyte geometry/tissue structure and discharge duration. The inferred expressed SNPs and their functional implications are a valuable resource for future investigations on EOD durations.