RRC ID 80961
Author Woodruff GC, Willis JH, Johnson E, Phillips PC.
Title Widespread changes in gene expression accompany body size evolution in nematodes.
Journal bioRxiv
Abstract Body size is a fundamental trait that drives multiple evolutionary and ecological patterns. Caenorhabditis inopinata is a fig-associated nematode that is exceptionally large relative to other members of the genus, including C. elegans. We previously showed that C. inopinata is large primarily due to postembryonic cell size expansion that occurs during the larval-to-adult transition. Here, we describe gene expression patterns in C. elegans and C. inopinata throughout this developmental period to understand the transcriptional basis of body size change. We performed RNA-seq in both species across the L3, L4, and adult stages. Most genes are differentially expressed across all developmental stages, consistent with C. inopinata's divergent ecology and morphology. We also used a model comparison approach to identify orthologs with divergent dynamics across this developmental period between the two species. This included genes connected to neurons, behavior, stress response, developmental timing, and small RNA/chromatin regulation. Multiple hypodermal collagens were also observed to harbor divergent developmental dynamics across this period, and genes important for molting and body morphology were also detected. Genes associated with TGF-β signaling revealed idiosyncratic and unexpected transcriptional patterns given their role in body size regulation in C. elegans. Widespread transcriptional divergence between these species is unexpected and may be a signature of the ecological and morphological divergence of C. inopinata. Alternatively, transcriptional turnover may be the rule in the Caenorhabditis genus, indicative of widespread developmental system drift among species. This work lays the foundation for future functional genetic studies interrogating the bases of body size evolution in this group.
Published 2023-11-2
DOI 10.1101/2023.10.30.564729
PII 2023.10.30.564729
PMID 37961435
PMC PMC10635002
C.elegans tm1582