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Curr Biol. 2014 Feb 3;24(3):263-73. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.003. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

Regulation of polyp-to-jellyfish transition in Aurelia aurita.

Author information

1
Zoologisches Institut, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24118 Kiel, Germany; Leica Microsystems AG, Max Schmidheiny Strasse 201, 9435 Heerbrugg, Switzerland.
2
Zoologisches Institut, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24118 Kiel, Germany.
3
Institut für Klinische Molekularbiologie, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Schittenhelmstrasse 12, 24105 Kiel, Germany.
4
Wallenberg Laboratory for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, University of Gothenburg, 413 45 Gothenburg, Sweden.
5
Institut Ruđer Bošković, Bijenička cesta 54, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia.
6
Zoologisches Institut, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Am Botanischen Garten 1-9, 24118 Kiel, Germany; Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya naberezhnaya 7/9, 199034 Saint Petersburg, Russia. Electronic address: konstantin.khalturin@oist.jp.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The life cycle of scyphozoan cnidarians alternates between sessile asexual polyps and pelagic medusa. Transition from one life form to another is triggered by environmental signals, but the molecular cascades involved in the drastic morphological and physiological changes remain unknown.

RESULTS:

We show in the moon jelly Aurelia aurita that the molecular machinery controlling transition of the sessile polyp into a free-swimming jellyfish consists of two parts. One is conserved and relies on retinoic acid signaling. The second, novel part is based on secreted proteins that are strongly upregulated prior to metamorphosis in response to the seasonal temperature changes. One of these proteins functions as a temperature-sensitive "timer" and encodes the precursor of the strobilation hormone of Aurelia.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings uncover the molecule framework controlling the polyp-to-jellyfish transition in a basal metazoan and provide insights into the evolution of complex life cycles in the animal kingdom.

PMID:
24440392
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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