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PLoS One. 2016 Oct 5;11(10):e0162355. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162355. eCollection 2016.

Characterisation of Reproduction-Associated Genes and Peptides in the Pest Land Snail, Theba pisana.

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Genecology Research Centre, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Queensland, 4558, Australia.
St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, 5000, Canada.
Institute of Biochemistry & Department of Biology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6, Canada.


Increased understanding of the molecular components involved in reproduction may assist in understanding the evolutionary adaptations used by animals, including hermaphrodites, to produce offspring and retain a continuation of their lineage. In this study, we focus on the Mediterranean snail, Theba pisana, a hermaphroditic land snail that has become a highly invasive pest species within agricultural areas throughout the world. Our analysis of T. pisana CNS tissue has revealed gene transcripts encoding molluscan reproduction-associated proteins including APGWamide, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and an egg-laying hormone (ELH). ELH isoform 1 (ELH1) is known to be a potent reproductive peptide hormone involved in ovulation and egg-laying in some aquatic molluscs. Two other non-CNS ELH isoforms were also present in T. pisana (Tpi-ELH2 and Tpi-ELH3) within the snail dart sac and mucous glands. Bioactivity of a synthetic ELH1 on sexually mature T. pisana was confirmed through bioassay, with snails showing ELH1-induced egg-laying behaviours, including soil burrowing and oviposition. In summary, this study presents a detailed molecular analysis of reproductive neuropeptide genes in a land snail and provides a foundation for understanding ELH function.

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