Chasing migration genes: a brain expressed sequence tag resource for summer and migratory monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus).

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PloS one, ISSN: 1932-6203, Vol: 3, Issue: 1, Page: e1345

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10.1371/journal.pone.0001345; 10.1371/journal.pone.0001345.g003; 10.1371/journal.pone.0001345.t002; 10.1371/journal.pone.0001345.t005; 10.1371/journal.pone.0001345.t001; 10.1371/journal.pone.0001345.g002; 10.1371/journal.pone.0001345.t003; 10.1371/journal.pone.0001345.t004; 10.1371/journal.pone.0001345.g001
2156104; PMC2156104
Haisun Zhu; Amy Casselman; Steven M. Reppert; Dawn Albertson
Public Library of Science (PLoS); Figshare
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Neuroscience; Genetics; monarch; sizes; coding; numbers; butterflies; cdna; chasing; expressed; migratory; genes; represented; est; ontology; annotated; profiles; atpase; Alleles; *Animal Migration; Animals; Brain; Butterflies; *Expressed Sequence Tags; Gene Expression Profiling; Microsatellite Repeats; Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide; Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase; Trans-Activators; Neuroscience and Neurobiology
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North American monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) undergo a spectacular fall migration. In contrast to summer butterflies, migrants are juvenile hormone (JH) deficient, which leads to reproductive diapause and increased longevity. Migrants also utilize time-compensated sun compass orientation to help them navigate to their overwintering grounds. Here, we describe a brain expressed sequence tag (EST) resource to identify genes involved in migratory behaviors. A brain EST library was constructed from summer and migrating butterflies. Of 9,484 unique sequences, 6068 had positive hits with the non-redundant protein database; the EST database likely represents approximately 52% of the gene-encoding potential of the monarch genome. The brain transcriptome was cataloged using Gene Ontology and compared to Drosophila. Monarch genes were well represented, including those implicated in behavior. Three genes involved in increased JH activity (allatotropin, juvenile hormone acid methyltransfersase, and takeout) were upregulated in summer butterflies, compared to migrants. The locomotion-relevant turtle gene was marginally upregulated in migrants, while the foraging and single-minded genes were not differentially regulated. Many of the genes important for the monarch circadian clock mechanism (involved in sun compass orientation) were in the EST resource, including the newly identified cryptochrome 2. The EST database also revealed a novel Na+/K+ ATPase allele predicted to be more resistant to the toxic effects of milkweed than that reported previously. Potential genetic markers were identified from 3,486 EST contigs and included 1599 double-hit single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 98 microsatellite polymorphisms. These data provide a template of the brain transcriptome for the monarch butterfly. Our "snap-shot" analysis of the differential regulation of candidate genes between summer and migratory butterflies suggests that unbiased, comprehensive transcriptional profiling will inform the molecular basis of migration. The identified SNPs and microsatellite polymorphisms can be used as genetic markers to address questions of population and subspecies structure.