Light-induced oocyte maturation in the hydrozoan clytia hemisphaerica

Abstract : Tight control of oocyte maturation and of gamete release is essential for successful sexual reproduction in the animal kingdom. These processes are precisely coordinated by endocrine and/or environmental cues, depending on the species, but much remains to be learned about their regulation. Within the Cnidaria, many hydrozoan jellyfish are known to spawn mature gametes following dark/light transitions. To characterise the cellular and molecular machinery linking light reception and oocyte maturation initiation, I have studied the hydrozoan jellyfish Clytia hemisphaerica. My thesis work had three parts, each involving the identification of a key molecular component of this process.My initial study was part of a collaboration with N. Takeda (Asamushi) and R. Deguchi (Sendai), who identified the endogenous oocyte Maturation-Inducing Hormones (MIH) in Clytia as WPRPamide-related tetrapeptides, generated by cleavage of two neuropeptide precursors. I showed by in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence that Clytia MIH is produced by neurosecretory cells of the gonad ectoderm that co-express the two precursor genes, and that it is secreted upon light stimulation. This study paved the way for identification of regulators acting upstream and downstream of MIH release in the gonads, specifically the ones involved in photoreception in the gonad ectoderm, and in MIH reception by the oocytes. To identify the Clytia MIH receptor (CheMIHR) in the oocytes, I compiled a shortlist of 16 candidate G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) from gonad transcriptome data. I cloned all 16 cDNAs and, using a cell culture-based "GPCR deorphanization" assay (collaboration with P. Bauknecht and G. Jékély; MPI, Tübingen), identified one GPCR that was activated by synthetic MIH peptides. Its in vivo function as the essential MIH receptor was confirmed by CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. Introduction of a frame-shift mutation in the CheMIHR gene impaired growth of Clytia polyp colonies and also the spawning behaviour of mature medusae. Confirming the function of CheMIHR, oocyte maturation in CheMIHR mutants could not be triggered by light or by synthetic MIH, but could be restored using cell-permeable analogues of cAMP, known to act downstream of MIH reception in hydrozoan oocytes. Phylogenetic analyses showed that Clytia MIHR is related to a subset of bilaterian neuropeptide hormone receptor families involved in diverse physiological processes, including regulation of reproduction. Accordingly, in situ hybridization showed the expression of Clytia MIH precursors and MIHR in non-gonadal neural cells, suggesting a wider role of Clytia MIH-MIHR besides oocyte maturation initiation.To address gonad photoreception, I showed that Clytia spawning is selectively induced by blue-cyan light, and then identified using gonad transcriptome data an opsin photopigment (Opsin9) highly expressed in the ectoderm. Strikingly, in situ hybridization showed that Opsin9 is expressed in the MIH-secreting cells. Introduction of a frame-shift mutation into the Opsin9 gene via CRISPR/Cas9 prevented oocyte maturation and spawning of mutant jellyfish in response to light. Anti-MIH immunofluorescence and rescue experiments with synthetic MIH showed that the essential function of Opsin9 is upstream of MIH release. Spawning in Clytia thus appears to be regulated by a dual function photosensory-neurosecretory cell type, perhaps retained from a distant metazoan ancestor...
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Gonzalo Quiroga Artigas. Light-induced oocyte maturation in the hydrozoan clytia hemisphaerica. Development Biology. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PA066284⟩. ⟨tel-01799640v2⟩

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