Meeting Abstract

P1.91  Saturday, Jan. 4 15:30  Evolution and Development of Photoreceptor Cells in the Single-Chambered Eye of the Squid Doryteuthis pealeii KOENIG, KM*; MEYER, E; GROSS, JM; University of Texas, Austin; Oregon State University; University of Texas, Austin kmkoenig@utexas.edu

In comparing the development of complex organ systems across the Metazoa, it is often necessary to understand conservation from a cellular perspective. It is this perspective that has identified cellular homologies between the single-chambered vertebrate eye and the compound Drosophila eye. We aim to better understand the evolution and development of complex image-forming eyes across the Metazoa by studying the single-chambered eye of the squid, Doryteuthis pealeii. To dissect the molecular underpinnings of eye development in D. pealeii, we sequenced the embryonic transcriptome and performed RNA-seq studies of isolated eye and optic lobe tissues from developing embryos, quantifying changes in gene expression over time. These analyses revealed multiple members of the Notch signaling pathway to be expressed early in the optic placode and later, after eye vesicle closure. Functional perturbation of the Notch pathway suggests that Notch signaling is necessary for photoreceptor cell differentiation in the retina of D. pealeii. With the known involvement of Notch signaling in the differentiation of photoreceptor cells in both the vertebrate and Drosophila eye, this work provides greater insight into questions concerning parallel and convergent evolution of specific organ systems.