Larval growth of the polychaete worm Pseudopolydora vexillosa involves the formation of segment-specific structures. When larvae attain competency to settle, they discard swimming chaetae and secrete mucus. The larvae build tubes around themselves and metamorphose into benthic juveniles. Understanding the molecular processes, which regulate this complex and unique transition, remains a major challenge because of the limited molecular information available. To improve this situation, we conducted high-throughput RNA sequencing and quantitative proteome analysis of the larval stages of P. vexillosa. Based on gene ontology (GO) analysis, transcripts related to cellular and metabolic processes, binding, and catalytic activities were highly represented during larval-adult transition. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), calcium-signaling, Wnt/β-catenin, and notch signaling metabolic pathways were enriched in transcriptome data. Quantitative proteomics identified 107 differentially expressed proteins in three distinct larval stages. Fourteen and 53 proteins exhibited specific differential expression during competency and metamorphosis, respectively. Dramatic up-regulation of proteins involved in signaling, metabolism, and cytoskeleton functions were found during the larval-juvenile transition. Several proteins involved in cell signaling, cytoskeleton and metabolism were up-regulated, whereas proteins related to transcription and oxidative phosphorylation were down-regulated during competency. The integration of high-throughput RNA sequencing and quantitative proteomics allowed a global scale analysis of larval transcripts/proteins associated molecular processes in the metamorphosis of polychaete worms. Further, transcriptomic and proteomic insights provide a new direction to understand the fundamental mechanisms that regulate larval metamorphosis in polychaetes. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
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