Expression of cytoskeletal and molt-related genes is temporally scheduled in the hypodermis of the crayfish Procambarus clarkii during premolt

Moshe Tom, Chiara Manfrin, Sook J. Chung, Amir Sagi, Marco Gerdol, Gianluca De Moro, Alberto Pallavicini, Piero G. Giulianini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The rigid crustacean exoskeleton, the cuticle, is composed of the polysaccharide chitin, structural proteins and mineral deposits. It is periodically replaced to enable growth and its construction is an energy-demanding process. Ecdysis, the shedding event of the old cuticle, is preceded by a preparatory phase, termed premolt, in which the present cuticle is partially degraded and a new one is formed underneath it. Procambarus clarkii (Girard 1852), an astacid crustacean, was used here to comprehensively examine the changing patterns of gene expression in the hypodermis underlying the cuticle of the carapace at seven time points along ~14 premolt days. Next generation sequencing was used to construct a multitissue P. clarkii transcript sequence assembly for general use in a variety of transcriptomic studies. A reference transcriptome was created here in order to perform digital transcript expression analysis, determining the gene expression profiles in each of the examined premolt stages. The analysis revealed a cascade of sequential expression events of molt-related genes involved in chitin degradation, synthesis and modification, as well as synthesis of collagen and four groups of cuticular structural genes. The new description of major transcriptional events during premolt and the determination of their timing provide temporal markers for future studies of molt progress and regulation. The peaks of the expression of the molt-related genes were preceded by expression peaks of cytoskeletal genes that are hypothesized to be essential for premolt progress through regulating protein synthesis and/or transport, probably by remodeling the cytoskeletal structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4193-4202
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Cytoskeletal genes
  • Gene expression
  • Hypodermis
  • Premolt
  • Procambarus clarkii

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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