Glycine is an important neurotransmitter in vertebrates, performing both excitatory and inhibitory actions. Synaptic levels of glycine are tightly controlled by the action of two glycine transporters, GlyT1 and GlyT2, located on the surface of glial cells and neurons, respectively. Only limited information is available on glycinergic neurotransmission in invertebrates, and the evolution of glycinergic neurotransmission is poorly understood. Here, by combining phylogenetic and gene expression analyses, we characterized the glycine transporter complement of amphioxus, an important invertebrate model for studying the evolution of chordates. We show that amphioxus possess three glycine transporter genes. Two of these (GlyT2.1 and GlyT2.2) are closely related to GlyT2 of vertebrates, whereas the third (GlyT) is a member of an ancestral clade of deuterostome glycine transporters. GlyT2.2 expression is predominantly non-neural, whereas GlyT and GlyT2.1 are widely expressed in the amphioxus nervous system and are differentially expressed, respectively, in neurons and glia. Vertebrate glycinergic neurons express GlyT2 and glia GlyT1, suggesting that the evolution of the chordate glycinergic system was accompanied by a paralog-specific inversion of gene expression. Despite this genetic divergence between amphioxus and vertebrates, we found strong evidence for conservation in the role glycinergic neurotransmission plays during larval swimming, the implication being that the neural networks controlling the rhythmic movement of chordate bodies may be homologous.

Functional conservation and genetic divergence of chordate glycinergic neurotransmission: Insights from amphioxus glycine transporters

Obino V.;Bachetti T.;Marcenaro E.;Candiani S.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Glycine is an important neurotransmitter in vertebrates, performing both excitatory and inhibitory actions. Synaptic levels of glycine are tightly controlled by the action of two glycine transporters, GlyT1 and GlyT2, located on the surface of glial cells and neurons, respectively. Only limited information is available on glycinergic neurotransmission in invertebrates, and the evolution of glycinergic neurotransmission is poorly understood. Here, by combining phylogenetic and gene expression analyses, we characterized the glycine transporter complement of amphioxus, an important invertebrate model for studying the evolution of chordates. We show that amphioxus possess three glycine transporter genes. Two of these (GlyT2.1 and GlyT2.2) are closely related to GlyT2 of vertebrates, whereas the third (GlyT) is a member of an ancestral clade of deuterostome glycine transporters. GlyT2.2 expression is predominantly non-neural, whereas GlyT and GlyT2.1 are widely expressed in the amphioxus nervous system and are differentially expressed, respectively, in neurons and glia. Vertebrate glycinergic neurons express GlyT2 and glia GlyT1, suggesting that the evolution of the chordate glycinergic system was accompanied by a paralog-specific inversion of gene expression. Despite this genetic divergence between amphioxus and vertebrates, we found strong evidence for conservation in the role glycinergic neurotransmission plays during larval swimming, the implication being that the neural networks controlling the rhythmic movement of chordate bodies may be homologous.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1065620
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