The decapod Crustacea are the most species-rich order of the Crustacea and include some of the most charismatic and highly valued commercial species. Thus the decapods draw a significant research interest in relation to aquaculture, as well as gaining a broader understanding of these species’ biology. However, the diverse physiology of the group considered with the lack of a model species have presented an obstacle for comparative analyses. In reflection of this, the recent integration of comparative transcriptomics has rapidly advanced our understanding of key regulatory pathways and developmental phenomena, an example being our understanding of sexual development. We discuss our work in the Eastern spiny lobster, Sagmariasus verreauxi, in the context of what is currently known about male sexual development in the decapods, highlighting the importance of transcriptomic techniques in achieving our recent advancements. We describe the progression made in our understanding of male sexual differentiation and maturation, as mediated by the insulin-like androgenic gland hormone (IAG), integrating the role of regulatory binding proteins (IGFBPs), a tyrosine kinase insulin receptor (TKIR), as well as the upstream effect of neuroendocrine hormones (GIH and MIH). We then consider the less well understood mechanism of male sex determination, with an emphasis on what we believe to be the key regulatory factors, the Dsx- and mab-3-related transcription factors (Dmrts). Finally, we discuss the function of the antennal gland (AnG) in sexual development, relating to the emergence of male-biased upregulation in the AnG in later sexual maturation and the sexually dimorphic expression of two key genes Sv-TKIR and Sv-Dmrt1. We then present the AnG as a case study to illustrate how comparative transcriptomic techniques can be applied to guide preliminary analyses, like the hypothesis that the AnG may function in pheromone biosynthesis. In summary, we describe the power of transcriptomics in facilitating the progress made in our understanding of male sexual development, as illustrated by the commercial decapod species, S. verreauxi. Considering future directions, we suggest that the integration of multiple omics-based techniques offers the most powerful tool to ensure we continue to piece together the biology of the important group of decapod Crustacea.
2016 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) Annual Meeting: Tapping the Power of Crustacean Transcriptomics to Address Grand Challenges in Comparative Biology, Portland, United States 3-7 January 2016
Integrative and Comparative Biology / Vol. 56, No. 6, pp.1144-1156