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Nat Commun 2011 Dec 20;2:592. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1603.
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Rapid adaptation to food availability by a dopamine-mediated morphogenetic response.

Adams DK , Sewell MA , Angerer RC , Angerer LM .

Food can act as a powerful stimulus, eliciting metabolic, behavioural and developmental responses. These phenotypic changes can alter ecological and evolutionary processes; yet, the molecular mechanisms underlying many plastic phenotypic responses remain unknown. Here we show that dopamine signalling through a type-D(2) receptor mediates developmental plasticity by regulating arm length in pre-feeding sea urchin larvae in response to food availability. Although prey-induced traits are often thought to improve food acquisition, the mechanism underlying this plastic response acts to reduce feeding structure size and subsequent feeding rate. Consequently, the developmental programme and/or maternal provisioning predetermine the maximum possible feeding rate, and food-induced dopamine signalling reduces food acquisition potential during periods of abundant resources to preserve maternal energetic reserves. Sea urchin larvae may have co-opted the widespread use of food-induced dopamine signalling from behavioural responses to instead alter their development.

PubMed ID: 22186888
PMC ID: PMC3992878
Article link: Nat Commun
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Echinodermata
Genes referenced: LOC100887844 LOC100890724 LOC100891068 LOC115919910 LOC115924597 LOC590297 LOC594040 LOC757080 msp130 th
Antibodies: th Ab1

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Agrawal, Phenotypic plasticity in the interactions and evolution of species. 2001, Pubmed