A comparative analysis of egg provisioning using mass spectrometry during rapid life history evolution in sea urchins.


A dramatic life history switch that has evolved numerous times in marine invertebrates is the transition from planktotrophic (feeding) to lecithotrophic (nonfeeding) larval development-an evolutionary tradeoff with many important developmental and ecological consequences. To attain a more comprehensive understanding of the molecular basis for this switch, we performed untargeted lipidomic and proteomic liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry on eggs and larvae from three sea urchin species: the lecithotroph Heliocidaris erythrogramma, the closely related planktotroph Heliocidaris tuberculata, and the distantly related planktotroph Lytechinus variegatus. We identify numerous molecular-level changes possibly associated with the evolution of lecithotrophy in H. erythrogramma. We find the massive lipid stores of H. erythrogramma eggs are largely composed of low-density, diacylglycerol ether lipids that, contrary to expectations, appear to support postmetamorphic development and survivorship. Rapid premetamorphic development in this species may instead be powered by upregulated carbohydrate metabolism or triacylglycerol metabolism. We also find proteins involved in oxidative stress regulation are upregulated in H. erythrogramma eggs, and apoB-like lipid transfer proteins may be important for echinoid oogenic nutrient provisioning. These results demonstrate how mass spectrometry can enrich our understanding of life history evolution and organismal diversity by identifying specific molecules associated with distinct life history strategies and prompt new hypotheses about how and why these adaptations evolve.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Davidson, Phillip L, J Will Thompson, Matthew W Foster, M Arthur Moseley, Maria Byrne and Gregory A Wray (2019). A comparative analysis of egg provisioning using mass spectrometry during rapid life history evolution in sea urchins. Evolution & development. 10.1111/ede.12289 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18638.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



J. Will Thompson

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Dr. Thompson's research focuses on the development and deployment of proteomics and metabolomics mass spectrometry techniques for the analysis of biological systems. He served as the Assistant Director of the Proteomics and Metabolomics Shared Resource in the Duke School of Medicine from 2007-2021. He currently maintains collaborations in metabolomics and proteomics research at Duke, and develops new tools for chemical analysis as a Principal Scientist at 908 Devices in Carrboro, NC.


Matthew Wolf Foster

Associate Professor in Medicine

Gregory Allan Wray

Professor of Biology

I study the evolution of genes and genomes with the broad aim of understanding the origins of biological diversity. My approach focuses on changes in the expression of genes using both empirical and computational approaches and spans scales of biological organization from single nucleotides through gene networks to entire genomes. At the finer end of this spectrum of scale, I am focusing on understanding the functional consequences and fitness components of specific genetic variants within regulatory sequences of several genes associated with ecologically relevant traits. At the other end of the scale, I am developing molecular and analytical methods to detect changes in gene function throughout entire genomes, including statistical frameworks for detecting natural selection on regulatory elements and empirical approaches to identify functional variation in transcriptional regulation. At intermediate scales, I am investigating functional variation within a dense gene network in the context of wild populations and natural perturbations. My research leverages the advantages of several different model systems, but primarily focuses on sea urchins and primates (including humans).

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.