Identification of scavenger receptors and thrombospondintype-1 repeat proteins potentially relevant for plastid recognition in Sacoglossa

Functional kleptoplasty is a photosymbiotic relationship, in which photosynthetically active chloroplasts serve as an intracellular symbiont for a heterotrophic host. Among Metazoa, functional kleptoplasty is only found in marine sea slugs belonging to the Sacoglossa and recently described in Rhabdocoela worms. Although functional kleptoplasty has been intensively studied in Sacoglossa, the fundamentals of the specific recognition of the chloroplasts and their subsequent incorporation are unknown. The key to ensure the initiation of any symbiosis is the ability to specifically recognize the symbiont and to differentiate a symbiont from a pathogen. For instance, in photosymbiotic cnidarians, several studies have shown that the host innate immune system, in particular scavenger receptors (SRs) and thrombospondin-type-1 repeat (TSR) protein superfamily, is playing a major role in the process of recognizing and differentiating symbionts from pathogens. In the present study, SRs and TSRs of three Sacoglossa sea slugs, Elysia cornigeraElysia timida, and Elysia chlorotica, were identified by translating available transcriptomes into potential proteins and searching for receptor specific protein and/or transmembrane domains. Both receptors classes are highly diverse in the slugs, and many new domain arrangements for each receptor class were found. The analyses of the gene expression of these three species provided a set of species-specific candidate genes, that is, SR-Bs, SR-Es, C-type lectins, and TSRs, that are potentially relevant for the recognition of kleptoplasts. The results set the base for future experimental studies to understand if and how these candidate receptors are indeed involved in chloroplast recognition.

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Researching data can be found in
(ece36865-sup-0001-appendixs1.xlxs, ece36865-sup-0001-appendixs2.xlxs)



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