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An Orthologue of the Retinoic Acid Receptor (RAR) Is Present in the Ecdysozoa Phylum Priapulida

1
CIIMAR/CIMAR Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, U.Porto, 4450-208 Matosinhos, Portugal
2
FCUP - Faculty of Sciences, Department of Biology, U.Porto, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
3
Laboratory of Hygienic Chemistry and Molecular Toxicology, Gifu Pharmaceutical University, Gifu -501-1196, Japan
4
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Suzuka University of Medical Science, Suzuka 513-8670, Japan
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Genes 2019, 10(12), 985; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10120985
Received: 18 October 2019 / Revised: 26 November 2019 / Accepted: 27 November 2019 / Published: 29 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
Signalling molecules and their cognate receptors are central components of the Metazoa endocrine system. Defining their presence or absence in extant animal lineages is critical to accurately devise evolutionary patterns, physiological shifts and the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Here, we address the evolution of retinoic acid (RA) signalling in the Priapulida worm, Priapulus caudatus Lamarck, 1816, an Ecdysozoa. RA signalling has been shown to be central to chordate endocrine homeostasis, participating in multiple developmental and physiological processes. Priapulids, with their slow rate of molecular evolution and phylogenetic position, represent a key taxon to investigate the early phases of Ecdysozoa evolution. By exploring a draft genome assembly, we show, by means of phylogenetics and functional assays, that an orthologue of the nuclear receptor retinoic acid receptor (RAR) subfamily, a central mediator of RA signalling, is present in Ecdysozoa, contrary to previous perception. We further demonstrate that the Priapulida RAR displays low-affinity for retinoids (similar to annelids), and is not responsive to common endocrine disruptors acting via RAR. Our findings provide a timeline for RA signalling evolution in the Bilateria and give support to the hypothesis that the increase in RA affinity towards RAR is a late acquisition in the evolution of the Metazoa.
Keywords: Bilateria; nuclear receptors; xenobiotics; endocrine system Bilateria; nuclear receptors; xenobiotics; endocrine system
MDPI and ACS Style

Fonseca, E.S.S.; Hiromori, Y.; Kaite, Y.; Ruivo, R.; Franco, J.N.; Nakanishi, T.; Santos, M.M.; Castro, L.F.C. An Orthologue of the Retinoic Acid Receptor (RAR) Is Present in the Ecdysozoa Phylum Priapulida. Genes 2019, 10, 985.

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