Epidermal growth factor receptor in the prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii: Function and putative signaling cascade Academic Article uri icon


  • Epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) are highly conserved members of the tyrosine kinase receptor superfamily found in metazoans and plants. In arthropods, EGFRs are vital for the proper development of embryos and of adult limbs, gonads, and eyes as well as affecting body size. In searching for genes involved in the growth and development of our model organism, the decapod crustacean (Macrobrachium rosenbergii), a comprehensive transcript library was established using next-generation sequencing. Using this library, the expression of several genes assigned to the signal transduction pathways mediated by EGFRs was observed, including a transcript encoding M. rosenbergii EGFR (Mr-EGFR), several potential ligands upstream to the receptor, and most of the putative downstream signal transducer genes. The deduced protein encoded by Mr-EGFR, representing the first such receptor reported thus far in crustaceans, shows sequence similarity to other arthropod EGFRs. The M. rosenbergii gene is expressed in most tested tissues. The role of Mr-EGFR was revealed by temporarily silencing the transcript through weekly injections of double-stranded Mr-EGFR RNA. Such treatment resulted in as ignificant reduction in growth and ad elay in the appearance of am ale secondary sexual characteristic, namely the appendix masculina. An additional function of Mr-EGFR was revealed with respect to eye development. Although the optic ganglion appeared to have retained its normal morphology, Mr-EGFR-silenced individuals developed abnormal eyes that presented irregular organization of the ommatidia, reflected by unorganized receptor cells occupying large areas of the dioptric portion and by a shortened crystalline tract layer. (Endocrinology 154: 3188–3196, 2013)

publication date

  • January 1, 2013