De novo transcriptome sequencing of the snail Echinolittorina malaccana: identification of genes responsive to thermal stress and development of genetic markers for population studies.
Echinolittorina snails inhabit the upper intertidal rocky shore and face strong selection pressures from thermal extremes and fluctuations. Revealing the molecular processes of adaptive significance is greatly obstructed by the scarcity of genomic resource for these taxa. Here, we reported the first comprehensive transcriptome dataset for the genus Echinolittorina. Using Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform, about 52 M and 54 M paired-end clean reads were, respectively, generated for the control and heat-stressed libraries. Totally, 115,211 unique transcript fragments (unigenes) were assembled, with an average length of 453 bp and a N50 size of 492 bp. Approximately one third of the unigenes could be annotated according to their homology matches against the Nr, Swiss-Prot, COG, or KEGG databases, and they were found to represent 23,098 non-redundant genes. Gene expression comparison revealed that 1,267 and 6,663 annotated genes were, respectively, up- and downregulated with at least twofold changes upon heat stress. Gene Ontology and KEGG pathway analyses indicated that there were overrepresented amount of genes enriched in a broad spectrum of biological processes and pathways, including those associated with cytoskeleton organization, developmental regulation, signaling transduction, infection, and cardiac function. In addition, a transcriptome-wide search for polymorphic loci yielded a total of 11,228 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) from 9,938 unigenes and 138,631 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and insertion/deletion (INDEL) sites among 22,770 unigenes. The large number of transcript sequences acquired, the biological pathways identified, and the candidate microsatellite and SNP/INDEL loci discovered in the study will serve as valuable resources for further investigations of genetic differentiation and thermal adaptation among populations.