Title of Abstract: Pugettia Receptor and Neuropeptide Discovery
Name of Mentor: Patsy Dickinson
Mentor’s Organization or Department: Neuroscience Program, Bowdoin College
Research Abstract: Having a diverse array of receptors within an organism provides a mechanism for flexibility of outputs in a simple pattern generating neural network (Dickinson 2019). Kelp crabs (Pugettia producta) are unique in that their diet is mainly herbivorous, while the Spider crab (Libinia emarginata) has a mixed, omnivorous diet. This allows us to hypothesize that different receptors may be present between these species as they metabolize their diets differently. To determine this, we must first predict the sequences of these receptors. We can then predict the presence of these peptides by analyzing transcriptomes of the crabs that have been previously created to identify where they are expressed in the organism’s body. Our research focused on identifying proteins present within the transcriptomes created for Pugettia. By utilizing a simple bioinformatics workflow, we were able to predict whether or not the neuropeptides and receptors of interest were present in the brain and STG of Pugettia.