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Main research question/goal
In this project, we aim to gain expertise on the molecular processes in the European brown shrimp (Crangon crangon), as model for crustaceans (Crustacea, shrimp) and even arthropods (Arthropoda). Which nuclear receptors (proteins in the cell nucleus) are present and in what diversity? What differences and similarities in the molecular processes are found in other arthropods (Arthropoda)? What is the molecular base and the unique character of growth and development, metamorphosis and reproduction? There are two reasons to use European brown shrimp as a model organism: one, the decreasing wild stocks, which can be linked with anthropogenic contaminants and endocrine disruptors (but what processes are involved?); and two, the many unanswered questions in aquaculture (shrimp farming) about growth, molting and culture conditions. This research can answer all of these questions.

Research approach
We carry out sequence-analysis of the nuclear receptors on C. crangon. Through a phylogenetic analysis (genetic similarities and unraveling the evolution from common ancestors) we gain insight into the differences within the Arthropoda and we can compare important genes. We perform an expression analysis using micro-array, real time-PCR and antisera, to determine which sets of genes during growth and development, metamorphosis and reproduction are regulated. To confirm the microarray results, we check the regulation of some quantitative marker genes using real-time PCR. We use the main nuclear receptors and other interesting genes in a "yeast-two-hybrid" system to map what transcription factors and other proteins play an important role in the protein dynamics and couple that to experimental physiological research.

Shrimp production (via aquaculture) has increased steadily in recent years with a current annual production of approximately 5 million tonnes and a market value of more than 10 billion euros. Through the knowledge obtained from nuclear receptors, we can optimise the culture conditions of various commercial shrimp species. We expect that this method can be used to introduce new species for aquaculture. The sector shows interest in starting commercial production for certain shrimp species for a selective market segment. The choice to use the European brown shrimp as model is strategic because of its great economic importance for the Belgian coastal fishing as well as the problems related to decreasing stocks due to environmental pollution and endocrine distruptors. ILVO has already a thorough expertise in the field of research on Crangon crangon, such as stock assessments, rearing and exposure experiments in the lab and the collection of physiological and molecular data on shrimp and other crustaceans.

Funding provider(s)
ILVO - Instituut voor Landbouw-, Visserij- en voedingsonderzoek

External partner(s)
Ugent - Fac. Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen
Effective start/end date1/01/1131/12/17

ID: 4149666