Increased understanding of the molecular components involved in reproductionmay assist in understanding the evolutionary adaptations used by animals, including hermaphrodites, to produce offspring and retain a continuation of their lineage. In this study, we focus on the Mediterranean snail, Theba pisana, a hermaphroditic land snail that has become a highly invasive pest species within agricultural areas throughout the world. Our analysis of T. pisana CNS tissue has revealed gene transcripts encoding molluscan reproduction-associated proteins including APGWamide, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and an egg-laying hormone (ELH). ELH isoform1 (ELH1) is known to be a potent reproductive peptide hormone involved in ovulation and egg-laying in some aquatic molluscs. Two other non-CNS ELH isoforms were also present in T. pisana (Tpi-ELH2 and Tpi-ELH3) within the snail dart sac and mucous glands. Bioactivity of a synthetic ELH1 on sexually mature T. pisana was confirmedthrough bioassay, with snails showing ELH1-induced egg-laying behaviours, including soil burrowing and oviposition. In summary, this study presents a detailed molecular analysis of reproductive neuropeptide genes in a land snail and provides a foundation for understanding ELH function.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Stewart, M.J. (Michael J.), Wang, T. (Tianfang), Harding, B.I. (Bradley I.), Bose, U., Wyeth, R.C. (Russell C.), Storey, K, & Cummins, S.F. (Scott F.). (2016). Characterisation of reproduction-associated genes and peptides in the pest land snail, Theba pisana. PLoS ONE, 11(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162355