The genome of the venomous snail Lautoconus ventricosus shed light on the origin of conotoxin diversity
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DepartmentCiencia de los Materiales e Ingeniería Metalúrgica y Química Inorgánica
SourceGigaScience, Volume 10, Issue 5, May 2021, giab037
Background: Venoms are deadly weapons to subdue prey or deter predators that have evolved independently in many animal lineages. The genomes of venomous animals are essential to understand the evolutionary mechanisms involved in the origin and diversification of venoms. Results: Here, we report the chromosome-level genome of the venomous Mediterranean cone snail, Lautoconus ventricosus (Caenogastropoda: Conidae). The total size of the assembly is 3.59 Gb; it has high contiguity (N50 = 93.53 Mb) and 86.6 Mb of the genome assembled into the 35 largest scaffolds or pseudochromosomes. On the basis of venom gland transcriptomes, we annotated 262 complete genes encoding conotoxin precursors, hormones, and other venom-related proteins. These genes were scattered in the different pseudochromosomes and located within repetitive regions. The genes encoding conotoxin precursors were normally structured into 3 exons, which did not necessarily coincide with the 3 structural domains of the corresponding proteins. Additionally, we found evidence in the L. ventricosus genome for a past whole-genome duplication event by means of conserved gene synteny with the Pomacea canaliculata genome, the only one available at the chromosome level within Caenogastropoda. The whole-genome duplication event was further confirmed by the presence of a duplicated hox gene cluster. Key genes for gastropod biology including those encoding proteins related to development, shell formation, and sex were located in the genome. Conclusions: The new high-quality L. ventricosus genome should become a reference for assembling and analyzing new gastropod genomes and will contribute to future evolutionary genomic studies among venomous animals.